There are lots of ways you can go green nowadays, like changing your light bulbs, using less water and carpooling. What you may not know is that you can go green with Fluffy or Fido as well. In fact, pets can be exposed to harmful toxins in their litter, food and even medicine, so green living may actually help extend the life of your furry friend. If you’re lucky enough to live in a pet-friendly apartment, here are a few ways to help out your canine or feline companion and benefit the environment to boot:
Set up a compost bin separate (and we mean very separate) from the one destined for your garden. Doing so can reduce the volume of your pet’s waste by at least 50 percent, kill off pathogens and even add nutrients to the soil. You can also pick up after your animal with a biodegradable bag so the contents don’t end up in a landfill.
Be Picky About Your Cat Litter
It may be second nature to purchase the cheapest cat litter on the shelves of your nearest pet store, but think twice before you buy. Conventional cat litter is made from bentonite clay, which is extracted from the earth through environmentally damaging strip mining. This clay contains crystalline silica, a known carcinogen. Instead, opt for natural, non-clay products, which may be made from 100 percent U.S.-grown corn or wheat. Other natural litters may include baking soda and plant extracts.
Purchase Eco-Friendly Accessories
Next time you’re at the pet store, make sure to buy products made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers with nontoxic ingredients. For example, hemp collars are not only hypoallergenic, the fabric also gets softer with use. You can also opt for a pet toy made from organic cottons and recycled PET bottles.
Ward Off Fleas With a Comb
Sometimes conventional flea shampoos and collars contain neurotoxicants and carcinogens like organophosphates and pyrethrins. Instead, you can prevent pests naturally by tending to your pet with a flea comb weekly. You can also search for organic shampoos and natural soaps to keep your companion fresh and clean.
Donate Old Items
Next time you clean out your pet’s accessories like collars, blankets and beds, call your local animal shelter to see if they can use them. Not only will you be recycling these items, but it will feel great to give your things to a pup or kitty in need.
Buy in Bulk
Not only will buying in bulk save you money in the long run, it requires less packaging and you won’t have to keep driving back and forth to the store to pick up a new bag of food or litter.
Walk to the Park
Walk your dog to the park instead of driving. Both you and your pup will appreciate the fresh air and exercise.