Today everyone is making more of an effort to live a green lifestyle. So why not incorporate your eco-friendly habits and techniques into the care of your pet? How you treat your pets, how you feed them, and how you clean up after them have a sizable impact on the environment and the wildlife we share it with. Here are five tips on how to become a more eco-friendly pet owner.
Choose eco-friendly accessories: There are tons of eco-friendly dog supplies to choose from that are just as cute and functional as the “non-green” versions. Many companies are now making products from recycled materials. Some great examples include dog beds made from recycled plastic bottles, leashes made from repurposed climbing ropes, and organic cotton toys. Also, when your pet grows tired of his toys, reduce waste by swapping with your pet-parent friends rather than throwing them out. Or if your products are not in the best shape, try donating them to the local animal shelter.
Use organic cleaning and grooming products: Use safe and natural cleaning products that are biodegradable for the planet and safe for your children, your pets, and you. It’s easy to find or make your own natural plant-based cleansers that don’t contain parabens, harsh soaps, phosphates, artificial dyes/fragrances, or toxins. Now you won’t have to worry about what might be left behind on your pet or the environment.
Use natural flea repellents: There are many options for flea repellents that contain natural ingredients and include a number of essential oils that repel fleas and other pests. There are also ways to deter fleas from your yard and home by using items such as cedar chips. If you have winters where the temperatures fall below freezing, talk to your vet about using the treatments only during the warmer flea season.
Buy natural or organic pet food: Many commercial dog foods contribute to skin problems like hot spots, allergies, itchy areas, and poor coat health among other growing health problems like diabetes, thyroid disease, and obesity. Your pet’s health is just as important as the health of your family members who are human. Try feeding your furry friends organic veggies and antibiotic- and hormone-free meats that are free of corn, wheat, and grains. There are many natural, organic and holistic pet foods that use proteins that are raised in sustainable, humane ways, use natural vitamins, and do not contain hormones.
Clean waste: Most of our pets’ waste winds up in a landfill, where its embalmed forever in plastic bags, or it sits on the ground until the next storm washes it into the sewer where it can end up in rivers and on beaches. Be sure to always scoop up their waste and use a biodegradable pet waste bag. You can also easily compost their waste (in a separate composting system than the one you use for your vegetable garden). Let your pet waste compost decompose for at least 18 months, and then only use it on trees, shrubs, houseplants and other non-edible plant life.
Simply taking small but meaningful steps to greening up your pets’ lives will benefit their health, your health and the health of our planet!