Earth Day! Pets Go Green to Save Green

by Mary Haight on April 22, 2009

It’s Earth Day, and I thought I’d pass on a list I’ve found to be useful for lowering your pets carbon paw print on the planet, while saving some green, too.  Hey, the whole family can join in the effort! And I know there’s been a cynical buzz going around about Earth Day. Yes, we should all think about this every day, but there is real value in incremental change for those who don’t.  And isn’t it insidious to help people make this choice by helping them save some cash? Everyone could get “hooked!”dickensandtashilounging

With 70,000 kittens and puppies born each day in the U.S., and 10 million tons of waste produced yearly, pets’ impact on the environment is noteworthy.  Ground water contamination from not cleaning up the dog parks, backyards, and parkways that dogs visit with their people every day is a real health concern as personal responsibility goes by the wayside.

  1. There are tons of toys, dishes and bedding made from recycled or organic material: hemp and recycled plastics are used in making pet beds, toys, collars and leads. Choices are more interesting than they were years ago.  A pair of old socks tied and knotted can make a great dog pull toy—but don’t try this with a puppy. They won’t know why you are angry when they’ve fished everyone’s socks out of the clean clothes basket and chewed them all up! Some manufacturers you can check out online are: Worldwise; Doggles; Westminsterpet; and Simplesolution.
  2. The EPA is currently re-evaluating spot flea and tick products due to a sharp spike in adverse reaction filings.  More than 44,000 potential adverse reactions were reported to EPA in 2008 ranging from skin irritations to seizures and even some deaths reported. No recall has been issued at this time.  You can call around for a flea and/or tick natural product alternative at your local Petco, Petsmart, a local boutique store, or make your own with the recipes at the link above, probably saving more money.
  3. As long as you’re doing that, you can also check for the natural shampoo and grooming products that do not contain pesticides or questionable chemicals.
  4. Household cleaning products can be quite toxic, not to mention very expensive.  Why not try the natural cleaners you can put together yourself, like white vinegar, salt, baking soda and lemon juice. Green living ideas has a list of natural cleaner recipes. I’ve tried these and most work very well—the only one I did not get the desired result from was the copper cleaning recipe. This product switch does save a significant amount of money, too!
  5. Check that household products are kept away from curious pets. Pesticides, like bug killers that attack the nervous system (Raid, wasp killer, etc.), salts and de-icers, and automotive products are all dangerous and even lethal to your pets. ASPCA’s poison control reports most poisonings come from household products or plants.
  6. Double check your mulch if you are a gardener. The cocoa hulls may give your plant beds a good looking color and texture, but they have toxic effects on pets. Lawn chemicals can be toxic to everyone in the family. While there is extensive information on ASPCA’s site, you can also Google chemical ingredients leading to information on known toxicities and carcinogenic effects.
  7. Bake your own dog treats, and save money. Here’s a couple of great resources for dog cookie recipes. Please check ingredients and eliminate garlic, raisins, and any other obvious potentially toxic item. New information comes to light, and old recipes are not revised accordingly.
  8. Adopt your pet from a shelter or rescue group. It’s the best deal you’ll ever get, with shots, spay neuter and sometimes even heartworm testing and micro-chipping completed. It’s the ultimate recycling project. Check Petfinder for your local shelters if you don’t already have a favorite.
  9. Spay or neuter your pet.  Dogs and cats live longer and healthier lives, and you do not contribute to more unwanted animals born into the population.
  10. Choose natural and organic pet foods without low-grade (diseased, dying, dead, and downer) animal byproducts, and preservatives. There is less processing, less additives to these foods, as I mentioned in my blog on kosher food and passover for pets.
  11. Home cook for your dog: recipes found here. I’ve done this for 8 years of my rescued dog’s life as his digestive system is not in the greatest shape.  It’s not as complicated or time-consuming as it seems, really!  Here are some tasty sounding online recipes.
  12. Use a natural cat litter. Clay is strip-mined and full of silica dust that can be bad for a cat’s lungs. Clumping agent in some cat litters can swell inside the digestive track if ingested. Some brands are Swheat Scoop, and Feline Pine.
  13. Dispose of pet waste safely, and if you really want to be green, not in the plastic bags meant for groceries.  This just fossilizes for posterity your doggy poop as plastic doesn’t break down.  According to scientists, 10 million tons of waste a year is created by pets, and no one knows where it goes. Composting is one idea, but ground water gets polluted.  Pick up after your pet using a biodegradable or flushable bag.  Diseases like Parvo can be spread through feces and can remain active in the ground for 6 months or more depending on weather.

Hope you can find something in this “baker’s dozen” that you’d like to try.  If not, plant a tree you and your dog can laze under on a sunny summer’s day!

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  1. […] who think alternatives won’t keep fleas at bay, here’s my experience.  I first used a homemade recipe with lemons as the main ingredient.  But it had to be reapplied every other day and I thought […]

  2. […] this is just not enough information for you, check out my pets go green to save green post. You’ll find a baker’s dozen ideas and helpful links. Enjoy your […]

  3. […] more ways to go green with your pets, check out the Dancing Dog Blog. It shares lots of important facts about pet medications and other harmful chemicals in your home. […]

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