How To Green Your Pet

by Michal on November 12, 2009


If you are like millions of pet owners across the country then your pet is an important part of your family. Our animals offer us love, loyalty and protection. Like us, our pets also have an effect on the environment. Below are some ways you can make your pet be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Adopt From a Shelter
By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency, you’ll help save the lives of two animals—the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up. Just by adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency, you’ll help save the lives of two animals—the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up. Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. In addition, animals from many shelters are already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, which makes the shelter’s fee a real bargain.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet
spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by eliminating the possibility of uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancer, and decreasing the incidence of prostate disease.The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!

Protect Wildlife
Always keep your dog on a leash when outside, and confine your feline indoors. In some cities if you pet is not on a leash you could get fined up to $200. Two out of every three vets, according to the Humane Society of America, recommend keeping cats indoors, because of the dangers of cars, predators, disease, and other hazards. The estimated average life span of a free-roaming cat is less than three years; an indoors-only cat gets to live an average of 15 to 18 years. If kitty needs to heed the call of the wild, an outdoor cat enclosure is a good compromise.

No Junk Food
Most conventional pet-food brands you find at the supermarket consist of reconstituted animal by-products, otherwise known as low-grade wastes from the beef and poultry industries.. In fact, the animals used to make many pet foods are classified as “4-D,” which is really a polite way of saying “Dead, Dying, Diseased, or Down (Disabled)” when they line up at the slaughterhouse. Unless that can of Chicken ‘N Liver Delite explicitly states that it contains FDA-certified, food-grade meat, you should know that its contents are considered unfit for human consumption.

Since nutrition is one of the key determinants of health and resistance to disease, ideally you’ll want your pet’s chow to be comparable in quality with what we would eat. Natural and organic pet foods use meats that are raised in sustainable, humane ways without added drugs or hormones, minimally processed, and preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Certified-organic pet foods must meet strict USDA standards that spell out how ingredients are produced and processed, which means no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients or genetically engineered ingredients.

Clean Up After Your Pet
Its not the most pleasant job, but somebody has to do it. Scoop up your doggie doo in biodegradable poop bags instead of plastic bags. Cat owners should avoid clumping clay litter at all costs. Not only is clay strip-mined (bad for the planet), but the clay sediment is also permeated with carcinogenic silica dust that cannot be good for cats to breath. Plus, the sodium bentonite that acts as the clumping agent can poison your cat through chronic ingestion through their fastidious need to groom. Because sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement—it’s also used as a grouting, sealing, and plugging material—it can swell up to15 to18 times their dry size and clog up your cat’s insides. Eco-friendly cat litters avoid these problems.

Give Them Sustainable Goods
Your furry friends can get in on some saving-the-planet goodness, too—and have plenty of fun—with toys made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers (sans herbicides or pesticides) such as hemp. A hemp collar (with matching leash) is a rocking accessory for a tree-hugging mutt. These days, you can even get pet beds made with organic cotton or even recycled PET bottles.

Use Natural Pet-Care and Cleaning Products
You don’t use toxic-chemical-laced shampoos and beauty products, so lather up your cats and dogs with natural pet-care products, as well. If you pet has an accident, clean up the mess with cleaning products that are as gentle on the planet as they are on your critters’ delicate senses.

Tag Your Pet
It might be a stretch to call inserting an electronic ID chip into your pet an eco-friendly move, but it could prevent a multitude of bad things that could take place if your pet goes missing. Ask your vet for more info. For hanging tags, check out these recyclable (and recycled) aluminum ID tags and these WaggTaggs made from recycled silver.

Use A Local Vet
Every time you drive your pet for a routine check-up, you’re emitting carbon dioxide into the air. A five minute drive creates far less damage than a 45 minute commute to the vet you started seeing when you lived five towns away. When you move over 10 miles, consider finding a veterinarian in your new community. PETS911 has a database of more than 6,000 vets organized by zip code for your reference.

Interesting Facts

  • 39 million: the number of birds killed annually by domestic cats – in Wisconsin (The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)!
  • 66 million: the number of pet cats in the United States; approximately 35% are kept exclusively indoors.
  • 75 percent: the decreased likelihood that adults will develop allergies, if they grow up with two or more pets as children.
  • 60 percent: the percent of pet owners who have a dog; on average owners have almost two dogs (1.7).
  • 5,500: the numbers of puppies and kittens that are born every hour in the United States, compared with 415 human babies.
  • 28 percent: the percent of pet owning heart patients who survived serious heart attacks, compared with only 6% of patients without pets.
  • 25 percent: the percent of purebred dogs who were afflicted with serious genetic problems in 1994 (Time Magazine).
  • 3-4 million:the number of homeless cats and dogs that are euthanized annually.

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