Just because you have a Toyota Prius, compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home or an organic garden in your backyard doesn't mean you should stop exploring more ways to reduce your carbon footprint. And for the rest of us, it isn't too late to start either. There are plenty of things you can do as a pet owner to show your dog or cat that you care about the environment. Here are six simple ways to get you going. After all, it's their planet, too.
It might seem obvious, but buying pet food and other pet products in bulk saves you extra trips to the store and avoids needless plastic packaging or cardboard boxes that end up in the local landfill anyway. Reducing shouldn’t end there, though. Every year millions of cats and dogs are euthanized around the world. This is the devastating reality, but it’s also avoidable. Having your pet spayed or neutered is the best way to avoid sending an unwanted puppy or kitten to the local shelter, many of which are never adopted.
If you’ve ever seen a cat with a ball of yarn, or a dog chase a stick, you know that it doesn’t take something with a $10 price tag to entertain an animal for hours. Try seeing what you have in the garage or in the attic. There may be a treasure trove of forgotten items your dog or cat can play with — just make sure they are safe and don't have parts that can accidentally get swallowed.
When shopping for your dog or cat, look for items that use the most recycled materials. Many companies now offer products made from natural fibers, such as hemp or organic cotton, and some are even packaged in Earth-friendly materials like biodegradable cardboard or recycled paper (the higher the percentage of "post-consumer" materials, the better). Buying these products supports environmentally aware manufacturers, encouraging more companies to move towards sustainable packaging and natural pet products.
Most of us know that plants and trees are great for absorbing the nasty (and destructive) carbon dioxide churned out into the atmosphere every day by our cars and power plants. What you may not know is that there are plants and herbs that you can use for landscaping, many of which are pet-friendly and healthy for them to eat. Check out our article herbs for dogs and cats for more information.
For sanitary reasons, animal rescues and wildlife rehabilitation centers use discarded newspapers to line their cages. This is both cheap and efficient. Contact the Humane Society, ASPCA, or SPCA International to see if there are any shelters of rehabilitation centers in your area in need of old newspapers. If nothing else, the puppies at the shelter get a chance to catch up on their Marmaduke.
This may be a strange way of looking at it, but cat or dog adoption is the ultimate way to recycle. Not only will you get a loveable best friend that cares for you, but you save at least one animal from being euthanized. Find a reputable animal shelter in your area and save a life.