How to be a Green Pet Owner

Pet ownership can be one of the most joyful, rewarding experiences you can have. Pets are a source of fun, pride, companionship, unconditional love, and plenty of laughter. But every pet comes with added responsibility as well. Not only do four-legged friends require care and enrichment, but it is also your responsibility to be an environmentally conscious owner. Going green with your pets doesn’t take much added work. It simply requires that you act with a conscientious mind when it comes to your pets.

Respect the Commitment

Initially this may not seem to have much to do with going green. But a large part of being a conscientious pet owner is respecting the commitment you are making to your pet. For most people a pet quickly becomes a part of the family, which lasts for the lifetime of the pet. But unfortunately, pets are often bought by breeders and then given up when the responsibility becomes too much.

The health and wellness of every animal is in the hands of its owner, and being a pet owner is a serious responsibility. Going green means assessing your ability to care for your pet, and also choosing to adopt a pet instead of buying that expensive purebred puppy. Animal rescues and shelters are full of pets that have nowhere to go home to. Start your pet ownership off green by adopting your pet and keeping the needs of shelters sustainable.

This also goes for spaying and neutering your dog or cat. Although kittens and puppies are the most adorable of creatures, unless you can afford to keep them all, you risk bringing additional animals into an already overcrowded domestic pet population. Make your own concerted effort to control the pet population by spaying or neutering your pet. Shelters are forced to make tough and saddening decisions when their spaces become too full.

Contain Your Creatures

Keeping your pets fenced or indoors is another important part of being a green pet owner.  Loose dogs and cats can decimate local wildlife such as birds and squirrels that are an important part of the local ecosystem. This also helps control domestic diseases and keeps your pets healthy, happy, and out of harm’s way. Remember, dogs don’t learn to stop, look, and listen before crossing the street.

Dog Poking Head through Fence

Pick up After Your Pet

There are many ways to go green when it comes to your pet’s waste. Buy biodegradable doggie bags and use alternative cat litters to keep down the amount of trash your pets create.

Composting pet waste is also another option for owners. Instead of throwing waste in the trash just to have it end up in a landfill, if you have the room to tackle it, you can compost your pet’s waste in the back yard and cut down on your carbon footprint.  Following are step-by-step instructions recommended by City Farmer.org:

  1. Take and old garbage can and drill a dozen or so holes in the side.
  2. Cut out the bottom (A keyhole saw works great for this.)
  3. Dig a hole in the ground, deep enough for the garbage can.
  4. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the garbage can so it’s a little higher than the soil level.
  5. Place the lid on top (you might want to paint it with something like Dog Waste Composter.)
  6. When you scoop some poop, put it in the hole and sprinkle in some septic starter (available at hardware stores) and add some water.

Buy Organic and Eco-Friendly Products

Natural pet food companies can now be found in just about every pet store. Instead of buying cheap food products that are unfit for human consumption, look for foods that come from naturally-grown plants and animals. Quality foods do not contain large amounts of fillers or animal by-products. Buy a quality natural product and you’ll be doing the environment and your pet a favor. 

Dog Eating on the Grass

Eco-friendly pet products are another great way to enrich the lives of your pets and also aid the environment. Buy toys made with sustainable products such as hemp and organic fibers that require less processing to make we recommend products from http://www.purrfectplay.com/. Make sure to choose cleaners that don’t use harsh, unnatural chemicals. Plant-based shampoos and sprays are safer for both your pet and the environment. Recycling pet products is another great way to add some eco-friendliness to Fido’s collection. Offer gently-used pet products to shelters or hand them off to needy pet owners. Many local establishments will take litter boxes, toys, and bedding that can be used for less fortunate pets.

Going green for your pets is as easy as reading labels, keeping your pets contained, or choosing to adopt a needy animal. Pet ownership is a serious responsibility that requires a commitment to yourself, your pet, and the environment. Going green begins with this commitment, and also incorporates a commitment to do what you can each day to care for your pet in an eco-friendly way.

Dog Fence” Photo Credit: Ben Christenson

I’m Not Eating Anything I Promise” Photo Credit: PWC_GSD

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