Having companion animals can be hard on the environment. Taking a few simple steps can help you reduce the impact of your pets.
- Reduce your passive energy consumption. Look around your home for items you keep plugged in for your animals. I have removed an automatic scooping litter box, a kitty water fountain and an automatic pet feeder from the grid at my house. This means I must wash the pet dishes and clean out the cat box every day, and remember to feed my pets at the same time each day, but I have also reduced my drain on the grid.
- Spay and neuter your pets. Consider the number of animals that are euthanized every day at animal shelters or given away on Craigslist, Kijiji or even local newspaper classifieds. Most of these animals are adults, thrown away when they were no longer cute and cuddly babies. You can reduce this waste and cut down on pet overpopulation by making sure your own pets do not reproduce.
- Purchase environmentally friendly cat litter. Many commercial cat litters are made with sodium bentonite, which is harvested in disastrous ways. You can read more here. I have recently switched my cats to World's Best Cat Litter, made of corn. My cats are still transitioning to this cat litter, and it is a bit of a struggle, but the benefits are well worth the work.
- Purchase biodegradable pickup bags for your dog. It's always bothered me to see people placing a biodegradable substance (poop) in a perfect, plastic coffin. Biodegradable bags solve that problem. You can buy them here.
- Put a bell on your cats, if they go outside. Cats left outside can decimate local bird populations, and cats will kill birds regardless of the food you leave out for them. If it is at all possible, leave your cats indoors. (I do not advocate a cat-inside-only existence only because doing so would be hypocritical. I have three feral outdoor-only cats.)
- Purchase durable dog toys. Most dogs, if given half the chance, will rip the heads and arms right off a toy in order to get to the poly filling. Many owners will then toss these toys right in the landfill. Before buying a toy, try to pull it apart yourself. If your dog is a power chewer, only allow him to play with the toy for a short period of time before you remove the toy. My pug, Liam, loves to destroy toys. I repair them. This explains why his toys all look like mutants.
- Research your pet food. Look for food produced locally, to help cut down on energy costs used in shipping food. If at all possible, make your own food using local, organic ingredients. Do your research and consult with your veterinarian before taking this course, naturally.
All of the topics above were covered in more detail on my blog: dionjean.blogspot.com
Please visit to learn more about how to green up your pets, and to read the day's musings.
A big thank you to Jean Dion for this post, and I hope that the pet owners out there find it helpful! I personally have two pets and they are very near and dear to my heart. I appreciate that each person's opinion and method of caring for their pets in a responsible manner is their own to make, and I hope that these tips are helpful to those who are looking for more information.
If you want more information on homemade pet food, check out Beth Terry's method of making her own cat food with barely any plastic waste.
Of course, reduction may be more important to you in the reference of poop bags. If this is the case, reuse the bags you have or that your family may have collected. You can be sure that people without pets tend to hoard produce bags, bread bags, etc simply because they feel bad throwing them out. If you ask for them for your dog, I would say at least 90% of them would give them to you without blinking.
If you are trying to cut down on your clay consumption (cat litter) and don't want to contribute to non-nutritious forms of corn consumption (corn based cat litter) you could always try potty training your cat, like Mark and Melanie of NoNewPlastic.com
Have any other tips, tricks or ideas on keeping the planet healthy while enjoying the company of pets? Feel free to share them here, or if you don't want your words made public send me an e-mail (or click the Contact Me tab).
Peace and serenity,