Adopting sustainable practices doesn’t have to stop at minimizing your own carbon footprint when you can minimize your pet’s environmental paw-prints too! Whether you have pets, want one, or are looking to get one, the biggest challenges faced by pet owners aspiring to be sustainable is maintaining a balance between the pet’s needs and the needs of the environment. However, the practices you choose should always have your pet’s best interest as the priority!

Here are 5 ways to help you become a sustainable and eco-friendly pet owner:

  1. Always Adopt!
    First and foremost, if you’re planning to become a pet owner, adopt a pet. Millions of dogs and cats euthanized each year due to a shortage of space in the shelter homes. These stray animals are living without regular food, which has only gotten worse during the pandemic. Adopt to provide and nurture a homeless animal rather than buying from a breeder. This way, there’s one less animal on the streets struggling, and as a pet owner, it’s both economical and ecologically in the long run.
  2. Feed Sustainable Pet Food
    There are a lot of cheap food options available in the market made with animal byproducts that contain preservatives, which may not be healthy for your pet or the environment. Try and look for healthier and sustainable pet food options in the market with sustainability certifications, that are high in vegetable content or contain secondary products like animal bone meal or organ meat, instead of human-grade meat. Consult your veterinarian before making changes in your pet’s diet to make sure there are no negative impacts on your dog or cat. You can also make nutritious food on your own for your pets and reduce the consumption of processed, chemically-laden foods.
  3. Invest in Recyclable Pet Toys
    Purchase toys made out of recyclable materials or natural fibers, rather than plastic chew toys which only add to the pollution and harm nature. Several companies offer toys, beds, and other supplies made out of reclaimed or sustainable products. Purchasing pet accessories from thrift shops and donating your pet’s toys to an animal shelter or other pet owners is another way of reducing the footprint by recycling products!
  4. Don’t leave behind your Pet’s Waste
    Never leave behind your pet’s waste on the ground, as they contain toxins that can be washed into nearby water bodies through rainfall. Picking up and properly disposing of your pet’s waste is a very important practice. Also, if you use old plastic grocery bags for cleaning up your pet’s excretory waste, consider switching to eco-friendly options like biodegradable poop bags. Similarly, for cat owners, choose a litter box made from wood, corn, wheat, or newspapers.
  5. Neuter your pets
    Getting your pets spayed or neutered is one of the best practices towards the environment, as it prevents the possibility of animal babies ending up in shelter homes and help control the pet homelessness epidemic. In addition, your pet is safer as there is less chance of catching diseases like testicular cancer, uterus infections, and others.

With these practices, you’re set to reduce your fluffy friends’ paw-prints and become a socially responsible and eco-friendly pet owner!