Guide Is Pet Ownership Destroying the Lives of Americans?

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The average home in those countries is more likely to have a pooch than not have one. Brazil tops the list in absolute terms, with nearly 36 million pups—more dogs than Canada has people. Asian countries today have some of the lowest dog ownership rates in the world. Though jam-packed Hong Kong and city-state Singapore have the most dogs-per-square-mile, both rank among the lowest in dog owners per person.

China has even fewer: barely more than two pet dogs for every people.

How to be an eco-friendly pet owner?

In the Philippines, there is one pet dog for every 8 people, whereas in Japan, which has the second-most pups per capita in East Asia, there is only one dog for every 11 people. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Indonesia all have fewer than two dogs for every 1, people—the lowest per capita ownership rates of 53 countries surveyed by Euromonitor. Those countries also have the highest proportion of big dogs, likely because citizens keep dogs around for security or help with hunting, not for companionship.

Bernards, and Great Danes.

12 Fascinating Stats about Pet Ownership in the US

And Egypt and the UAE now both play host to the ultimate expression of canine admiration: the dog show. Europe is a dog-friendly place. All those poops pile up—to the potential detriment of all of our health.

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Dog droppings can have exponentially more fecal coliform than a cow per pound of body weight, according to environmental organizations. When poop is left untended in the streets, it can get caught up in stormwater or other runoff water and eventually make its way to a storm drain. Since , the EPA has listed it as a nonpoint source pollutant, putting it alongside herbicides, insecticides, oil, grease and toxic chemicals.

The other issue is that the waste can help kill animal life in those waters. Dog waste releases nutrients in water that can lead to algae blooms in waterways or lakes—those big, pea-green blurbs of water that can take over the surface.

The Dog Index: What man’s best friend tells us about global economic development

They often suck the oxygen out of the water, which makes it inhospitable to plants and other kinds of animal life. RIP scenic fishing point, hello dog shit lake. What you can do about it: Scoop that poop! You can also flush unbagged waste right down the toilet so it ends up in a treatment plant— the EPA actually recommends it.


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It turns out spraying toxic chemicals all over your furry friend might be problematic. Kids are particularly at risk thanks to their fondness for touching things and then putting their hands directly in their mouths.

Generally, the group recommends steering clear of products with tetrachlorvinphos, propoxur, permethrin and amitraz. You can also try to stick to non-chemical pest control methods, such as regular baths, vacuuming and washing pet beds in hot water. Yes, owning a pet—just like being alive at all as a human—is necessarily a burden on the planet.

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But if this whole guide reads like a buzzkill to your puppy powered dreams, there is one way to feel better about owning a dog: Adopt! While breeders are out there creating new animals to care for, the animal shelters are full of entirely loveable, homeless animals waiting for a home. About 3. Adopting a homeless dog is naturally easier on the environment than buying one from a breeder.