After a recent posting we did on our Facebook page, I was inspired to delve into the topic of saving the environment and carbon footprints and share some of the tips from that article. Most people may not realize that their pets, too, have an impact on the environment; a carbon pawprint, if you will.
“Going Green” is simultaneously a growing concern as well as a trendy way of life that is catching on as of late. As pet owners, we wouldn’t particularly consider our furry friends “consumers” which means we often fail to realize that there are actually many ways that we can alter our lifestyle and pet routines to be kinder to the environment.
Get the good stuff: Invest in a high-quality pet food that lists a protein such as beef, lamb, chicken or fish as the first ingredient rather than a by-product or beef meal. This one change can make a major impact on your pet’s health while reducing the amount of poop left to scoop.
Keep it simple: Avoid all those packaged, heavily processed treats designed to resemble human junk food. Trust me, your dog can live without corn-based “treats” shaped like mini porterhouse steaks.
Recycle: Those cans and plastic food bags don’t need to wind up in a landfill. Start by shopping for products with minimal packaging, and then recycle whenever possible.
Go green: Most pets enjoy the addition of fruits and veggies in their food bowl. I’ve had success with arugula, roasted sweet potatoes and baked carrots mixed in with my dog’s food. Be prepared for a little trial and error — Lulu detests bananas while a friend’s dog loves them — and consult your veterinarian before making major changes to your pet’s diet.
Ditch the plastic: Stainless steel or ceramic food and water bowls remove the risk of exposing your pet to bisphenol A or BPAs. They also last a lot longer.
Get the ‘green’ poop bags: Eliminate plastic grocery bags and shop for corn-based, biodegradable poop bags. A pack of 100 bags from Poopbags.com costs around $20.
Dump the clump: Under the best of circumstances, cats can be somewhat resistant to change. So start sloooowly by adding shredded newspaper or wood chips to the kitty litter mix in place of clay-based clumping stuff that winds up festering in a landfill.
Embrace hemp: Who knew that hemp could produce durable, eco-friendly pet products? Scope out your pet store and you will probably find rope toys and stuffed animals from brands like Earthdog and Simply Fido that will appeal to the toughest chewers. Petside offers a roundup of the Top 10 Green Pet Toys for cats and dogs.
Shop with purpose: Pet toys don’t undergo rigorous testing, so those super-cheap squeaky toys overflowing in the dollar bin come with a wealth of unknown risks.
But “green” pet lovers have created a demand for products made from renewable resources and recycled products. Companies like Planet Dog responded with an “Orbee-Tuff” line of balls and chew toys made with nontoxic material. West Paw is another popular brand of cat and dog products made with recycled plastic bottles. The company also supports national animal shelters, so purchasing their products is like making a deposit into the karma bank for you and your lucky dog or cat.
Get crafty: You can make your own catnip, but remember that finicky felines may require patience and creativity. If you are a cat lover, you already know that.
Do you currently practice any of these habits, or plan to?
Stacy Kowalchuk is a dog mom to her rescued Whippet-mix, Ellie. During the week, you can find Stacy surfing (the internet, that is) and managing Trupanion's presence in the social media world. In her free time, Stacy likes to bake, especially cupcakes! To balance her culinary affinity, she also likes to stay active, especially with activities that include her dog such as hiking and going to dog parks.
Please note: This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.