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4 Ways to Offset Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

Researchers argue that our critters are just as detrimental to the environment as cars. Here’s how animal owners can go green.

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Think Before You Buy

Canadians spent an estimated $6.5 billion on their pets in 2013, according to consumer researcher Packaged Facts. Every purchased factory-produced item negatively affects the planet, so consider whether your cat really needs that Halloween costume.

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Size Matters

Larger animals-especially big dogs-eat and poop more, take up more living and car space, and use more supplies. That all translates into more pain for the environment. Choose a little dog, or consider small pets like rabbits and fish instead.

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Watch What They Eat

High-protein pet foods leave a large carbon footprint because of the fossil fuels required for their production. Choose foods with plant proteins like soy, which are more energy-efficient than meat to produce, or secondary meat products that can’t be sold as human food and would otherwise be thrown away (reputable companies will use only nutritious, quality parts). Save on packaging and processing-and provide healthier options-by making pet treats yourself.

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Home is Best

Going on vacation? Instead of boarding your furry friend at a kennel, hire a sitter who will use your biodegradable poop bags, natural litter and shampoos free of phosphate and sulphate. If you do shell out for pet services, choose companies that follow a clear environmental policy.