Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get Earth-Day Ready: Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Paw-print

Earth Day is this coming Friday, April 22. What better time to do a little more to help the environment? If you own a pet, there are lots of great things you can do. Here are a few tips to help you cut down on waste and raise your pet’s quality of life. You may even save a little money while you color your corner of the world green.

Scoop your poop.

American dogs and cats create 10 million tons of waste a year. By picking up after your pooch with biodegradable plastic bags or paper bags, you can keep your pet’s waste from spending years encased in plastic.

Clean green.

Here’s a great way to clean up your pet’s accidents on the rug or sofa without harmful bleaches and toxins. First, scrub the soiled area with club soda and let dry. Then, sprinkle with baking soda to help control odors. After an hour or so, vacuum thoroughly. The ACPCA also recommends using diluted white vinegar as an environmentally friendly alternative to commercial products. What’s more, you’ll save money on pricey pet cleaning supplies.

Give bottles the boot.

Offer your pet filtered tap water instead of bottled to drink. If you must use bottled in a pinch, be sure to recycle. Dine in. Want to know exactly what is going into your pet’s food? Make your own organic puppy or kitty chow. While the idea of becoming a fulltime pet chef may be too much, ask your vet about occasionally adding chopped apples, carrots, or greens to your pet’s usual feeding.

Walk this way.

Did you know that 40 percent of daily car trips in the U.S. are 2 miles or less? By strolling to the doggie park rather than driving, you not only save fossil fuels, you get in a little exercise to boot.

Throw in the towel.

As sheets or towels start to wear, re-use them as doggie bedding, to clean up accidents, or to dry your pooch off after bath time instead of blow-drying. Old towels also make a great chew toy: braid strips into a rope for playing tug-o-war.

Bulk up.

Buy pet supplies in bulk or the largest available size. You’ll not only throw away less packaging, you’ll make fewer car trips to the store.

Pick your litter.

Up to 8 billion pounds of cat litter wind up in U.S. landfills each year. Instead of using clumping clay litter, try products made from recycled newspapers or sawdust for a chemical-free, environmentally safe litter box.

Give back.

Doing a little spring cleaning? Before tossing your old treasures away, call local animal shelters and ask if they need used towels, bedding, leashes, litter boxes, and pet toys.

ID your pet .

Losing your pet can cause more than just emotional distress. It can cause paper waste from printing out missing posters, plus additional fuel costs from driving around your neighborhood in search of Fido. By keeping your pet’s profile up to date and adding an ID tag to their collar, you’re taking an important step in helping the environment (and your pet). Remember, even small changes can have an important impact. So look for ways you can cut back a little, re-use when possible, and help make the world a better place. Best of all, you’ll be doing something nice for your pet—and your wallet.

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