If you’re making an effort to live a more sustainable lifestyle, you shouldn’t stop with your own footprint; it’s important to keep your pet’s environmental paw print in mind as well. While it can often be easy to overlook our furry friends when trying to be greener and more eco-conscious, the truth is every decision we make for our pets has the potential to impact the environment. So, here are some simple yet effective ways you can live more sustainably with your pets:
Opt for more sustainable food
Instead of the popular ‘human grade’ pet food containing fish and red meat, consider purchasing food made with chicken or rabbit meat, as it has a much lower environmental impact of meat production in terms of land, water, and fossil fuel use. Another good idea would be to opt for pet food companies that package their products in recycled paper or other compostable and biodegradable materials, instead of unnecessarily throwing away non-biodegradable plastic packaging.
Limit the number of plastic toys
Plastic toys almost always end up in the trash or big landfills where they’ll never decompose, especially if you have a very playful pet who likes to chew and destroy their toys. While there are many toys on the market made from more durable and recyclable plastic, a better alternative would be to opt for upcycled toys or even better, toys made from natural materials, such as hemp and certified recycled ingredients. And at the end of the day, there might not even be a need for tons of new toys, as cats love lasers and hair ties, while dogs are always happy with an old ball from the garage.
Invest in a good air purifier
While it might seem unnecessary at first to buy additional products, there are many air purifiers on the market designed to have a big influence on the air you breathe, with minimal impact to the environment. Apart from reducing pet odor and harmful pollutants from your home, a quality air purifier for pet hair can also cut down on pet dander and hair, and help fight off any allergies you may have. As long as you choose an air purifier made from high-quality materials and non-toxic filters designed to reduce energy consumption, you will do yourself, your pet and the environment a huge favor.
Buy eco-friendly care products
Purchasing sustainable pet products is a very small change you can make to help significantly lower the environmental impact of your pets. If you have a dog, opt for non-toxic, organic, natural or chemical-free shampoos and cleaning products that are not only better for your pet’s health, but also ensure no dangerous chemicals end up down the drain and into the environment. If you have a cat, it’s best to use natural cat litter; whether it’s made from clay, sawdust or corn cobs, natural litter is much more eco-friendly than clumping cat litter.
Pick up after your pets
Pet feces can carry many diseases that affect humans and even pollute the soil and the water, causing a significant impact on wildlife and the environment. That is why it’s essential to always pick up after your pets, whether you’re going on a walk or just playing in your backyard. However, the small plastic bags most commonly used to pick up waste are an unnecessary environmental problem, as they end up filling the landfills and potentially polluting the oceans. It would always be a better option to buy compostable and biodegradable bags made from natural materials, which only take three to six months to fully decompose.
Take more walks together
It’s a well-known fact nothing makes a pup happier than a good walk, but it’s also a great solution for lowering your carbon emissions. So, instead of driving to the store or the dog park, consider walking your pup to your destination. If you simply aren’t able to walk around while doing chores, it would also be a good idea to find more sustainable ways to travel with your pet around town, such as using public transport or riding a bicycle with a basket in which you can safely drive your furry friend around.
Living a more sustainable lifestyle requires not only making different choices for ourselves but also when it comes to our beloved pets. Even though our furry friends might have a higher environmental impact, with a few simple changes in your habits and routines, you can easily become a more conscious and eco-friendly pet owner.