Did you know that you can care for your pet while also caring for planet Earth? It’s true! In fact, how you treat, feed, and clean up after your furry friend has a greater impact on the environment than you may realize.
Just like us two-legged creatures, our four-legged friends leave a lasting footprint on our environment. The good news is that we live in a day and age that offers environmentally-friendly alternatives, allowing us to embrace being a more planet-conscious pet owner. In the end, changing some daily habits is all it really takes to get moving in the right direction.
3 Ways To Go Green With Your Pet
So just what can you do to make more positive strides toward being a “greener” pet owner? Here are 3 significant ways you can make a difference for your pet and the planet.
1. Invest in sustainable pet food
According to a recent study, cats and dogs are responsible for 25-30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States, contributing to greenhouse emissions equivalent to 13.6 million cars. And of course, what goes in must come out. In this case, roughly 5.1 million tons of feces per year— nearly the equivalent of 90 million Americans.
Instead of a meat-heavy diet, consider a natural, whole-food diet that contains planet-friendly foods. The list of environmentally-conscious pet food companies keeps growing, which means it’s easier now, more than ever, to find healthy products that are either ethically sourced, organic, or both.
Another option is to make your pet’s food. Keep in mind, however, that some human foods are toxic to dogs and cats. Before you start whipping something up, make sure to check for possible problem foods with a resource such as the SPCA. Also, it doesn’t hurt to check with your veterinarian before making a big switch to your pet’s diet.
2. Choose green toys and supplies
Beds, collars, leashes, toys— no doubt, it’s fun to shop for pet supplies. But some can actually be harmful to our planet, piling up in the garbage or landfills where they’ll never decompose. The good news is that there are plenty of companies passionate about eco-friendly pet supplies, such as West Paw, Harry Barker, and Honest Pet Products, which offer a variety of non-toxic, earth-friendly selections made from recyclable materials and natural fibers.
There are also ways to be greener when it comes to pet waste. Rather than disposing of waste in plastic bags, opt for something biodegradable like Poop Bags. When it comes to kitty litter, consider one that’s paper-based, corn-based, wheat-based, or wood-based. Have a puppy? You might even consider bamboo training pads.
3. Use greener cleaning and grooming products
We love our pets, but let’s face it, they can be messy. Whether you’re cleaning them or cleaning up after them, look for non-toxic options. Rather than using chemical cleaners or bleach for messes, try vinegar as a surface cleaner and baking soda to absorb unpleasant odors.
When giving your pet a bath, seek out eco-friendly shampoos that are free of dyes and parabens. In addition to being a better choice for your pet’s skin and hair, it means fewer chemicals going down the drain and into the environment. The same goes for your groomer, ask questions and see if they've already made the switch to more sustainable, earth-friendly products.
If your pet has any serious skin conditions check with your vet first to see if making a switch would be something your pet could benefit from.
Remember, even the smallest step toward greener pet ownership is a step in the right direction. Do what you can, as often as you can, and know you’re doing your part to protect both your pet and planet Earth.