Dogs and cats should cut their carbon pawprint by eating dry pet food, scientists suggest.
There are 6.4 million dogs and 5.3 million cats in Australia, according to the Animal Medicines Australia report Pets in Australia: A national survey of pets and people.
For those worried about what to feed all these furry friends, a study has found dry food, such as kibble or biscuits, is more environmentally friendly than wet food, which has more meat protein and needs more water to produce.
Brazilian researchers studied the environmental impact, including greenhouse gases and land and water use, of growing, rearing and processing 618 dog food types and 320 cat foods.
They said a 10kg dog eating 500 calories a day would be responsible for almost eight times as much carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere if it ate wet rather than dry food.
Wet food, usually found in cans and sachets, was responsible for 6541kg of CO2 a year, compared with 828kg a year for dry food.
The study, led by the University of Sao Paulo and published in the journal Scientific Reports, concludes: “It is necessary to consider the impact since the population of pets tends to increase.”
The study suggests insects could be a more sustainable protein source for pets.
The British Veterinary Association said there was no nutritional difference between wet and dry pet food.