This Earth Day, here are a few ways that pet owners can make a difference:
1. Spay and neuter your pets. This is the most important way you can avoid overpopulation and help preserve the earth's limited resources in the long run.
2. Choose toys and accessories made from organic, natural and biodegradable materials rather than chemical-laden plastics that take years longer to break down.
3. Reuse plastic bags from the grocery store as litter box liners and doggie clean-up bags.
4. When buying the pet products you need, try your best to support green companies (those with sustainable business practices, those that rely on natural ingredients, etc...).
5. Check the labels of shampoos and flea and tick treatments to avoid possibly dangerous chemicals (to humans and to the environment). This guide from the Natural Resources Defense Council will help you choose the smartest and safest products.
6. Visit your local farmer's market and support local entrepreneurs, who often use more earth-friendly methods due to their smaller-scaled operations.
7. For cleaning up messes, try to use basic cleaning ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar rather than hard-core cleaning liquids that may do harm to the environment when they re-enter the water supply.
8. If you're planning to travel with your pets, keep your car well-maintained in order to get the best gas mileage possible, and if you're planning to buy a dog-friendly car in the future, do your best to avoid a gas guzzler.
9. Go as paperless as possible. If your vet sends postcard reminders, ask her to email you instead. Unsubscribe from paper newsletters, and try to be removed from all junk mail lists.
10. Turn off the TV, ignore the car keys, and go for a walk. Exercise helps keep dogs healthy and happy, and it doesn't put a strain on the environment.
What are your earth-friendly pet tips? Share them here or on our Facebook wall!