I thought that as my first post, I'd share an article I wrote for this month's Pet Talk Magazine.
The Greener Side of Pet Ownership
Five Quick Tips for Becoming and Eco-friendly Pet Owner
There are many ways to help keep our environment clean and beautiful. However, most of us live our lives at such a pace that we rarely have time to stop and smell the roses, let alone lend them a hand. When I was little girl, I developed a love for animals that began with my brother's little pet minnow, Scooter. As I grew older and my affinity for animals grew, so did an awareness of environmental issues. So when I decided to start my own pet sitting business, I sought to combine these two elements. Because a healthy environment is a green environment. So, slow down life a bit, smell those roses and take a moment to read on to see how you, too, can become an eco-friendly pet owner.
1.Adopt a pet. Most pet stores are supplied by an industry that is notorious for running “puppy mills” and other abuses. Local humane society and rescue organizations have an abundance of loving animals who need good homes. Go the extra mile and adopt an adult dog or cat. My dog and cat were full-grown rescues when I adopted them and they have been warm, loving, wonderful pets full of character and love.
2.Spay or Neuter your pet. Overpopulation of strays is a huge problem in our country. Over 3 million animals are euthanized by shelters every year. This number would be greatly reduced if pet owners would spay and neuter their pets. Spaying and neutering is also beneficial to both male and female cats and dogs. For instance, spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer and prevents uterine infections, cancer, and tumors. Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces their risk for perianal tumors. Males will also be much less likely to roam far from home once neutered.
3.Compsost your pet's waste, or use biodegradable doggie-doo and kitty litter bags. Reusing plastic grocery bags to gather animal waste only supports their manufacture. These bags and their contents wind-up in a landfill where both will be preserved for the next 100 years. If you have plastic grocery bags in your home, do reuse them- but not for garbage and animal waste. When you're done using the bags, take them to a recycling center. (And next time you're at the store, bring in your own grocery bags.)
4.Buy green pet products. Did you know that although dogs use their mouths to play with and chew toys, the FDA does not regulate dog toys? Many plastic toys that can be found at popular pet supply stores are full of chemicals such as lead and formaldehyde. It is up to us as responsible pet owners to purchase products that are healthy for our pets. When shopping for pet products, read the labels and look for all-natural, organic materials such as hemp and organic cotton.
5.Use natural cleaning products. When your pets are indoors, they spend most of their time in close contact with surfaces that we prefer to keep clean, like floors, counter tops and plumbing fixtures. Most cleaning solutions leave residue that can be inhaled or ingested. Natural products present much less of a threat in these situations and can even be cheaper than their chemical counterparts. Vinegar, water, baking soda, and tea tree oil are all natural products that can be used to clean your home.