10 ways to be the most eco-friendly pet parent
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Our Wholesome Culture team loooooves pets (and all animals) fiercely. And while we make efforts to be as eco-friendly as we can with our own individual habits, it can be easy to overlook that our animal friends also have a BIG impact on the planet.

Did you know, dogs and cats can pollute waterways, carry diseases, and even harm wildlife? Yikes!

So, how can we love our pets while also showing love to Mother Earth?  Here are 10 ways to be the most pawsitive planet-friendly pet parents ever. 

10 Ways to lower your pet’s carbon “pawprints”

1. Adopt don’t shop

Between overcrowded shelters and lots of strays wandering around without regular food/housing, millions of animals are euthanized because they don’t have a permanent place to call home. 

Adopting is a beautiful way to not only gain a lovable companion, but also open a space for an animal friend in need.

Want to help spread this message? Check out our “The Ones In Need, Are The  Best Breed” crew and “All Cats Are Good To Save” eco-tee.

Adopt Don't Shop All Cats Are Good To Save eco tee from Wholesome Culture

2. Pick up after your pet *properly*

According to a study, dogs and cats in the U.S. produce 30 percent as much poop as Americans. And pet feces is one of the big ways they spread pathogens. 

So, the headline is: never just leave pet waste as it is. That’s how it ends up contaminating local waterways. But after that, things get a little controversial as to what’s best for Mother Earth. 

planet-friendly cats and dogs

The three primary options are: flushing, composting, and landfilling. 

Option 1: Landfilling

This may seem counterintuitive, but when in doubt… biodegradable bags/litter are a good option. This gives the waste a better chance of breaking down in the landfill while not exposing creatures to anything harmful.  We like Earth Rated’s PoopBags that come in a refillable dispenser. 

Option 2: Flushing

For dog poop, if your local water treatment center can handle pet waste and your plumber gives you the “go ahead” — flushing may be a good way to go. (This is where compostable flushable poop bags can come in handy.) But if you’re in an older house, you may want to skip this route to avoid clogged pipes. 

However, for cat poop, experts say it shouldn’t be flushed because it has different pathogens and doesn’t break down in the same way.

Option 3: Composting

As a general rule, composting pet waste is something that should be heavily researched and very possibly could cause more harm than good depending upon where you live. Especially if you’re planning on composting waste near edible plants — that’s a big no-no (for most pets, rabbits are an exception!). 

Planet-friendly pet

But if you’re really serious about wanting to reduce your pet waste, with patience and some precautions, you may be able to compost it. For example, Doggie Dooley makes different sizes of pet compost containers that can help lower your pet’s carbon footprint and save the landfills from plastic. But again, this is something that needs to be researched.

3. Purchase planet-friendly food

A UCLA study estimates that the food we give pets creates the equivalent of about 64 million tons of C02 a year. That’s about the same environmental impact as a year’s worth of fumes from 13.6 million cars! 

planet-friendly pet

So consult your veterinarian about eco-friendly, healthier alternatives to find the optimal diet for your pet. 

Also, buy food in bulk, look for recyclable or (even better) reusable packaging, and remember your reusable bag! 

4. Make homemade treats 

From this recipe for PB Banana Dog Treats to these DIY cat treats, there are lots of simple ways to whip up something yummy for your pet. Of course, be sure to talk with a vet first to make sure the ingredients are safe for your pet’s health. 

And get inspired with these 5 yummy dog treats you can easily make at home.

5. Green the grooming routine

Pet grooming

Protect your pet’s skin and the environment by switching to organic and natural shampoo (that’s also free of dyes and parabens). Some products we like are: 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo and  Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo.

Just remember to first check with a vet to confirm your products are appropriate for your pet. 

6. Spay/neuter 

If you aren’t ready to take on the commitment of a puppy or kitten, the safest option is to spay or neuter your pet. That way, you’ll be a part of the movement to stop pet homelessness. 

And the ASPCA lists a range of benefits from spaying/neutering —  like helping prevent testicular cancer and breast tumors (to name a few!). 

7. Be mindful of how your pet treats other creatures

Studies report high numbers of cats killing birds and other species, many of which are threatened. And dogs aren’t innocent either, with studies showing canines killing birds, rodents, etc.  

planet-friendly pet

We’re not suggesting you have to keep your animal friends cooped up inside, but if your pet is frequently out unattended for whatever reason, consider removing bird baths or other features that would attract birds or other creatures. And try to keep an eye on your pet whenever possible– which is safer for everyone. 

8. If it’s for YOU and not your pet — rethink it

Planet-friendly pet

We’re looking at you, doggie tutus, cat bows, and bird sweaters (yes, they exist). We have lots of thoughts about treating animals like dress up dolls, but when it comes to Mother Earth, things that are mostly unnecessary — even if you think they look cute —  add to your pet’s carbon footprint fast. 

9. Walk more

planet-friendly pet

There’s a reason (most) dogs love to go on walks! It’s good for the health of humans, animals, and Earth alike! 

You’ll save carbon emissions from the car, boost your overall health, and help your pet reap the rewards of putting one paw in front of the other. 

10. Play mindfully

planet-friendly pets

Look for toys made from recyclable, non-toxic, earth-friendly materials. We love West Paw, which uses recyclable, durable materials, and Green Toys EcoSaucer Flying Disk, which is made from 100% recycled plastic milk containers.

Want to go the extra mile? Look for toys from second-hand shops to give old materials a new home and purpose. Just remember to wash them first to be sure they’re hygienic and safe!

Are you an animal lover? Then, we know you’ll love these reads, too!

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