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Dogs have a terrible carbon paw print, research shows

By Björn Strauss

Berlin, Germany - It turns out pets aren't exactly blameless when it comes to climate change. Researchers in Berlin have discovered that man's best friend has a terrible carbon paw print. The numbers may not look good, but it's not all bad news for pet owners.

A medium-sized dog causes eight tons of CO2 emissions in its life, say Berlin researchers.
A medium-sized dog causes eight tons of CO2 emissions in its life, say Berlin researchers.  © privat

Dogs are serious meat-lovers. Over the course of an average lifetime, they will chow down on almost 1000 pounds of it. That has a serious impact on the climate, according to a researcher at the Berlin Institute of Technology.

She and her team examined "the ecological footprint of dogs", according to the German radio station Deutschlandfunk Nova.

They came to a surprising conclusion: "A medium-sized dog causes eight tons of CO2 emissions in its life."

That is the same amount produced by 13 return flights from New York to Austin, Texas, or by driving over 45,000 miles. That's a lot of pollution.

The researchers estimated that about a third of a person's annual carbon budget would be used up by their dog.

That's how much CO2 your puppy consumes in a lifetime...

Carnivores don't have a good carbon paw print.
Carnivores don't have a good carbon paw print.  © privat

The study also factored in the environmental impact of producing, packaging, and transporting dog food.

And what goes in must come out: approximately one ton of doggy poo and over 250 gallons of pee, according to the researchers.

This causes its own problems, as "the phosphorus and nitrogen in feces and urine pollute waters and the heavy metals contaminate the soil".

The research team stressed the importance of picking up after your dog, as this protects the environment from the worst effects.

Of course, dogs more than make up for their eco-sins. From search and rescue to companionship and comfort, they are a huge part of our daily personal and professional lives.

Not least of all in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic: dogs can be trained to reliably sniff out the virus. 

Cover photo: privat

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