How to reduce your Carbon PawPrint

March 7, 2016

Have you considered adding a new furry friend to your family this year? In the U.S. alone, the number of owned pets is estimated to be 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats. In addition to being sweet, cuddly companions, your pets can also be hard on the environment.
If you love your pets and the environment, here are some resources to help you be good to both.


Don’t Shop…Adopt!


The concept of recycling doesn’t only apply to cans or newspaper. Just like going to the thrift store to get a good deal on a used item, consider rescuing and rehoming an adoptable dog or cat from your local shelter. Give them a second chance by “recycling” them. Each year 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. An estimated 80% of these animals are healthy or treatable so why not give the cats and dogs already available a home instead of buying from a breeder? For more facts about pet ownership in the U.S. go to the Humane Society’s website.
Are you hesitant to adopt because you prefer a certain breed? There are so many breed rescues out there that you may have options other than getting puppy from a breeder.
The next step to being a “green” pet owner is to spay or neuter your pet. Take an active role in helping to control the pet population and reducing the number of pets needing a home.


Green Pet Gear

Pest Control

Toxic chemicals may kill fleas and ticks but they also harm your beloved pet and the environment. Mother Earth News has a great article about natural flea control and why those chemicals are so harmful to your pets.


Natural pet-care and shampoo products are the way to go. Brands like Earthbath are totally natural, non-toxic, paraben and sulfate free. If your fluffy companion makes a mess, use environemntal friendly household cleaners.


Get creative! Grow your own catnip, make cat toys out of yarn and fabric or use recycled plastic bottles as a chew toy for your dog. Repurpose that old cardboard box as a cat toy or check out these 33 Dog Toys You Can Make From Things Around the House. Invest into toys made from recycled or sustainable materials. These six dog toy companies put their emphasis on durability and the environment. Also, hemp products such as collars, leashes and pet beds are eco-friendly and durable.

 Bengal Cats playing with selmade Toy


According to Treehugger, most conventional pet-food brands you find at the supermarket consist of reconstituted animal by-products, otherwise known as low-grade wastes from the beef and poultry industries. Make sure your pets eat healthy by making your own treats – here are 4 DIY easy dog treat recipes to also help you save on packaging and processing. Provide them with healthy, environmental conscious brands. The Honest Kitchen is good for pets and the planet with green ingredients, production and packaging and business standards.

Pet Waste

Bringing biodegradable bags with you when you walk your dog so you can pick up its waste is important to keep the waste from being washed into the sewer, rivers and beaches where it can contaminate the water and the ground. Looking for a way to take waste management to the next level? Try composting your dog’s waste with innovative systems such as Doggie Dooley pet waste disposal.

Image courtesy of Earth Rated®

Image courtesy of Earth Rated®

But it’s not just your dog’s waste that can be a dangerous contaminant if not properly disposed of. Your cat’s litter can be just as harmful. Cat owners should avoid clumping clay litter no matter what. 
Scientific American states that when cats (and especially small kittens) ingest this material it can cause gastrointestinal distress that in some cases can lead to death. Also, the clay commonly used can be derived from environmentally destructive strip mining. Be sure to choose cat litter from biodegradable materials will not sit in the landfill for years. Some litters can be flushed or used in yard mulch.

Dog Sitting at Home

 Planning on traveling without your pet? Hire an in-home sitter who will use all your environmentally friendly pet supplies. If you do decide to use a pet boarding service, make sure you ask the boarding facility about their environmental policy or steps they have taken to be more sustainable. San Francisco’s Pet Camp is the only pet boarding place in the country to go green – they have solar panels, a greenhouse, a tankless water heater and many other innovative, green initiatives.