From going for long walks during the balmy summer months, to playing catch in the park, to lounging around on the sofa, you and your pet can have a mutually beneficial friendship.
But in this age of heightened environmental awareness, did you know that an eco-friendly lifestyle can expand to include pet ownership choices. We've compiled a number of tips for how you can simultaneously be a good pet owner and reduce your carbon footprint.
When you consider that millions of homeless animals are sent to shelters annually and that many of these animals are euthanized, you can understand the importance of getting your cat or dog spayed or neutered. But doing so can also be an eco-friendly move since lessening the number of animals that will eventually find themselves in shelters will cut down on food and energy expenses. In other words, being a responsible pet owner by spaying or neutering as needed will help you to reduce your carbon footprint and to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print.
Use Natural Groom Products
If you've been to a specialty pet store recently, you no doubt understand that there are all sorts of grooming products for you to pamper your four-legged bundle of love. But just like there are eco-friendly products for humans, there are also eco-friendly products for pets. So, look for shampoos and conditioners, for instance, that are natural, organic, and better for your pet than commercial products that might have harmful chemicals. It might cost a bit more, but the small price increase will be worth it.
When you take your dog out for a walk, you likely carry around some doggy bags for when your pet needs to go potty. You can be more eco-friendly even in such instances merely by going for biodegradable bags to collect your dog’s poop. Using regular plastic bags will only serve to contribute to the environmental problems at your local landfill, so do the responsible thing and switch to biodegradable bags. They’re very common now and the cost is almost negligible.
Remember Your Backyard
If you live in a home with a backyard, you can bet that your pet will spend many hours outdoors during the warm climes of the spring and summer. How can your backyard benefit your pet, you, and the environment? Well, proper tree placement will offer the sort of shade that you and your dog will want when the sun's rays are particularly hot. But the landscaping choices you make outside, with the right tree placement, will also benefit your home since your air conditioner won't have to work as hard to reduce the outside air temperature before circulating it throughout your residence. This means that you'll save money and reduce the wear-and-tear on your air conditioner or central air unit. Go for tall trees and try to get trees that keep their leaves year-round since this means that they'll be able to help you better regulate your in-home temperature year-round.
Producing beef and pork is a resource-heavy endeavor that leaves a considerable carbon footprint. The carbon footprint isn't nearly as large, however, when it comes to chicken and fish production. So, opting for pet food with chicken and fish is a better option. You can go a step further and actually make your pet's food on your own. Use raw meat, whole grains, and veggies for your dog, and go with raw meat without the whole grains and vegetables for your cat. Also consider that making your pet's food will mean that you'll reduce the amount of packaging that has to be tossed out, which will definitely be better for the environment.
With the right choices and some effort on your part, you can be an eco-friendly pet owner. You’ll benefit, your pet will benefit, and the environment will benefit, which will translate to a win-win-win.
Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer whom has donated countless hours supporting her local shelters. With writing, she has spent most of her research on animals with regards to food, health and training.