Ways to Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Paw Print

By Claudia Loomis

Just like humans, pets can leave a fairly sizable impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are lots of ways we can reduce our pet’s carbon paw print with minimal effort and minimal sacrifice.  Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you and your pet to live a greener eco-friendly life. 

Play Green: When choosing fun and interactive items for your pets, chose toys and games that are made from recycled materials.  These will be called out on the label or tags.   In addition, there are a few pet toy companies that have made a conscience choice to manufacture with minimal impact to the environment.  Two companies that come to mind are Planet Dog, which makes their rubber based toy products with recycled materials and West Paw which manufactures all their products in the USA in an eco-friendly way. 

Walk Green: Hemp, soy, and recycled plastic bottles are the newest materials used to make eco- friendly leads and collars.  Leads and collars made from these materials are every bit as strong as synthetic nylon leads and collars and you do not have to pay a premium to make a green choice when buying these products.  What better way to celebrate Earth Day and every day with your dog then taking in all that Mother Nature has to offer on a walk or a hike?

Clean Green: What better way to follow up Walk Green with a few comments about a walk necessity, poop bags. Not all poop bags are created or degrade equally.  Some poop bags are photo-biodegradable, which means that they need to be exposed to the sun to degrade and compost.  Well the truth is that very few poop bags ever see the light of day once they hit the trash.  So pay attention when purchasing this walk necessity.  Recent changes in the US Federal Trade Commission regulations, applied to the pet industry mean that many poop bag companies have bags that no longer meet the regulatory definition of “biodegradable” because the bags can’t be proven to break down in a specified period of time in a landfill environment.  So you no longer will see the biodegradable claim on many types of poop bags.  The wording now used is “degradable” because some bags do degrade, but not in the window of time specified by the US Federal Trade Commission.  There are many bags that no longer make any claim about degrading, this is mostly due to the fact that they contain more plastic and actually do not break down for years and years in landfills if really at all.  A great degradable bag that also pays attention to green manufacturing is from a company called EarthRated.

When your pet has accidents at home, you can feel good about using the old standard clean up solutions like Nature’s Miracle, because these solutions contain millions of natural enzymes that actually break down urine.  Favorites of ours include Nature’s Miracle, XO, and Miracle Air. 

Feed Green: Aside from the obvious health benefits of feeding a natural, holistic, and biologically appropriate diet to our beloved pets there is the added benefit of greatly reduced stool volume.  Diets that are free from corn, wheat, soy, animal by-products, and artificial colors and preservatives are more biologically available and more completely digested by pets. We all know the adage: garbage in, garbage out, this is very true with diets that are high in indigestible grains such as corn and wheat, these undigested grains quite simply are eliminated and produce much larger and more frequent poops.