Let’s face it: pets are part of the family. So it only makes sense that they should do their part to stay green like the rest of your household. (Did they really think they’d get off that easy?) Follow these suggestions, and your furry little companion may just become as green as Ed Begley, Jr., minus the bicycle.
1. Get Creative, and Save Some Money Too:
Pets, regardless of how beloved they are to us, can be a major burden to our wallets, especially during these trying times. This means that we simply need to get creative and opt for sustainable solutions. Why go out and buy everything for your pet when you can find basically everything lying around the house?
Quite often, pet food is made with processed junk that would never be suitable for human consumption. So, to protect your pet’s health and to save a little green, consider making your own pet food. PetSide.com has some good eco-friendly recipes. If your cooking skills are so bad that you don’t even cook for yourself, you can always settle for natural and organic alternatives. They may be a bit more expensive, but they will likely increase your pet’s longevity.
As for shampoo, even the most pampered pups can deal with a homemade formula. Trying an all-natural dish soap instead of shampoo can eliminate the pesky issue of fleas. Add some grapefruit extract, and you can say goodbye to ticks and mites. If your dog hates bath-time, this oatmeal-based, dry shampoo formula from TLC will definitely make you happy. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that you can stop bathing Fido completely.
What about all of those pet toys that we can’t resist buying at the supermarket or pet store? Well, believe it or not, you can make your own pet toys with everyday objects. Get crafty with old tennis balls, rope, and socks, and your dog or cat will have a blast.
2. Dealing with Doodoo:
It may be convenient to simply grab a sandwich bag on the way out the door, but think twice before you preserve your doggie’s “creations” for eons and eons. At the same time, you don’t want the poop getting washed away into the sewer, where it can find itself in beaches and rivers. Biodegradable poop bags are the most sensible solution. Some of the better brands, such as Oops I Pooped, are actually resistant to both heat and moisture.
Or, if you really want to be crazy, you can actually compost it along with other types of pet waste in a pet waste composter. Note, however, that this type of compost is not meant for edible plants, as there is always the risk of E. coli contamination. Doggie septic systems likewise break down your dog’s “presents” into an absorbable liquid for your lawn.
As for your kitty, try shopping for a more sustainable cat litter. Not only is clay litter strip-mined (which is bad for Mama Earth), the clay contains carcinogenic silica dust that can end up in your cat’s lungs. Likewise, the clumping agent (sodium bentonite) can clog up your cat’s system, as it expands even once it is ingested. Swheat Scoop, a natural wheat litter, is not only completely biodegradable; it doesn’t generate dust. Other sustainable litters are made of corn, recycled newspapers or wood chips.
If either decide to “let loose” on your beloved carpet, use diluted vinegar instead of bleach. Try to absorb as much as you can with a towel before applying this mixture. Bac-Out, an enzymatic stain and odor eliminator, is another eco-friendly alternative. This product functions as a sanitizer as well.
3. Other Ways to Go Green:
Even the slightest efforts can make a difference. As much as you may like how cute your pet looks when you dry it with a blow dryer, towel or air dry it instead. When it comes time to take your dog for a walks, don’t drive to the dog park—walk there instead (if possible).
Adopting your new best friend from a shelter is highly encouraged, but if you’ve already found him, you can still help the cause. Consider donating your old newspapers to the Humane Society, ASPCA and other animal rescue groups. They line their cages with these, and could always use more of them. They also gladly accept any resources that you can offer them. Call your local shelter for more information.
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It’s about time Rover and Felix did their part, and that you started to get them on the right path. Going green is not only good for the environment; it’s good for your pet. And, if nothing else, all the money you save in pet food and accessories will put you in a more “playful” mood.