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Everything we do in life has consequences. Every decision, every move, and every being has an impact on the environment, be it big or small. So does our decision of owning a dog be in with being an Eco-Friendly Dog Owner.
Dogs, like any other living creature, affect our environment in multiple ways, some of which may not be ideal for our planet. But there is a way to be an eco-friendly dog owner and lessen the impact you and your dog have on the planet, while enjoying all the joy and laughter that a dog brings to your home.
Here are some ways you can be a more environmentally-conscious and responsible dog parent.
Every life on earth has a carbon footprint. Research says that one dog is equal to an SUV in terms of how much it impacts the environment. Dogs breathe, eat and do their business, and all these things have some effect on the environment, just like human lives do. Breeding more dogs adds to the environmental burden.
What we must do is adopt the dogs that are already here instead of shopping for specific breeds of dogs, which ultimately leads to dogs being bred specifically so they can satisfy the demand. Overpopulation never helps anyone, be it of humans or animals. Besides, adopting is the more ethical thing to do as there are hundreds of homeless dogs which are miserable on the streets or in the shelters. Giving them home would not only help the environment but is also the right thing to do.
Your dog might have a favorite treat or his favorite bag of dog kibble, but if you truly want your dog to live a sustainable lifestyle, you have to train him to accept homemade or sustainable food. This might be one of the hardest tasks you will have to take on in your quest to become an eco-friendly dog owner, but it is so worth it and is one of the greatest ways you can lessen your dog’s impact on the environment.
Dog food and kibble have up to 50% of meat content, which is harmful to the atmosphere. This then goes on to be processed and packed in large industries that produce a lot more waste and use a lot more energy as well. A better and healthier alternative is to give your dog homemade meals. Get him used to eating fresh green vegetables, rice, broth and other things. Of course, give him meat as well. This way, not only will your dog’s health be affected positively, but also the environment as your dog won’t be consuming a purely meaty diet.
Dogs love their toys, and it would be unfair to deny them the happiness of having their own sources of pleasure and fun. Most dog toys are made of plastic, be it a ball, a frisbee or a smart food dispenser. Plastic is all around us, and it is so very hard to avoid it. However, we can always try.
Opt for more ‘green’ toys, which could include anything from a wooden bone, or a cotton stuffed toy. You could also opt for dog beds and toys that are made from reclaimed and recycled material. Even if you are buying plastic toys as it gets unavoidable at times, you can perhaps limit the number of toys you get your dog. He certainly does not need an entire basket full of stuff; 3-4 toys would be enough to make him happy. Donate any old toys that your dog may have outgrown to pet shelters so they can be reused.
Out on a walk and your dog decides to take a poo? Your first response might be to take out a plastic shopper or glove and pick it up. It is the easiest and least messy way after all, no? No. We need to break the habit. Plastic will be the death of our planet and we need to actively make an effort to replace it with other materials. Next time you want to pick up your dog’s poo, use a paper towel instead. Or even recyclable plastic bags. Purchase a set of bags or wipes made out of sustainable, recyclable or biodegradable material and use it to pick up after your dog.
Chemicals, much like plastic, are hard to avoid. You might do everything you possibly can to ensure that you use no plastic and only the best of homemade food, but what when your dog develops a case of fleas and ticks? Again, it is possible to be an eco-friendly dog owner and avoid chemicals to a degree.
The chemicals used in dog shampoos, tick treatments and other grooming supplies leach into our water bodies and contaminate waters. Sometimes they even have micro-plastic beads that enter our own food chain. The good news is, there are alternates available. Plenty of companies make organic, chemical-free shampoos, and there are ingredients in nature that you can use to substitute for your dog’s grooming needs. Vinegar, baking soda and other regular kitchen items can be used instead.
As a dog parent, you must prioritize sustainability over anything else. Of course, your dog’s health and happiness must not suffer in the process. It might seem like a little harder work to provide your dog with the same kind of lifestyle without harming the environment, but where there is a will, there is a way. It is possible to alter our practices and adopt more environmentally-friendly practices. It might take a while for you and your dog to get used to the changes, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did the right thing.
Apart from making individual efforts to minimize your and your dog’s footprint on the planet, you can also do your part by donating to organizations that are working round the clock to make the world a better place for you and your dog. They clean up the mess that we have made of the world and make sure that a cleaner, healthier planet exists to serve us. Let’s help them in their mission!