Green and Frugal Pet Ownership

Let’s face it: pets are just like mini-humans from the way they consume, consume, consume.Kibble, treats, toys, human food…the list goes on. This can get rather expensive over time –especially if you own multiple pets! – but there are many ways to save on pet ownership while helping the environment:

Spay/Neuter Your Pets

One of the major ways to protect the planet and save yourself a lot of money and headache over the long-term is to spay or neuter your pet. This may seem like common sense, but all too often people assume that they don’t need to have their pet undergo this relatively affordable procedure simply because they’re “house pets” (or any number of excuses people give for not  desexing their pets). However, mistakes happen and if your pet mates with another, you’re  inadvertently contributing to the domestic animal overpopulation crisis (more shelter animals end up euthanized rather than adopted each year, consider that). Furthermore, you would now be responsible for your pet’s offspring, which will eat up your time, money, and resources. All in all, the cheaper, environment-friendly option is definitely to spay or neuter your pet (it also increases their lifespan!).

Switch Kibble Brands

You’ve probably heard about the numerous food scares and recalls of pet food made in China  over the past couple of years. Oftentimes, large pet food brands manufacture their kibble abroad due to lower costs of foodstuffs (particularly grains, which are sometimes just as, if not more prevalent in kibble than actual meat), and this can lead to some problems for dogs, cats and their owners. First off, manufacturing standards are much lower in countries such as China, which is  already suffering from severe pollution due to these lower standards. Also, you never truly know 100% what is in your pet’s food, and even if there is a significant quantity of meat, it’s likely beef, which is one of the most unsustainable livestock to raise.

An alternative to these potentially hazardous kibble brands is to either purchase a local brand of kibble (probably more expensive but much healthier and safer) or make your own homemade dog or cat food. You can include chicken or rabbit (again, not exactly cheap, but much better for the environment), and veggies for a well-balanced diet. Be  sure to check with your veterinarian prior to switching from commercial kibble to homemade recipes.

Chemical-Free Treatments and Products

To help pet owners reduce the amount of chemicals they expose their furry friends to, the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote a great piece on controlling fleas without chemicals. There is also a growing trend toward more natural shampoo products for pets that can prevent chemicals from other shampoos or conditioners from irritating their skin or damaging their fur.  To reduce the level of chemicals in your pet’s food and water supply, seek out environmentally- friendly bowls that aren’t made of plastic or metal, both of which can emit toxins by mere  contact with kibble or water. Since these are relatively newer products, they are likely more pricy than their mass-produced plastic counterparts, but many pet stores offer coupons on these products from time to time, so check out your local newspaper or couponing websites such as SumoCoupon to help you save money on a new set of bowls.

Recycled Toys

Plastic and rubber toys don’t last long before pets grow bored of them and use the furniture for entertainment until you get them new toys. Instead of constantly throwing out used toys (which will likely sit in the landfill for several years), check out some companies that make recycled pet toys or use some old fabric or rope from around the house to create your own tug toy.

image from the net

Biodegradable Bags

Many cities have poop bag dispensers on the walking routes, but most of these bags are plastic. As an alternative, consider buying biodegradable poop bags to bring on your walks instead.

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