Animal IQ

Having a Pet Isn't Always Good For The Environment

We're nominated for an award! Please click here to vote for Curiosity Daily for Best Technology & Science Podcast in the 2019 Discover Pods Awards.

Ever considered the effect your pup has on the environment? According to a study, your dog leaves a larger ecological footprint than an SUV. But it's not all bad news.

How Can Fido Be Hurting The Environment?

Look deep into Fido's glassy, lovely, puppy-dog eyes. That fuzzy little cutie is killing the Earth. Well, not quite, but he's not helping. According to "Time to Eat the Dog?" authors Robert and Brenda Vale, research shows that a medium-sized dog has twice the impact of driving a luxury SUV 10,000 miles.

Hang on, cat lovers, your kitty is doing some damage too. According to, a cat's ecological paw print was roughly equivalent to a Volkswagen Golf's. But don't blame your pets for this. Look at all the resources that go into feeding your animal, the manufacturing process for its other toys and other products, and, well, their poop.

If we rounded up all of America's 163 million dogs and cats and sent them to their own country, first of all, that would make an adorable movie. But after we get past that, Dogandcatistan would rank fifth in global meat consumption. And each year, this country would churn out 5.1 million tons of feces. That's almost equal to the total trash production of Massachusetts.

Don't Worry—You Can Help

If you are concerned about the damage your pet may be doing to the environment, TakePart has some tips: "You can make your own pet food using locally grown products. You can bury your pet's waste, or make your own litter using, say, discarded wood shavings from a local carpenter or hardware store. You can choose natural pet-care and cleaning products."

Or, if you still want the benefits of a pet without the waste, maybe you can pick up an old Tamagotchi on eBay.

Editor's Picks: The Best Videos On Pets And The Environment

Dog vs. Cars: Carbon Footprints And Pet Ecological Terrors

This video includes more great tips on cutting down your pups eco-paw print.

5 Things In Your House That Can Kill Your Pet

Maybe your pets can hurt the enivronment, but your home can definitely hurt your pet.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Some mouthwashes have boric acid which can cause your pet to vomit, have seizures or go into a coma. 00:18

  2. Lillies can be very toxic and fatal if eaten. 00:36

  3. Dog's find the taste of anti-freeze to be sweet. 00:53

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Hey, it's not all on your pet to make changes!

Written by Curiosity Staff January 3, 2017

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.