Dogs and cats fill plastic bags and litter boxes with poop like its going out of style. Dogs have unnerving amounts of urine which they produce at will in an effort to let their brethren know, “Hey, I was here.” Cat clumps of pee have fouled many a human mood, ruining appetites for oatmeal. And let’s not even get into the vast quantities of meat and water they consume. If you were to sit your pet down and have a heart to heart with them about their Carbon Footprint they’d probably just put their paw in your face and say, “nuh uh, no you diint” .
Well this is where you step in. It’s not like you’re about to disown Fido or let your precious Princess Catface Meowmers loose in City Park to be eaten by coyotes but there are endless amount of corners you can cut to make your pet and hence you a better Sustainable Liver (No, this isn’t an article about staying away from booze.)
If you must own a pet get it from an animal shelter. It is sure fire way to avoid the Mills and stop them from earning a buck. In addition, most shelters spay and neuter and, with a stock of 6-8 million animals entering shelters in the U.S. each year, you’ll be sure to find the “right” one for you and your family.
Many shelters offer “Foster” programs. Max Fund in Denver is always looking for volunteers to temporarily take in animals so that they are less stressed and easier to adopt. This is a great way to have a pet without actually owning one.
And if you are a pet owner be sure to contribute to your area shelter. There job isn’t easy and with their spay and neuter programs they do a lot in the way of reducing the animal population. Less animals being born means less resources used and less animals that have to be euthanized.
Cats and dogs eat meat, which has been proven to be more harmful to the environment then a diet of plants. Much of the meat ingredients in commercial pet food is scraps left over from factory farms, i.e. the stuff we wouldn’t touch with sticks. Some have argued that pet meat is environmentally friendlier because its recycled, that it would be thrown away otherwise. Still pet food creates a demand for meat which increases food related environmental impacts. The best course of action isn’t necessarily to turn your pet into a Vegan, but off-set its impact in multiple little ways.
Find local companies that make pet food/treats. The less it has to travel to Denver the better. Here is a short list of a few Colorado based companies:
And a Nebraska one for good measure
Buy pet food that has premium quality protein sources. Avoid major brands with shady manufacturing practices. Seek out brands that have “all natural” ingredients.
Walk or bike to buy your furry friend his food. Give both of you some exercise and leave the car in the garage.
Consider putting less meat in your pets diet. Although there are no long term studies about the effects of actually turning your pet into a vegetarian, getting a food product that has less meat but still retains the protein and balanced diet your pet needs might be a good option.
Some studies have suggested that humans waste 40% of the food they make. Yes, 40 frickin’ percent! So, got left-overs? Got a dog? Even a cat? Find out what “human” foods are safe for your pet and mash it up and let them have at it (In a small aside here: Never give your pet cooked bones. Bone splinters equal vet bills.) That way you can feed your little schnookums, get rid of some extra food that was probably going to turn bad, save a little cash money and not waste a thing.
Next Article: The Deal with Fido and Fluffy’s Dookie