Are Dog Food Ingredients Contributing To Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Greenhouse gasses are a primary concern for humans. On a global scale, the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions are due to electricity and heat (31%), transportation (15%), manufacturing (12%), agriculture (11%), and forestry (6%). While agriculture is not the main cause of global warming, we are often asked if dog food ingredients are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s take a closer look.

Are Dog Food Ingredients Contributing To Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

In a nutshell, yes, the meat in dog food has a huge environmental impact. It is estimated that pet food contributes to 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions caused through agriculture. So, of the 11% of agriculture greenhouse gas emissions, the pet food industry contributes 25% - or about 2.75% overall.
UCLA researcher finds that feeding pets creates the equivalent of 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year (source).

Consider Protein Sources To Help Lower This Number

In terms of protein sources that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, generally speaking, peas and beans are the lowest and beef is the highest. The below chart provides more information on the hierarchy of emissions.

Carbon footprint of protein rich food comparison chart - where does pet food land?

What Can We Do?

Feeding dogs a vegetarian diet is controversial, however, we will go into this in greater detail in a future article. But, it is important to consider lower emission-based proteins. 

Buy Local, Buy Smart, and Consider Substitutions

Buying local isn’t just a slogan, it can help minimize harmful impacts to the planet. While buying local food could reduce the average pet consumer’s greenhouse gas emissions, it’s also important to consider substituting one or two red meat meals a week with fowl, fish, eggs, etc. Vegetarian treats are also worth considering. Lastly, buying smart is important! What we mean is ask where your dog’s food ingredients come from: How far do they have to travel? How are they grown? How are they manufactured and packaged? Does the pet food company participate in greenhouse gas buyback practices?  All of these steps contribute to emissions - it all adds up.  Last tip: keep your dog at the appropriate weight for their breed (great for emissions and your dog’s health).
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About FurSherpa

The leading dog health care and wellness resource, FurSherpa is a community of like-minded dog lovers who want to turn pet consumer habits on their heads! We challenge the notion that dogs are just pets. No! They are members of our family. That’s why pet parents want the best for their dogs. We read labels, we investigate ingredients, we help heal the earth while celebrating our dogs! We’re on a journey to find the best information, products, and brands, that are focused on your dog’s health and well-being. Our sole focus is to challenge the way we think about pet wellness – empowering you with an individualized dog wellness plan that results in game-changing buying practices.
Be kind to the earth. Be kind to one another. Be kind to animals. FurSherpa exists because you care.

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