Going Green with Your Dog
By Arlo the Hound with help from Honor Tarpenning
Support for the green movement is spreading world-wide. Corporations are beginning to focus on recycling and limiting waste, and more and more people are jumping on board with recycling bins in the home and overall more green lifestyles. There are approximately 65 million owned dogs in the United States, so isn’t it time that dogs go green too? There are so many ways to lessen your dog’s negative impact on the planet, the majority of which are so simple; you’ll wonder why you haven’t already started!
First and foremost, absolutely have your dog spayed or neutered. That way, your dog will not contribute to the overpopulation of unwanted dogs, and there are many health benefits. Spayed and neutered dogs tend to live longer. There are six to eight million dogs out there who need homes, and they are all creating excess waste which fills landfills and can contaminate ground water. Why bring more puppies into the world when we are using precious resources to care for so many dogs who already need somebody to love them?
If you already have a dog, there are so many easy ways to give him a greener life. Start by choosing food and treats with all-natural ingredients, free of pesticides, antibiotics, animal by-products, hormones, and artificial preservatives. Try Organic Buddy Biscuits or Vida Organic Treats. If you really want to put some work into going green, you can make your dog’s food from scratch with only locally grown organic veggies, grass-fed beef, and free range chicken.
Instead of harsh cleaners with chlorine and other toxic substances, choose and all-natural enzyme-based cleaner. Natures Miracle Stain and Odor Remover and Simple Solution Stain & Odor Eliminator are two safe, non toxic, natural choices that will still do a great job taking care of Fido’s little accidents, but won’t hurt him or the planet. Enzyme based cleaners actually break down the organic compounds that cause stains and odors, rather than just washing them away, so they are often more effective than harsher, toxic chemicals.
Try natural shampoos and conditioners like All Natural Nurturing Shampoo and Magic Coat Natural Oatmeal Creme Rinse. Also, go for natural flea treatments, rather than pesticides. You can try Dirty and Hairy Repel Pet Spray and De Flea Pet & Area Spray. If you feel that natural cures don’t work as well and you’re committed to using a pesticide, stick to spot-on topical treatments rather than powders and sprays. These treatments stay on your dog and result in fewer toxins making their way into the environment.
When you clean up after your pet, (and you should always clean up after your pet) use a biodegradable pick-up bag. Better yet, purchase a Doggie Dooley Waste Disposal System. These in-ground systems work like septic tanks. You dig a hole and bury the Doggie Dooley, throw in some waste digester, and you have a functioning system that takes care of dog waste without any plastic bags (which take 100’s of years to break down) or contributions to landfills.
There is also a huge market now for eco-friendly leashes, collars, beds, and toys. These are made with recycled materials and are recyclable. These days you can find plush toys, toss toys, treat toys, and tug toys, all made with as little waste as possible and with the environment in mind. For fantastic earth-friendly toys try the Orbee-Tuff Recycle Toy, the Save My Planet Animal Toy, and the Tux Interactive Toy. For a snuggly, attractive, and planet safe bed, try the Eco-Friendly Atmosphere Bed, the Nature Nap, or the Eco Orbit Bed.
Going green isn’t just about the products you buy, make sure you recycle your dog food cans and properly dispose of toxic trash. Flea treatments, shampoos, and medications can pollute ground water seep into the soil, check the phonebook, online, or call 1800-CLEAN-UP for information on local waste disposal.
Use your walks with your dog to get errands done. If your local market, post office, or bank is within walking distance, kill two birds with one stone and while you’re giving Fido some exercise, knock out some of the running-around you would normally do in your car.
Do you run into the same people at the same time at the dog park every week? Find out if you live close to any of them and try to arrange a dog park car pool. Also, while you watch your pooches romp and play, share information about green canine lifestyles.
Finally, consider how your dog’s actions impact the surrounding environment and keep your pooch leashed in wildlife areas.
These easy changes can make an enormous difference to the planet we all share. Do your part and spread the world about how simple it is to make a difference.