We love our pets well, but for the good of us all, we also need to make the effort to really love our planet, too. Think being earth-conscious is expensive? It can be. Still, there are many ways to love the planet, live green, and be gentle to your pocketbook.
1. Feed overweight animals 5-10% less.
Obesity is the #1 health problem for pets. Don’t reduce his/her servings dramatically; that can be harmful. Measure your pet’s portions and your savings.
2. Clean green.
Use plant-based cleaning supplies. An excellent brand endorsed by the Sierra Club is GreenWorks by Clorox.
Rather than purchasing a blanket for kitty, how about stitching scraps from favorite old clothes? Check Freecycle online for gently-used pet paraphernalia available to loving homes (wash thoroughly before use).
4. Buy less.
Do you really need that? Sometimes we love on our pets with trinkets rather than time. Skip cute but unnecessary purchases and hang out awhile.
5. Dispose of waste.
More than 60% of dog owners DON’T pick up dog poop. Shame. Also, many of us don’t clean the litter box often enough. “Bad” behavior in this area is the leading reason pets lose their homes. Pets love a clean place to eliminate; pedestrians love clean sidewalks. Share the love and pick it up. Biobags are great, but use ANYTHING — just please get the poop to the trash.
6. Play green.
Purchase high-quality, minimally-packaged, recyclable toys. See the Planet Dog and similar toys at your favorite shop.
7. Feed organic.
Castor and Pollux makes fantastic organic pet food right here in Oregon. Seem too expensive? Not when you do the math: pets require smaller servings of good food, and you can skip the supplements — they’ll get them at mealtime. Plus, most pets lose the itchy skin and occasional bowel upset often caused by lower-quality foods. And, you’re reducing the impact on agriculture. Dollar for dollar, organic shakes out, and it’s worth it.
Companion animals want to spend time with us. Walk your daily 10,000 steps with your best friend. Get off the phone and pay attention to your buddy. And remember, felines need exercise too. A fine quality cat toy and a game of chase the catnip ball is good for both of you.
9. Make your pet a priority.
For your social gathering, invite your friends and hang out with the animals. Not only is this affordable, but reports show that stroking pets offers innumerable health benefits (to you and them).
There are so many small and easy ways, every day, we can love our pets and the planet. The key is very simply, being mindful.
Portland writer Carol Frischmann is the author of Pets and the Planet: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Pet Care” Follow her on Twitter at @GreenPets or at www.thiswildlife.com