Tips for Eco-Friendly Pet Ownership
With so many ways to go green today, it’s not surprising that there’s a place for pets to contribute as well. Here are four eco-friendly ideas practices can participate in — and share with clients.
Many pet owners try to live an eco-friendly lifestyle but aren’t aware of the latest green practices and products when it comes to their pets. Veterinarians have a great opportunity to educate people about Earth-friendly pet options. Here are four ways you can help save the Earth — one pet owner at a time — and create a better future.
Donate to Pet Shelters
We all know the tale of the pet toy that never gets played with. Encourage your clients to donate unused and almost new pet toys to a local pet shelter by taking up a collection at your practice. Create a permanent donation box or bin where clients can bring in unused toys that your staff then donates.
Beyond encouraging client participation in person, you can spread the word about your efforts by adding information about the donation center to your website and social media channels. Not only will your donation efforts put unused toys to good use, they will also enable you to connect with your community and be part of the green movement.
Use Biodegradable Baggies
When dogs poop and litter boxes get cleaned, many people reach for the common plastic bag from the grocery store. Did you know that these bags can take tens of hundreds of years to break down in the trash — in landfills? Support the planet by educating clients about eco-friendly, biodegradable plastic bags that are so much more environmentally friendly. They are available online in bulk, in pet stores and at a few other retailers.
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Biodegradable kitty litter is another eco-friendly pet product that cats can adjust to rather quickly. It can be used when creating compost, too — just make sure it’s completely plant-based before you throwing it into a compost pile and that it doesn’t contain any deodorizing crystals. Regular kitty litter — the sandy, gritty, clay kind — takes much longer to break down and decompose.
Put Away the Plastic
Almost every pet product — from toys, collars and leashes to litter boxes, kennels, food and water bowls and more — is made of some form of plastic. With the advancement of the green movement, many more eco-friendly pet products are popping up on the market. Made from materials such as hemp and organic cotton, these pet products are much more Earth-friendly. Hemp is used to make collars, leashes and even cat towers, while organic cotton is being used for everything from pet beds to pet clothing. These eco-friendly pet products are also much less toxic for pets that like to chew on their belongings.
Many office and household supplies contain toxins that can be harmful to pets and the environment. Some household cleaners, for example, contain high amounts of chemicals. The chemicals in many of these cleansers, which may be used to clean anything and everything at your practice, or to clean up potty messes, are just plain toxic. Why not make the switch to eco-friendly, chemical-free products, or try cleaning up with simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda.
Another toxic item you might find around is an air freshener (such as the plug-in variety). These can be switched out easily for essential oil diffusers and oils that aren’t toxic to pets. Keep rooms smelling even more fresh and clean by placing small boxes of baking soda in smelly places to help absorb yucky odors.
Amy Jensen is a freelance writer, blogger, social media manager and lifestyle coach living in Tucson, Arizona. She’s always been a pet lover — her fur baby is a pitbull named River whom she found at the river. She regularly manages social media for veterinarians through Beyond Indigo Pets.