Thumbnail Image

Environmental Impacts of a Pet Dog: An LCA Case Study

Yavor, Kim Maya; Lehmann, Annekatrin; Finkbeiner, Matthias

The number of pet animals in the European Union is increasing over the last decades. Few studies with a limited focus in terms of impacts and life cycle stages exist that assess the environmental impacts of dogs. This paper addresses the entire life cycle of a dog. An LCA study on an average dog was conducted considering the pet food and dog excrements, i.e., urine and feces. Fifteen impact categories were analyzed. An average dog has a climate change and freshwater eutrophication potential of around 8200 kg CO2eq and 5.0 kg Peq., respectively. The main contribution to most impact categories over the dog’s life is caused by pet food. Freshwater eutrophication is mainly determined by the dog´s urine and feces. Feces also have a significant contribution to the category of freshwater ecotoxicity. Impacts increase significantly with increasing weight and a longer lifetime of the dog as well as low collection rates of the feces. This LCA study reveals that pet dogs can have a significant environmental impact, e.g., around 7% of the annual climate change impact of an average EU citizen. Optimizing pet food and increasing the feces´ collection rate can reduce the impacts.
Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su12083394, MDPI