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Top 10 Ways to be an Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

Mar 31, 2021 ● By Gina Saka
Young women holding 2 brown dogs

Photo by ArtHouse Studio from Pexels

Following an environmentally conscious lifestyle means making green choices not only for oneself, but one’s pets as well. Here are 10 ways to be an eco-friendly pet owner.

1.      Adopt. Adopting a pet saves a life. Millions of animals are euthanized annually because there are so many pets with no homes and too little space in the shelters. When you adopt instead of shop, you also fight against the puppy mill industry, which breeds dogs for profit and keeps them in treacherous conditions. Adopt through local animal shelters and rescues.

2.      Sustainable Foods. Many kibbles are riddled with questionable fillers and nasty animal byproducts. When choosing pet food, look for whole-food ingredients including carrots, chicken and beef. Pet parents can also talk to their vets about raw and fresh food diets.

3.      DIY Treats. Instead of buying unhealthy treats wrapped in all of that packaging at the store, make them at home. You’ll find many homemade dog treat recipes on Google with ingredients like peanut butter, sweet potato, eggs and other common household food.

4.      Support Local Pet Businesses. Support your local pet boutique rather than going to huge, big-box pet stores. Shopping local also supports the local economy and keeps one’s carbon footprint down.

5.      Environmentally Friendly Toys. Many standard toys are made with toxic plastics, chemicals and dyes. Stick with eco-friendly, non-toxic pet toys made from sustainable and recyclable materials.

6.      Non-Toxic Shampoo. Conventional pet shampoos use toxic sulfates and surfactants that can cause skin irritation and even cancer. Opt for natural pet shampoos made with castile soap, oatmeal, honey, aloe and other natural ingredients.

7.      Spay and Neuter. With so many dogs and cats that need homes, it’s important to prevent unwanted pet pregnancies that can burden the already overpopulated shelters. Be sure to spay or neuter your pet, which can actually also protect them against many diseases and even cancer.

8.      Natural Cat Litter. Many cat litters contain silica dust, sodium bentonite and chemical fragrances, which can cause upper respiratory issues and toxicity in cats. Instead, go for natural cat litters made from corn, grain, pine, grass seed and other safe, renewable materials.

9.      Compost Poop. Never leave dog poop on the ground or flush it down the toilet as the municipality does not have treatment systems to remove the contaminants in animal waste. Google how to compost dog poop to create a beneficial soil additive.

10.   Biodegradable Waste Bags. Instead of plastic waste bags that sit in landfills for hundreds of years, use biodegradable waste bags that can be composted. This goes hand-in-hand with tip #9. However, please note that pet waste compost should not be used for edible gardens, as there are pathogens that may not break down.

With these 10 easy steps, pet parents can become more eco-conscious and reduce their carbon footprint. By adopting sustainable pet care habits, there can be a greener, safer future for all the furbabies of the world.

Gina Saka is a freelance writer for Natural Awakenings magazine editions across the country. To connect, email her at [email protected].