With the increasing popularity of living green and reducing your carbon footprint, there is something that many people tend to forget, your pets have prints, too. They may be paw-prints but they still leave a mark. For the most part, the issues with regard to your pets are the same that we as people deal with daily: waste removal, pollution, food production etc. And just like with people, the impact that we have and our pets have on the planet can be reduced with a few simple steps.
Most importantly, have your pets spayed or neutered. Pet overpopulation is a major tax on the community and environment. There are approximately 3.7 million animals that will be euthanized at shelters each year because of overpopulation. There simply are not enough homes for the animals. In addition to the millions of dollars that it cost and the burden on shelters, stray animals kill a surprisingly large amount of wildlife in an attempt to survive and litter the ground with waste.
Pick up after your pets and use biodegradable products. Pet waste (a.k.a. pee and poop) has been a problem in some areas for many years leading to articles in Time Magazine, USA Today, and Science Daily. In the United States it is estimated that nearly 78 million dogs generate 10 million tons of poop every year. Pet waste contains bacteria, viruses, hookworm, and roundworm and can pollute water runoff and contaminate the soil. Do not use plastic bags to pick up after your dog, use biodegradable bags. Plastic only preserves their poop for the next hundred years. Don’t use clay litter for a litter box. Clay litters can contain silica dust and clumping agents, a.k.a. chemicals! Some of these chemicals have been linked to feline lung diseases and other health problems. There are many alternative options such as recycled newspaper and wheat based litters that work just as well.
Don’t buy toys and clothes for your pets that are vinyl, nylon, or plastic. There are many companies that make 100% recycled pet products. Take advantage of this. The production and disposal of synthetic materials negatively affects the earth and its atmosphere. Use natural pet shampoos, potions, and flea and tick products, to avoid organophosphate insecticides. Flea collars are bad because the chemicals that have been infused into the collar remain there and contaminate the surrounding area even after they are done poisoning your pets.
Feed your pets something organic or make their food. Most conventional pet foods contain pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and non-food products. Non-food products means those clever little things they write on the bags, “meat or poultry by-products” or “reconstituted animal by-products” which just means hair, blood, bones, and leftover bits from animals that were diseased, disabled or dying. There are many brands of organic pet foods, and organic means they do not contain chemicals and are held to higher standards in production. The health benefits for the little (or big) ones include reduced allergies, better digestive health, healthy weight, stronger immunity and a longer life. There is always the option of making your own pet food. Keep in mind there weren’t always big companies that mass produced pet food product; that only became popular after WWII when companies used horse meat as a means of disposing of dead or dying horses. Making pet food is not difficult and can be economical. A simple Google search will bring up recipes, how-to guides, and tips.
Bio: Mandi Titus enjoys spreading her interest in living green through writing and guest blogging. She currently works in public relations in Florida and is a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines, and blogs. She also maintains her personal blog @Vermont. You can also follower her on Twitter!