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Go Green with Your Pet

July 26, 2010

by Christine Fillmore

Just like people, pets consume resources too. As a pet owner, you can make smart choices for the environment and for your pets’ health. Here are seven tips to make your furry friend eco-friendly:

Photo by Christine Fillmore

1. Pet Adoption

There are millions of animals sitting in shelters across the county waiting for the right home. Controlling the pet population is always green, so before buying from a breeder, check out you local shelter, humane society or rescue group.

2. Taking Care of Business

Picking up after your dog is the polite thing to do. In addition to pleasing your neighbors, it keeps waste from polluting local waterways. Animal waste contains nitrogen, bacteria, parasites and other harmful organisms. When you don’t pick up after your dog, storm-water carries the waste through sewers and into local waterways. You can pick up after your dog using newspaper or compostable bags, such as Bio Bags.

Photo by Christine Fillmore

Biodegradable bags will break down over time while regular plastic bags can sit in landfills for hundreds of years. If you don’t mind spending a little extra, you might consider DoggieDoodly , a pet-waste disposal system similar to a small septic tank. Just bury the container in your yard and use it as a receptacle for dog waste. A special powder helps reduce it into a liquid that absorbs safely into the ground.

Cat owners, trade in that clay litter for something renewable. Clumping clay litter is usually strip-mined, a process that is harmful to the environment. Opt for a biodegradable version made from plant-based material such as pine shavings, wheat germ, or corn. Companies also sell biodegradable liners for cat’s litter box. If you chose to compost your cat’s waste, make sure you read the label on your litter to make sure it’s compost-friendly.

3. Natural Food

Like people food, pet-food manufacturers are offering a wider range of dog and cat food using more natural ingredients and production methods. It is important to read the label before you buy. If the first thing on the ingredients list is “ground yellow corn” it is not the best option for your pet. Look for food that has meat as the first ingredient. Also, look for quality carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Foods made from natural ingredients reduce the number of chemicals ingested by your pet and it’s more environmentally friendly to grow.

Photo by Christine Fillmore

When choosing a food you want to consider a diet that meets your pet’s individual needs. Take into consideration your pet’s activity level, age, environmental conditions and other relevant factors. One way of knowing exactly what ingredients are in your pet’s food is to make your own. However, this can be time intensive and it is important to consult a vet in advance to discuss a balanced diet and suitable recipes.

4. Chemical-Free Pest Products

Pest control products that use natural ingredients can be just as effective without exposing your pet to toxins. While many brands of over-the-counter flea and tick products are available today, the Humane Society recommends reading the product labels and consulting with your veterinarian before using them on your pet.

Photo by Christine Fillmore

The Environmental Protection Agency is developing stricter testing and evaluation requirements for flea and tick products. The EPA also provides safety tips for pet owners. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) checked more than 100 flea and tick products (both natural and over-the-counter) and offers a comprehensive directory. The directory shows the ingredients in each product and the level of risk for your animal.

5. Eco-friendly Toys

Whether you make them or buy them, your pet will love receiving a new toy. Something as simple as a piece of rope can provide your pet with hours of entertainment.

Photo by Christine Fillmore

There are several websites, such as All You Magazine, with easy-to-follow instructions to help you make your own pet toys. When buying new toys, look for ones made from natural, recyclable products such as hemp and organic cotton or recycled rubber. Once a toy reaches the end of its life, some companies even encourage their return so that they can be broken down and recycled again.

6. Eco-friendly Pet beds

Let your four-legged friend rest easy on a bed made from natural fabrics and stuffed with recycled or reused materials. West Paw, a company in Bozeman, MT, is well known for their eco-friendly pet beds. The company uses fibers derived from recycled plastic bottles in all of its pet beds. According to WestPaw, the company has diverted more than 4 million plastic bottles from landfills.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2010 12:18 pm

    thank you for update

  2. July 28, 2010 10:09 pm

    Hey nice blog ill be sure to keep coming back to read some more.

    Come visit my blog too i got some neat tips all about diet and weight loss.

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