Reducing Your Pet’s Carbon Footprint
Veterinarian Reviewed on September 17, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Quality Pet Food
You want the best for your pet, and so you should invest in the best food for your pet. Higher quality pet food not only improves your pet’s health, but also leaves less mess in the garden to clean up. When choosing the right food, look at the list of ingredients on the packaging. The very first ingredient should be chicken, beef, lamb, or fish, as opposed to beef meal or some by-product.
Think Before You Treat
Every pet owner wants to reward their pet for learning a new trick, potty-ing in the right place, or for just being so darn cute! However, before you reach for the package of treats at the pet store, consider the reasons why you are leaning towards that particular package. Is it because it most closely resembles human food? Most pet owners subconsciously choose treats that are packaged in a similar fashion to human treats, such as Jerky looking sticks. All that extra packaging is harmful to the environment, not to mention that the heavily processed treats are also harmful to your pet’s stomach.
Add Some Green
Help your dog eat healthier by adding in a few organic fruit and vegetables to their food. Sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are a few that you can try. Remember though that dogs can be as picky as humans can be when it comes to eating their vegetables, so be prepared for a bit of taste testing before you really know what your dog loves to eat.
No More Plastic
Providing your pet with a stainless steel or ceramic food and water bowl helps to prevent your pet from being exposed to Bisphenol-A or BPAs. Plus, they are also easier to clean and harbor less bacteria than a plastic food dish; and they also last longer too.
Choose poop bags that are considered to be ‘green’, as they are usually corn-based and biodegradable.
Go for biodegradable kitty litter and stay away from the clay clumping kind as they can end up on a landfill for many years. Old newspapers or wood chips work wonders!
Not only is hemp considered organic, but it is also durable. Therefore, it is the perfect choice to use to make eco-friendly pet toys like stuffed animals and rope toys. You can find pet toys made from hemp in virtually every pet store.
Another option is to buy pet toys that have been made from recycled material and renewable resources. Most of these toys are considered to be completely non-toxic as well. One company in particular, West Paw, uses recycled plastic bottles to make its cat and dog toys. Some pet toy companies donate a percentage of their sales to national animal shelters or to animal conservation projects worldwide. Look out for these toys next time you are out at the pet store shopping for a new toy for your dog or cat, as you could also be helping other animals at the same time.
Make Your Own Toys
If you want to not only save your hard earned money, but also the planet, then consider making your own cat or dog toy. Cats love anything that moves and makes a noise, so rolling up a few grains of rice into a tight paper ball is the perfect homemade toy. During the summer months, feeding your dog a large, frozen, raw carrot is a great summertime treat! You can also grow your own pet grass and catnip at home as well. Just make sure that you keep the catnip out of the reach of your cat until you are ready to give it to her.
If you buy tins of cat or dog food, remember to wash them out and recycle them, instead of throwing them away in the garbage. These tins can sit for many years in a landfill as they are not bio-degradable.
If you do buy a toy that your pet does not like, consider donating it to a local animal shelter; after you have cleaned it thoroughly, of course.
Use pet products that have minimal packaging that you can recycle at the end of its use.
Photo Credit: SuperFantastic
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan