Tips for Greening Your Pet – Honest Kitchen Guest Blog

Posted on November 2, 2009. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , |

dog smiling - photo cedit Fintan

Photo Credit: Fintan

Did you know that the daily decisions you make for your pets affect both them, and our environment? As pet owners, it’s important to remember that everything from food to flea treatments (and even the bags we use to pick up after our four-legged friends), have an impact on the environment and can help reduce our pets’ ecological “paw” prints. With a few simple changes, we can make small, yet meaningful steps to support sustainable practices, which have a positive impact on the lives of our pets and the environment.

Ten Tips to Reduce Your Pets Carbon “Paw” Print

Paw print - photo credit Just Jo

Photo Credit: Jo

Below are ten tips for acting globally, which benefit the environment and our animal companions:

1)    Refrain from using chemicals in your yard. Weed and insect killers can adversely affect your pet’s health and have a detrimental effect on wildlife, too. A wonderful alternative is to introduce natural predators to the bugs you want to eliminate. You can purchase beneficial predator insects to release in your yard or encourage them in the following ways:

  • Plant a variety of flowering plants, especially ones with small flowers rich in nectar. Mix up your plants so those that attract beneficial insects are nearby those that need protection.
  • Place plants close together to provide a moist, shaded environment for beneficial insects that dehydrate easily.

2)    Wash your dog less and use plant-based, organic, or local shampoos. Over shampooing can dry your companion’s skin excessively, contributing to itchiness. Less frequent washing will help to maintain the natural oils in the skin, keep the pH in balance and also conserve gallons of water at the same time. Plant-based, organic, and local products are usually the best eco-friendly choices.

3)    Think twice about flea and tick medications. These topical preparations are laden with pesticides that can harm your companion in more ways than one. They deplete the immune system and compromise over all health. In fact, they’re so toxic that people shouldn’t come in contact with them at all.

  • Try adding brewer’s yeast and garlic to Fido’s meals, or use an essential oil combination to repel unwanted bugs. Pennyroyal is an excellent herbal repellent but should never be used around pregnant pets or people.

4)    Feed raw? Turn down the thermostat in your freezer by a degree or two if you can. Many households operate their freezers and refrigerators on the coldest possible setting. Often the temperature can be raised slightly without any detrimental effects – helping to reduce electricity usage quite significantly. The same goes for household heating and cooling. Your dog’s health and skin condition will be better without extreme heat and air conditioning, and moving the thermostat three degrees down in winter and up in summer can prevent the emission of nearly 1,100 lbs of carbon dioxide per household, annually.

5)    Plant your own herbs. An herb garden can be as simple as a few select species in a window box. Having your own botanicals on hand might help eliminate the need for chemical preparations (aloe and calendula are great for cuts and scrapes; parsley helps digestion and lavender or chamomile can be dried to use as natural relaxants). Living herbs produce oxygen which helps to cancel out some of the carbon dioxide we all emit into the environment.

6)    Choose natural household cleaners and detergents for your dog’s bedding (as well as your own laundry!). Reducing the chemicals in your companion’s immediate living space can help to combat contact allergies when he sleeps on surfaces that have been cleaned with chemical products. Itchy feet and a red belly can be a sign that something is aggravating your pet.

7)    Feed organic, free-range, or local food when possible. The food we choose for our four-legged friends affects both their well-being and that of the environment. By giving pets a biologically appropriate diet rich in local or organic fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, we can help do wonders for their health and offset the amount of pesticides, chemicals and fuels that typically go into feeding traditional foods.

8)    Always use biodegradable bags for clean up. Many companies now carry pet waste bags that are biodegradable, affordable, and convenient to carry with you anywhere.  It is believed that plastic bags take anywhere from 500-1,000 years to decompose. Switching to biodegradable bags can help greatly reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills.

9)    Support sustainable pet products. From bedding to collars, to shampoos, topical treatments, food, treats and more, everything we use for our fur children has an impact one way or another.  A good rule of thumb: look for things like bamboo, free-range and organic ingredients, biodegradable or recycled packaging, and local products when possible. Feeding a diet like The Honest Kitchen is a great way to jump start a green routine for your pet – in addition to several other eco-friendly practices, many of our foods are now made with free-range chicken from Petaluma Poultry.

10) Make homemade treats for Fido. Treats are a wonderful way to reward your fury friend.  By making them at home with a few simple ingredients most people already have in their kitchens, you’ll help cut down on the carbon (electricity, fuel, etc) used to manufacture, pack, and transport these goodies.  Of course if you are able, using local, organic or free-range ingredients always helps make it that much better for pets and the environment!

Below is a quick and easy recipe you can whip up for your furry best friend!

Turkey & Cranberry Savories (Cats & Dogs)

These treats are perfect for Thanksgiving or the Holidays and help your pet feel special, with a festive delicacy all of her own!

Ingredients

2 cups Embark ™ or Keen ™ dehydrated dog food

2 cups hot water

1 cup raw ground turkey½ cup cook, mashed sweet potatoes (or ½ can of canned sweet potatoes)

¼ cup dried cranberries

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

2 eggs

What to do

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the Embark or Keen with the hot water and stir thoroughly. Set it aside to re-hydrate. In another bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients with a spoon. Add in the hydrated Embark or Keen. Use two teaspoons (or your hands) to shape golf-ball sized dollops and place them on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minute until the treats are firm to touch on the outside (check them carefully). Then turn off the oven leaving the treats inside for up to 2 hours. This will enable them to dry out and become crispier. Serve when they are thoroughly cooled, and store in a fridge for up to a week.

Watch Video on how to make these tasty treats!

About the Author: Lucy Postins is founder and president of The Honest Kitchen. A lover of all animals and a companion animal nutritionist, Lucy’s interest in biologically appropriate food and the raw food diet, led her to create her own holistic pet food company. Postins is passionate about advanced nutrition and health including complementary modalities such as herbalism and homeopathy. She frequently writes articles for local and national media, conducts radio interviews and educational spots, and occasionally holds educational seminars for pet owners on the importance of good nutrition. For more information, please visit wwwthehoneskitchen.com.

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