We all love our pets, they are part of the family and statistics reflect this in the amount we spend each year on our furry children.

But just like us humans, they can create their own carbon foot print, (or maybe paw print!) that needs to be reduced.  Most of us are on the band wagon when it comes to reducing, recycling and reusing, and many times upcycling in our own lives, but what about our pets?

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Going green is not just for us, we can do a few things to help

going greenCredit: amazon.com

Depending on the area you live in, some townships will take dog poop and kitty litter in the green bin for organics, which is great, but many do not, so instead these items are sent to the landfill as garbage.  You would think this is no big deal as they will break down, but that all depends on the pet waste bags you use, or how you collect the poop from the yard or litter box.  Do, you simply throw the litter into a plastic bag for the garbage?  This will not break down for a long time. reduce waste and give Mother Earth a little bit of a break.    Below are 5 examples of ways to reduce the amount going into the garbage each week.

Pet Waste Bags – If you are a good dog owner, then you likely take bags with you to the park or on your walk.  But many people simply use sandwich baggies, or grocery bags or any bags laying around the house to pick it up and throw into the trash cans.  This is wonderful that you are picking it up (many don’t) but the choice of bag may not be the best. 

If you purchase dedicated pet waste bags, most are environmentally friendly and will break down quite quickly compared to grocery bags.  Dedicated pet waste bags are not expensive and you can get them in containers that clip to the leash so you are not running around the house trying to find a bag with Fido jumping at the door with his leash.  Or you can simply keep them by the door ready for when you are.

going green with your petsCredit: amazon.com
Yesterday's News Cat Litter, Non-Clumping, Unscented, 30-Pound Bag, Pack of 1
Amazon Price: $34.14 $12.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 20, 2015)

Natural Kitty Litter – I was getting the clumping gravel kind, when my friend who works in the waste collection sector of our town, told me they just turn into lumps of concrete in the dump.  So, if there are lots of cats in your town, you can imagine the amount of clumped hardened litter that is going into the dump.  He said it doesn’t break down for a long time. 

So, I did some research and found some environmentally friendly kitty litters that are actually created from recycled materials to begin with, which checks the “recycle” box, and that they break down quicker.  This particular one is created from recycled newspapers and is quite popular.

Tip – Now, cats can be very finicky when you mess with their “toilets”.  So the best way to change out the litter to a more natural one is to do it very very gradually, like over a month.  As you pick out waste add a little bit of the new one, and eventually they will be used to it.  Don’t just change it all out, or they will find somewhere else to go.

going green with your petsCredit: amazon.com
Doggie Dooley 3000 Septic-Tank-Style Pet-Waste Disposal System
Amazon Price: $79.99 $43.57 Buy Now
(price as of May 20, 2015)
going greenCredit: amazon.com

Pet Waste Stations – Small doggy septic system in your yard – If your dogs do most of their business in your backyard and you are picking up the poop and bagging it, then this is a system worth trying.  You simply bury this container and then as you pick up the poops you drop them in this container in the ground.  There is a natural enzyme that comes with the kit that will break the poop down and slowly put it out into the earth as fertilizer, you don’t have to empty it or anything like that, it does the work for you.  It is worth finding a good “pooper scooper” rather than trying to balance it on a shovel (as I did for years).  This will save your back.  But by adding this system to your yard you will effectively save on the bags you add to the trash and the poop is recycled back to the earth.

Good Quality Dog Food – I found this out and was amazed.  If you purchase good quality ingredients in your dog food, your dog will not produce as much poop.  I didn’t believe this until I changed the food.  The typical brands were cheaper but they have a lot of filler that created big piles of “waste” that needs to be picked up.  Less filler in the food means less poops to pick up and is easier on their digestive systems. 

If you do change the dog food, make sure it is done gradually so as not to upset their digestive systems, but you will notice a difference.  I know they are more money, but my dog also produced “less gas” which was worth the price upgrade in my house!

going green with your petsCredit: amazon.com

Natural Pet Shampoo – If you love to bathe your dog outdoors like I do, simply because it is easier then you should be careful of the shampoo you are using when it is rinsed off into your yard or down the driveway.  You can get a good quality natural organic doggy shampoo that has no chemicals or perfumes and is better for their skin and the environment.

There are many little tweaks you can make that will make a difference.  You may not think so, but if every household in your town or city has a pet, then there is waste going into the dumps or down the drain, so why not reduce your pet’s carbon footprint as well as your own and try going green.  Take a good look at the products you are using and see if there is something you can change.