How to Have an Eco-Friendly Pet
It’s Not Easy Being Green
Granted every day should be Earth Day, but let’s take a minute to think about what you are doing (or shouldn’t be doing) to help our old planet Earth. And for those of you already on the Green Train with an eco-friendly pet, kudos. We’d love to hear your ideas and tips!
Yes, adopting a pet from a local shelter or rescue group is a form of recycling. Offering a loving, forever home to a homeless pet is one of the best things ever (pets seem to like it quite a bit as well).
If you can’t adopt, perhaps give of your time or money to help the cause. Many local shelters and rescue groups need volunteers. The few programs designed to spay and neuter all pets at a reduced cost are also in need to help.
Keeping your yard clean helps stop the spread of parasites. It isn’t fun to pick up poop (ask our kennel staff), but getting rid of all the pet waste in the yard is a big help. If you walk your dog, and we hope you do, please be kind to others and pick up your dog’s waste! If you run across an unclaimed pile while out walking, be a good Earth citizen and snag it for those who didn’t.
Choose Poop Bags Wisely
The issues surrounding the life of plastics is beyond the scope of this post, but don’t be fooled by good marketing on things claiming to be “earth friendly” or “green” or “responsible pet owner bags.” You need a bag that will be degradable, biodegradable, or compostable.
Look carefully at the packaging for claims of meeting ASTM Standards (ASTM D6954-04 or ASTM D6400). There is a newer product on the market that uses “EPI technology” that seems to be promising for responsible use of plastics (despite not meeting all the ASTM standards).
It is up to you in terms of how much research you do on these items (or any product really), but just be sure to understand what is the least harmful for the environment both now and in the long run. Having an eco-friendly pet is not BS.
Recycled or Upcycled Pet Toys
Have fun, but keep an eye on your pets whenever you give them toys. Make sure they aren’t ingesting parts of the toy or the whole toy. We’ve had a fun collection of toys surgically removed from tummies over the years. We’d hate for your pet to add to that list. No, we don’t recycle those toys.
Here are some links to recycled/upcycled pet toys for both cats and dogs. Ladies and gentlemen, be warned these links lead to an insane world from which you might not escape.
Again, please be careful when giving your pet any toy, homemade or not–safety first!
- DIY cat toys from cardboard tubes
- DIY cat and dog items
- DIY cardboard ball for cats
- DIY dog toys and interactive items
- And you can DIY pet beds or upcycle materials into sweaters or beds!
DIY Pet Treats
Not that your pet needs treats, but since you insist, try freezing low-fat, canned dog food into small cookie dough sized blobs on some waxed paper. Once frozen, put in an airtight container to keep on hand.
Another literally green treat–green beans! Grow your own or buy even unsalted ones from a can. Many dogs love them and they are excellent treats.
Many commercial treats are full of artificial preservatives, colors, or flavorings. Making your own keeps that gunk out of their systems.
Spay or Neuter: The Ultimate in Eco-Friendly Pet
This may seem obvious to most of you. But, with millions of pets euthanized each year, we have more than a small over-population problem in the pet department.
If you have had your pet fixed, thank you. Consider supporting programs that help spay/neuter pets when others can’t or won’t.
Go Green When You Clean
Vinegar or plant-based cleaning products (e.g., Shaklee, Honest, 7th Generation) can be quite effective at cleaning up around the house. Yes, even on pet problems! You don’t have to spend a ton of money either. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide all can be effective cleaning agents.
Don’t like the house smelling of pickles? Add a few drops of essential oils to the vinegar & water cleaning solution. If using vinegar to clean carpeted areas, you can sprinkle with baking soda afterwards, let the area dry, and then vacuum.
Need more green cleaning ideas? #Pinterest
Yep, Felix, your bathroom can be eco-unfriendly. Most clay based clumping litters are not terrific for the planet. The clay comes from strip mining. The clumping cat litters don’t biodegrade well in landfills. They often contain chemicals or silica dust, both of which are not healthy to breathe.
But, they work. And cats use them.
We want to help keep things eco-friendly, but we do NOT want to create an issue for you and your cat not liking the litter box anymore.
There are many eco-friendly cat litter choices on the market, but do your homework. Are you ready to transition in terms of how often you are cleaning the litter box (many will mean daily or twice daily scooping)? Most importantly, will your cat USE the new litter?
If you would like to try one, don’t go cold turkey on the switch. Keep the old “routine” litter box available. Offer a new box with the new substrate (new cat litter). Keep the location the same. See what happens.
Many cats will switch with no issue. Some will not. If yours is not one of them, find other ways to save the planet.
We never want to recommend something that will change the relationship you have with your pet. And a cat NOT using the litter box is definitely one of those things.