Many of us actively try to reduce our footprint on the environment, and believe it or not your pet makes a footprint too.
Five percent of cat owners also chose eco-friendly product options for their pet in 2010, which amounts to more than 2 million owners. This is a good start, but buying eco-friendly products is only one way to go green with your pet.
Many veterinarians recommend that you spay or neuter your pet as a solution (and many shelters require it for adoption).
Although I don’t recommend stocking up on giant bags of dry pet food, I do recommend stocking up on other bulk products when possible. This helps cut down on packaging and trips to the store (thus saving gas).
You may be able to find raw food available in larger packages (which store easily in the freezer). Kitty litter is another good product to buy in bulk. Buying from local food co-ops is another great way to save money.
It’s important to pick up after your dog, as dog waste left in the environment can pollute ground and surface water and transmit parasites and infectious disease. Unbeknownst to many, you can actually compost dog poop rather than throwing it in the trash. When composted correctly, composting destroys pathogens and produces compost that can improve the soil in your garden.
Dog waste compost should not be used on vegetables or other crops you plan to eat, but it can be used just about anywhere else. The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service has a step-by-step guide for composting dog waste, if you’d like to give it a try.
Reusable items can keep countless pounds of waste out of landfills each year. For instance, if you use puppy pads, choose machine-washable versions instead of disposable.
If you’re not composting your dog waste, then choose compostable poop bags in lieu of the plastic versions. You can also re-purpose small paper bags for this purpose. There are even flushable, compostable bags available, and these may present one of the best solutions of all.
Even the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method.” Alternatively, you could use a reusable metal “pooper scooper” to scoop poop in your backyard and then flush it down the
Many items around your home can be used to make DIY pet toys. Your dog might like to chew on a plastic water bottle wrapped in a t-shirt or sock. Or try placing a few treats inside a gallon milk jug and watch your dog figure out how to get them out (supervised, of course, and not for heavy chewers that might chew through the plastic).
The popular clay-based litters may be made from bentonite clay sourced from destructive strip mines. You can, instead, opt for litters made from corn (even GMO-free corn), renewable wheat crops, wood shavings or recycled newspaper.
You can even use chemical-free sawdust for litter. Your cat may ultimately dictate which litter option you stick with. I’ve found that many cats prefer unscented clumping litter with no odor control additives.
Giving a home to a homeless dog or cat is the “greenest” way to find a new pet. You’ll be saving a life and freeing up a space for another needy dog or cat to find a home.
Not only are CAFOs among the greatest sources of pollution in the US, but these industrial farms also promote the use of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, genetically engineered crops, and other environmental atrocities. They’re also notorious for treating animals inhumanely.
Look for pet foods that contain organic, whole-food ingredients without added antibiotics or hormones, sourced from naturally raised meat, poultry or fish.
Support responsible pet-food companies that respect the environment and also the health of your pet. Better yet, consider making a balanced, fresh food diet for your pets with homegrown ingredients from your garden, local farmer’s market, or food co-op.
Text By Dr. Karen Becker
My goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.
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