January 5, 2017 Green Living Written by Guest Contributor
Owning Pets and Helping the Environment
There isn’t any question that pets

are adored all over the world. In the United States alone, it is estimated that there are around 80 million dogs and 96 million cats. In Canada, it is estimated that there are 6 million dogs and 8 million cats. You love your pet, and you love the environment. Do the two have anything to do with each other? Probably more than you realize. The types of care products you use, as well as how you clean up after them can have a significant impact on the environment. Of course, our pets can’t understand as much as we can how they can impact the environment. It is our responsibility, as pet owners, to help them. Owning pets, and helping the environment does not have to be an act in futility. It only requires a few changes to make a big difference.

Adopt don’t shop

The reason why you should adopt is because millions of dogs and cats are euthanized every year at shelters that don’t have the room or resources to take care of them. When you adopt, you help to prevent overpopulation. Moreover, you help save animals from getting euthanized.

Donate before you throw things away

If you want to buy your pet new toys, beds and more, perhaps you might consider donating their old items instead of throwing them away. Nearby shelters may find use for them. It doesn’t hurt to contact them to see if they need any of your used items. If not, ask friends and family if they could use old beds, scratching posts, collars and any other pet items you were planning on discarding. Another option is to post them to Facebook and see if any of your friends wants them.

Use biodegradable litter and pet waste bags

If you take your pet outdoors, you will have to pick up after them. Don’t use just any plastic bag, invest in biodegradable bags. Why? Because they will decompose after one month. When it comes to cat litter, the goal is to reduce the impact on landfill and the environment. Your cat may be used to the pebble-style, but wood chips or another type of biodegradable litter is much better for the environment.

Utilize safe flea and tick products

Some flea and tick collars leave harmful chemical residue on our pets’ fur, and even in our homes. Some of the chemicals are hazardous enough to cause cancer, as well as damage the brain and nervous system. Even after a flea collar is removed, high levels of pesticide can remain on dog and cat fur. This can be quite dangerous in homes with children, who are still developing their neurological and metabolic systems.

Children are also more prone to putting their hands in their mouths after petting an animal. What you want to avoid is: tetrachlorvinphos and propoxur. Also, stay away from products which contain permethrin and amitraz. Instead, give your pet regular baths, vacuum often and wash pet beds in hot water. You might also consider something in pill form.

Look for eco-friendly pet care products

You care about what you eat and the types of products you use around your home, don’t you? The same level of care should be applied to the pet care products you choose to purchase. Look at the ingredient labels for products such as shampoos and cleaning items.

Learn to cook or serve a raw food diet

There are several great raw food brands on the market right now such as Stella & Chewy’s and Primal Pet Foods that provide all natural, raw foods for your pet. It is just as they would eat in the wild, except better since they don’t have to hunt for fruits, vegetables and protein all at once. Stay away from processed pet foods that can cause your pet digestive and health issues later on in life.

You might also become a pet chef, so that you know exactly what is going into your pet’s food. Look for chemical-free chicken and fresh veggies. As tempting as canned tuna may be, it could be dangerous due to high levels of mercury. You can purchase pet cookbooks or visit pet recipe websites to help you learn how to prepare homemade pet food. Just make sure you understand how to ensure they get their needed dose of daily vitamins.

Walk often

Take your pets out for walks as much as you can, this includes cats. But, always keep them on a leash – you don’t want them running off or worse. Leave the car at home. This gives you and your pet some much needed fresh air, quality time and exercise while you cut down on fuel consumption and emissions.

Make or buy eco-friendly pet toys

You can create your own toys from old balls, an old paper towel roll or stuffed animals. When buying toys, stay away from plastic as they are harmful to the environment and can be harmful to your pet.

Buy in bulk

This helps to save money, but also cuts down on excess packaging. Instead of dealing with packages of fifty small bags of the same item, you can get one large bag. Not to mention, bulk buying helps to save on trips to the store or the mailbox. This is the most sustainable option for cutting down on waste. Just remember you pay attention to expiration dates and are able to use it all before it goes bad.

Look for products made out of recycled materials

An increasing number of pet products are made from recycled materials. You can encourage this practice by purchasing these types of products whenever you have the opportunity. In fact, you can find bowls, toys, leashes and scratching posts made from recycled materials. All you have to do is read the label.

Pets are amazing companions. It’s nice to have a living creature depend on you and love you unconditionally. They don’t care what job you have or whether or not you’re Instagram famous. And, what’s even better is you can love the environment just as much as you love your fur baby.


This is a guest post written by Mollie McDonnell.
Mollie McDonnell works as an independent copywriter and content writer. She writes about a broad range of topics for Go Green, a site covering the environmental news, such as how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, think about the ecosystem humans effect and sustainability issues we are facing.