Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Green Paw Prints

blog by: Kim

Tips for Greening Your Pet & Saving the Homeless Ones

Who doesn’t love the sound of four paws running across the room with manic fervor? We love our pets. According to Psychology Today, pets have become such important parts of our families that traditional pet names like Fluffy and Fido have, in recent years, given way to adorable human names such as Max and Lily. Some people are cat people, some are dog people-but regardless of which camp they fall into, most people are simply crazy about their pets. They love us unconditionally. It’s easy to see why we love them so. It seemed a natural fit to take a green spin on responsible pet ownership and reducing your carbon paw print.

First off, we want to feed them the best food we can. If you can afford to, choose organic pet food that is free of BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin, harmful chemicals found in some mainstream pet foods. Try Karma Naturals. If you’d like to price shop, hit your local pet supply store and skim the food shelves to compare different organic brands and prices that work with easily your wallet.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good bakery that specializes in natural, baked animal treats. Naturally made treats contain less fillers and chemical additives. I love Three Dog Bakery:

Another tip: Scoop the poop please. Rain water carries pet waste and other pollutants directly into waterways.  Animal waste can sometimes contain harmful organisms like Giardia, Salmonella and E. coli. Worms can be transmitted to humans and other animals by ingesting contaminated water. That doesn’t sound good in the least. Extra points if you reduce your pet's carbon poo-print with Biodegradable Business Bags made from real corn. They biodegrade completely in 45 days and become fertilizer. How cool is that? Available at:

For cat owners, why not go au-natural? When selecting safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly kitty litter, look for plant based litters made from natural sources like wheat, wood, and newspaper. Not only does clay based litter come from strip mining, but when your cat, dog, and other furry friends ingest clay litter, they can suffer from asthma or other lung problems. Clumping litter leaves a huge carbon footprint. The main culprit is sodium bentonite, a natural clay ingredient that expands into a hard mass when it comes into contact with moisture. Kitty can also ingest the clay while cleaning her paws and some even develop sores on her pads from it. Bad kitty litter, bad!

Upcycle Chic: Recycle and Repurpose your old dog or cat beds. Donate them to your local animal shelter. Or, simply fill a duvet with old clothes or bedding that you might have laying around the house and create a sharp looking new bed for your pet. Donate toys that they no longer play with because there are plenty of homeless animals in shelters that would love a toy from you.

On a more serious note, please remember that animal shelters all across the USA are overrun with too many animals due to overpopulation. There are so many feral cats having endless litters of kittens or home dog breeders allowing dogs to mate multiple times in hopes of selling the puppies- referred to as surplus births. Many of these poor animals are impulse purchased as cute babies, but later abandoned, neglected and eventually euthanized. Getting your pet spayed or neutered is the most effective defense against overpopulation. By doing that, it places fewer and fewer offspring in kill-shelters. Before you buy a puppy from a pet store or an inhumane puppy mill, look at your local shelter for an adult dog that needs a good home.

Don’t rule out an elderly dog or cat either. They are the most overlooked and they make amazing pets for someone who’s looking for a mellow friend to share their days with. Americans love their pets. We spend over $3 billion yearly caring for and spoiling them. Yet according to the Humane Society of the United States, millions of pets are euthanized in America’s shelters every year!

Reading about it is one thing- but advocating for the animals is even better. Donate a little of your time or used pet products to a shelter. Drop off a blanket or a bag of food. Donate even a few dollars to them if you can spare it. Most of these organizations are volunteer based and rely solely on donations from individuals or businesses to support their work to provide compassionate care, medical treatment and adoption services to a never ending influx of animals in need.

Over $2 billion is spent annually by local governments to shelter and ultimately kill 8-10 million adoptable dogs and cats due of shortage of homes. Source: Business Wire Features
Less than 3% of dog guardians are responsible for surplus births.
Source: Save Our Strays

An estimated 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year. Millions more are abandoned, only to suffer from illness or injury before dying. Source: Doris Day Animal League

Educating ourselves and our children is one of the best ways to prevent neglect, abuse and pet overpopulation. And even small steps at reducing our carbon paw prints make a difference in the long-run. Woof.

"Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms."  ~George Eliot

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