Green Tips: Pet Care Edition

Green Tips | August 2, 2018

Pets require resources that can take a toll on the environment including chemicals in cleaning products, processed foods, and toxic toys. However, there are many ways to reduce these potentially harmful effects. We have compiled a few here:

Adopt a dog or cat from a shelter instead of buying from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are not sustainable or ethical. Not only is the health of dogs in puppy mills completely disregarded and animals mistreated, but waste from the dealerships pose countless risks to our public health and the environment. One stream downhill from a Virginia puppy mill had bacteria 400 times higher than the legal limit. Improper disposal of dog feces and carcasses can cause bursts of harmful disease-causing pathogens that can be easily transmitted to humans. Built up feces from these facilities and the pathogens it carries may also contaminate soil and drinking water, as well as produce methane, a known greenhouse gas. Many dogs are waiting for a home in shelters around the country. An estimated 1.2 million dogs are put down every year because people choose to buy purebreds rather than adopting from a shelter.

Use or make more sustainable pet products. There are several natural pet shampoos which provide alternatives to the chemical-filled products available to most pet owners. Flea-control solutions also usually contain chemicals which have caused serious health problems for animals in laboratories. Use a multifaceted approach to get rid of fleas such as flea combs, Diatomaceous earth powder, herbal shampoos, and making sure your floors are clean.

Compost pet waste. Pick up your dog or cat waste to make sure the bacteria does not end up spreading into groundwater. Instead of landfilling pet waste, try to compost it. For cats, owners should use litter made from corn, wheat or recycled newspaper which are compostable –clay cannot go into compost.

Make your own pet food and treats. Avoid processed store-bought pet food by creating pet food at home. Include ingredients that you know were sustainably or locally grown. You can also make treats for your dog or cat. Additionally, there are multiple companies that make dog food with a focus on sustainability like All The Best Pet Care.

Hire a professional dog walker nearby. Supporting a local professional is a great option to make sure your dog is well cared-for by an expert. Hiring a dog walker who lives nearby produces fewer emissions since they do not need to travel long distances.

Make your own pet toys. Pet toys can be made out of a variety of materials or objects that you most likely already have. Instead of spending money on toys that require new materials, it’s possible to use many items sitting around the house, such as old plastic water bottles, tennis balls, or old t-shirts and towels. There are also companies that make new toys out of old materials.

Adopt a smaller herbivorous pet. Pets such as guinea pigs and rabbits may not require all the resources that dogs or cats require. One of the most sustainable pet options are chickens because their waste is compostable as a fertilizer. They also produce fresh eggs and work as natural pest control.

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