SUVs, dogs and their ecological impact

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Frank Likely.


Do you know the ecological footprint created by your pet? An Australian study, recently replicated by New Science magazine found that caring for a medium size dog for a year was twice as ecologically expensive as building an SUV and driving it for ten thousand kilometers.

With some six million dogs in Canada, not to mention the more than eight million cats and 10 million other house pets, the ecological impact of our pets is an issue of concern.

Pets are big in Canada. I grew up with pets most of my life with a number of dogs, and even a horse.

I’m pet free now, but more than half of Canadian households have at least one pet.  There was more money spent last year on pet care in Canada than there was on childcare. And yet we give so little attention to the true cost of our pets on our planet and on our lives. 

A recent San Francisco study found that more municipal waste came from pets as from dirty diapers. The Calgary Humane Society estimates that the average dog creates more than 2.2 kilos of waste per day. 

And it all goes to the landfill.

As a society we’ve gotten the message of climate change when it comes to our cars. We’re buying the smaller compact rather than the big SUV more often. We’re recycling more and more. We are very cognizant of our own ecological impact on the world.   Perhaps it’s time now to give consideration to the impact of our pets as well.


Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and a past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.






Organizations: New Science magazine, Calgary Humane Society, Springhill Area Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Canada, San Francisco

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Recent comments

  • Sharon
    September 16, 2013 - 12:12

    Pet problem noted on and on, bla bla bla, but no solution given. This article is crap ha ha.,

  • sharon
    September 16, 2013 - 11:09

    Again noting a problem but no solution this article is , just crap haha.

  • noodle
    September 14, 2013 - 10:28

    I don't think Mr. Likely is actually suggesting people kill their pets. More likely (pardon the pun) he is suggesting that in future people put more thought into all aspects of pet ownership when deciding to get more than one pet or if they even need a pet at all. If people didn't get pets they couldn't manage there wouldn't be so many unwanted, unloved animals in shelters, and if considering the ecological impact of pets is even a slight deterrent against unmindful pet ownership then I'm all for it.

  • jr
    September 11, 2013 - 11:08

    So, the question now is, are we supposed to kill all of our pets? This si somewhat rediculous. Sure there is waste created by animals but consider what humans create. Are we then going to have to reduce the waste from a human body? What about the farm animals that are grown for food sources? Are they going to have to be dealt with as well> I think this person migh want to rethink this issue a little bit. I can just se e it now. All domestic animals, service animals and soon are going to be fined if they deficate from this day forward or more than once a day.