Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains has a lot of perks. Our local farmers’ market has the ripest tomatoes, the sweetest honey, and the plumpest pumpkins, all grown or harvested from right within our own county. Along with healthy foods that are grown locally, we shop local businesses over big name stores whenever possible. And when it comes to our pets, we believe they should have the same right to an eco-friendly lifestyle that we have. After all, they share our home so why shouldn’t they share those perks?
The Eco Friendly Lawn
Nothing’s less attractive than a lawn dotted by faded areas caused by pet excrement or piles of dried feces littering the flowerbeds. Not only is it unattractive, but it’s also a health hazard. There are earth-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products that are safer to use when cleaning up after your pet than similar products with harsh chemicals. When picking up your dog’s piles from the yard, use biodegradable poop bags. Unlike non-biodegradable ones, these won’t lie around the landfill until they’re some future generation’s problem.
Something else that can help is buying a dog food that has less filler ingredients and more high-quality protein. Your dog’s body will use more of the nutrient-rich, high-quality food which means less waste for your yard and sidewalks. And manufacturers that make these products often put them in recycle-friendly packaging.
Bed, Bath, and Bow-wow-wow
You wouldn’t put so much time and effort into the outside of your house and then ignore the inside. Some of the things you can do to maintain the inside of an eco-friendly home that’s shared with pets are similar to things you’d do outside. Use organic cleaners, for instance. Here are some other things you can do, too.
- Bedding – We enjoy earth-friendly bedding on our beds. Some friends spent their entire pregnancy searching for the best organic crib mattress for their new little one. So why would you forego earth-friendly bedding for your pet? The simple answer is, you wouldn’t Manufacturers are starting to use products like recycled water bottles as filler in pet beds to keep the material from winding up in landfills. They’re comfortable and retain their shape longer than similar beds with standard pillow inserts.
- Bath products – If you can’t take your dog to an organic pet spa for grooming, then check into botanical and organic grooming products. Herbal flea remedies, doggy deodorizers with all natural ingredients, and other canine hygiene products are as easy on the earth as they are on your dog. When you bathe your dog in the back yard using organic flea shampoo, then you can be sure those suds that are seeping into the lawn aren’t filling your yard with harmful chemicals.
- Accessories – One of my favourite accessories for me is a cowl type scarf that I knitted from earth-friendly yarn. It’s soft, warm, and best of all there are no harmful dyes or other products. When it comes to collars, leashes, sweaters, and other accessories for our dogs my family prefers buying ones made from products like earth-friendly, natural hemp cord or recycled, re-purposed climbing rope.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is something that a lot of us grew up hearing. It is a small phrase that is backed by a big message. This is important in every aspect of your home, including with your pets, because once you adopt an earth-friendly lifestyle where you live, it will be easier to keep up the healthy habits when you’re out and about as well. Buying durable products that outlast flimsy ones made with cheap materials, using appliances with a good Energy Star rating, and using solar energy are all ways to increase your level of earth-friendliness.
Final Tips for an Eco-Friendly Fido
When one of our dogs contracted fleas, it seemed like they multiplied to every room of the house in a short amount of time. However, I knew I did not want to use chemicals on my dogs. Our veterinarian recommended brewer’s yeast to treat the problem. Because fleas hate the taste of it, they’re less likely to try and make their homes in the fur of dogs that eat the ingredient. As it’s sprinkled over your dog’s food, your dog will simply see it as an extra treat.
Another bit of advice our vet gave us was regarding our dogs’ dry skin issues. We thought it was something in the food causing the problem but apparently our dogs were a little too clean. Too much shampoo and other canine hygiene products can dry out the skin beneath the dog’s fur. It was also a great earth-friendly tip, as less frequent dog washing means better conservation of the water we use to keep them clean.
About the Author:
Freelance author Becky James-Muth lives with her fire-fighter husband, their two teenage sons, and their two large-breed dogs. When they decided to take steps towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle they included everyone from the puppies to the kids’ grandparents. They found a lot of tips at www.ecohomeinspired.com and similar websites online. When she’s not working or spending time with her family, Becky enjoys knitting, trying new recipes, and watching football games that star her favourite NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning.