We frequently talk about the need to reduce our carbon footprint and save the planet, while we still have time. However, we tend to forget to account for our pets for their role in CO2 emissions and environmental impact.
As much as we try to live sustainably and protect our environment, if we are truly eco-conscious and want to make an impact, we need to reduce our pets’ carbon footprint as well.
It is not easy. On the contrary, it takes a lot of research and effort to adopt eco-friendly living practices for your pet. However, the good news is that it’s possible to have a happy, thriving pet but with a significantly reduced environmental effect.
Below, we list 5 ways to be a sustainable and eco-friendly pet owner.
Clean Up After Your Pet
This might sound obvious but many pet owners, specifically dog owners, are not aware of how damaging dog poop left on the lawn can be for the environment. They simply can’t see anything wrong with that other than it annoys people.
However, dog poop contains some pretty harmful ingredients such as nitrogen and it can be toxic if it finds its way to water sources. The same is with cat feces which is home to parasites which is how it may affect marine life if it reaches the water.
To prevent contaminants from pet feces from reaching water supplies, grab an eco-friendly bag, scoop that poop, and throw it in the trash.
Switch to More Sustainable Foods or Cook Your Pet’s Food
If you’re into green living, chances are you’ve already switched to a plant-based diet in your attempt to reduce your carbon footprint and save animals. But is your pet still eating heavily processed meat-based meals? You may want to reconsider altering their diet to include more sustainable foods that are also good for your pet’s health.
Animal production requires massive resources but beef production tops them all in terms of both resources like water and land as well as carbon emissions. This is definitely not a sustainable food source so you should explore the alternatives.
Many pet owners are switching to raw diets which are less processed and deemed healthier for the pets. But it is still meat so not so great for the environment. Additionally, raw meat contains harmful bacteria that may affect pet owners who handle the food.
Plant-based diets for pets are being adopted by pet owners across the world. However, if switching to a vegan diet for your pet seems like a very drastic change, you should start by making smaller changes. For example, you could swap premium beef meals and treats with more sustainable foods such as chicken or fish mixed with cereals or vegetables.
The most important thing is that your pet gets all the essential nutrients to be healthy and happy. The source they get it from is not as relevant.
Another option to reduce the carbon footprint of your pet is to cook their food yourself, although this is a time-consuming option so not viable for many pet owners. Home-cooked pet food is healthier, less processed, and you can incorporate more veggies into the meals.
As an eco-friendly pet owner, you should do your own research and decide which option you think is best for your pet as well as for the planet. You can also consult a veterinarian prior to making the changes.
Buy Biodegradable Toys
One change that you could easily make towards a more sustainable living is swapping plastic toys with eco-friendly, biodegradable ones. Plastic toys get chewed up and thrown away. They end up in landfills where they will not decompose. What’s worse is that some toys are only used for a short period after which you replace them with new toys.
We know you love your pet so there is no reason to deny them the pleasure of playing with toys, just make sure those toys are made from an eco-friendly material. Unlike plastic toys, once thrown out, biodegradable toys will decompose.
Use Green Hygienic Products
Unfortunately, a lot of our hygienic products are loaded with harmful chemicals that are carcinogenic and toxic. This goes for both pet grooming products as well as products for humans. Going eco-friendly also implies reading up on those products and switching to healthier, greener options for grooming your pet.
The great news is that there are many green pet product manufacturers nowadays so you can swap your toxic dog’s shampoo with an organic, natural alternative that is free of paraben and other dangerous substances that otherwise end up in the environment.
Use More Natural, Sustainable Materials
Being an eco-friendly, sustainable pet owner means embracing the sustainable lifestyle altogether for yourself and your pet. This means replacing all non-recyclable materials with eco-friendly, organic materials such as wood.
Many pet owners avoid wooden furniture as their dogs aren’t trained to not chew on it. However, if you manage to teach your dog to stay away from it (perhaps with the help of repellent sprays) you can safely invest in some dining room table and chairs made of wood without the fear of your dog ruining them.
Not only are natural materials eco-friendly, but they’re also better for your pet than processed materials. Wood also absorbs carbon dioxide and is, therefore, the most sustainable, renewable material we can use.