Go Green with Your Pet's Things!

You may be very aware of your diet and environment. Eating organic, recycling and reducing the chemicals in your environment. But how much thought have you given to what your dog or cat is doing to the environment and what the environment is doing to them? A recent study shows that our dogs and cats are carrying around a cocktail of 48 industrial chemicals-many at levels much higher than what is found in people.  These chemicals can be linked to all sorts of health issues. 

Some of the culprits responsible for this accumulation in our pets are: flame retardants from beds, furniture and polluted food; stain and grease-proofing chemicals from carpets, pet beds, and pet food packaging; and plastic softners which are found in products ranging from shampoos to toys to medicines.

Then there is the impact our pets have on the environment.  The 10 million pounds of pet waste accumulated each year in the US alone, the chemical fallout from our trying to control fleas and ticks.

You can reduce your pet’s pawprint on the planet dramatically. Your pet will reap some health benefits as well.  Andrea Crawford of Portland Tails magazine had the following tips:

1.                Choose eco-friendly pet supplies. There are oodles of products to choose from. There are many ‘green product’ reviews available to help you choose what is worth buying and what is not. Look for material that will biodegrade, has been or can be recycled, wasn’t treated with flame retardants and is free of plastics. When your pets are tired of their toys try swapping them with your pet owner friends rather than tossing them.

2.                Be a green pooper-scooper. The ideal is to flush you pets waste so it gets the same treatment as human waste. You can even buy flushable, biodegradable bags. The runner up is tossing a biodegradable bag in the trash. Whatever you do always clean up after your pets. When waste gets washed down storm drains and into waterways it can make people sick.

3.                Leash your dog in wildlife areas. We all love to watch our dogs running free. But while our dogs are off running freely, chasing the wildlife they are doing a lot of damage to the foliage and natural habitats. Save off leash play for dog parks and your yard.

4.                When fighting fleas go with the least toxic options. If you have a lot of time to spend battling fleas there are pesticide free options you can find by searching online.  If you are going to use a pesticide go with a topical, spot-on treatment rather than sprays, powders, or collars.

5.                Cook your pet food yourself or buy locally made, organic food.  As much as possible, use organic veggies and anti-biotic and hormone free meat and dairy. There are many pet food cook books available. If you don’t have time to play chef for your pets many pet supply stores carry locally made, planet friendly foods. By cutting out the transportation and packaging of commercial food you’ll be doing the planet an extra favor.

6.                Think before you toss. Medications, flea treatments and shampoos can all wind up polluting the soil and water if you simply toss them in the trash. Make sure you recycle or dispose of them properly. If you have questions about this contact your waste agency.

7.                Green your kitty. Our feline friends do their share of environmental damage. They kill millions of birds each year, and much of their litter comes from strip mining-then piles up in landfills. Cats that do their business outside pollute the water and soil with a parasite that can make pregnant women and immune compromised people sick. Try keeping your cat inside, which will not only increase your cat’s lifespan but the birds as well. If your cat does go outside, you could try fitting them with a cat bib to keep them from hunting. Bells don’t usually work. Or, let them play in a fenced area. There are now many eco-friendly cat litters to choose from. You can also flush.   

For more information on Portland Tails magazine click here

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