I had an entirely different post lined up for today, but all the news coming from the Gulf is so utterly heartbreaking (see video below) that I wanted to put some thought into how we can adjust our pet care to reduce our pets’ dependence on oil.
10 ways to reduce our pets’ dependence on oil:
- Avoid nylon (a petroleum product) leashes and collars. Consider ones made from natural fibers or search etsy for recycled versions.
- This one’s tough, but don’t buy plastic toys! There are toys made from recycled materials and natural fibers readily available which are actually much safer than plastic if your little ones accidentally swallow small pieces. I wrote about a couple eco-friendly options or a DIY option.
- If you feed your pets a commercial diet, talk to your vet about decreasing the amount of kibble you feed in exchange for adding fresh fruits and vegetables – bonus points if you grow them yourself!
- Spay and neuter your pet. There are millions of unwanted dogs and cats who all need food, boarding, transportation, medical care – not to mention half of those animals never find homes.
- Replace clay cat litter with one of the eco-friendly biodegradable alternatives. Not only does clay litter crowd landfills (2 million tons per year!) but it’s made from some pretty toxic stuff.
- Instead of purchasing overly-packaged treats and goodies, make some for your pets yourself! You can grow your own catnip, whip up organic doggy ice cream, or even bake healthy biscuits.
- When purchasing anything for your pets, avoid products made in China. Strive to cut down on the distance your pets’ products travel to get to you. Whether it’s Holistic Select pet food made in Indiana, a leash handmade in Massachusetts and purchased on Etsy, or training treats from your locally-owned dog bakery, there are locally-sourced options for just about everything you need for your pets! (Tip: Yard sales are gold mines for bird cages and small animal homes!)
- Try bathing and grooming your pet at home. Have you ever been in a grooming salon during a busy period? Water running, electric clippers and trimmers, dozens of fluorescent lights, bottles and products everywhere – it takes an awful lot of energy to run a busy salon. I give Emmett a bath, brushing, teeth cleaning, ear cleaning, and nail filing every other week for his therapy work. We have a routine down and, from start to finish, it takes about half an hour. Lucas gets a bath far, far less often, but we invested in a pet shower sort of like this one a couple years ago to make it easier, so not only is it more energy-efficient, but it’s saved us a fortune in grooming costs!
- Dogs get tired of toys, pets grow and need bigger beds, bigger collars, longer leashes, raised feeding dishes. Instead of tossing old items, donate them to your local shelter. Shelters always need gently-used beds, leashes, toys, bowls, and more!
- And this might be the toughest one of all, but reduce consumption! Does your dog really need a rain jacket, a winter jacket, and a sport coat? How many brushes do you really use to groom your cat? The more you buy, the more oil you’re consuming, so try to figure out what really are needs versus what are wants. One thing we’ve tried to do is to make the toys they have last longer by rotating them – we have a handful out at a time and a handful tucked away in the pantry. Every few weeks we switch them out, making each toy last longer and it keeps the boys interested longer, so we have to buy fewer toys.
So those are some ideas off the top of my head. Most I’m trying to implement; the rest I will start immediately. I’d love to hear from you:
Any other ideas on how we can reduce our pets’ dependence on oil? What are you doing to reduce your pets’ carbon pawprint?