Photo from last spring because its snowing here and all the grass is dead...
1. Adopt, Don't Shop! I don't remember where I read this, but I once read an article that refereed to shelter or rescue dogs as 'recycled'. I love this idea. Dogs that have been owned before and then, for whatever reason, end up in a shelter or a rescue can be considered recycled. Adopting a dog from shelter is a great way to be a 'Green' pet owner because you are giving a dog that was previously 'thrown away' a new purpose. Thus you really are recycling.
2. Spay and Neuter ALL your pets. By spaying and neutering your animals you are doing so much good for issues like over population. Some people think that if they just spay/neuter one of their pets that it will be okay. But what if your one unaltered pet gets lost or escapes? It could either come back home pregnant (if its a female) or it could have impregnated countless other un-spayed dogs (if its a male) while he was out.
I know many men who say that they 'don't have the heart' to neuter their male dogs. And I guess I can understand this to a point... but its still no excuse for not spaying/neutering your animals. By neutering your male dogs you are actually reducing a lot of health risks, such as testicular cancer, and reducing aggression brought on by hormones. Thousands and thousands of animals are put to sleep every year because there are simply are not enough homes for all of them. By making sure that your pets do not not reproduce, you are saving lives.
3. Use pet supplies that are recyclable or made from recycled materials. There are many recyclable pet supplies out there. From potty bags to even toys. There are many different choices when buying pet supplies, choosing to buy only recycled or recyclable supplies is a great way to be a Green pet owner.
4. Choose quality over quantity. When you pick out toys for your dog, make sure that they will last. The higher quality toys may be more expensive initially. But if you have to keep buying that same $5 toy over and over again because your dog keeps tearing it up 20 minutes after you give it to them it will add up very quickly. Buying toys that last a long time is also better because you are producing less waste by not having to throw away ripped up toys so often.
5. Clean up after your pet. Buy making sure you properly dispose of your dog's waste you are reducing the amount of contaminates that ends up in our water sources. When it rains, whatever is on the ground has the potential to run into nearby ponds, streams, rivers, etc. By cleaning up after your dog, you can help reduce the amount of water pollution.
6. Buy in bulk. By buying dog food or treats in bulk you can reduce the amount of packaging waste. A 50lb bag of dog food has less packaging material than five 10lb bags. Its also more cost effective. Most manufactures will reduce the price per ounce as the amount you are buying increases. Also make sure you are recycling the packaging after you are done with it.
7. Buy local. Buying locally produced brands or from 'Mom and Pop' stores you are supporting your own community. You are also cutting down on the amount of resources needed to get the products you are buying to you. Products procured from large factories result in a lot of waste and pollution. Both from being made and from being shipped to chain stores across the country.
I hope that you find these tips helpful! And if you have any more tips you can share with us about being a Green pet owner, please leave them in the comments below!