Dear Porky and Buddy,
A “friend” of mine just harangued me for about an hour about how pets are bad for the environment—they aren’t necessary; they cause a lot of waste (poop); they use up a lot of resources, dragging them to the vet, getting them groomed, buying them stuff, cleaning up after them etc., etc.
I told my “friend,” who has no pets and doesn’t particularly like them, (obviously), that when he gives up his motorcycle and his snow blower then he can lecture me, but it did get me thinking that there may be ways to make our pets more “earth friendly” so to speak. What do you think? Do you have any ideas?
Be still our hearts! Pets are not necessary? What about beaches? Blue sky? Grass? Can we only have what is “necessary” in our lives? And who gets to define “necessary?”
But we digress. Of course, if you have pets you should do your best to care for them in ways that are earth friendly. Same with kids. But we digress again.
As a practical matter, if you have an animal companion who eats, sleeps, plays and poops, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to cut down on waste, raise your pet’s quality of life and pay due respect to your mother (earth).
Start with a little fall cleaning. But before throwing your dusty stuff away to end up in a landfill, call your local shelters and ask if they need old towels, bedding, leashes, litter boxes and pet toys. You may have other items, old computers, furniture, you name it, that they can use.
Give your pet filtered tap water instead of bottled to drink. If you must use bottled, be sure to recycle. Remember, they drink out of puddles every chance they get.
Scoop dog poop with biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags from the grocery store. If you have a lawn, check out doggie septic systems—they help keep your lawn free of smelly surprises and break waste down into a liquid the ground can absorb. And look for eco-friendly cat litters, avoiding brands with mined minerals.
Use earth-friendly pet shampoos and grooming products whenever possible.
Should your furry love leave a little dribble (or more) on the carpeting or floor, don’t reach for the bleach. Use vinegar instead. This environment-friendly liquid, which must be diluted with water, can act as an effective odor-remover and can kill mold and bacteria.
There are plenty of small ways to cut back on energy and materials.
* Instead of using a blow dryer to dry your freshly bathed pet, towel or air dry her.
* Walk your dog to the doggie park rather than driving there.
* Cut down on paper products—clean up with rags or recycled paper towels.
Consider making your own healthy dog biscuits and storing them in reusable containers. If you purchase store-bought treats, buy them in cardboard packaging and be sure to recycle.
Buy pet supplies in bulk or the largest available size. You’ll make fewer trips to the store and cut down on packaging that you have to discard.
Basically, do pet care the same way you deal with all other aspects of your life in an environmentally responsible way. And find a new “friend.”
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York.
Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.