Not everyone believes in Global warming, not everyone cares, but it is important to be environmentally friendly for other reasons, such as air quality and to reduce pollution in general. If we do not act now to preserve our environment, nothing else will matter in a few years. What you do, or do not do, will have a long lasting impact. Some of these suggestions are not only good for the environment, but helpful to your pet or pocketbook as well.
- Pick an Environmentally Friendly Pet. If you already have a pet it’s too late for this, but if not, you can select some pets which are more environmentally friendly than others. Vegetarian pets are more environmentally friendly than meat eaters, but you should not make the mistake of feeding a vegetarian diet to a carnivore. Some pets require additional electricity, such as fish and lizards who require lighting and heat, as such these animals are less environmentally friendly. Some of the most environmentally friendly pets are actually pet insects, like walking sticks and beetles. Free range chickens are an extremely “Green” pet, because they lay you eggs and eat insect pests.
- Avoid chemicals. This can include avoiding chemicals in your pet’s food, or chemicals you put on them. The most common chemicals in food are BHT, BHA, and Ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is a dangerous chemical pesticide used in the “by-products”. All of these chemicals are known to have potential risks and are used in the lower quality pet foods. Better foods use Vitamin E, Tocopherols. Other chemicals to avoid are those used on the pet itself, such as flea treatments. The best and safest way to remove fleas is with a cheap flea comb, sticking any found fleas to tape, which you can fold and dispose. Chemicals are not only environmentally unfriendly they are down right dangerous to your pet.
- Clean Green. You can purchase biodegradable bags for picking up after your pooch. You can get cat litter made from corn which is flushable. This is particularly good because the other litter comes from sources of mining or processing, like with the silicone bead litter. If you have a problem with odor this is best handled with the use of Baking Soda.
- Buy locally made food, treats, and toys. When something is made locally it reduces shipping, this is better for the environment. You can often find locally made pet treats and toys at farmers markets. Locally made food may be a trickier thing to find, particularly to make sure it is good quality. But if you can at least buy a food that is manufactured in your own country rather than imported, then they is a start. You can sometimes grow some of your own pet treats, particularly if you have rabbits, they love fresh home grown carrots in addition to their regular food.
- Buy used, or second hand, pet supplies. Some pet supplies can be purchased used, or second hand. This reduces manufacturing of other goods, and saves you money. Sometimes you will get lucky and find products that were bought and never used. Not all used pet products will be safe, plastic food bowls for cats and dogs should never be reused, but stainless steel bowls are fine. Cages and crates should be washed with bleach. You can find second hand pet products at second hand stores or garage sales, and possibly in the newspaper as well. In turn you should recycle any unused pet products of your own.
- Spay and Neuter. As with humans, the best way to reduce our impact is to not add more burdens (more humans) to the planet. Spayed or neutered pets will eat slightly less food and have fewer health requirements, but mostly they will reduce the number of hungry mouths to feed by not creating more. You might think your pet is cute, and surely it is, but there are huge numbers of pets euthanized every year, or living on the streets. For the most part there is no need to make more pets. This is a very hard thing for people to understand and accept but the truly biggest thing you can do for your pet and for the planet is to spay or neuter your animal. Assuming of course it is one of the species that can be spayed or neutered, if not, simply do not allow that animal to reproduce.
Overall having a pet is a responsibility, and one that should not be taken lightly. If you are concerned about the environment you will want to keep in mind how your pet impacts the environment and look for ways to reduce this.