Go green with your pet

Implement these six changes to make owning a cat or dog a little more eco-friendly―and a lot less pricey.

1. Adjust your feeding routine. Many owners overfeed their animals, leading to obesity. Consult with your vet on how much food your cat or dog really needs. Feeding a smaller amount of food will improve your pet’s health and help you save money on pet food. (And the next time you need a new food bowl, buy stainless steel instead of plastic―it lasts much longer.)

2. Stay on top of cleaning. Keeping your house tidy will reduce the allergens in your home. Try these tips:

  • Clean up pet messes with a natural cleaner, such as Clorox Green Works all-purpose cleaner. Green Works products are made from plant-based ingredients and are packaged in recyclable bottles.
  • Vacuum often―this is a nontoxic way to remove fleas and pet dander.
  • Use a steam cleaner to sterilize dog beds, kennels or crates. These machines don’t utilize chemicals, and the heat makes cleaning easier than it would be with a regular spray cleaner-and-cloth combo.

3. Put old items to good use. Hunt for cast-off fabric scraps, blankets and sheets at garage sales, thrift stores or freecycle.org. Reuse these linens as pet bed or kennel pads. If you have friends who are pet owners, host a pet goods swap. For example, trade a toy for a bed your neighbor no longer wants. (Make sure to sanitize anything you take.)

4. Get rid of waste the right way. Pick up after your dog using newspaper or compostable bags, such as Bio Bags. These items will break down over time while regular plastic bags can sit in landfills for hundreds of years.

5. Green your toys. Choose pet playthings made from recycled materials, like those from Planet Dog (planetdog.com) or Pooch Planet (worldwise.com/poochplanet.html). Not only do these companies reuse old materials, they also use green processes to make their products. Bonus: These toys are very durable.

6. Use less. Talk to your vet about what your pet could do without. For example, if your cat never goes outside and you don’t live near woods, it may not need flea and tick treatments. Avoid buying toys, outfits or other items you don’t need. Being selective about what you purchase will help you create less waste.

Source: Carol Frischmann, author of Pets and the Planet: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Pet Care