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Pets and the climate

Understanding the impact of Planet Earth’s 1.5 billion dogs and cats

The carbon emissions of cats and dogs

We adore our animal friends. They bring us love and good health. But as we also contend with the climate change, how we can live sustainably for planet, people and pets? With 1.5 billion dogs and cats sharing our planet with us, understanding the carbon emissions of cats and dogs – their carbon pawprint – has never been more important.

1.5 billion

dogs and cats live globally

0.4 - 1 tonne C02

is emitted on average by each dog or cat per year.

1 billion tonnes

of C02 are emitted by the global dog and cat population annually.

2.5x UK emissions

Equivalent emissions from the world’s dog and cat population.

What's the problem?

Climate change is arguably the most serious problem of the 21st century. But have we properly considered the carbon pawprint of our dogs and cats? 

Each cat and dog emits on average somewhere between 0.4  and 1 tonne of CO₂ each year. That’s about the same as a return flight to New York from London. Now multiply that by the 1.5 billion cats and dogs worldwide.

Combined, the emissions of our feline and canine friends is equivalent to 2.5 times the annual CO₂ emissions of the United Kingdom.

How do we know this?

Perhaps surprisingly, despite the whopping number of pets and the booming pet industry, there’s remarkably little research into the climate impact of pets. 

Nevertheless, studies such as these brilliant life cycle assessments offer scientific proof of the impact of our pets. Their rigorous methodological approaches highlight what aspects of a pet’s life contribute to their carbon pawprint.

What does my pet's carbon pawprint look like?

Dogs and cats both emit carbon in different ways. Here’s what you need to know. Read more about the carbon emissions of each pet on our blog.

The average cat emits 0.4 tonnes of C02 each year. This includes food and water (52%), accommodation and bedding (13%), pet care (12%), heat loss (13%) and recreation (10%).

Meanwhile, dogs emit an average of 1 tonne of C02 per year. This includes food and water (65%), breeding and recreation (10%), poo bags and waste (2%), pet care (8%), driving and transport (15%).


0.4 tonnes

of C02 produced by the average cat each year

723 petrol miles

is the equivalent of a cat’s annual pawprint

1 tonne

of C02 produced by the average dog each year

1,757 miles

is the equivalent of a dog’s annual pawprint


What can I do about it?

If you’re thinking how you can reduce the carbon pawprint of your pets, you’ve come to the right place. There are 3 easy steps you can take to get started:

  • Learn what small changes you can make to be a sustainable pet owner
  • Shop sustainably for dog and cat food, treats and their other needs
  • Offset your pet’s carbon pawprint and support climate action projects around the world

Luckily, Climate Pets is here to make it easy to take all 3 of these steps. We’re on a mission to make every dog and cat a climate superhero.

Read the blog

Discover more ways of living a sustainable life with your pet on our blog.

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