How to celebrate Earth Day with your pets

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Every year on Earth Day, our ongoing quest to “go green” makes its way to the forefront of our minds. In the past decade, eco-conscious efforts have continued to grow as pet parents strive to reduce the ecological “paw prints” of their dogs and cats. Besides being better for the environment, this responsible movement is healthier for your animal companions. Here’s a few ways you and your family (furry members included) can make a difference this year.

Go organic

When searching for a healthy diet for your pet, look for products that are certified organic. This ensures that the food your pet consumes contains no antibiotics or preservatives, and lends a hand to the environment by ensuring that no pesticides were used during production. You can also make an effort to support companies that engage in humane practices. Look for locally raised ingredients and avoid meats raised in factory farms.

Clean green

Commercial household cleaners often contain chemicals that are extremely harmful to Mother Earth, not to mention you and your animals. Preserve the planet and protect your pets by buying all-natural products, or make your own cleaning concoctions with ingredients such as vinegar and essential oils. When it comes to cleaning your animal companion, commercial shampoos are hard on his skin – and the water table. Use non-toxic, organic shampoos and conditioners, and find a holistic groomer that uses natural products.

Eco-accessorize

Environmentally-friendly pet products made from hemp, bamboo, organic cotton and other sustainable or recycled fibers are becoming increasingly popular. They include colorful collars and leashes, durable toys, dog apparel, and bedding materials made without the use of chemical dyes. Hemp is especially hip – it’s one of the few crops that doesn’t deplete the soil and can be grown without pesticides.

Waste not

America’s dogs and cats produce approximately ten million tons of waste per year. A lot of it ends up in landfill sites, tied up in plastic bags that won’t break down for years. Look for eco-friendly poop bags that will decompose naturally. Consider investing in a green waste digester that you bury in your yard like a septic tank. These products reduce dog waste to a ground absorbing liquid. For those of you with cats, invest in a biodegradable litter such as wheat, corn or pine (avoid traditional clay products).

Repel pests naturally

Commercial flea collars, powders, sprays and medications are bad for your animal and the environment. The best way to avoid them is to keep your animal in good health with a quality diet, so his immunity is strong and he doesn’t react badly to bug bites. Look for safe pest-repelling products and shampoos made from natural ingredients, or try an essential oil blend formulated for dogs.

Reuse & recycle

A timeless way to save the planet, recycling your pet’s old clothes and toys is easy and effective. If they’re still in good shape, donate used items to a local shelter or rescue. Most organizations will take anything and everything – including opened bags of food that your pet no longer likes. If they’re too shabby to share, cut down on landfill waste by checking online for your local waste management laws. You may be surprised to learn how many items can be thrown in the recycling bin rather than the trash.

Walk for the cause!

Want to do more? Celebrate Earth Day this year by participating or organizing an environmental walk-a-thon! Many cities host similar events for humans and their dogs that raise money for environmental efforts. These events are a great way for you and your canine companion to unplug for a few hours and get back to nature. No events near you? Take your dog on a stroll through the neighbourhood or a nearby trail. Bring a bag and some gloves and pick up litter as you go!