- Spend supervised time outside with pets - Taking time to appreciate everything that nature has to offer is perfectly in the spirit of earth day. Appreciating the little things. Sun shining through the trees, birds singing, leaves flowing down the stream. Whatever it is, take some time and sit. Supervision can keep our pets, wildlife, and the environment safe. Dogs wading in streams can impact hydrology for our little amphibian or salmonid friends. Predation on birds, amphibians and reptiles, bugs, and rodents is common when pets are unsupervised. Keeping unseen waste out of waterways can help decrease contaminants such as toxoplasmosis from entering the food chain.
- Participate in a Dog Poop Cleanup - Picking up after our pets can catch us off guard sometimes. We've all been there, we walk past the last doggie pick-up station for a long while and our pup does the squat. Helping rid areas of waste can keep waterways clean, prevent overload of bacteria from waste, and keep an unknowing individual from having a bad shoe day. We are planning a Marsh Clean Up on Saturday, May 1st at The Arcata Marsh!
- Switch over to plant based pick-up bags or cat litter - While not every municipality has the capabilities to compost plant based plastics, those who do can greatly cut down on their plastic waste. Some brave pet owners have even chosen to skip the pick up bags and compost their pet waste themselves! Renewable sources for cat litter are also a much better option for our environments. Clay litter is a non-renewable resource strip mined all around the world and is heavy to transport. Alternatives like grain based litters, recycled paper or wood, walnut shell or coconut husk can cut down on our kitty box pawprint. Proper disposal of pet waste includes cat litter. Although some litter companies suggest flushing as an option, this disposal method releases bacteria and pathogens like toxoplasmosis that impact wildlife significantly. California and Oregon strongly discourage flushing cat waste down the toilet. This disease can be extremely harmful and even deadly for orcas, sea otters, and other predatory animals. Check out our blog posts on bags and litter.
- Feeding Your Pet Proper Portions – Little can be done in the way of alternative feeding methods, with most of our household pets being carnivorous. The production of meat, and beef in particular, takes a large toll on the environment because of the resources it takes to produce that meat. In addition to potentially making your pet overweight and negatively impacting their health, feeding your pet more than they need (check the package for feeding recommendations) uses more “protein-producing resources” than are needed. Additionally, feeding your pet at their ideal weight and not necessarily based on their current weight is key to feeding proper portions. As a bonus, feeding your pet less means they will produce less waste so you’ll be picking up the back yard or scooping the litter box less.
Rethink your pet food - The quality of pet food has a huge impact on the carbon footprint of said food. While animal products are typically far from carbon negative, using good ingredients can minimize that impact. Local meats and produce can reduce the impact of transportation. Grass fed and finished, pasture raised, organic, Non-GMO ingredients can greatly reduce the impacts of production.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Reducing our consumption is an important first step in stopping waste. Reusing your pets old apparel, chewed up toys, or even dog food bags for another purpose keeps one more item out of a landfill. Plenty of pet products are becoming more and more commonly recyclable. Terracycle does great work taking back a plethora of pet food bags to properly recycle. West Paw takes back chewed up toys and turns them into new toys!
- Spay and Neuter - Reducing overpopulation of pets entering shelters can help them conserve resources and energy, minimize the chances of pets entering unfit homes, and keeping pets off of euthenasia lists. Also, this can help feral colonies from continuing to expand, hurting local wildlife and thinning out TNR programs.
Each of our individual parts are small, but collectively we can make a huge impact. Going all out for Earth Day is great, but even making one of these habits stick can change the impact of pet ownership. Have any questions? We are happy to help you and your pets live your greenest life!