MIAMI, April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Just because you drive a Toyota Prius, use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home, or have an organic garden in your backyard doesn't mean you should stop exploring new ways to reduce your carbon footprint. And for the rest of us, it's never too late to start. petMD.com provides pet owners seven simple ways to show their pets how much they care about the environment. After all, it's their planet, too.
1. Reduce: It might seem obvious, but buying pet food and other pet products in bulk saves you extra trips to the store and avoids needless plastic packaging or cardboard boxes that end up in the local landfill. Reducing shouldn't end there, though. Every year, millions of cats and dogs are euthanized around the world. This is the devastating reality, but it's also avoidable. Be sure to spay and neuter your pets to avoid sending an unwanted puppy or kitten to the local shelter, many of which are never adopted.
2. Reuse: If you've ever seen a cat with a ball of yarn, or a dog chase a stick, you know that it doesn't take something with a $10 price tag to entertain an animal for hours. Try seeing what you have in the garage or in the attic. There may be a treasure trove of forgotten items your dog or cat can play with — just make sure they are safe and don't have parts that can accidentally get swallowed.
3. Recycle: When shopping for your dog or cat, look for items that use the most recycled materials. Many companies now offer products made from natural fibers, such as hemp or organic cotton, and some are even packaged in earth-friendly materials like biodegradable cardboard or recycled paper (the higher the percentage of "post-consumer" materials, the better). Buying these products supports environmentally aware manufacturers, encouraging more companies to move towards sustainable packaging and natural pet products.
4. Get a 'Green' Lawn: Most of us know that plants and trees are great for absorbing the nasty (and destructive) carbon dioxide churned out into the atmosphere every day by our cars and power plants. What you may not know is that many of the plants and herbs you use for landscaping are pet-friendly and healthy for them to eat. Check out this list of herbal remedies for dogs and cats for more information.
5. Donate Print Newspapers: For sanitary reasons, animal rescues and wildlife rehabilitation centers use discarded newspapers to line their cages. This is both cheap and efficient. Contact the Humane Society, ASPCA, or SPCA International to see if there are shelters or rehabilitation centers in your area in need of old newspapers. If nothing else, the puppies at the shelter get a chance to catch up on their Marmaduke.
6. Be 'Green' When You Clean: Club soda and baking soda are excellent alternatives to many toxic cleaning products that can both pollute the air and harm your pets. Pet owners should also consider odor neutralizing plants such as bamboo palms, Brazilian orchids, cape marigolds, and duffii ferns that can both filter the air and serve as home remedies for dogs and cats.
7. Adopt a Pet: This may be a strange way of looking at it, but cat or dog adoption is the ultimate way to recycle. Not only will you get a loveable best friend that cares for you, but you save at least one animal from being euthanized. Find a reputable animal shelter in your area and save a life.
petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. petMD is a subsidiary of the Pet360 family of brands, which also includes PetFoodDirect.com – the most complete pet food and supply retailer online, and NationalPetPharmacy.com– a fully certified, full-service pet pharmacy delivering pet meds, vitamins and comprehensive pet health and wellness products.