Going green isn’t just for people. It’s for your pets as well. In fact you may have adopted your pet from the humane society or other pet shelter. That in itself is a green action.

Green Pet Food

First let’s look at what our pets eat. Many standard pet foods are prepared using unhealthy ingredients such as meat by-products that are used in pet food Caseybecause they are not fit for human consumption. I don’t want my dog eating that although I’m amazed at what he’ll scrounge on our walks and consider edible. In any case, when I’m the one filling the bowl, I want to serve healthy food. With the increased interest in natural and organic foods for people, there are now many choices for healthy, natural, and even organic pet food.

Read the labels. I picked up a new brand of treats on my last trip to the grocery store. It was labeled Chicken Tenders. However, the ingredients didn’t include any chicken! I left that one on the shelf. The Dog Food Project provides a comprehensive list of pet food ingredients.

Recently I was given a sample of dry kibble for my dog, Casey to try. He enjoyed it and it looked good from my perspective with various shapes of kibble in bright colors. Then I realized  with all those bright colors, it must contain a lot of food dyes. I was right. I won’t be buying that product. It was designed more for my enjoyment than Casey’s health.

Years ago I read that minced mouse was the perfect food for cats but cat owners would never buy it. No idea of the truth in that. However, this product was just the opposite to the kibble. The minced mouse was designed for the cat’s enjoyment with no consideration for the acceptability by the cat owner.

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Green Pet Beds

Let’s move on to pet beds. There is a wonderful variety of eco-friendly beds for cats, dogs, and other pets. Hemp which is organically grown, is a durable, strong fabric with a linen look to it. It’s resistant to tears, sun exposures and mildew. This means it will withstand the pawing to make a comfy spot and won’t be bothered by wet dogs after a rainy walk.

If  hemp isn’t used for the cover, it is often 100% cotton. Both are comfortable and washable.  The filling of the beds is made of recycled materials. Some use plastic pop bottles to create a fiber stuffing.

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How to Deal with the Poop

Our pets create a considerable amount of waste products. I’ll split the discussion of this topic by dogs and cats although you can use the tips for other pets as well.

Green Dog Tips

When you adopt your canine friend, you pet him, play with him, feed him, take him for a walk and there it is, poop to be picked up.  Here are a few tips to handle poop pickup and disposal in a more eco-friendly manner.

  • Use biodegradable bags to pick up after your dog. Once the bag degrades, the remains become compost. Standard plastic bags take years to break down and fill up our landfill.
  • Or if your area has a green bin program, you can use a plastic bag to pick up and then transfer it to a paper bag or newspaper and place it in the green bin.
  • Of course, the alternative is to empty the bag into the toilet and flush it down. I often do this when staying in a campground. Then the plastic bag can be used again before being recycled with other plastics.

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Green Cat Tips

These days almost all cats have a litter box in the house. Even when let outside, many come in to do their business in the litter box.  Some of the older types of kitty litter had chemical or clay components which were unhealthy to not only the cats and humans but also detrimental to the environment. Kittens

Today there are many green options. Kitty litter can be made from corn, pine pellets, wood powder, recycled plastic, etc. These are biodegradable and suppress odors. Some don’t require a plastic litter box liner. If a liner is needed, biodegradable ones are available. For more information on kitty litter alternatives, watch How to Select Green Cat Litter. Now that you’ve selected the litter, here’s a video on how to quickly clean a litter box.

My cousin has two cats. She places the used litter into her green bin for composting. This is much better than the old way of including it with the garbage. It used to add so much weight to the green plastic garbage bags. Now she just rolls the green bin to the curb for collection.

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Have you ever owned a hamster or gerbil? At one time I had so many gerbils, I named them after the Peanuts characters. I enjoyed watching them run endlessly on their wheels. Sometimes they would get going so fast, they would loop completely around. I often thought it would be great to harness that energy.

Well it turns out scientists at Georgia Tech had the same thought. In the video below, they harnessed a hamster with a little vest complete with a nanogenerator that collects the biomechanical energy created by the hamster as it runs in the wheel.

However, keep your battery charger for now. The hamster generates about one-twentieth of the energy required to charge a normal AA battery.