Having a pet is one of the great pleasures of life, and living with them can be done in an eco-friendly way. We probably don’t think of the “greenness” of the pet products we buy like their toys, the food packaging, and many sprays and collars. They could include harmful ingredients, or could be bad for the environment just like common household items are.
Here are some tips to help you care for your pets the green way:
1. When buying pet food, consider packaging. Look for recyclable containers and forgo single-serving packages for bulk or large bags/cans.
2. Consider buying organic pet food and treats.
3. Choose Eco-friendly bowls and dishes for your pet’s food … glass, ceramic, stainless steel, etc.
4. Have your pet spayed/neutered. How is this “green”? Consider what happens if a single cat has multiple liters of kittens. Typically they become too difficult for the owner to deal with … and often unwanted animals are released and left to fend for themselves. Populations continue to grow creating problems. For example, bird populations decrease in areas with large feral cat populations. For animals not abandoned, there are shelters … but with growing numbers of unwanted pets, animals are being destroyed.
5. To control fleas, opt for Eco-friendly methods rather than buying pet store remedies. Most pet store remedies contain a whole list of toxins which are not only bad for the environment but bad for your pet as well.
6. Most pets enjoy toys. Choose items which are made from recycled products or ones made out of natural, sustainable materials like hemp. And don’t forget that many of the items you have around the house can work as toys.
7. Clean up after your pet. Pet waste contains parasites which can spread to other animals and humans. It also contains bacteria and nitrogen. When it rains, these components are washed into storm drains and can find their way to streams, rivers, etc. Safely dispose of pet waste by either flushing it down the toilet (sewage treatment plants effectively remove all harmful components) or bagging it (use biodegradable bags).
8. If you have a cat, choose plant-based litter. Clay litter is strip-mined … a process which is bad for the planet. And as tempting as those self-cleaning litter boxes seem, consider the amount of energy used to run them and opt, instead, for doing it yourself … a little more effort but much better for the earth.
9. Does your pet travel? Choose parks, vets, etc. which are close to home to minimize driving distance. Or, better yet, walk (good for you and good for your pet).
10. Choose a recycled pet … adopt from a shelter.
There are so many ways that we can help reduce the affect we have on the environment, why not start with our pets?