Boy feeding the chickens

What Are The Most Eco-Friendly Pets?

Which pets are the most eco-friendly? It all depends on their carbon footprint. Everything from their size to their diet contributes to their environmental impact. 

eco-friendly pets

What Pets Are the Most Eco-Friendly?

Lots of things affect how environmentally friendly a pet can be. The most important factor is its carbon footprint. Its life span, size and needs contribute to its total impact, as well. Usually, bigger animals that live longer require more resources — making them less sustainable options. In general, small animals are more eco-friendly because they need less care, water and food. 

Dogs and cats are the most common pets you can get, but they’re not necessarily the best choice if you’re going for sustainability. The following are some of the most eco-friendly pets because they are relatively easy to care for, don’t require a lot of maintenance and can be beneficial to the environment:

  • Turtles
  • Hamsters
  • Rabbits
  • Rats or Mice
  • Spiders
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Goats

It’s important, when choosing a pet, to ensure it isn’t an endangered species. You’ll also want to be sure the pet you have chosen hasn’t been removed from its natural habitat simply so it can be a pet. Often times birds and other animals are taken from the wild in such large quantities it makes it an unsustainable practice.

Regardless of what pet you choose, how you manage your animal greatly affects its overall impact — you could own the world’s largest dog and still keep it eco-friendly with the right choices.

Boy feeding the chickens

Which Sustainable Choices Can Help?

It’s okay if you have pets that aren’t super eco-friendly. They can’t improve their carbon footprint, but you can. For instance, you can change what you feed them so it’s better for the environment. You might not be able to turn your four-legged friend into a vegan, but you can make minor adjustments to their diet to help just as much. 

For example, you could start a garden to feed your pet fresh produce or plant waste. Even if you’re used to providing them with store-bought, home-grown vegetables can make it much more sustainable. You could give them sweet potatoes because they’re one of the top healthiest garden foods and are incredibly easy to grow. Common pets — like dogs and cats — enjoy eating them as a treat or mixed into their dinner bowl. 

You can also switch up how you play with them. For example, using toys made from renewable materials is much better for the Earth. Getting a whole new collection from a store can be pricey, so it’s a good thing you can make your own. You could tie old shirts together to craft a tug toy or attach string to a stick to make a cat wand. The possibilities are endless, if you think outside of the box. 

If you take your pet for car rides, consider switching up your transportation. Riding a bike or walking with them shrinks their carbon footprint, making them more eco-friendly. If they like the wind in their face or can’t keep up, get creative. You can train them to balance on a skateboard or put them in a basket on the front of your bike. As a bonus, it’s also a healthier alternative to driving.

dog walking

Can You Improve Your Pet’s Environmental Impact?

All pets will have an environmental impact, even if you make every sustainable choice possible — and that’s natural. However, there are still ways you can improve this outside of improving your care methods. It involves their life span, size, waste and needs. Now, you can’t alter their age or height, but you can target the other factors.

Unless you got your pet from a shelter, chances are they can still reproduce. Getting your fixed is an easy way to reduce their environmental impact. In fact, fixed animals positively affect the Earth because they can’t contribute to overpopulation. It’s a simple, one-time decision that can have an incredibly positive effect on the Earth. 

You can also change how you deal with your pet’s waste to improve its impact. Leaving it alone might seem like the best option because waste is natural, but it’s generally better to deal with it. For example, dog poop can damage ecosystems when it washes into waterways. You can find ways to recycle it or simply use compostable dog poop bags to pick it up. All animals go to the bathroom, so you can use this tip no matter what type of furry friend you have.

Every Pet Has a Carbon Footprint 

Regardless of what pet you choose, you can make it more eco-friendly by changing how you feed, play and care for it. Also, getting your pet fixed and responsibly dealing with their waste can reduce their carbon footprint. They’ll always have an impact on the environment, but you can minimize it with the right choices.

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