How to Green Your Pet

August 12, 2007

Good & easy tips from Treehugger.com although a somes tips & suggestions are more applicable to the States than Singapore.

1. Adopt from a shelter

Pet breeders have only one goal in mind—to raise large quantities of purebred animals for profit. They’ve also been pilloried for misdeeds such as overbreeding, inbreeding, poor veterinary oversight, lousy food and living conditions, overcrowding, and culling of unwanted animals.   Why buy when you can adopt? Love knows no pedigree. 

2. Spay or neuter your pet

We don’t need any more homeless animals than we already have. As a bonus, spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by eliminating the possibility of uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancer, and decreasing the incidence of prostate disease.

3. Rein in your pets; protect native wildlife

Always keep your dog on a leash when outside, and confine your feline indoors. Two out of three vets, according to the Humane Society of America, recommend keeping cats indoors, because of the dangers of cars, predators, disease, and other hazards. The estimated average life span of a free-roaming cat is less than three years; an indoors-only cat gets to live an average of 15 to 18 years. If kitty needs to heed the call of the wild, an outdoor cat enclosure is a good compromise.

4. Swap out the junk food

Most conventional pet-food brands you find at the supermarket consist of reconstituted animal by-products, otherwise known as low-grade wastes from the beef and poultry industries—you know, inedibles you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot fork. In fact, the animals used to make many pet foods are classified as “4-D,” which is really a polite way of saying “Dead, Dying, Diseased, or Down (Disabled)” when they line up at the slaughterhouse. Unless that can of Chicken ‘N Liver Delite explicitly states that it contains FDA-certified, food-grade meat, you should know that its contents are considered unfit for human consumption—but apparently good enough for your cat or pooch.

Now, since nutrition is one of the key determinants of health and resistance to disease, ideally you’ll want your pet’s chow to be comparable in quality with what we would eat.

5. Clean up their poop

Scoop up your doggie doo in biodegradable poop bags so your buddy’s No. 2 isn’t immortalized in a plastic bag, while deep-sixed in a landfill somewhere for hundreds of years. Cat owners should avoid clumping clay litter at all costs. Not only is clay strip-mined (bad for the planet), but the clay sediment is also permeated with carcinogenic silica dust that can coat little kitty lungs (bad for the cat). Plus, the sodium bentonite that acts as the clumping agent can poison your cat through chronic ingestion through their fastidious need to groom. Because sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement—it’s also used as a grouting, sealing, and plugging material—it can swell up to15 to18 times their dry size and clog up your cat’s insides. Eco-friendly cat litters avoid these problems; a happy cat is a cat that doesn’t claw your face off.

Read more about clay clumping litter here.

6. Give them sustainable goods

Your furry friends can get in on some saving-the-planet goodness, too—and have plenty of fun—with toys made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers (sans herbicides or pesticides) such as hemp. 

7. Use natural pet-care and cleaning products

You don’t use toxic-chemical-laced shampoos and beauty products, so lather up your cats and dogs (or ferrets, rabbits, or hamsters—we don’t judge) with natural pet-care products, as well. And if your cat horks up a hairball, or Fifi doesn’t make it all the way to the bathroom, clean up the mess with cleaning products that are as gentle on the planet as they are on your critters’ delicate senses.

8. Pets, not fads

Sure, everyone’s ovaries ping when they see a five-year-old moppet cradle a tiny chick or a bunny during Easter, but nature dictates that baby bunnies grow up into rabbits, and little chicks into full-size chickens. Unless everyone involved understands that a pet is a long-term commitment that involves demands on both their time and money, you’re better off giving the kid a stuffed animal. Impulse buying (say, rushing out an grabbing the next available Dalmatian puppy after watching 101 Dalmatians) isn’t a good idea, either, as the large numbers of fad dogs that pass through shelters (often to their death) can attest. Repeat after us—especially you, Paris Hilton: Pets are not fads or fashion accessories.

9. Melt the ice, nicely

Use a child- and pet-safe deicer such as Safe Paw’s environmentally friendly Ice Melter. Rock salt and salt-based ice-melting products, which kids and animals might accidentally ingest, can cause health problems, while contaminating wells and drinking supplies.

10. Tag your pet

It might be a stretch to call inserting an electronic ID chip into your pet an eco-friendly move, but losing your buddy causes extreme emotional distress that turns you into nobody’s friend. Then there’s the paper waste from printing out Missing posters, the fuel cost of driving around your neighborhood trying to find them, the phone bill as you bawl your eyes out to everyone you know … well, you get the idea. Ask your vet for more info. For hanging tags, check out these recyclable (and recycled) aluminum ID tags and these WaggTaggs made from recycled silver – Chaos say keep your cats indoor at all times!

Treehugger offers more How-To-Go-Green tips in your daily life.

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