Pets are an important part of many of our lives, but just like us, they can have a large impact on the environment. According to the Pet Sustainability Coalition, “an estimated 300 million pounds of pet food and treat bags are generated in the U.S. every year, and over 99% of those bags aren’t recycled.” Here are some tips that can help you to feed and treat your pets in a more eco-friendly way.
Water and Food Bowls
Switch out plastic dishes for longer-lasting stainless steel or ceramic. Always change the water frequently, but try to find another use for the remaining water – such as watering house plants!
Try to avoid foods packaged in plastic bags. Look for bags made from compostable, biodegradable or recycled materials. For wet food options, choose recyclable cans over those packaged in plastic. Make sure to rinse them out before adding them to the recycling bin! You can also find food recyclable pet food options by using the website Terracycle.
Buy in Bulk
Your pet’s health comes first, and that means sometimes we have less flexibility in choosing their food. Buying the largest-sized bag of food is one way to cut down on packaging waste. If it is an option, choose chicken over beef, as beef takes more resources to produce.
There are plenty of pet-friendly plants! Dogs enjoy many vegetables, do some research, then get inspired to start your own vegetable garden. If you have a cat, grow some wheatgrass or catnip to give them a sustainable snack!
Did you know you can make your own dog treats? Try treats using ingredients such as bananas, pumpkin, sweet potato, and peanut butter.
Cats enjoy homemade treats too! Try making treats that include canned fish such as tuna or salmon, and shredded cheese.
Crazy for Crickets
Crickets are an emerging source of protein for dogs. Thanks to smaller water requirements and a diet of compost, they have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional sources of protein. Many stores have treats and dry foods made with cricket flour available.
Crickets may also be an alternative for dogs with food allergies as they contain a protein that doesn’t spark an immune response.
Look for Local
Try to find food for your pets that is locally sourced.
Local pet stores often offer brands that you can’t find at traditional chain pet stores. Often, this includes a larger selection of sustainable food options.
- Earth Pets – A locally owned pet store in Gainesville, FL.
- Terracycle – Find pet food (and other products) that have partnered with Terracycle to recycle their packaging.
- The Zero Waste Pet Guide – More tips about sustainable pet care.
- DIY Dog Treats
- DIY Cat Treats
Info from the Zero Waste Pet, Tree Hugger, and the American Veterinary Medical Association.