Assessing the Water Footprint of Pets: the Case of Small Breed Dogs
Aivazidou, E.
Tsolakis, N.
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How to Cite

Aivazidou E., Tsolakis N., 2017, Assessing the Water Footprint of Pets: the Case of Small Breed Dogs, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 57, 517-522.
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Although humans are not the only species that leave their footprint on the environment, they alone have the ability to reduce their environmental impact in contrast to animals. In this regard, pet owners should also “go green” on behalf of their beloved companions. At the same time, as pet food production constitutes the major hotspot of a pet’s ecological footprint, pet food manufacturers should be aware of the environmental profile of their products and thus act towards adopting sustainable practices. However, while a public discussion on the ecological footprint of pets in terms of biologically productive land or greenhouse gas emissions has been launched, a lack of research concerning the impact of food manufacturing and home caring of pets on freshwater resources is evident. In this study, we provide a first-effort conceptual framework for assessing the water footprint related to the basic everyday life activities of pets from a pet products’ manufacturer (indirect water use) and a pet owner (direct water use) perspective. More specifically, the paper focuses on the consumptive and degradative water use during the production of packaged pet food and other pet products, the preparation of homemade pet food, as well as the watering and washing of pets. As a next step, based on the proposed framework, we present a real-word case study on the assessment of the average annual pet water footprint, or else “water pawprint”, of a small breed dog, including the main typical activities of the dog’s life. The obtained results highlight that indirect water use associated with pet food production is responsible for almost the whole annual water footprint of the dog, while direct water use intended for home caring activities is minimal. Finally, this research is anticipated to provide value-added insights for both industry and society with respect to the sustainable management of freshwater resources appropriated for pets.
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