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Tips on Sustainable Pet Ownership

Oct 05, 2022 Caitlin Ellen

The most eco-friendly among us can succumb to the temptation to spoil our pets. But making sustainable purchasing decisions for your animal companion is integral to minimizing your carbon footprint, so we pulled together some hot tips on easy eco-friendly choices to make around pet ownership.

1. Buy Vegetarian Pet Food

A 2017 study reported that American pets consume 25% of the country’s meat calories, which equals the annual emissions from 13.6 million cars. Switch to vegetarian food for your pets to cut down on your animal’s carbon footprint. Look for environmental certifications on your pet food. If you want to feed your pet animal products, choose pet foods that use meat byproducts that aren’t consumed by humans, like bone meal or organ meat, which often end up wasted when not turned into pet food.

2. Don’t Buy Plastic Toys

Plastic pet toys only contribute to your larger plastic footprint, and are likely to end up in a landfill. Instead, buy toys made of natural fibers and textiles. Your most sustainable source for animal toys is your own closet, where you can find old t shirts you might want to weave together into homemade chew toys. Otherwise, you can buy used toys in the children’s section of most Goodwills. If you want to purchase new toys for your pet, Harry Barker is a great source for toys made out of hemp and recycled fabrics. 

3. Choose Your Grooming Products Wisely

Buy natural, sulfate and paraben free shampoo for washing your pet’s hair. Also, make sure no bathing products you buy have plastic microbeads in them, which end up choking wildlife in the ocean. If you can, refrain from buying chemical-filled pest repellents. The National Resource Defense Coalition says that soap and water can work just as well as synthetic flea and tick products at keeping pests away, as long as you wash your pet often. 

4. Conscious Waste Disposal

If you are a dog owner, buy waste bags that will decompose. BioBag makes totally compostable bags that won’t stay in a landfill forever. If you are a cat owner, choose your litter wisely! Watch out for the very  environmentally detrimental strip-mined chemical sodium bentonite, and look for litter made of natural, non-mined materials like corn, wheat, and old newspapers. Cedarific makes litter form wood, and Purina sells a litter made from recycled newspapers.

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