Do you bring reusable tote bags with you to the farmer's market and program your thermostat to a lower temperature when you're out on the town or sleeping? Is a hybrid car parked in your garage? Even if you are already making great strides to reduce your environmental footprint, chances are you can still find additional ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. For example, if you own a pet, explore the following ways to incorporate green living into pet care.
Adopting a dog, cat, bird, or bunny from a local animal shelter or rescue organization is more environmentally friendly than buying directly from a breeder. Overpopulation of pets contributes to waste, and adopting a shelter animal can help maintain the pet population while providing pets with a new home.
Buying in bulk
Purchasing pet food and other products in bulk saves you trips to the store and reduces the need for additional packaging. Consider chipping in with other pet owners and splitting large bags of food or other supplies if you have too much surplus. You also can donate any extra food or supplies you don't use to an area rescue group.
When buying, look for products made from natural, organic and recycled materials. Shop at local pet supply stores to minimize fuel consumption.
Seemingly endless selections of pet food makes it difficult to find the right foods for your furry friends. Foods made of all-natural, organic ingredients tend to be the most eco-friendly. Check to see where a particular food is manufactured. Foods that are made overseas may not meet the stringent requirements placed on food by North American regulatory bodies, and transporting such foods consumes fuel and other resources, making them less eco-friendly than locally produced foods.
Pet waste is not only a nuisance and eye sore, but detrimental to the environment. Dog waste can be toxic to a lawn, causing discoloration and burns. Estimates suggest that dog waste may contain around 23 million fecal coliform bacteria in a single gram. Dog feces also can harbor heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and many other parasites.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pet droppings can contribute to zoonoses, which are diseases animals pass to humans. When infected dog waste is deposited on your lawn, the eggs of certain parasites may linger in your soil for years. Anyone who comes into contact with that soil runs the risk of contact with those eggs. Promptly picking up and properly disposing of waste can reduce the likelihood of a potential parasite infestation.