As society becomes more conscious of its environmental impact, it’s not only human activities that we should consider but also those of our furry companions. Our pets have their own ecological footprint; as pet owners, we have the responsibility and opportunity to reduce it.
Whether it’s choosing sustainable dry food for dogs, minimizing water usage or supporting eco-conscious businesses, there are several ways you can make environmentally friendly choices regarding your cat or dog.
Choose Sustainable Pet Food
Making a conscious decision to choose sustainable pet food can reduce your pet’s environmental footprint while prioritizing their well-being. Consider the following when selecting your pet’s food to make an eco-friendly impact:
- Natural ingredients: Look for pet foods that prioritize natural ingredients, free from harmful additives and artificial flavors. For example, RawMix dog food contains ethically-raised proteins like chicken, fish and beef, along with non-GMO fruits, vegetables and grains like sweet potato, barley and apple, that provide essential nutrients and promote a healthier lifestyle for your pet.
- Sustainably and humanely raised animal protein: Opt for pet foods that source animal protein from sustainable and humane practices. These ensure the ethical treatment of animals and minimize the environmental impact of farming. For instance, you can try Pasture-Raised Lamb Dry Cat Food, which contains 100 percent pasture-raised lamb that is animal welfare certified.
- Whole animal utilization: Choose pet foods that use whole animals, including incorporating bone broth. There are numerous benefits of bone broth for dogs and cats, such as joint support, improved immune function, and enhanced digestion. Products like Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth maximize the use of animal resources, reducing waste.
- Insect protein: Consider pet foods that use insect protein as an alternative source, such as Kind Earth Premium Insect Kibble Recipe. Insects, such as Black Soldier Fly Larvae, require fewer resources and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional livestock farming. They also contain unique digestible lipids and essential amino acids to keep your dog healthy.
Reduce Water Consumption
Pet ownership has a water footprint that extends beyond their basic drinking needs. On average, dogs consume around 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily, while cats need approximately 4 ounces of water per five pounds of lean body weight per day. Routine bathing and cleaning activities further contribute to additional water usage.
To minimize this environmental impact, consider:
- Smart water bowls: Consider using water bowls with built-in features like a slow-flow mechanism or an automatic refilling system. These bowls regulate water flow, ensuring your pet can access water without excessive spillage or waste. Some bowls use a sensor to detect when the water level is low and automatically refill it to the appropriate level. This helps conserve water by preventing overflowing or continuous running water.
- Quick and efficient baths: Minimize the duration of pet baths by using efficient rinsing techniques and water-conserving shampoos. Use a handheld showerhead or a pitcher to wet and rinse your pet instead of continuous running water. Look for water-conserving or low-water pet shampoos. These products are designed to lather quickly and rinse off easily, requiring less water during bathing.
- Spot cleaning: Instead of giving your pet a full bath, consider spot cleaning or using dry pet shampoos when appropriate. This can help conserve water while still maintaining their cleanliness. Do the same when cleaning toys or accessories, using a spray bottle for targeted cleaning instead of soaking them in a sink full of water.
Buy Eco-Friendly Pet Products
To minimize your pet’s environmental impact, consider buying eco-friendly pet products. For example, choose biodegradable waste collection bags, natural hygiene products and toys made from sustainable materials.
Traditional plastic poop bags take around 500 years to decompose, worsening the issue of plastic waste. Instead, invest in biodegradable poop bags made from plant-based materials, such as cornstarch, that break down in around three to six months to help you reduce your pet’s ecological footprint.
When buying pet toys, consider products made of eco-friendly materials to minimize environmental impact. Look for items made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp or natural rubber. These materials are biodegradable, renewable and often free from harmful chemicals.
They help reduce waste and contribute to a healthier planet. For example, toys made of recycled plastic bottles or upcycled materials promote sustainability by repurposing potential waste into fun playthings for your pet.
Support Eco-Conscious Businesses
Supporting eco-conscious businesses in the pet industry contributes to a more sustainable and responsible future. A recent study revealed that 34 percent of global consumers are willing to pay a premium for products and services from companies prioritizing positive environmental impact.
When seeking pet products and services, look for businesses that commit to environmentally friendly practices. This includes using renewable energy sources, implementing sustainable packaging solutions, and supporting conservation initiatives.
For example, choose a pet food company that focuses on sustainability and quality. Also, consider businesses that partner with eco-conscious organizations like Ocean Wise, Global Animal Partnership, TerraCycle, and Certified Humane.
Supporting eco-conscious businesses can help drive innovation and progress toward more sustainable practices and products. Your support motivates more businesses to develop and offer environmentally friendly options in response to the growing demand.
Spay and Neuter Your Dog or Cat
The importance of spaying and neutering your pets extends beyond controlling the pet population. It can majorly impact environmental issues by reducing the use of resources like food, housing and medication needed to care for stray pets.
Spaying and neutering pets can prevent the overpopulation of animals, reduce the need for additional resources and alleviate the burden on animal shelters and rescues. The ASPCA states that around 920,000 shelter animals, including 390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats, are euthanized each year.
Spraying and neutering your pet can help reduce this number and prevent unnecessary animal deaths. It can also contribute to a healthier pet population, reducing the risk of certain reproductive-related diseases and leading to fewer medical interventions and associated waste.
A Greener Future for Pets and the Planet
Making sustainable choices in pet care can positively impact your furry friend’s well-being and the planet. By selecting pet foods with natural ingredients, reducing water consumption and opting for pet products made from eco-friendly materials, you can help minimize the environmental impact or pet ownership. These actions will help you create a sustainable future for your pet and the world they inhabit.