Green Tips: Celebrating National Dog Day
Green Tips | August 16, 2019
Did you know that August 26th is National Dog Day? To celebrate, we are laying out some ways to green your pet care routine. Just like human behavior, the way we care for our pets has an impact on the planet. Dog and cat food contain meat, which is a major contributor to climate change – generating 64 million tons of greenhouse gases per year. By considering more eco-friendly pet products and habits, you could decrease your pet’s footprint:
Some dog food contains scraps of waste from factory farming, which is damaging to the environment because it relies on fertilizers and other chemicals that are derived from fossil fuels, contributes to deforestation, and pollutes water with agricultural run-off. Dog food may also be made with cheap corn feed filler, which can contain bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella and is unhealthy for dogs. Also, lots of pet food is produced with chemicals and antibiotics, which can get into our waterways and soil.
Opt for dog and cat food that has the fewest fillers as possible so that you are providing healthy nutrients for your pet and avoiding irresponsibly produced products. Unfortunately, grass-fed, free-range, humanely raised, and antibiotic-free pet food can be significantly more expensive. Just make sure to check the ingredients before purchasing to avoid corn and wheat fillers when possible. Try to look for meat that is not factory farmed or make your own pet food.
Consider purchasing eco-friendly pet toys. These typically include non-toxic or recycled materials, reclaimed materials, AZO-free dye, recycled cotton yarn, or organic hemp. Try to avoid plastic and look for toys that are long-lasting, which means less waste sent to landfills.
When taking your dog to the neighborhood park, consider extending the adventure by walking instead of driving. This means more exercise for you and your dog, and less energy used.
Admittedly, picking up after your dog is not a fun activity; however, we should all be considerate of our neighbors. Also, consider the waste bags you’re using. Look for bags that are compostable and biodegradable, because they will break down over time and can degrade in an oxygenated environment rather than sit in a landfill.
Make sure you dispose of biodegradable bags properly. Use a dog-waste only composting bin, flush them (as long as the bag is water-soluble), bury them (if in a rural area), or bring them to a composting facility.
For cat lovers, picking up after your pet involves the litter box. There are environmentally friendly ways to do this too: classic clay cat litter is hard to break down, which can be a mess in our landfills. Consider using eco-friendly cat litter like wood or pine pellet cat litter. Wood pellet cat litter is renewable, ideal for composting, and is dust-free, making it much better for the environment than clay cat litter. The wood, combined with the waste, along with time, water, and sunlight, will eventually cause the waste to compost naturally. Never flush the scoopings from your cat’s box.
Grooming is essential for keeping your pet clean and healthy. However, some pet shampoos and conditioners can hurt the environment due to some dangerous ingredients. The chemicals can pollute local drinking water as well as the water sources that house fish and wildlife. Some hazardous components to look out for are SLS (sodium laureth) or SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulfate), as well as synthetic colors and fragrances. Both are difficult to break down in the water and can hurt marine life.
Instead, look for pet shampoos and conditioners that are non-toxic and organic, as well as paraben-free and synthetic fragrance-free. You can also try using products that are sold in recyclable bottles.< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit
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