By Cindy V
1. Eat organic. Conventional pet foods contain meat by-products (sometimes this includes beaks and fur!) or filler ingredients such as additives, preservatives, and hormones. Organic foods will mean fewer skin and ear irritations, allergies, bowel problems, and higher energy and immune system. Paying the higher price of organic food is worth the lower vet bills you’ll have to pay for a healthier, “greener” dog!
2. Explore holistic veterinary medicine. According to Dr. Gloria Dodd, traditional drug treatments for pets are working against the body’s natural ways of coping with illness. Research has shown that using a combination of acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, natural nutrition, chiropractic, and magnetic field therapy actually produces the same successful results in animals as when they are used in humans. For more information, check out www.holisticpetvetcare.net.
3. Use biodegradable poop bags. Using regular plastic bags are about as green as using plastic water bottles – they take more than a thousand years to decompose! And since poop is the most biodegradable substance in the world, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put dog poop in plastic bags. It is common to find biodegradable poop bags nowadays for cheap, so there’s really no excuse not to be green with poo!
4. Find PVC-free chew toys. PVC is not safe for humans or pets, and especially unsafe as your dog’s chew toy! Look for nontoxic and natural rubber chew toys instead (Planet Dog makes great ones).
5. Buy organic cotton toys and pet accessories. Organic cotton ensure that the material is nontoxic (free of dyes and chemicals) and that the cotton farming methods were more environmentally friendly than more traditional farming methods. Simply Fido makes fun soft toys that are cute too!
6. Make your own toys. Use materials from your home and you could find your dog’s favorite toy! For example, a ball made of old socks or other fabrics can create hours of entertainment for your furry best friend.
7. Get all-natural, free range chews and treats. Dog chew sticks such as bully stix or bacon twists are all-natural beef, pork, duck, etc. and provide hours of chewing fun-ness for your dogs. Even more, many chews and treats companies make hormone-free goodies from animals living a free range life. One great company is Dogswell, who makes a large variety of treats that dogs adore!
8. Volunteer your time at your local animal shelter. Whether you can spend multiple hours a week or just a few hours a month, it’ll feel good to know that you’re contributing to the welfare of animals in need.
9. Avoid harmful chemicals in your household. Traditional household cleaners, detergent, and even air fresheners are filled with harmful chemicals that can hurt humans and animals alike. A green household = healthier you and doggie = lots and lots of fun days together!
10. Adopt vs. buy. According to The Humane Society, 3-4 million dogs are killed in shelters around the country because no one wants to give them a home. Most puppies in dog stores come from puppy mills, which are notoriously cruel places (just ask Oprah!). And while there are responsible breeders, with so many adoptable dogs available, adoption is the best way to go. Check your local shelters, animal organizations, even your vet offices for adoption buds. If you’re looking for a specific breed, look online at petfinder.com, or rescue groups in nearby areas for the breed of dog you’re looking for. With so many available resources, you’ll find the perfect new addition to your family in no time!