Having a pet is wonderful for companionship, mental health, and can be a good way to teach your kids some responsibility. What many people don’t realize is that providing for your pets well-being can take a hefty toll on the environment.
If you’re committed to living a clean and green lifestyle, it may be time to examine the products used to feed, clean up after, and play with your pet. There are many eco-friendly alternatives that can reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint. Here are a few of our favorite options.
Picking up after dogs and cats is a constant chore. When walking a pet outside, many owners bring along plastic bags to clean up waste left on grass or sidewalks. While it’s better than leaving it there to kill the lawn, all of those plastic bags are a disaster for the landfill, where they take centuries to degrade. An alternative are biodegradable, compostable pet waste bags made from plant-based materials, like those offered by BioBags. And although cats do us the favor of going in a box, even litter can be hazardous to the planet. Choosing litter that’s made from sawdust, corn husks, or recycled newspaper is preferred over clay and silica-based options. It will result in cleaner air for your home and your cat.
The very best way to feed a cat or dog is to make your own pet food from locally-sourced meats and vegetables. However, many of us are almost too busy to cook for ourselves, never mind our pets. For those who prefer the scoop and go option, natural and organic pet foods are readily available at many quality grocery stores, pet supply stores, and co-ops. Look for brands like Green Earth Pet Food, the Castor & Pollux Organix line of pet foods, PetGuard, and Natura Pet, or for something closer to home, Oregon Pet Supply, a home delivery service that sells the highest quality natural, nutritious & holistic pet foods and treats.
Pet toys are a great way to encourage your fuzzy friend to get some exercise. They’re also a great way to close the recycling loop. A growing number of pet toy manufacturers are turning to post-consumer recycled materials in their production process. Check out companies like Bark for Peace, which recycles sweaters into doggie pull toys; Bambeco, which offers an entire line of eco-friendly pet accessories; Purrfect Play, which makes all organic dog and cat toys right here in the USA; and WorldWise toys and accessories, which are offered at Walmarts across the country and are made from the cardboard and plastic waste generated by the stores.
We’re constantly looking for ways to eliminate chemicals from our bathrooms and kitchens, so why not take a look at the label on your pet’s shampoo or flea treatment? These expensive, potentially toxic grooming products simply aren’t safe, for you or your pet. Try Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap (safe for you and your pets!), Chagrin Valley Dog Shampoo Bars, or EcoAnimals Natural Dog Shampoo and Conditioner which are available at many major pet supply chains. And remember, cats do a pretty good job of cleaning themselves, so refrain from washing them unless there’s an injury or accident.