Dogs Can Go Green

You’ve probably heard a lot about your “carbon footprint” and the many ways you can reduce the effect your very existence can have on the environment. You might be thinking about recycling or hybrid vehicles, but have you thought about your adult dog? Yes, he too has a carbon footprint — well, pawprint — and there are steps you can take to reduce his global impact as well.

Clean Up Poop

Here’s the scoop on poop: It may seem like the most natural thing in the world but left in the parks and yards to disappear on its own, dog poop will seep through the soil and can contaminate the water system with such bacterial treasures as E. coli and salmonella. There are two eco-friendly ways to deal with dog doo. First, you can pick it up using biodegradable poop bags (available at most pet-care stores). Second, you can scoop it and compost it, then use it as fertilizer for decorative landscaping (not vegetable gardens!).

Go Green at Home for a Healthier Dog

Think about all of the surfaces your dog walks or rolls around on. Would you lick them? Well, your dog might as well because every time he licks himself clean, he’s ingesting the germs and toxins that live in the grass, on your floors and even on your furniture. You can help to eliminate toxins from your dog’s environment by cleaning up your home-care routine. Switch to natural cleaners around the house use organic fertilizer and pest-control products for your yard.

Feed Smart

Smaller food bags may take up less space in your pantry, but they take up a lot more space in landfills. Why? Because you use more of them! The same can be said for cans of wet dog food, so be sure and recycle them if that’s what your dog prefers. Buying large bags of dry dog food means less waste and less impact on the environment. If your adult dog is a bit set in his ways, and turns his nose up at dry kibble, try stirring in a few bites of wet food to make it more palatable to him — or try Iams Savory Sauces.

Eco-Friendly Grooming

Natural and organic shampoos and other pet grooming products can be found online and at most pet-care stores. They’re better for the environment and they’re toxin-free, so they’re gentler on your dog.

Earth-Friendly Toys & Bedding

Look for bedding and dog toys made from natural, organic cottons and hemp, and from non-toxic, recycled materials — like plastic. Your dog won’t know the difference, but the planet will.

Spay or Neuter Your Dog

Tens of thousands of puppies are born in the United States every day. That’s a lot of carbon pawprints. Many of them end up abandoned to feed off the local wildlife, but most end up in overcrowded shelters. Spaying and neutering your dog will help keep the pet population in check. And if you decide you want a puppy to keep your adult dog company, please consider adopting from your local shelter.