Make Your Pet Care Routine Green

We know our actions impact the earth but have you ever thought about the environmental impact of pet care?

Spring is the perfect time to change your habits to be environmentally conscious. To kick you off, here are 10 ways to make your pet care routine a little more earth-friendly.

  1. For double-coated dogs, the spring shed is underway. Pile up the thick undercoat during a grooming session or scoop up fur tumbleweeds from your home. Place the fur in a basket and set it outside. Birds will flock to collect the fluffy material for their spring nest-building.
  2. Order in bulk. If you order the two- or four-pound box of dog or cat food, go up a size. You’ll decrease the amount of packaging sent your way, and by shipping your pet food less frequently, you’ll cut down on emissions from shipping.
  3. Switch to a local pet store. Many independent pet stores offer a range of products manufactured locally, from dog beds to artisan treats to hand-crafted toys. The environmental impact of your purchases will be lessened while you support local enterprise. Don’t forget to take your reusable shopping bags.
  4. Transition your cat to recycled or natural litter. Popular options include brands made from corn husks and recycled newspaper. Be sure to slowly transition to the new litter, though; many cats resist a sudden change.
  5. As a responsible dog parent, you diligently scoop up their poop, of course. But what happens to the poop after you toss it? Sealed plastic bags that take ages—literally—to decompose preserve the poop inside. Switch to a biodegradable bag or a flushable version.
  6. Is your dog tough on toys? Don’t toss ripped items. Mend them! A simple hand stitch (for a tutorial, search “hidden stitch” on Pinterest) can close torn bits and prolong the life of the toy.
  7. Mending can extend the life of a toy for a while. Once the outside of the toy is beyond repair, don’t toss the internal components post-shred; save them. Cram the stuffing into a bag, put the squeaker out of reach, and preserve large chunks of outer fabric. Once a few toys have been destroyed, sew a brand new toy with the large chunks of outer fabric. Stuff the new toy with the leftover stuffing, jam in a squeaker, and hand stitch it closed. Your dog won’t care that his toy looks like a lump instead of a bunny.
  8. Shop used. Hit your local consignment shop or Goodwill for replacement leashes, bowls, and items that can be repurposed into toys (like tennis balls). Be sure to wash items thoroughly before giving to your pet.
  9. DIY household cleaning products. Many conventional cleaning products are full of chemicals harmful to your dogs and cats. Cats are particularly affected by toxins because it gets on their paws, which they then lick clean, ingesting all the junk from the cleaning solutions. Whip up your own products with baking soda, vinegar, and water. Your house will shine, and your pets will avoid harsh chemicals. You’ll save a ton of money, too.
  10. Join a community dog walking club. Get out and enjoy your community while making friends with other dog people. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air, so freshen up those lungs while getting to know your town. Bonus points: Pick up bits of trash (or un-picked-up piles from irresponsible pet owners) as you walk.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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