How can your pet save the planet?

by Dr Madi Hewitson MRCVS

Part 1. Diet  

dog looking at the bowl of food

Pets have a huge impact on our  planet, from  the  toys  they  play with to the food they eat.   

In a recent study by Dr Pim Martens, dogs have been shown to contribute 10.7 million tons of greenhouse gases  a year  through their diet  alone. That is equivalent to 1.2 million homes’ energy use  for one year!   

Overconsumption is partly to blame. By overconsumption, we mean eating more than necessary to sustain yourself.  In other words, your pet has put on a few extra pounds than it needs. Not only is obesity harmful to the environment but it is also harmful to your  pets'  long-term  health and wellbeing.  However, the great thing about obesity is that with the right help it is something that is easily fixed!   

Just as with us  pet parents,  the food that we consume has an impact on the environment. We have all heard that cows produce a lot of methane (a greenhouse gas) but that is only the tip of the iceberg! The environmental impact of our food comes from the whole life cycle  of an animal, that means the  impact of the food the animal eats (pesticides used,  how its harvested, where is it sourced from) combined with the impact of the  animal's  life  (antibiotic usage, animal waste, the  environment that it lives in,  how the meat is  caught and  processed).   

Fish have the lowest impact on the environment,  partly due to the aquatic environment that they live in, but this environment is under threat. Overfishing has caused a reduction of the fish in our sea, pollution of our oceans and has damaged the environments that they need to survive. George Bramble, founder of Beco quotes in our interview with him, that ‘one salmon farm in Scotland creates more sewage than a town the size of Oban’!  

Why should your pet care? As an owner of a cat that dreams about fish,  it means that one day  he  will not be able to have the fishy treats he craves  as  stocks will be extensively depleted and affected by disease.  As an owner of a dog who loves to swim,  it means not being able to  jump  in the sea, because it will be polluted and dirty.  A very sad picture indeed.  

Enter Beco. Beco has been the guiding star when it comes to all things eco-pet and they have not let us down with this one. In  our  new  podcast, we discuss  their new  Marine Stewardship Council-certified haddock  dog food made from sustainably caught fish, the first in the UK! Which is among a range of other sustainable dog food options Beco provides. George shares with us why it is so positive for the future of our oceans and our pet's health and boy are our pets happy about that! 

In this enlightening  interview,  we hear  why he decided  12 years ago  to set up his efforts to protect the planet, with a little extra help from our furry friends,  and shares some top tips  on how to reduce your pets carbon pawprint©.  A must-listen for any dedicated pet parent! 

Choosing the right diet for your  pet  can be very challenging  but it just shows that knowing where the ingredients come from is just as important for your pet as the ingredients in them.   

For one animal alone 13 million acres of forest is required to sequester the greenhouse gases produced by a pet in one year. That is an  unimaginable  number  of trees,  but do  not  fear! We have partnered with  SeaTrees, to enable pet parents across the world to reduce their pets carbon paw print and the best part about it, you can do it for free!  There is a catch though... To be able to plant a tree you have to be proactive in looking after your pet’s health and that means regular  exercise  (the less driving the better!), maintaining your pet’s healthy weight, and staying up to date with preventative health care.   

Find out more about the top UK  Eco pet brand, Beco,  in our  Petcast, available on  Spotify.   

If you are concerned about your pet's weight please feel free to speak to one of our friendly veterinarians, for a bespoke weight loss programme,  on the  FREE  PetPanion  app!   

PetPanion, helping  you and your  pet save the planet one paw at a time.  


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