There has been a lot debate in recent times about how best to provide for the future power requirements of Australia. There are those that support wind and other renewables, others believe that coal can be made cleaner and there has even been growing support for nuclear power. According to an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle there is another power source that could be worth exploring and that is pet power. No not hundreds of mice on exercise wheels running round, but actual power that is generated from the poo of domestic dogs and cats.
On average a dog can produce up to 500g of waste a day and a cat about 150 grams. A study in metropolitan Melbourne estimated the total daily output of dog waste at about 30 tonnes a day or 10950000 kg of waste a year. It is proposed to turn Rover’s droppings into methane, which can heat homes, cook meals and generate electricity.
Since this technology is still a few years away what sorts of things can be done to reduce the amount of waste that your pet produces now? To a large degree what comes out of a dog or cat depends on what goes into them. What I mean by this is the quality of the food that the dogs and cats are fed will have a great influence of the amount and odour of the droppings that they produce.
Canned food is very popular because it is convenient and the manufacturers of this type of food often go to great lengths to produce labels that are both attractive and enticing when we are making our purchase. Look at the moisture content on a can of pet food. This refers to the amount of water in the product and with most canned food it can be as high as 70 – 80%. That’s a lot of waste and it means you will need to feed more for your pet to meet its nutritional requirements.
Although dry foods are better with regard to the amount of water they contain, many still contain ingredients that are difficult to digest for your pet. Cheaper dry foods will often vary the ingredients depending on what is cheapest at the time of manufacturing. This change can upset the stomach of some pets and again lead to unpleasant odours.
The best food to feed your dog in my opinion is what is known as premium foods.These foods cost a little more per packet, but are quite economical when you feed as directed as the ingredients in these foods are highly digestible so you feed less. Less food means less waste and what is produced does not have an unpleasant odour and is firm so it is easy to pick up.
The law states that you must pick up your pet’s waste when you walk your dog and I often see many people walking along with a plastic shopping bag in their hand to do this. The problem with using a shopping bag is that it turns your pet waste into a little time capsule as it prevents it from breaking down in the ground.A better option is to use one of the biodegradable poo bags which breakdown quickly in the ground, these are available in the store and they come in a small dispenser that mounts neatly on your lead.
Pet power may not be with us just yet but when it is here, picking up pet waste will seem a little more enjoyable!
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