Pawprints and Footprints
Our beloved pets are not only cute and furry, but they also produce a rather large carbon footprint, which many pet owners might be surprised to hear. Luckily, this can be reduced in a number of ways. A recent study cited in “Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living” notes that a dog is actually more harmful to the environment that a small Toyota. The majority of people will not simply give up their pets because of this statistic, however – nor should they!
With this in mind, there are plenty of ways in which you can reduce your pet’s carbon footprint without having to resort to giving up your animal. We’ll show you how!
Make Your Own Dog Food
Dogs (and cats) are basically large carnivores that often require immense amounts of meat or meat-like foods. The heavy bags of dog food you lug from your car to your home have likely had to travel hundreds of miles to get to your neighborhood, which itself produces hefty carbon emissions.
The dog food inside the packaging also might not really be that healthy for your dog or cat. One solution to this problem is to learn how to make your own dog or cat food. Talk to your veterinarian about what kinds of and how much proteins and fats your pet needs in their diet. If this option seems too time-consuming for you, try to investigate small, locally made dog food brands instead.
Buy Smart (Pet Products)
When purchasing toys and cleaning products for your pet, always choose wisely. Toys that are made of eco-friendly materials, with a minimum of plastic and synthetic parts, are always the best option. Choose pet shampoos and conditioners that do not contain hazardous ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate.
And even though she loves them, your cat probably doesn’t need five thousand toy mice, all made of plastic, the same way your dog could probably get by with just one tennis ball at a time.
Pick Up Your Pet Waste!
Be sure to pick up your dog’s waste in public places or any city area, otherwise it might become part of the runoff that goes directly into waterways. When you do (smartly) pick up your pet’s waste, be sure to use biodegradable poop bags and dispose of them properly. The earth and your water supply will thank you!
Buy Safe Pet Medicine
As an example, your cat and dog are prone to ticks during the warmer months of the year, depending on where you live. Unfortunately, that tick medicine you picked up from the store can be very harmful to the environment, and may contain some pretty toxic chemicals.
Talk to your veterinarian or veterinary pharmacy about how to choose the safest method of tick control available to you. This may mean making natural solutions at home, or choosing from among the NRDC’s list of safe choices.
Pets Aren’t the Real Problem
Of course, animal companions provide too many positive elements to all of our lives to simply stop having them around. Because we aren’t going to get rid of our pets anytime soon, it’s important to maintain an awareness of the downside to the environment that pets may cause. With a few easy steps, we can all take positive action to ensure that we are being as environmentally responsible as we can when it comes to keeping pets in the home.