Pets: Wet food far worse than dry food for climate, study finds

Pets: Wet food far worse than dry food for climate, study finds

The number of pets is increasing year by year. There would thus be 840 million cats and dogs around the world. An increase that could have consequences on the environment. Brazilian scientists have therefore taken an interest in the impact of their diet on the climate, and the results are edifying. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Wet foods cause 8 times more emissions

According to their results, wet foods (like mash, for example) are much more harmful to the environment than dry foods (like kibble). Wet foods would thus cause eight times more emissions linked to global warming than dry foods. Some dogs fed with wet food would thus have the same carbon footprint as a human.

To arrive at these results, the scientists analyzed 618 different diets for dogs, and 320 for cats. This included canned and pouched wet food, kibble, and dry biscuits, supplied by three major Brazilian pet food retailers, as well as homemade meals.

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Greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use, chemical pollution… the environmental impacts of each type of meal have been assessed. Dry diets have the least impact, followed by home-cooked meals, and wet diets come last. One reason for this is that 90% of the calories in wet diets come from animal ingredients, compared to 45% in dry diets.

How to reduce the carbon footprint

Concretely, a 10 kg dog eating about 500 calories per day of dry food would result in 828 kg of CO2 emissions per year. But if he eats wet food, this same dog would cause 6,541 kg of CO2 per year. A carbon footprint similar to that of a Brazilian citizen, whose annual carbon footprint is 6,690 kg.

⋙ Shrimp taste, or grilled flavor? Researchers recreate meat flavors by cooking insects

The study authors suggest replacing “traditional” meat with alternative proteins such as insects. CO2 emissions from insect production can indeed be ten times lower than from regular meat. This would therefore make pet food more environmentally friendly.

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