Guest post: Going green with your pet

Sep 3, 2014

Ways to Go Green with Your Pet  – By the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association


The push to go green has reached every aspect of our daily lives. Millions of Americans are now recycling, composting and buying organic to reduce their carbon footprint. Naturally, this interest extends to pets, too, so owners can protect the environment as well as their pet’s health. Here are some easy ways to go green with your cat or dog.

Grooming Items

Try organic products, including grooming items that do not contain phosphates, sulfates or other chemicals that can be drying to your pet’s fur and skin. These products also can contaminate water when rinsed down the drain. If you have your pet professionally groomed, request organic products there, as well.

Waste Disposal

Clean up any pet waste left outside. It contains harmful bacteria that can enter storm drains after rainfall or watering plants. Dispose of the waste using biodegradable bags. Waste is also a great addition to your compost pile. For cats, consider using plant-based cat litter in the littler box and try to avoid the common ingredient clumping clay, which is strip-mined, as this process can cause irreparable damage to mountains and streams.

Toys and Bedding

Try recycling old household items as pet toys, rather than buying new ones. A rope, an old tennis ball or a sock can keep your animal amused for hours. Just be sure to check for choking hazards before presenting the items to your pet. Also, use caution with some plastic toys, which have been known to be tainted with lead or treated with toxic chemicals. If your pet is looking for a new, comfy place to sleep, offer him used blankets or pillows as bedding rather than purchasing something new. As for anything left over, a local shelter would be grateful for a donation of old towels, bedding, newspapers, leashes or other pet items.

Cleaning Products

Rather than using various chemical-laden products to clean your house, try diluted vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda. Harsh chemicals, when ingested by pets, can cause a host of health issues or even death. Similarly, opt for green pesticides to keep your outdoor pets safe. In cold climates, avoid rock salt and other salt-based ice melting products in the wintertime, which are not safe for animals to ingest.

Taking even one of these steps is a great way to help the environment and benefit your pet’s health at the same time. Reduce your carbon “paw print” today.

*The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) is a professional organization of veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter at @NCVMA, or call (800) 446-2862 or (919) 851-5850.