Updated October 8, 2018. This post was originally published after the BP oil spill and it’s no less relevant today. Maybe more so as nothing has substantially changed… Here are easy ways you can help the environment by reducing your pets’ dependence on oil! What can you add to this list?
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 is SUPER cool).
- 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 shared a DIY option or we always recommend toys from West Paw.
- 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! If your pet is overweight, get him to a healthy weight so that he lives a longer, happier, healthier life, while consuming less.
- 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. We love this non-GMO grass seed litter. It’s what we use for our two cats and their three litter boxes.
- 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 make a plastic-free food puzzle.
- 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 pet food made in New York, a leash handmade in Massachusetts, or training treats from your neighborhood 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! Double tip: If you don’t need crates or cages but you spot them super cheap at a yard sale or thrift shop, pick them up for your local shelter!
- 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! 2018 update: We bathe and groomer Cooper and the cats entirely at home still! We have a solid set of nail clippers, a removable shower head, and biodegradable shampoo.
- 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.
Any other ideas on how we can reduce our pets’ dependence on oil? What are you doing to reduce your pets’ carbon pawprint?
Photo via unsplash.com.