100 Ways to be Greener
Critter Careby Starre Vartan
As members of the family, don’t pets deserve the healthiest care you can give them? And don’t forget: Exposing your pet to toxins means exposing yourself to them, too, every time you pet or hold the animal. "The less chemicals we use with food and grooming, the better it is for all of us," says Todd Warner of Tailwaggers and Tailwashers in Los Angeles.
Consider the Kibble
Why: Pet food ingredients are regulated in the United States, but it is legal to contain factory byproducts in kibble, and some brands include quite a bit of filler in their ingredients.
What to do and where to go: Look for natural and organic pet food. It’s good for Fido and supports responsible land management.
Beat the Bugs
Why: It’s important to keep fleas and ticks at bay, both for your pets’ comfort and to reduce the risk of Lyme disease. But dousing a pooch in harsh chemicals, such as toxic organophosphates, can be harmful to him — and to you. If you let your animals sleep in your bed, you're getting dosed with whatever toxins are in their flea treatments all night long.
What do to and where to go: Look for flea and tick treatments, shampoos and other grooming products that contain non-toxic, natural and organic ingredients.
Keep It Under Wraps
Why: You know it stinks. But did you know doggie waste can be a major source of bacterial pollution when rain washes it into waterways and onto beaches?
What to do and where to go: Keep biodegradable, non-petroleum-based bags on hand, like biobags (http://biobagusa.com/) and always clean up after your pet. Or better yet, compost your pet's waste in your backyard. You can make your own (http://www.cityfarmer.org/petwaste.html) or buy one to install (http://www.americas-pet-store.com/details/prodid/235.html).
Consider the Litter
Why: Clay litters aren't good for your kitty's lungs, and the mining process to obtain the clay is destructive. Clay isn't compostable and doesn't biodegrade.
What to do and where to go: There are tons of eco-friendly litter alternatives, from pine pellets (made from waste sawdust, a byproduct), to recycled newspaper, to wheat and corn. Plant-based litters can be composted and will biodegrade if they end up at the landfill.
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