Not meant in the literal sense of course; if your animals are green, you should probably take them to the vet. But what about environmentally-friendly? We go to such great lengths to improve our own lives and those of our families that we forget that we’re also responsible for a few other carbon footprints as well.
Just How Big a Footprint are we talking about?
Quite a big one it seems according to New Zealand scientists Robert and Brenda Vale who estimate that a pet’s carbon footprint is twice that of an SUV. The majority of the pet’s footprint comes down to their diet: dogs and cats are meat eaters and both tend to consume large amount of meat each year.
Critics argue that we should focus on our consumption before worrying about that of domesticated animals, but if you’ve already started to optimise your life for the greener are there some easy ways you can also make your pet’s life greener too? It seems there are.
#1 Adopt From A Shelter
If you haven’t bought a pet already, or if you’re thinking about getting another pet, try to adopt from a shelter. Every day thousands of pets are born in Australia and put up for adoption, either through shelters or adverts in local papers. Meanwhile, breeders nationwide are doing their very best to breed as many new animals for profit as they can. The solution seems simple: take the strain off the animal shelters, and thus the demand from the breeders and soon the number of pets born each year will begin to match the demand.
#2 Consider Spraying or Neutering Your Pet
If you’re unable to look after a little of puppies, then don’t feed the problem. Many animal shelters are already overcrowded; do your bit by not adding to the problem where possible.
#3 Clean Up the Poop (In a green way)
Most pet owners scoop up the poop and place it in a plastic or freezer bag. The problem with this is that the plastic bag preserves the bio-degradable poop for years to come, rather than allowing it to degrade. Consider getting a bio-degradable poop bag to help solve the problem.
#4 Use Eco-Friendly Pet Products
From natural shampoos to hemp collars, there are a growing range of green pet products out there which reduce your pet’s negative impact on the environment.
Don’t just throw away that old towel: repurpose it as bedding, a doggie towel, or a mat for the car.
Over the past few years we’ve put an increasing amount of effort into making our lives greener, now it’s time to think about our pets.
James writes for Trusted Housesitters Australia.