How Eco-Friendly Is Your Pet?
You can use eco-friendly initiatives to go green in nearly every aspect of your life, including the house you live in, the cars you drive, the products you use and the food you eat — but what about the pets you love?
Have you considered whether your pet is eco-friendly or not?
All pets require food and water, and many also need other accessories such as bedding, collars, leashes and toys — but how much attention do you give to the items you’re purchasing and what they’re made from? The choices you make before you buy can all affect the size of your pet’s carbon paw print.
Here are 12 easy ways to green your pet:
- Eco-friendly collars and leashes / leads made from bamboo or hemp are now more readily available.
Your cat will love you forever if you grow your own organic catnip or cat grass.
- Do you have pet accessories or pet supplies you’re no longer using? Donate gently used dog or cat toys, collars, leashes, beds, bowls and the like to an animal shelter or rescue organization near you at Petfinder or the SPCA in your country – recycle and help a great cause.
- So perhaps it’s not eco-friendly to insert an electronic ID chip into your furry friend. But losing your pet causes extreme emotional distress. Then there’s the paper waste from printing out Missing posters, the fuel cost of driving around your neighbourhood trying to find them, the phone bill as you bawl your eyes out to everyone you know … well, you get the idea. Ask your vet for more information. For hanging tags, consider recyclable (and recycled) aluminum ID tags or WaggTaggs made from recycled silver.
- Always pick up after your pet. Faeces left lying around may not only transmit disease to other animals that come into contact with it, it can also get washed away into nearby water sources and lead to further pollution.
- Don’t use plastic bags to collect your pets’ poop – it will be embalmed practically forever on a landfill site. Use bio-degradable materials.
- Alternatively, you can compost it. However, do not use the resulting compost on your vegetables, only on ornamental plants. If you have room in your backyard, you can bury an old garbage bin (far away from your vegetable garden) to use as a pet-waste composter. Or check out the Doggie Dooley.
- For your cat, clay-based litters take up more space when discarded and are often dusted with silica, which can trigger respiratory issues. Plus, clay is often strip-mined (cheap, but bad for the environment). Using litter made from recycled materials such as sawmill scrap or newspaper clippings is much easier on the environment.
Look for toys made from re-cycled materials, rather than plastic. Animal toys are not regulated and so may contain harmful substances. Also, they may have travelled a long way from their point of manufacture. Alternatively, you could make your own eco-friendly pet toys – old socks, wool covering old plastic bottles and so on.
- For bedding, again consider the materials it is made from, and the transport involved in getting it to you. Either make your own bedding for your pets – from old materials in your home – or buy recycled.
- Choose eco-friendly, organic shampoo for bathing your pets. In between baths, you can give them a ‘dry’ wash with baking soda if necessary.
- It is important to protect your pets from fleas and tics. Instead of using chemicals, try natural products such as pennyroyal. I’m told adding garlic and brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food helps too. (Personally, I tried the garlic and no longer wanted to get up-close-and-personal with my pets – but that’s just me, I’m super=sensitive to garlic). Citrus peel extract is great for fleas – but do not use it around cats.