Spoil Your Pup and Protect the Environment

Whether you’ve recently added a new four-legged member to your family, or just want to treat your existing pet right, there are plenty of affordable products and supplies for your furry friend that will make everyone happy, including Mother Nature.

Start with the fun stuff: toys! Don’t spend a fortune on plush new chew toys your dog’s powerful jaws could demolish in a few days. Shop yard sales and thrift stores for used rubber dolls or balls and stuffed animals that pooch will enjoy just as much as if they were brand new. When you do buy new, choose toys like those from West Paw’s Zogoflex line that are tough, pliable, non-toxic and designed to be recyclable. An added bonus: they’re dishwasher safe.

  • Also, check out West Paw’s inexpensive Eco Bones, which are made of 85 percent re-  engineered recycled IntelliLoft fibers that offer Fido a strong, squeaky and eco-friendly way to exercise his jaws while saving you money on the real bones you might otherwise buy every week.

Hemp Collars and Leashes. Hemp is a natural fiber that has been grown for the last 12,000 years in a variety of climate and soils without pesticides and herbicides. Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent, and more mildew-resistant than cotton; they’re hypoallergenic, 100 percent biodegradable, odor resistant and anti-bacterial, too.

  • Earthdog offers a variety of hemp collars and leashes.
  • Planet Dog’s hemp collar is adjustable, and its cozy leash comes with a fleece-lined handle.
  • The Good Dog Company Hemp Canvas Collars also come in a variety of colors, styles and sizes.

Eco-Friendly and Comfortable Dog Beds. Dogs sleep at least 12 hours a day if not more, so ensuring they have the best bed possible is a must (and will keep them off the couch!). Beds made from natural materials such as recycled cotton, feathers, wool or kapok fiber offer a healthy ‘green’ alternative to the synthetics found in many conventional pooch pads.

  • West Paw Design utilizes eco-friendly materials such as reclaimed cotton,organic cotton, eco fabric and stuffing made with IntelliLoft recycled fibers, recyclable Zogoflex, and recycled fabric that can be used again and again without falling apart.
  • Big Shrimpy Planet-Friendly Beds are stuffed with Smartfill, a 100 percent pre-consumer recycled    polyester fiber. The zip-off bed cover and the fill can be washed and dried in your machines at home.

What if it’s chow time?

Pet owners often find that organic and natural ingredients improve their animal’s digestive system while keeping coats shiny and healthy. You can determine what organic food best suits your dog by taking Organic Pet Digest’s Healthy Label Test. Most food coops and many grocery stores carry Newman’s Own Organic Pet Food as well asother organic lines.

Of course, all this is for naught if you don’t keep your home healthy. Pet are just as susceptible to indoor air pollution as people – maybe more so, since they spend so much time on the ground, where they can inhale fumes from floor cleaners and pick up dirt that’s tracked in from outside. Use nontoxic cleansers on carpeting and furniture; both you and your pet will benefit. 

Finally, don’t despair over the two banes of any dog owner’s existence: fleas, and poop. These suggestions for natural flea treatments, along with links to biodegradable poop bags, will help you make your best four-footed friend Mother Nature’s friend, too. (Of course, you could do what I do, and flush my dog’s doo down the toilet. Try it sometime. It’s not nearly as gross as it sounds.)

You’ll find more green pet care how-to here, along with a few suggestions on safer kitty litter.

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4 Responses to Spoil Your Pup and Protect the Environment

  1. ann@israel September 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    great idea! i belive that today everybody has to take responsibility for the situation with pollution, even if pets are involved)

  2. lise October 11, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    You are SO smart, Diane!
    Thanks for all your practical tips — with the barrage of information it is so helpful to have someone sort through and give solid advice.

  3. Bekki Shining Bearheart December 17, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    Dear Diane,
    Thanks so much for your book (which I love) and your web site. You are a
    brilliant communicator, I much admire the way you communicate so much
    vital information so effortlessly and clearly.
    I try to visit your site every few days, and post stuff to my facebook
    page etc.
    I was struck by your section on pet care. I have had many companion
    animals (current count 5 cats and a dog) and my oldest cat lived to be
    22. One of my cats was diagnosed with kidney failure, a heart murmur and
    hypothyroidism in her later years. (She lived to be 19.) I kept her
    alive by treating her with herbs. Lemon balm and bugle weed are both
    used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats by holistic vets. (My daughter is
    a vet in NC who uses a lot of conventional medicine but also works with
    herbs and acupuncture in her practice. Our vet here in Ohio is
    conventional, but supportive– I am an herbalist myself so I use my own
    herbal remedies for our animals.)
    One thing you don’t address is pet food. Most of it is crap, and all of
    it depends on lots of packaging.
    I have made my own cat food since 1992, and my own dog food for about 6
    years. There are lots of pluses to this. I know what goes into it (I
    can’t afford organic meat, but I get the best conventional ground meat I
    can, and buy it in bulk 10 pound tubes to avoid as much packaging as I
    can.) Also in the growing season I grow the veggies that I put in the
    food or get them at the local farmer’s market (we have a really good one
    here with lots of growers who don’t use pesticides). This also enables
    me to add supplements and herbs to the food to enhance my pets’ health.
    And I’m not having to dispose of or recycle lots of cans and packaging.
    When people complain about the time it takes I encourage them to try it
    any way, if they only have one pet they can ften integrate cooking for
    the pet with cooking for themselves.
    The other plus is that of the 30 or so companion animals I have had in
    my life, only 2 have had cancer, and most have lived to a ripe age, even
    the ones I adopted as adults, or the ones who had health challenges when
    I got them. Our current 40 pound Rottweiller mix is approaching 17 and
    she can still climb the stairs to our bedroom on her own, and enjoys an
    active life, despite her arthritic hips. I know that her diet has made
    the difference because it was that that finally drove me to make her
    food. We saw an immediate change for the better in a month’s time.
    Thanks for your time! and for the work you do,

  4. Diane MacEachern December 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    Bekki, All I can say is “Wow”! Thanks so much for the great example you’re setting for the rest of us pet owners.

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