It's hard to believe, but a medium-size dog has the same environmental impact as driving 6,213 miles a year in a SUV, say Brenda and Robert Vale, authors of the 2009 book, Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living. The assertion is based on the amount of food a medium-size dog can consume in a year — about 164 kilograms of meat and 95 kilograms of cereals. The carbon footprint of cats and dogs is also based on the amount of land used in the production of pet food. Cats reportedly have the same impact as driving a compact car.
So how do you love your pet and the Earth at the same time? There is a growing industry that provides environmentally conscious pet owners new options to help reduce the environmental impact of their pets.
From eco-friendly toys to hemp and bamboo collars, options abound to help green your pet. Maine-based Planet Dog has been providing recyclable toys and products made from sustainable materials to pets and their owners for more than a decade. The Orbee-Tuff RecycleBall is made of leftover dog-friendly materials. This kind of toy lets Fido fetch away, while reducing his stress on the environment.
Collars and leashes made of natural materials, such as hemp, with natural dyes, are also becoming popular, such as Earth Doggy products. Not only is hemp a natural option with a relatively low eco-impact, it is a sturdy one that will hold up well against water adventures in both fresh and salt water, and is strong enough to keep your dog in check when she spots that squirrel in the park.
Don't forget pet pampering — all that pet shampoo residue going down the drain or onto the ground can pose a hazard. Instead, opt for grooming products made with eco-friendly organic ingredients, like Molly Mutt's eco-friendly products. Shampoos and conditioners for pets made from natural ingredients are not only less irritating to their coats, they are also biodegradable and will reduce the environmental impact of your pet.
You can also find organic wool sweaters, pet beds made from organic cotton and, yes, kimonos designed in New York and made from organic materials to keep your pet stylish while being good to the Earth.
There are several product suppliers out there, but if you're not sure which to use, try connecting with your local veterinarian for some advice and tips about how to keep your pet healthy, safe and green.
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