Pets are well-loved members of any family, but, just like human beings, they have a carbon footprint that contributes to global warming. Pets consume up to one-fifth of the world’s meat and fish, and these products are some of the most detrimental to environmental sustainability. Research indicates that the average dog emits around 770 kg of CO2e per year, while the average cat generates 310 kg. The good news is that there is plenty you can do to reduce make your pet’s existence greener. By simply keeping sustainability in mind in all your purchasing choices and activities, you can contribute to the goals contained in the Paris 15 agreement to halt the greenhouse effect.
Green Food Choices
Buying sustainable pet food involves doing your research and reading the list of ingredients of the brands you favor. Foods to prioritize are those which are vegan, organic, and MSC-certified. The latter essentially indicates that fishing has been undertaken without damaging marine ecosystems. Avoid food made by brands that test on animals, since the latter are often kept in substandard conditions. Avoid palm oil (which is linked to deforestation and the loss of habitats for orangutans and other animals), and shun food made from factory-farmed animals. Sites like EthicalConsumer.org will tell you which brands to avoid and make helpful suggestions for dogs, cats, and other animals.
Caring for Your Natural Surroundings
One of the best things about pet ownership is being able to visit the great outdoors in the company of your furry friends. Be aware of the effects they can have outside, though. Pick up after them and keep them on a leash if there is a chance that they can harm local wildlife. Do not allow them to swim in bodies of water if they have just been treated with a flea treatment, as the chemicals can harm aquatic life. Be wary of your dog getting in and out of the water too often, as they can trample on plants and/or cause soil to enter the river and harm insects and fish.
Keep Your Dog Comfortable in an Eco-Friendly Manner
Pets can get overheated in the summer and feel uncomfortably cold in the winter, and you may use your HVAC system to keep your home at the right temperature for humans and pets. Consider making sustainable changes to your home structure, to lower your energy consumption. Priorities should include installing optimal insulation and sealing, since up to 25% of a home’s warmth is lost through leakage in poorly insulated homes. You can also consider making the switch to solar energy and investing in smart technology that allows you to program appliance usage, so you use the least amount of energy possible. And there’s one more amazing advantage to these changes – such upgrades can increase a home’s value up to 30% in some cases.
Disposing of Pet Poo Correctly
If you are able to, bury your dog’s poo in a hole that is at least 15cm/6 inches deep, and cover it with tight soil. You can also compost dog poo, making sure to keep it away from produce or anything you will be eating. If you must use plastic bags to pick up poop, use bags made of recycled plastic. Biodegradable dog poop bags, are made by brands like Pooch Paper, BioBag, and ZPAW. may also be of interest.
Using Green Pampering Products for Your Pets
Traditional pet shampoo and other personal care products can harm the environment in a myriad of ways. Just three of many chemical groups that can be found in many commercial products include formaldehydes and sulfate benzoate, sulfates, and ethanolamines. Let’s just take one of these—formaldehydes. These can be lurking in your pet’s shampoo under a host of additional names, such as Bromopol, Doazolidinyl urea, or Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. These chemicals can cause skin rashes and irritations, and they are also known carcinogens. They wreak havoc when they enter waterways, harming animals and polluting the water. Many products also contain additives like parabens, fragrances, and phthalates. Give all these toxins a miss and go for green products instead. Natural brands like 4-Legger, Vermont Soap Organics, and Earthbath are organic, vegan, and cruelty-free. Pay attention to their packaging as well, asking yourself key questions. Are refills available? Is the packaging recyclable or reusable? Are they biodegradable? Are they plastic-free?
Cleaning Your Home without Using Chemicals
If your dogs or cats love playing outside and tend to spend as much time in the backyard as they do inside, then they may also bring a few unwanted things into your home—including bacteria, and mud. Your pet may also claim their rightful spot on the sofa, snuggling by your side and happily snoring away and shedding fur while you Netflix ‘n chill. If so, you may have to clean your home more regularly, relying on a powerful steam vacuum machine to do so. The beauty of steam vacuums is that they are capable of filtering out pet dander and other microparticles, without the need for any chemical cleaners.
Trying DIY Cleaning Products
You can make your own cleaning products with everyday ingredients like white vinegar and water (for an all-purpose spray) or lemon and baking soda (to clean greasy or muddy paw prints). There are a bevy of natural cleaning products available for the home, including Thieves Household Cleaner (made with an essential oil blend containing clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and other ingredients), Force of Nature Cleaner (a gadget that converts tap water and a recyclable capsule into a powerful all-purpose cleaner), and Cleancult All-Purpose Cleaner (which you can buy in recyclable milk cartons sealed with a plant-based cap). When you make your own products, you can add a pleasant fragrance to them in the form of therapeutic-grade essential oils. Check that they are pet-friendly before using them. Top choices your whole family will probably love include lavender (which can help calm stress), orange (which can lift your mood), and peppermint (which can make you feel more energized).
There are many ways to make the experience of pet ownership greener. These range from embracing solar energy to disposing correctly of pet feces. You should also be careful of how your pets interact with their natural surroundings, to reduce their impact on wildlife. Cleaning your home with eco-friendly products is also important. Dog and cat owners often have to clean floors, soft furnishings, and other surfaces much more often than homeowners without pets do. However, you should be vigilant about buying the first product you see at the store. Many of these contain ingredients like formaldehyde, which can harm human and pet health and cause problems when they enter the waterways. Invest in a powerful steam vacuum cleaner, conduct research into the wide array of green cleaning products available, and embrace natural fragrances such as therapeutic-grade essential oils.