Caring for an animal is a joyful and worthwhile experience, but our furry friends can have a considerable negative effect on the environment . Fortunately, we can look after them in ways that lessen the impact – and they’ll be happier and healthier for it.
Find out how you can be an eco-friendly pet owner – it’s not as hard as you might think!
Your New Friend Needs Rescuing
Rescue centers are overflowing with lonely pets in need of safe and happy homes. Some have been abandoned or stolen, and sometimes the owners are unable to continue caring for them (often for health reasons).
Buying from a breeder is unnecessary and often unwise, as too many of them keep their animals in bad conditions and import them from abroad, all in the name of profit – a business you certainly don’t want to encourage.
Cats and kittens are in particular need right now – May to September is generally the time when kittens are born, and many cat owners find themselves overwhelmed by the challenge of caring for a litter.
A Healthy, Sustainable Diet
Many people are opting for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and it’s possible for your pets to do the same, but it does have to be done correctly. Dogs are omnivores so meat isn’t essential for them, but they do need protein plus certain vitamins, minerals and fats. Happily, you can now buy healthy, plant-based dog food and there is plenty of good advice about nutritious vegan and vegetarian diets for canines.
Cats need their meat as this is the only way they can get the essential nutrients to keep them healthy – in particular vitamin A, taurine and arachidonic acid. Meat-free diets can make them very sick. However, there are good quality, ethical cat foods on the market that use higher welfare meat from animals kept in the very best conditions.
The Problem with Poo
The average disposable poo bag is made out of plastic; this takes forever to decompose, and that’s just nasty! Biodegradable poo bags are made with corn starch rather than chemicals, so they decompose in a matter of months or a few short years, depending on the brand – a much happier thought and infinitely better for the environment.
Supermarket cat litter is also damaging for the environment and really unhealthy for your cat as well. It often contains silica clay, which can be harmful if inhaled or ingested. In addition, the clay is obtained from strip mining – a process that destroys the countryside and harms wildlife by decimating their natural habitats.
Thankfully, there are alternatives. Biodegradable cat litter is made from a variety of non-toxic products – a lot of them plant-based. Fibrous waste from wheat products, corn and grass seeds, plus recycled paper and wood shavings are all great for cat litter, and they’re better for the environment and your cat!
Natural Grooming – Ditch the Chemicals
There are some wonderful herbal remedies to make life healthier and happier for your faithful friends, so there’s no need to resort to the toxic, chemical concoctions stocked by your average supermarket. Keeping coats clean and shiny and controlling irritating pests such as fleas and ticks is essential healthcare for your pet. There are many gentle, eco-friendly products to do the job, from shampoos and repellents to stress remedies and grooming tools – all made from natural, recycled and biodegradable ingredients.
Many of us put a lot of effort into reducing our negative impact on our world. Let’s help our furry friends to do the same.