We try to protect our environment in every aspect of our lives. However, most of our efforts are concentrated on those things that are most talked about and that usually require assistance from state or local governments. But what about those seemingly insignificant aspects that we can have total control of? Did you know that you can also be a green pet owner? Here is how you can do it:
Re-purposed doggie bags
An aspect where your dog or cat has the most impact on the planet is pet waste. We all carry plastic bags for pet waste when we take our beloved dogs our for a walk, but only those who choose truly bio-degradable, i.e. compostable bags are protecting the planet in the right way.
Unfortunately, most plastic bags end up buried in a landfill and cut off from oxygen, which means they won’t degrade aerobically and turn into compost, regardless of their composition. That’s why you can use re-purposed plastic bags, such as those used to package your clothes, food or junk mail. Alternatively, you can collect your pet’s waste and create your own compost.
If you are worried about adding your pet’s waste to the compost pile in your garden because it might contain pathogens that are not safe for food, you’d be happy to hear that there is a way to solve that problem.
You can establish a separate compost system for it that will reduce the volume of waste by at least 50 percent, kill most of the pathogens and add nutrients to the soil. You should drill holes in a small, lidded garbage bag and burry it with the lid sticking out. Drop the waste inside along with a packet of non-toxic enzymatic septic starter, which you can buy at a local hardware store. Add a litre of water each month. Every two or three years you’ll be able to empty the can. If your pet is herbivore, you can safely compost its waste in your garden compost.
Like most humans, many pets are omnivores, which means they eat food with a significant greenhouse gas footprint, such as lamb and beef. The latter, for example, produces 13 times more greenhouse gases over its life cycle than vegetable proteins, while the carbon footprint of lamb is 50 percent higher. Poultry also produces greenhouse effects, but the difference is not so big. So, opt for poultry-based foods for your dog (or cat) that contain no animal by-product or artificial preservatives.
You can even find organic vegetarian and chicken-based pet food. Speaking of healthy food, many Australians have realised that there are also great organic supplements. You can get great dog supplements in Australia, which help your dog relieve fear and anxiety and reduce aggression and which are made using a natural formula.
Natural protection from fleas
Every dog owner knows how difficult it is to protect a dog from fleas. The worst thing is that the traditionally used methods, such as conventional flea shampoos and collars, often contain pyrethrins and organophosphates, which are suspected neurotoxicants and carcinogens. What you should do instead is tend your pet with a flea comb once a week and use non-toxic shampoos, preferably organic.
If your home is infested with fleas, you need to get a bag of food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE), which is made of the skeletons of deceased diatoms, a type of algae. Cover your mouth and nose to prevent inhalation and rub it all over your pet’s fur, starting with the spine and working your way down. The fleas should all die within 2-3 days, but you might need to repeat the procedure. Sprinkle DE across floors and carpets and leave it sitting for four days (ideally, you should leave the home) and then vacuum. You can also spread DE on lawns and outdoor surfaces.
As you can see, there are many ways in which you can be a responsible pet owner. Not only will you help protect the environment, but you’ll also provide your pet with the best and healthiest care possible, which is the ultimate goal.
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
Salman Zafar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com