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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Top Tips for Eco-Friendly Pet Ownership

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By Kristin Masters

Pets bring joy to our lives every day, and we treat them like family members. When it comes to caring for furry friends, pet owners have a unique opportunity to protect the environment. From selecting a pet to choosing its food and toys, pet owners have countless ways to safeguard the environment while caring for dogs or cats.Eco-Friendly Fun with Dogs & Cats

  • Adopt a pet from a local shelter, rather than buying from a breeder or pet store. In addition to providing animals with loving homes, shelters tend to use donated or recycled materials for animal bedding.

  • Spay or neuter pets. This measure prevents unexpected puppies and kittens—and can mitigate territorial behavior by adult animals.

  • Traditional kitty litters are clay based, so they do not biodegrade. Alternative litters, made of recycled newspaper or wheat, are more environmentally friendly. Some litters are even flushable.

  • Pick up behind dogs. The waste can be placed in an in-ground pet waste system or in the compost pile. Pet waste should not be used to compost vegetable gardens, but it is safe for ornamental plants and gardens. Outside the yard, biodegradable bags are also an excellent disposal option.

  • Cat lovers can also grow their own catnip in the garden. Cats love this natural treat, which causes them to get incredibly frisky.

  • Use chemical-free shampoos to bathe pets. Oatmeal-based shampoos work well and soothe pets’ skin. Meanwhile, find chemical-free supplies to clean up after pets’ unexpected messes.

  • Choose recycled or sustainable pet beds and materials. Organic pet beds come in a variety of sizes, for both cats and dogs. If the pet already has a traditional bed, consider using a duvet or old pillowcase. These can be washed when the bed gets dirty, so that the bed need not be replaced as often.

  • Smaller dogs may need jackets or sweaters during the colder months. Organic dog apparel is widely available.

  • Collars made from hemp, organic cotton, and even recycled plastic bottles make great accessories for eco-friendly pets.

  • All-natural, organic pet food is free of both chemicals and preservatives. Pet owners with basic culinary talent can easily make their own healthy, natural pet foods that contain meat, rice, and vegetables.

  • Recycle old socks or fabric to make pet toys. Tube socks can be tied together for a tug-toy, while feathers and yarn make great cat toys. Take care that puppies and kittens do not ingest their toys, as this can upset their stomachs.

Pet owners can easily go green with the right products and materials. By carefully cleaning up after pets and selecting organic materials for pet care supplies, it is simple for owners to make environmentally conscientious decisions about pet care.

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