For over 40 years, Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, has inspired individuals and organizations across the globe to demonstrate their commitment to the protection and sustainment of our environment. Click here to read a previous article on Earth Day.
As you celebrate Earth Day this year, think about what you can do to help reduce your pet’s carbon paw print. Here are some tips for pet parents to keep you and your pet “green” throughout the year.
There are now lots of toys, dishes, collars, leashes and other pet items made from recycled or organic material. Some pet stores even have sections that feature recycled products.
Recycle your newspapers and help out homeless pets. Animal shelters and rescue organizations use the old newspapers to line the cages for sanitary reasons. You can also donate towels, bedding, leashes, litter boxes, pet toys and other gently used items that you plan to throw away. Some rescue organizations may also be interested in your old printers, computers, fax machines and other office equipment and furniture. Many organizations have a “wish list” of needed supplies on their websites.
Go paperless with your support of animal rescue organizations. Make your donations on line and sign up for email newsletters and updates and reduce the amount of mail you send and receive.
Keep household products away from curious pets. Pesticides, salts, de-icers, and automotive products are all dangerous and potentially lethal to your pets. According to the ASPCA, most pet poisonings come from household products or plants.
Don’t use bleach for cleaning up your pet’s messes. Use a mixture of vinegar and water instead – it’s a green alternative that removes odors and kills mold and bacteria.
Cut down on the use of paper products to clean up after your pet. Clean up with old rags or towels or recycled paper towels.
If you are a gardener, check your mulch. The cocoa hulls that are used in many mulch compounds can be toxic to pets if ingested. Lawn chemicals can also be toxic to both animals and people. Research gardening practices to find out how to reduce the amount of insecticides and herbicides you might need.
Choose natural and organic pets foods without low-grade animal by-products and preservatives. Natural and organic pet foods use meat products from animals raised in sustainable, humane ways without any added drugs or hormones and are minimally processed and preserved with natural substances.
Use only natural flea and tick control products on your pets. Talk to your vet about the safest flea and tick control choices.
Properly dispose of your pets’ unused medication to ensure that they don’t end up in the local water supply. Click here for disposal tips from 1-800-PETMEDS.
Make your own dog treats and cat treats. Make sure you don’t use garlic, raisins or other obviously potentially toxic ingredients.
Buy your pet supplies in bulk or in the largest size available. You will make fewer trips to the store and cut down on the amount of packaging.
Give your pet filtered tap water instead of bottled water. If you must use bottled water, make sure to recycle the containers.
Repurpose common household items for cat and dog toys or make your own toys. Pine cones and old socks filled with cotton balls and catnip make great cat toys. Click here for tips on making your own toys. If you must buy toys for your pets, buy toys made with recycled materials or sustainable fibers such as hemp.
Grow your own organic catnip or cat grass. Leftover yarn or fabric you might otherwise throw away can be easily transformed into unique, one-of-a-kind cat toys.
Use safe methods for disposing of pet waste. Don’t use plastic shopping bags because plastic lasts forever and does not break down. Pick up after your pet using a biodegradable or flushable bag.
Spay or neuter your pet. Your pet will live a longer and healthier life and you will not be contributing to an increased number of unwanted animals. That will leave even a larger carbon paw print on our planet.