green pet careAlthough pets bring a huge amount of happiness and health to our lives (studies show that owning a pet lowers blood pressure and reduces stress), they can also have a surprisingly negative impact on the earth. We all try to reduce our own carbon footprints, but is it possible to reduce our pets’ carbon pawprints?

In honor of Earth Day, your team at Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic has come up with a number of ways for responsible pet owners to tackle the issue of green pet care.

Waste Not

Pet poop is an unfortunate part of pet ownership, and one that can have serious consequences for the environment. It may seem logical to leave your dog’s poop right where they left it, rather than gather it into a plastic bag and throw it in a landfill, right? Unfortunately, harmful bacteria from pet waste can seep into groundwater or runoff, where it can contaminate streams, rivers, and lakes.

Choose biodegradable pet waste bags, or take it one step further by composting your pet’s poop in a small backyard septic tank.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Playtime is the perfect opportunity to practice the “three R’s”. Look for pet toys made from recycled plastics, rubber, and other materials, and choose toys that can be repaired so they don’t have to be thrown away as often (such as those with replaceable squeakers).

The recycling bin can be a wonderful resource when it comes to making your own pet toys; try an empty plastic water bottle stuffed into an old sock for an active pooch, or a twisted paper bag to keep kitty entertained for hours. Toys your pet has grown tired of, but are still in good shape, can be donated to a local shelter.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

Puppy and kitten mills are not only heartbreaking, they are also major sources of pollution. Sadly, this is where most pet stores purchase the pets they sell. Choosing to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue organization saves lives and helps protect the environment. Having your pet spayed or neutered will also help to lower the homeless pet population.

Protect Earth’s Creatures

You probably already know that indoor cats live longer, healthier lives than their outdoor counterparts, but you may not realize that keeping cats inside benefits the earth as well. According to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, cats kill as many as 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion mammals each year. Consider building a catio to provide your kitty with fresh air and entertainment, while keeping wildlife safe from harm.

Green Pet Care at Home

Keeping a clean home and maintaining the health of your family and the earth is easy with the right products. Look for household cleaners that are nontoxic and environmentally safe. Plain white vinegar and baking soda can also be used in place of many standard cleaners that contain harsh chemicals.

How do you practice green pet care with your furry loved one? Post a picture to our Facebook page, or let us know the next time we see you!