As Earth Week ends, tree-planting events and free seed offers die down, CFL bulbs return to regular price, and most people go right back to the lifestyle they’re accustomed to during the other 51 weeks of the year. If you’d like to be one of the minority who continue living more sustainably all year, not just during Earth Week, here are some tips to be a greener pet owner year-round.
If you’re willing to spend a little extra money and time, it’s possible to find more sustainable alternatives to most necessary pet supplies. For example, dog collars and harnesses can be made of hemp, which produces wonderfully soft fabric that lasts a long time, is biodegradable, and is made from a renewable resource– a harmless plant that is unfortunately still illegal in the United States.
Many other renewable pet supply options exist. The versatile hemp plant can also produce a safe bedding for small pets, as well as soft pet toys. Toys can also be made of organic cotton. For chewing, elk and deer antlers are a good choice for most dogs and are a sustainable resource. With a bit of effort, one can find antlers that are guaranteed to have been found after a deer lost them naturally, rather than removed from the head of a deer killed for meat.
Consider switching to a raw diet for your dog, cat, or ferret so that you can more closely control the source and sustainability of ingredients in your pet’s food. By choosing meats from local farmers, ranchers, and hunters, you reduce your carbon footprint substantially. In addition, eliminating traditionally cultivated grains like corn from your dog’s diet helps to reduce the amount of land used in unsustainable farming practices.
Green Petkeeping Practices
We’ve already talked about composting dog poop as a money-saving tip to help grow flower beds. Did you know that the same simple step can also help the Earth? Composting dog waste keeps it out of landfills and helps to break it down before it enters groundwater, and also prevents it from harming soil and plants as it does if left uncomposted.
Of course, planting a tree is always a great way to help produce clean air, and if you have a dog, they’ll enjoy the shade and having a new place to mark their territory.
If you own exotic pets like saltwater fish or parrots, you can reduce your carbon footprint by only purchasing captive-bred specimens that have not been shipped a long distance. Buying wild-caught pets has an enormous negative impact on the environment. Not only are wild animals removed from their native ecosystems, but they are shipped often thousands of miles,burning fossil fuels and creating pollution, in order to be sold. You may not be able to acquire as great a variety of animals by limiting yourself to locally bred individuals, but you’ll be making sure that you aren’t contributing to population destruction, global warming, and other unsustainable practices involved in the wild capture of animals to be sold as pets.