The past decades have met a series of environmental damages from across the world.
The Australia forest fire rage. The Indonesia flood swamp. Climate changes are becoming everyone’s constant worry!
With over 1 billion Australian dogs lost up until now, mother nature continues to remind us of its savage authority.
As we continue to devise possible ways to reduce our carbon footprint, it’s also important to consider the contribution of our lovely pets to carbon emissions and the environment.
According to New Zealand research, the carbon footprint of an average sized dog is roughly twice that of an SUV with over 10,000km/year.
Cats aren’t better. They occupy similar footprints with a small Volkswagen.
From their diets to the horrible mess they make, pets are big-time polluters (eem, we love them regardless).
Plus the bedding supplies, clothes, toys we use on them.
That said, there are many ways you can become a sustainable Pet owner that takes eco-friendly activities seriously.
The goal should be to lower their carbon footprints and their overall health and well-being.
1. Scoop the poops
A huge amount of dog waste is released into the environment every year, resulting in a worrisome environmental problem especially if they’re not cleaned up.
Pet faeces contains bacteria that enter into the ground or water sources, contaminating and causing potential harm to marine life.
As opposed to popular belief, rain does not wash them away. So a workable sustainable technique is to regularly scoop the poops.
Traditional plastic bags take up to a thousand years to decompose in the landfill. So a greener option is an ideal choice.
For example, comfortable or biodegradable bags for pets break down waste faster. I’ll recommend bags with natural scents and those created from tapioca, corn, or other non-GMO crops.
2. Keep It Lean
Pets’ food production consumed a considerably high amount of water, land, and resources.
Beef production is the most environmentally draining production process. According to the UN estimates, over 18% of global CO2 emission is caused by livestock production.
Since humans can decide to go “Veganuary” why can’t we try to swap our pet’s beef-based food with the protein-based version like turkey, chicken, fish? Your pet will love it.
A little change in your pet diet might help reduce their contributions to greenhouse emission. With over $12 million spent annually on pet food production, a slight change in diet could mean a lot.
3. Choose Upcycled Pet Product
Plastic-made pet products usually end up trashed in landfills every year.
These materials can pose a threat to your health and your pet’s health.
Cheap plastic pet materials like bed, toy, clothing, and feeding dishes usually contain PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) a chemical which can be dangerous to your pet’s health.
For your pet feeding dishes, go for stainless steel as they are more durable and long-lasting.
Choose pet products made from sustainable, recycled materials.
Manufacturers are changing the face of renewables, using plastic from landfills to create classic, eco-friendly products like dog toys and dog beds with the help of recycled plastic bottles.
4. Avoid Plastic Toys
While plastic toys are a lovable way to keep your pet busy and entertained, these nonrenewable materials are nothing close to durable.
For example, if you’ve ever seen a dog tore a toy into pieces, you’ll question the durability of these toys.
The worst part is they end up in the trash bin.
Some plastic materials like Nylabone can cause harmful blockage in the intestine if ingested in large pieces.
Choose a tough, durable, and long-lasting pet toy.
5. Go Green When Grooming
Most grooming products like conditioner and shampoos contain dangerous pesticides and carcinogens (a chemical that causes cancer).
Not only can these products irritate your dog’s skin, but also harm the waterways when leached into the ground.
Choose a paraben-free biodegradable formulation and try to use organic ingredients.
With boatloads of excellent grooming products on the market, it makes no sense to risk your pet’s health and the environment.
Adopting and rehoming a pet is one of the best ways of ‘pet recycling’
There’s an alarming worldwide surplus of pets on the street, and with thousands of pets wandering around the US streets, adopting a pet is a surefire way of saving them from death while creating the space for other pets to be adopted.
With different types of pets in a rehoming center, you might also find a different breed which you might eventually fall in love with.
7. Control Wildlife Around You
As a pet owner, it’s important to consider the impact of pets on wildlife.
For example, cat’s impact on the wildlife population with their predation on the wildlife likely causes suffering.
This has been one major concern for us cat owners.
I’ll advise cat owners to limit the chances of their pets predating on wild birds.
One of the ways you can achieve this is to restrict their access at dawn and dusk when wildlife is at its peak of activity.
In addition, when walking your dog, it’s important to keep them in the lead in places populated with wildlife.
As a dog owner, there are legal responsibilities that back up keeping your dog under control to protect the wildlife.
Sometimes, those little changes can make a huge difference.
8. Rather than drive, walk
Apart from companionship, another big aspect of having a dog is that they encourage you to stand up and walk.
Not only does going on a walk with your dog make him/her happy and healthy but it also makes you happy too.
However, most of us prefer to enter the car, drive somewhere and take a walk with our dog, jump into the car again and go home.
The fact is, not all of us have a green space at home especially if we live in a big city.
Walking your dog can be the only way to exercise them.
What if you don’t have to jump into the car? Walking your dog to the park could potentially help save the environment.
9. Reduce plastics
The sight of a turtle harmed by plastic straw.
A dolphin struggling with eating a plastic bag in the ocean can make us realize the impact of plastics on the animal and the ecosystem we claim to care about.
Reducing plastic can put a smile on the faces of the environment. And there are many ways pet owners can reduce plastic use.
For example, use ceramic pet food bowls (not plastic type), non plastic toys and you can give some DIYs a try.
10. Neuter And Spray
In the US, the number of stray animals amass up to tens of millions. Stray cats with kittens are called total cats.
According to ISSG, Invasive Species Specialist Group, an increase in the feral cat population can result in the decline or complete extinction of some species like birds.
So what’s the possible way out? Neutering and spaying your pet is the best way to counter overpopulation.
Whether your pet stays indoors or not, it’s important to neuter and spray them in case they get lost.
You Can Make A Difference
As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to do what’s best for your pet.
I hope these tips will guide you through helping your pet live a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
Be sure to check all ingredients in your products, toys, accessories, food, etc. And make sure they’re packaged in recyclable material.
Lastly, do proper research before buying. It’s worth it!