A rise in the purchase of “lockdown dogs” has created a potential carbon footprint of five million tonnes of CO2 per year, according to a new survey commissioned by sustainable dog food brand Yora.
It comes as almost one tenth (9.4%) of UK pet owners purchased a dog since the first lockdown, the equivalent of purchasing over six million dogs in the last eight months.
Yora said it now “hopes to draw attention to the potential carbon footprint” of dog ownership, after 32% of dog owners admitted to worrying about their pet’s environmental impact.
According to Yora’s ‘carbon pawprint’ calculator, the five million tonnes of CO2 produced can come just from dog diets alone.
It noted that feeding a medium-sized dog traditional meat-based food can generate the same amount of carbon in its lifetime as taking 37 return flights from London to Barcelona.
Nonetheless, over 40% of survey respondents claimed to consider the environmental impact in their dog food choices.
Yora is urging owners to try using insect-based pet food as an alternative to traditional protein sources such as chicken, beef, turkey and soya, as insects “only need a fraction” of the resources to farm.
The group’s range of insect-based products reportedly makes Yora the lowest CO2 producing premium pet food in the world, according to the brand.
Yora is now calling for awareness, as it noted that 32.9% of existing dog owners are considering buying a second dog this year, which would lead to a further 6.2 million dogs contributing to household carbon footprints.
Dr Pim Martens, professor of Sustainable Development at Maastricht University, said: “It’s clear from research into ecological pawprints of pet foods that insects offer a more sustainable source of protein for pets than traditional meat-based products.
“Not only are the carbon emissions associated with an insect-based diet lower, the amount of land (and likely water) required to produce foods using insect protein is lower than for foods made from chicken or beef.”
He added: “If consumers are worried about the ecological impact of their pet, as these survey results imply, evidence suggests that insect-based diets are a great way to reduce that impact. However, in numbers, it means that more animals (insects) are needed for the same amount of food compared to chicken or beef-based foods.”
Yora has recently expanded its pet food range, which caters to all ages and sizes. New products include an insect power protein bar, and Dreamers, treats made from a blend of insects, valerian root, lemon balm and chamomile.