dog and cat

How to Care for Your Pet in an Environmentally-Friendly Way

Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash

We love our pets and their undeniable ability to calm us, make us laugh and feel generally well. But what is their impact on the planet?

Like humans, they too have an impact on the environment. Small changes by many pet parents can make a huge impact on reducing the carbon footprint of pets.

In a recent study of 1,000 U.S. pet owners, Rover.com found 81% said taking care of their pet in an environmentally-friendly way is important to them.

To help, Rover put together a guide to being an eco-friendly pet parent and recommends the following areas to consider:

  1. Choose biodegradable poop bags.
  2. Opt for earth-friendly kitty litters made from clay-alternatives like pine, walnuts or corn.
  3. Learn more about natural pet food options, reading labels like you would human food!
  4. Invest in a machine washable bed to prevent having to replace them in your pet’s lifetime.
  5. Shop locally, when possible or at least buy products manufactured in the United States.
  6. Consider plastic-free toys and buying ones that will last a long time, to prevent needing to buy replacements.
  7. Clean with pet-safe, green products: sometimes baking soda and vinegar do the trick!
  8. Talk to your vet about natural, alternative treatments, which can often be used preventatively.

It’s likely you’re making some of these choices already, and Mother Earth thanks you for it! While some of these recommendations come at a higher cost—especially in the food category—other tips will help you save money. Buying high-quality, durable toys will help ensure you don’t have to buy replacements as often. If you have time, making your own toys out of old jeans or bath towels will repurpose items in your house (for free) that normally would have ended up in a landfill. You pup won’t complain—denim is uniquely durable and makes for a great tug of war.

Often what’s best for the planet is also healthiest for your pet. There is an enormous amount of options for cat litter, but veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter recommends picking one that won’t create a cloud of dust after use. This dust can be harmful to your cat’s respiratory system. Therefore, it’s great to choose clay-alternatives like pine, walnut or corn without added perfumes and chemicals.

Ultimately, every pet parent gets to make their own choices from what kind of pet food to buy to what to clean their carpet with. Small changes can make a huge difference, though, and we’re all in it together.

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