With many people breaking out into the green movement and things like 'recycling' and 'conserving' becoming second nature, why not get your pets (or 'kids', if you're like me) into your same habits?
Eco-friendly pet food, litters, etc., are more readily available than in the past, so try these few simple steps to make your cat or dog the greenest animal on the block.
Adopt, adopt, adopt!
I can't stress adopting anymore. If you are reading this thinking that you want a pet, the first step is to adopt one from either a rescue society (Humane Society, SPCA, PAWS, Pet Pal Shelter,) or people giving them away for free on places like Craig's List (look for ones that people can't have them anymore because of allergies, etc.; these are the ones that show up quickly at the rescue centers).
Spay or neuter
If you have adopted a pet from a rescue center or shelter, then it's likely they have already been spayed or neutered, but make sure nonetheless. If not, get your pet spayed/neutered immediately if they are of age to do so. With the numbers of homeless pets into inconceivable numbers, taking the necessary precautions early on can help save any other animals from ending up on the streets or in a crowded shelter. Also, it has been noted that spaying and neutering your pet can actually help them live longer by eliminating certain types of cancers and reducing the risk of others. Luckily, most rescue centers do low cost spaying/neutering of animals.
If your pet has become part of the family, why would you feed them low grade food? A vet once told me that feeding my cats lower grade food that is cheap and beefed up with fillers, "is like feeding them Taco Bell everyday," as in, eating junk food on a daily basis. It is just plain unhealthy for them. Financially, it can be hard for some to pay the extra for the organic counterparts but if you do have the means to, it is highly recommended for overall pet health. With certified organic pet foods, such as Newman's Own organic, it must be USDA approved and go through the same stringent processing as human organic food, which means no artificial preservaties, hormones pesticides and antibiotics being put into your pet's belly. If anything, ask your vet which is the most effective food for your animal that has the least amount of harmful fillers. They should be able to point you in you in the right direction.
If you have cats then inevitably you will have those wonderful cat litters to clean up on a daily basis. The regular clumping clay cat litter is harmful for the environment and the sediment contains carcinogenic silica dust that your cat can ingest. Try FelinePine out instead. This product is chemical free and creates no dust, and overall keeps the litter box a healthier environment for your pet. It has become fairly popular in recent years so it should be readily available at most popular pet stores.
If your cats are a little picky like mine were, try slowing switching out their litter but adding feline pine small bits at a time until they get used to this new brand.
Pick it up-Biostyle
If you have a dog, make sure their poo isn't becoming pollution. Instead of stuffing it into a plastic bag and sending it to the far depths of a lovely landfill, use a biodegradable bag instead. According to the Poop Bags website, it is estimated that dog owners do not collect the over 4 million tons of dog waste annually. So, don't become a statistic and clean it up! (By the way, I wonder who had to gather that statistic.)
Hook up your pet with some fun, eco-friendly toys, food bowls, hemp collars and apparel from places like West Paw design and Earth Dog. You can get anything now a days including eco-friendly dog chew toys to one of my favorites, the nature nap for cats containing recycled materials that do not bunch and clump once you wash it. Awesome!
It can be recycled too!
You may recycle your cans and bottles at home but have you forgotten to rinse out and throw in the cans, bottles or bags of your pet's food into the recycle bin? Nine times out of ten, your pet's containers are every bit as recycleable as the stuff you usually would recycle. Don't forget to make sure they make it into the bin as well!
No one wants to lose a pet. It can be a traumatic experience for an owner and for the pet itself. So don't forget to put a name tag on your animal. This may not 100 percent protect your pet, but it will definitely help. You can even make your own recycled bottle cap pet tag!
Losing a pet is unfortunately very environmentally unsound as well. When you post papers on poles around town, driving extra miles looking for them, etc. it takes up resources. Not to mention the heartache that comes along with this process. Let's try to avoid this at all costs for everyone's sake!
These are just a few simple tips to keep in mind when looking for a pet or caring for one that you already own. Always make sure their health checkups are up-to-date and ask your local vet (the closer to your house the better) about specific diet needs, especially if you plan to change their food.
Good luck and happy green well wishes to all my pet-friendly friends out there! Woof and Meow!