April is Earth Month, and although we like to consider every day Earth Day, sometimes it can be easy to forget that having a pet isn’t necessarily the most eco-friendly decision. But it’s not as though we’re going to stop having (and loving) our animals. In fact, many times our animals are our guides to enjoy nature. They encourage us to get out and be in it, really in it.
Thankfully, there are so many things we can do as pet parents every day to help protect the earth and reduce our animals’ carbon footprints.
From how you clean and groom, to what you feed, to how you shop, there are many ways to be an eco-friendly pet parent. And we’ve got a long list to consider right here!
How to be an Eco-Friendly Pet Parent
1. Compost Your Dog’s Poop
Did you know that, in the United States alone, pet dogs produce over 20 billion pounds of poop each and every year? It’s true! That’s a ton of waste. And way too much of that poop ends up in landfills in non-biodegradable poop bags.
This year, try to always use biodegradable bags, and consider composting pet waste in your own backyard! It’s easy, and can yield some great fertilizer for your non-edible plants and shrubs. Just make sure to follow a few simple rules (which you’ll find at this post).
2. Eco-friendly Toys
At our house, the toy bucket is overflowing. And I’m sure we’re not the only ones. But have you considered how many of those toys may not be as good for the environment as you might think…
Moving forward, choose to buy safe, planet-friendly toys made without preservatives, toxic metals, chemicals, or latex that cats or dogs can absorb when they lick and chew. Look for ones that are made with eco-friendly, sustainable materials. For example, rather than plastic, choose materials such as hemp.
3. Learn How to Sew
Ok, you’re buying eco-friendly toys, but you have a pet who likes to destroy toys… what do you do with those toys once they have a hole and the stuffing has been pulled out?
Grab that sewing kit! Toys can have long lives if you know how to work a needle and thread. And trust us, your pet won’t mind if that shark stuffy somehow ends up with a lion’s head and a pig’s tail. Franken-baby for the win! Sewing toys to give them a second (or third or fourth) life keeps them out of landfills, which is great for the environment!
Again on the topic of toys… Sometimes a pet just isn’t a fan of something you bring home. If your dog or cat plays with a toy once or twice then doesn’t pick it up again, what do you do with it?
Rather than tossing it in the trash, consider passing it on to a friend or family member with a pet so that toy doesn’t end up in the landfill. Or donate it to homeless animals that live on the streets with their family or in refuge.
Additionally, consider ways that you can epicycle unused items in your home for your pets, rather than throwing them out. Can you use any of them to make toys for your pets?
5. Eco-friendly Grooming
Just like human shampoos, conditioners, and other grooming products, our pets’ beauty products can contain some pretty harsh ingredients – both for our animals’ skin and the environment. When those chemicals wash down the drain, they don’t just disappear…
Another easy way to be an eco-friendly pet parent is to opt for more green grooming. Look for natural ingredients you can actually pronounce, and stay away from chemicals. We don’t really want them on our animals, and we don’t want them in the environment either.
6. Consider Eco-friendly Pet Companies
At Adored Beast, with every decision we make we consider the impact it will have on the planet, and the best ways to minimize that impact. In many ways, we choose options that give back, rather than take away. An eye on the earth influences everything we do.
Whenever you buy something for your animal, be it a supplement, a toy, a leash, or a grooming product, consider the company. Are they committed to doing right by the planet? Do they practice eco-friendly, sustainable sourcing? Do they give back? A big part of being an eco-friendly pet parent is making earth-conscious choices at the checkout.
7. Practice Eco-friendly Cleaning
Our pets are at a higher health risk than even people from the negative effects of chemicals and fragrances in our home. And when you consider where these cleaners are used, or when, and their close proximity to your furry friend, that’s concerning. And not only are the ingredients in many household cleaning products harmful for our pets, they’re also harmful for the environment.
To help stop the spread of these chemicals into the big wide world, switch to pet- and earth-friendly cleaning. Ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice won’t harm your animal, and they’re also safe for the earth.
We have several eco-friendly cleaning recipes at this post.
8. Make Your Own Treats
In our house, there are 4 dogs. And that equals a lot of treats on a daily basis. Since we’re choosy with the treats we feed, we’re often stuck choosing options that don’t come in bulk. And that can end up meaning a lot of plastic in the garbage bin.
To avoid this, we try to make healthy, natural treats at home whenever we can. That could mean dehydrating liver, doing up a big pot of bone broth, or whipping up a batch of cookies. Each choice we make in the treat department can be helpful for the planet, and that always tastes good!
As a bonus, whenever you can, use organic ingredients. From individual fruits and veggies to the ingredients used in any treats (this goes for the commercial food you buy as well), go the organic route if you can. When food is grown organically, farmers are protecting the environment (and our pets and ourselves) by not contributing to the degradation of the earth with pesticides and herbicides.
You’ll find lots of DIY treat recipes here.
Our Planet, Our Problem, Our Responsibility
It’s easy to think that we can’t make an impact, and to continue living as though climate change won’t effect us. But we are all part of the problem, and that means we are also all part of the solution. We’re all responsible for treating the earth well, and protecting it however we can.
Making smart choices every day can have a major impact. Be thankful for what the earth gives us. Recognize that small things can be big things. Commit to being an eco-friendly pet parent and use these tips to change things up when it comes to your animal and how you treat and live in synergy with the earth.