Animal owners take note! Do not allow your precious dogs and cats (or any other pet companions) to pollute the planet unawares! You may not know it, but the products that are manufactured for your sweet little pooch or feline may be adding to the deterioration of our planet, and it’s not terribly surprising when you consider the sources, processes, and packaging involved in getting food, toys, and other necessary items to your pet pals. So if you’re devoted to doing everything you can to reduce your own impact on the environment, don’t fall short when it comes to the carbon paw print your pet may be leaving.
1. Use litter made from corn products. Sadly, litter made from organic material does not contain all of the chemical fragrances found in clay litters. But there are several benefits to switching. Clay comes from invasive mines. Corn comes from a field. Clay litter can be harmful to your cat if ingested and the copious amounts of dust produced may contain silicone particles (a known carcinogen). Corn will pass harmlessly through their system if eaten. And you can dump clumps in the toilet and flush them instead of needlessly increasing the size of our landfills (most indoor cats don’t have the Toxoplasma gondii parasites that can get washed out to sea and harm other animals).
2. Try eco-friendly cleaners. Forget the 409 and Lysol when your pet has an accident in the house. Instead, try green cleaners that kill just as much bacteria with none of the harmful chemicals found in regular solvents. Not only will you cut back on pollutants going into the air and down the drain, you will make your whole house safer (for you and your pets) with less toxins.
3. Get green toys. Create scratching posts from corrugated cardboard and hemp rope instead of buying manufactured ones, and make your own “mice” by sewing up some organic cotton bags filled with catnip grown in your own garden. Or simply purchase products that are made with the environment in mind.
4. Make organic pet food. Instead of spooning up food that is primarily composed of fillers like corn, then dumping the packaging in the trash, make your own healthy pet food at home. Grill enough chicken, beef, and fish to feed them all week, cut it into cubes, and mix it with whole-grain rice (or another grain), plenty of veggies, and a few fruits. Check with your vet to find out which items are preferred for your pet’s diet (and which are verboten), as well as to determine what types of supplemental vitamins need to be added to the mix to ensure proper nutrition.
5. Donate to shelters. Don’t toss the toys your pets aren’t so into or get rid of their old bed just because your friend brought over something new. Instead, take any salvageable items to your local animal shelter and donate them to one of the many needy dogs or cats that are stuck in a cage, waiting for a loving home. Your expendable items will keep someone’s potential pet happy until adoption day.
6. Spay and neuter. Enough said.