Lesson Plan Ideas

Lesson Plan Image

Pets in the Environment


  1. Identify wastes created by pets(feces, packaging for pet foods and pet products) and environmentally acceptable options for disposal.
  2. Understand how pets and wildlife can interact in ways harmful to wildlife and how this can be prevented.
  3. Collect and analyze information about the environmental impacts of pets.


Many students are unaware that irresponsible pet ownership can have significant environmental impacts.

Curriculum Connection: Alberta Education Program of Studies


Grade 4: Waste and our World
Grade 7: Interactions and Ecosystems


Grade 4

Pets and the products they use can be a source of waste with potentially negative environmental impacts. Two topics that could be examined in Grade 4 Science are described below.

Poop Patrol

How much waste do you think a typical dog produces in one year? Over a 10 year lifetime a typical dog can produce a half a tonne of feces In the USA the total amount of dog feces is estimated to be 10 million tonnnes per year – so Canada might have about 1 million tonnes.

Is this a biodegradable waste? What about the plastic collection bags? Are there biodegradable bags? Could pet waste be harmful to people? How? How is dog waste in a city different from feces produced by wild animals in the prairies or woods near us?

Students could research these problems and work on simple solutions.

Have students survey pet owners about how they handle their pet’s waste products,

Students could make a poster to encourage pet owners to be responsible about pet waste.

Packaging Problems

Have each student investigate a popular cat or dog toy and figure out how far this toy travelled to get to the store? How much packaging is there?

Students could design and make a cat or dog toy from recycled materials.

Grade 7

Environmentally responsible pet ownership means minimising the negative impacts of pets on the planet. This topic lends itself to independent or small group investigation of human impacts on the environment. Because so many families own pets, investigation of this topic can lead to real changes in behaviour that will help our environment.

Possible research targets include:


Some useful background information is available: