Is your family pet bad for the environment? It depends.

But showing kids how to decrease their fur baby’s paw print can empower them to think more sustainably.

Whether it’s a dog, cat, chicken, goldfish, or tarantula, kids love their pets. In fact, the vast majority of dog and cat owners in the United States consider their animals members of the family.

But pets consume resources, from food and water to medicine, toys, and special furniture. They also produce waste. And this has many pet families wondering just exactly how bad their critters may be for the environment.

A squeaky toy here and a can of tuna there might not seem like a big concern for the planet’s health, especially with the climate rising and one million wildlife species at risk of extinction. But with one-third of all households on Earth owning at least one dog and almost one-quarter of households owning at least one cat, any cost is going to add up.

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