We're blessed to live on a beautiful planet, full of glorious landscapes and diverse ecosystems. Unfortunately, the Earth suffers a great deal from humanity's presence. Often it feels like our individual actions have little impact in the grand scheme of things, but if all of us make small changes in our lifestyle, we can make a huge difference together.
These subtle changes are not only beneficial for the health of the planet, they benefit your and your furry family's health. By supporting companies that are committed to being environmentally conscious and sustainable, you're helping change the way industry interacts with the planet. By educating yourself and others to common harmful behavior and products, and adjusting your lifestyle accordingly, you're supporting healthy changes in public perspective and knowledge. Together, these make a difference.
Read on to see how you can do your part!
Buy Eco Friendly Pet Products (Recycled, Durable, Local)
Pet products are often made to be cheap: low cost, low quality, and intended for quick disposal and frequent re-purchasing. This creates a major drain on the environment, as many products are made from plastics and hazardous materials, and have to travel vast distances to arrive in the bargain bin. By investing a little more in a durable, safe product, you're not only preventing more landfill waste and pollution, you're protecting your pet from harmful chemicals. Many pet companies are now seeking safe, sustainable, and recyclable materials to use in their products, as well as striving to create durable products to endure the lifestyle of your pet. Locally, there are lots of safe eco-friendly options, too! Not only are these made from recycled or natural materials, they have less of a transportation carbon footprint. Need a new cat toy? Try our very own locally & organically grown O.G. Catnip Stuffed Mice, handmade from upcycled wool sweaters by Demant Designs. For dog toys, try West Paw or Cycle Dog, which have fully recyclable toys that are super durable, too! Beco Pet's toys are made from recycled materials or sustainable rice husk rubber.
Safe and Bio-degradable Grooming Products
Many commercial soaps, shampoos, and other grooming products are not only harsh on skin, but also toxic for the environment. The chemicals in hygiene products are rinsed down the drain, and often contaminate the water supply and harm wildlife.
Look for natural shampoos and grooming products that aren't tested on animals and are sustainably sourced. We carry a wide range of natural grooming products, like Dermagic's line of pet coat & skin care, Opie & Dixie Organic shampoos & conditioners, and Vet's Best, which provides natural flea & tick remedies, among other products. These companies use gentle, sustainable ingredients like aloe vera, essential oils, and coconut oil to ensure you, the environment, and your pet are safe & clean!
Safe Flea & Tick Preventatives and Bug Killers
The reality of having a furry friend in Humboldt is that keeping them parasite-free is a constant battle. Humboldt County fleas and ticks are among the hardiest bugs, and often are resilient against all but the harshest preventative treatments. Different lifestyles and coat types result in different levels of risk, but a few ounces of prevention is always worth a full infestation. If you can defend the bug scourge with natural remedies, do so, as they have far less impact on the health of your pet and the environment. Essential oils and diatomaceous earth are marvelously effective in killing unwanted bugs on contact. Try Vet's Best Home Spray, with clove and peppermint oil, on any surface of your home and even on your pet. Vet's Best Yard & Kennel Spray is an safe and effective way to rid your house's perimeter of unwanted pests. Just connect your water hose to the bottle and spray a light layer around your yard and patio! For infested carpet and bedding, sprinkle DerMagic's Diatomaceous Earth (a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock. Its fine grains are deadly to any bug with an exoskeleton, but harmless to you, your pet, and your home! To eliminate fleas and other bugs from your carpet, beds, and other surfaces, just lightly sprinkle the dust onto surface, leave for an hour or two, then vacuum up! We carry a wide selection of different essential oil and diatomaceous earth treatments for both cats and dogs. Come by today to stock up and prepare for the bug season!
The common clumping clay cat litter seems harmless enough, but actually is detrimental to the health of your cat and your environment. Clay and silica litter is strip-mined, and cannot biodegrade. Clumping litter often has the additive sodium bentonite, which expands and hardens when moist. The sodium bentonite is inhaled by your cat (and you) when digging through their box and can often cause asthma and lung disease, among other health issues.
We carry several brands of biodegradable cat litters, often made from excess agricultural product, and without harmful clumping compounds. Try World's Best Cat Litter and Smart Cat, natural clumping litters made from corn, Swheat Scoop, also naturally clumping, but made from wheat, and Blue Buffalo's Naturally Fresh walnut-husk based litter.
Sustainably Sourced Food
One of the most environmentally impactful industries in the world is the meat industry. The meat industry contributes to pollution through fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption. We're destroying natural landscapes in order to graze cattle, growing huge amounts of grain to feed livestock, and over 90% of antimicrobials are used in agricultural production, contributing to the rise of 'superbugs'.
The pet food industry uses a substantial percentage of factory farming waste, meaning many pet foods are comprised of the worst quality and most harmful meat products. Avoid heavily processed meat industry waste (meat meals, by-products, etc.), hormones, anti-biotics, and chemical preservatives in your pet's food (and your own). Seek out sustainably-sourced meats from small, environmentally conscious farms and transparent manufacturers.
Compost Pet Waste
America’s pet dogs produce an estimated 10.6 million tons of poop every year, and much of it ends up in plastic bags and dumped in landfills. What's left in yards will eventually be carried by rainwater into our rivers, lakes, and ocean, possibly contaminating these bodies of water with parasites and harmful bacteria.
Did you know you can compost your pet's poop, eliminate harmful pathogens, and even use the compost in your yard and non-edible garden?
To lessen your pet's poo-print, try biodegradable bags like Green Pup, made from paper industry waste (lignin), or the white Earth Rated Poop Bags, which are made from corn (the green Earth Rated Poop Bags are biodegradable plastic, and not compostable). These bags need to be commercially composted in approved pet waste compost facilities, but you can also skip the bags and compost the poop yourself.
See: full guide on composting pet waste by the USDA.
Many cleaners and household supplies are toxic to humans, pets, and the environment. They're washed into our water and absorbed into our skin. If there are safer alternatives that work just as well, why not use them?
For your home, use white vinegar or a plant-based cleaner that's biodegradable. For pet stains and messes, we carry several eco-friendly options, including Skout's Honor, which is biodegradable, bio-renewable, cruelty-free, and non-toxic! Plus, it works so well, you'll never want to use anything else! We now use Skout's Honor Urine Destroyer at our store to clean up the occasional accident, and we've noticed a major reduction in marking since switching!
Spay or Neuter Your Pet, and Adopt a Rescue
A key part of caring for the environment and reducing our impact is limiting population size. Though you may dream of your pet having offspring, or buying from a breeder, ultimately it's irresponsible to create more lives when so many animals are euthanized due to a lack of resources.
Fulfill your dream of a family of critters by adopting from a rescue. The shelter will benefit from more resources to give to other homeless animals. For more information on sterilizing your pet, and links to local financial aid programs, see our previous article on spaying and neutering.
It's estimated that domestic cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds in the lower 48 states each year, and have contributed to at least 33 modern extinctions of bird species on islands alone. Considered a globally invasive species, outdoor cats are detrimental to the ecosystem's balance.
Keep cats supervised on a leash for outdoor play or build an enclosed porch that satisfies your kitty's need for fresh air without putting them or local wildlife at risk.
Contribute time or money to a local feral cat re-homing program, which not only sterilizes cats to prevent population growth, but also prevents feral cats from further impacting the environment.
Free-roaming dogs can be just as detrimental to wild mammal populations, and their waste can contaminate the water and soil. Keep your pup enclosed on your property and close by when hiking to ensure they don't get into mischief and harm the delicate ecosystem!