Earth Day is around the corner, but every day is an opportunity for pet parents to make a difference with consistent sustainability habits.
And, there’s more you can do than just using biodegradable poop bags -- although those can certainly help.
The pet care industry has made huge strides in creating more thoughtfully produced products - pet toys, bedding, and clothing made of post-consumer materials are more mainstream than ever before.
Recycled and reduced packaging
Your pup’s poo can actually cause harm to the surrounding ecosystem.
"Getting rid of your pets’ presence is really an important thing that we all do every day, and those biodegradable poop bags are worth it for the environment," Daily Paws Editorial Director Karman Hotchkiss said.
If you can’t scoop, you can try to use biodegradable poo bags, or better yet 100% biodegradable and compostable paper.
There are Earth-friendly recycled paper, pine pellets, or wheat litter you can use instead of kitty litter for cats.
Pet owners often must clean up after their furry friends inside, so think about buying your Earth-friendly green cleaning products in bulk to reduce packaging and the environmental impact of manufacturing. It’s not an utterly zero-waste option, but it does make a difference.
For a bonus, you can save big bucks by using DIY sustainable alternatives that are also pet-safe, like baking soda and vinegar.
"Buying their food in bulk or other pet supplies to reduce the packaging," Hotchkiss said.
In the age of cute subscription boxes for cats and dogs, the supply of endless treats and toys are fun for you and your pet.
Hotchkiss suggests pet parents should be selective about what they purchase to cut down on waste and unnecessary items.
Recycling your pets’ toys in an exchange party can be a fun idea with friends to get those items out there again.
"Just gather up those toys that maybe didn't quite make the cut for your dog and sanitize them," Hotchkiss said.
Another way to upcycle is to help local shelters by donating gently-used blankets, beds, crates, towels and stuffed animals and toys.
Spring weather and allergies
As temperatures begin to climb, going outside and being more active with your pets are inevitable.
While at the park or trail, being more conscious of how being a pet parent affects the environment is suggested.
Try to head to the closest dog park to you to avoid the harmful effects of driving.
"When your pets are outside in the spring, they're also going to be getting around in the grass and leaves and might start showing up with some itchiness. That's their version of allergies for the spring," Hotchkiss said.
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergen. But if your dog is suddenly scratching a lot, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about that because that's something that you want to get in front of.
And while plants and flowers are one of the best parts of spring, some are toxic for dogs and cats. Lilies can cause kidney failure and even death if a cat ingests one.
While these recommendations don't cost anything and are simple to implement, it’s essential to incorporate these one at a time, because pets like it when we make changes incrementally.
"Get them used to the idea before you go all in," Hotchkiss said.