The authors said their findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, highlight the broad environmental impacts of pet foods, the need to make them more sustainable, and an indication of how to achieve them.
Which is approximately seven times the amount of carbon dioxide found in a dry diet. Researchers say that if pet owners switch their animals to dry food, they can feed their animals more sustainably while still providing them with enough nutrients and calories. The number of cats and dogs is increasing all over the world. It is estimated that the United States currently has 76.8 million dogs and 58.4 million cats, while Brazil has 52.2 million dogs and China 53.1 million cats.
“We decided to investigate the environmental impacts of their food systems – including greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use.” said Dr. Marcio Pronto and his team at the University of Sao Paulo.
The team studied 618 dog diets and 320 cat diets in Brazil. They looked at commercial wet and dry diets found on the websites of three major Brazilian pet food stores.
It was also compared to homemade diets – whether it was food produced by companies or food cooked by owners at home using recipes provided by companies.
The research team also evaluated the nutritional composition and calories of the different diets.
They found that with every variable taken into account, wet diets for cats and dogs had the greatest environmental impact, especially compared to dry diets.
Homemade diets tend to have intermediate environmental effects, although the use of water in home cat diets was similar to dry diets.
Researchers estimate that a 22-pound dog consuming an average of 534 calories per day would be responsible for 1,826 pounds of carbon dioxide per year when fed a dry diet compared to 14,420 pounds of carbon dioxide per year for a wet diet—an increase of seven almost twice as much (689 percent).
An estimate of wet food is the amount of carbon dioxide that could be produced by driving 30,000 miles, more than the circumference of the Earth, each year.
The dry diets provided the most energy per gram, while the wet diets and homemade diets provided the most protein.
“In wet diets, almost twice as much energy was saved by animal ingredients than in dry diets (45.42 percent versus 89.27 percent), which may contribute to their greater impact on the environment.” the researchers said.
Co-produced with SWNS Talker.