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7 tips to be a greener pet owner

Tuesday October 21st 2014

If you think about your carbon footprint for a moment you might think about the electricity your home uses, your commute to work, or the flights that transport you to your holiday destination. You probably don't spend too long thinking about your four legged friends. But owning a pet has environmental consequences, and anybody that wants to lead a green life can't ignore this.

7 tips to be a greener pet owner

Thankfully being a green pet owner isn't only beneficial for the climate - it's often also good news for your pet's health and your wallet.

1. Don't overfeed your pet

Raising meat to feed to our cats and dogs leaves a sizable carbon footprint, so it's important you don't overfeed your pet. This will also cut down on the packaging used. Many pets are overweight, which can lead to health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

2. Neuter your pet
There are already plenty of reasons to neuter your pet - if you want to see some of them just go to your local animal shelter and take a look at all the adorable cats and dogs that don't have a home. As we've discovered already, feeding your pets has an effect on the environment, so if there are less unwanted pets to feed this effect is diminished.

3. Use environmentally friendly cat litter
Clay cat litter is easily available and cheap. It's also really bad for the environment. Firstly, the clay is strip mined, which has destroyed ecosystems and put endangered species at risk of extinction. It isn't biodegradable either, so it will sit in landfills for years and years to come. Thankfully there are a growing number of green cat litter options made from recycled paper, corn and even coconut husks.

4. Make playtime sustainable
Playing with your cat or dog brings enormous pleasure to your pet, so it's natural that you'll buy them toys to play with - but playtime should be environmentally responsible as well as fun. Start by making smart purchasing conditions. Consider what materials the toys are made from, whether they're made locally, and how they're packaged. If you have a particularly boisterous pet spend a little more on something that will last. Finally, consider what items around the home could make perfectly good toys. Cats especially will be just as happy chasing around some newspaper scrunched up into a ball!

5. Consider the local wildlife

Cats might be domesticated creatures, but anyone that has seen them stalk garden birds will know there is a wild streak in them that can't be tamed. You can help protect birds by keeping bird feed well above ground, feeding your cat at sunrise and sunset if possible and, most importantly, attaching a bell to your cat.

6. Combine dog walks and chores
If you have a dog you take for daily walks, combine them with any chores you have - like going to the pet store to buy environmentally friendly pet food - to cut fuel emissions. Living far, far away is no excuse - you could always drive some of the way and walk the rest. As well as being a greener way of getting about, it will save you time and money.

7. Pick up after your dog
It's not the most glamorous part of being a dog owner, but picking up after your pooch does its business is essential. Always have a healthy supply of biodegradable doggy poop bags on you when you go for a walk and make sure they're disposed of correctly - either in bins specifically for dog waste that get emptied frequently, or flushed down the toilet at home.

This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offer Pet Insurance. Visit us online at