American president Ronald Reagan once said, “We have three cats. It’s like having children, but there is no tuition involved.” A lot of people treat their pets as good as, if not better than, they treat their family members, including giving them an eco-friendly lifestyle.
The primary reason people give for choosing an eco-friendly lifestyle is because they’re worried about the health of their families. They don’t want toxic chemicals to cause conditions and diseases that could otherwise have been prevented. One of fastest growing conditions humans have to deal with every day is allergies to things like dust, pollen, and even their pets.
Pets and Allergies
Humans aren’t the only ones with growing allergy problems. One study reports that as many as 15% of domesticated dogs suffers from some kind of allergy symptom. Veterinary Pet Insurance reports that skin allergies are the most common reasons for allergy-related veterinary visits. While some breeds are more prone to skin conditions than others, the chemicals in products people use to clean their homes certainly do nothing to help the situation.
Dogs can show symptoms in as little as two incidents of being exposed to the same allergen. It’s not that much different than what happens to humans. Later exposures trigger more allergic reactions that release histamines. Some of the symptoms, like mild scratching and biting at dry, itchy skin or painful hot spots, are mild in comparison to more severe issues like anaphylactic shock.
Raising an Eco-Friendly Puppy
While these tips are suggested with puppies in mind, many of them can help other types of pets as well, like felines, reptiles, or even fish. Here are some tips that helped a couple in my neighborhood when they added a new puppy to their family.
1. Recycle. Use a thin blanket to line your puppy’s crate. Old towels are a great way to clean up messes. Unlike paper towels which go into the trash and increase landfill waste, you can throw old towels in the washing machine and they come out clean and ready for the next mess. Cut fleece blankets into strips, then knot the strips into 18” long braided rope toys. It’s not only a more economical alternative to buying toys from the pet store, but the homemade variety will also last longer.
2. Grooming. If you use the best hypoallergenic shampoo on your own hair, why wouldn’t you use organic products on your dog? There are even recipes online for homemade cleaning products that help keep your dog clean while repelling ticks and fleas. You can even get organic and earth-friendly brushes, combs, and other tools that go a step further in helping the environment.
3. Snacks. Making homemade snacks for your pet means you know exactly what ingredients go into the tasty treats. A lot of the ingredients are things you already have in your kitchen pantry. Even retail pet food companies are starting to make a difference in how they manufacture their products, leaving out chemical preservatives.
4. Water. Your pet’s drinking water should be on the same level of cleanliness as human drinking water. If you filter your own water so that it’s free of chemicals and minerals like chlorine, iron, or other contaminants then you should do the same for the water that your pet drinks.
Taking steps to make life more eco-friendly for pets often leads to making additional changes to our own lives, and vice versa. If organic beauty aides are something that are on your personal shopping list, then the same consideration for your pet’s skin should go into what products you buy for it. When looking at accessories like cat trees and dog crates, look at ones created from earth-friendly items.
Don’t Refuse to Tackle Pet Refuse
Another topic people don’t really consider before getting a pet is how to dispose of the waste. Innovative products like biodegradable canine waste bags and canine septic systems help cut down on the amounts of waste and plastic bags that wind up in landfills. New litter boxes, called cat commodes, have reusable litter that sends waste into the sewer, much like when humans use a conventional toilet.
Finally, the more pets you own, the bigger the impact your family has on the environment. There are more than 75 million dogs and 90 million cats kept as pets in North America alone. As a pet owner, the steps you take towards being more eco-friendly might seem like small ones, but if every pet owner took measures towards environmental protection we’d be living in a much cleaner, happier world.
About the Author:
Freelance writer Rick Mercado dabbles in online marketing from his home office in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He enjoys working from home because it allows him to spend a lot of time with his beautiful wife Erica as well as friends within their pet-friendly neighborhood. They’ve found that using safe skin care products not only makes their skin look better, but that they feel better at the end of the day, too. An avid outdoor enthusiast, when he isn’t working Rick likes getting away from technology by spending quiet time exploring Canada’s rugged east coast.