Having a new pet join the family can bring an extra dose of joy into your life. Pets offer companionship and can even improve our overall health and well-being just by being in our lives. However, just as we generate a lot of waste in our lives, pets create a lot of waste as well that can negatively affect the environment if not properly checked.
There are plenty of things you can do to responsibly lower the carbon footprint of your pet. We’ll break down just a few tips that can help you maintain an environmentally friendly home for you and your animal friends.
Eco-Friendly Pet Owner Tips
Adopt a Pet
Finding a pet in need of a home from your local shelter is almost always a better and more humane option than buying a puppy from a pet store or breeder. Lots of the animals you see in pet stores are transported from far away and often come from sources where the health of the animals is of very little concern. Puppy mills, for example, are one of the most inhumane and cruel industries and by adopting you can be certain you aren’t supporting them.
Millions of animals are euthanized each year because too few people adopt from shelters, so by adopting you will be saving a life. Many shelters only have so much space, but if more people were aware that they could get a happy and healthy pet from a shelter, perhaps that number could decrease greatly.
Lastly, adopting will also save you money. Since shelters want to free up space for incoming animals, generally the adoption fee will only be a few hundred dollars to cover vaccinations, fixing the animal, and having them micro-chipped. Buying from a store or a breeder will cost more and you may also need to have the animal fixed and vaccinated on your own which will raise the cost even more. Puppy mill animals are also more prone to behavioral issues that may not arise until months after you have brought them home and will require more extensive training than a shelter dog.
Spay/Neuter Your Pet
As previously mentioned, there are an overwhelming amount of animals entering the shelter system each year, and the people that work at these facilities don’t have the means to help them all. Spaying and neutering your pets can help to keep even more animals from being put into shelters where they may not be able to find a forever home.
Avoid Plastic Toys and Products
Many pet products (such as toys, collars, leashes, litter boxes, food and water bowls) are made with some form of plastic. However, given the rise of eco-friendly movements, finding green pet products is easier than it has ever been.
Materials such as hemp and organic cotton make for great pet products such as leashes, cat towers, and pet beds and clothing. These materials are also much healthier for animals that like to chew on things. Through dog training, you can teach your pet to only chew on these healthy eco-friendly toys.
Start Using Biodegradable Baggies
When cleaning up after their dog while on a walk, or emptying a litter box, most people will reach for a plastic bag without much thought. Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to completely break down in the trash. Cutting back on your use of plastic bags with eco-friendly, biodegradable bags is one of the best ways to lower your pets carbon footprint.
Regular kitty litter can also take a long time to break down and decompose. There are eco-friendly alternative litter options that are designed to decompose quickly and can even be used as compost in a garden. Your pets won’t even notice the difference and you’ll be doing your part to help the planet.
Donate to Pet Shelters
People love their pets, and many of them like to spoil their furry friends with new toys and all of those may not get played with. We encourage you to donate unused or even slightly used toys to a local pet shelter. Shelters are also often in need of leashes, beds, and other new or lightly used pet products. Donating food is also always beneficial to shelters.
“5 Tips For Being an Environmentally Friendly Pet Owner”
Guest Writer: Michael’s Pack The professional dog trainers at Michael’s Pack, including owner and head trainer Michael Schaier, provide private in-home dog training sessions in New Jersey. Our training is based on positive reinforcement, behavior modification, and holistic methods. We strongly believe that “Communication is Key” and that the training process should strengthen the relationship between you and your pet by building mutual respect and trust.
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MY QUESTION FOR YOU:
Do you consider yourself an eco-friendly pet owner?