Get this: 85 million families in the United States live with at least one pet, accounting for 67 percent of American households. Pets enrich our lives in so many ways. They’re good for your health, they can’t help falling in love with you or other creature companions, and they provide countless other benefits to their owners.
We’ve broken down some of our top tips on living an ethical and sustainable lifestyle along with your furry family members.
How to Live Sustainably With Pets
1. Adopt, Don’t Shop
According to the ASPCA, around 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year, with dogs and cats comprising about 50/50 of that figure. Shelters typically see a rise in animals in their facilities around the holiday season due to misplaced “gifting” sentiments, people traveling for the holidays, and other reasons.
If you’re considering getting a new pet, please consider giving a rescue a chance. If you’re particular about what breed you’d like to bring into your home, try searching on PetFinder to find an adoptable animal that meets your criteria.
2. Purchase Toys Made Ethically
When browsing the aisle at your favorite pet store (or doing some digital shopping), pick toys made with sustainable materials. Options include rope toys, shed deer antlers, and more. Make sure to source items that will last or are biodegradable so you can cut down on your pet’s contributions to the landfill.
3. Get Outside and Become Environmental Advocates
If you own a dog, frequent walks and hikes are essential to their wellbeing (and yours!). When enjoying the outdoors, make sure to properly dispose of waste using biodegradable bags, and ensure your dog stays on the trails to avoid disturbing wildlife.
Once you find a park you like to frequent, consider joining the club or organization associated with it. Contributing to your favorite natural excursion point is rewarding and ensures trails are around for years to come.
4. Feed Your Pets Sustainably
Feed your pets the best quality food you can afford using ingredients that were sourced ethically and sustainably. Try growing your own plants and veggies for your favorite herbivore (and your cat will love homegrown catnip!).
5. Create Responsible Pet Populations by Spaying and Neutering
The Humane Society recommends spaying and neutering as the only 100 percent effective way to cut-down on unwanted companion animals, which can lead to shelter overcrowding, cruel conditions, and eventual euthanasia. We recommend working with your vet to understand when the appropriate time applies to your animal.
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