1. Adopt from a shelter
Let rescue become your favorite breed. The U.S. is currently suffering from an overpopulation of both cats and dogs. Many shelters are so overcrowded that they can only house each animal for 5 days and then the animal is euthanized. It is estimated that shelter workers nationwide euthanize 3 to 4 million homeless cats and dogs per year. Why buy when you can adopt one of the 70,000 puppies and kittens born every day (5,500 puppies and kittens born every hour) in the United States? Take a trip to a local shelter or visit coastalpetrescue.org, you will soon realize that rescues come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Don't be surprised to see a "purebred" or two.
Coastal Pet Rescue is in desperate need of loving families for cats and dogs, pet food, cages and donations around the holiday season. These adorable, loving animals are ready to be adopted today! http://www.coastalpetrescue.org/adopt_us.php
You can also make a tax deductible donation online with your credit card at:
2. Spay or neuter your pet
Enough said-- there are 70,000 puppies and kittens are born every day in the United States. As an added bonus, spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by eliminating the possibility of uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancer, and decreasing the incidence of prostate disease.
3. Rein in your pets; protect native wildlife
Always keep your dog on a leash when outside, and confine your feline indoors. Save the Birds!! Unlike wild predators, house cats are always well fed, well rested, and in tip-top fighting shape. There are over 66 million housecats in the United States; however, only an estimated 35 percent are kept exclusively indoors. Keeping your cats indoor, also protects them from the dangers of cars, predators, disease, and other hazards. The estimated average life span of a free-roaming cat is less than three years; an indoors-only cat gets to live an average of 15 to 18 years.
4. Swap out the junk food
Check your labels! Many pet food brands use reconstituted animal by-products, otherwise known as low-grade wastes from the beef and poultry industries. In fact, the animals used to make many pet foods are classified as "4-D," which is really a polite way of saying "Dead, Dying, Diseased, or Down (Disabled)" when they line up at the slaughterhouse. Natural and organic pet foods use meats that are raised in sustainable, humane ways without added drugs or hormones, it's minimally processed, and preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Certified-organic pet foods must meet strict USDA standards that spell out how ingredients are produced and processed, which means no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients or genetically engineered ingredients. But again check the labels!
Alternatively, you may consider becoming a pet chef and making your own pet food. There are several pet recipe books on the market. You can also grow our own catnip or organic cat grass. Remember to consult your vet before switching your pet's diet.
5. Clean up their poop
Scoop up your doggie doo in biodegradable poop bags. When waste gets into storm drains it can then flow into rivers and lakes and contaminate our water supply. It's important to always check with your city officials about how to properly dispose of pet waste. They may recommend flushing; however, you should always remove all debris such as kitty litter to prevent plumbing problems.
Cat owners should avoid clumping clay litter at all costs. The clay is strip-mined, permeated with carcinogenic silica dust that can coat kitty lungs and sodium bentonite (clumping agent) can poison your cat through chronic ingestion. Sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement and it can swell up to 15 to 18 times its dry size. Large grocery chains now carry eco-friendly cat litters that help to avoid these problems.
For the die hard greenies, you can compost your pet's waste. If you have room in your backyard, you can bury an old garbage bin (note: far away from your vegetable garden) to use as a pet-waste composter. Or check out the Doggie Dooley. The makers of the Doggy Dooley also sell an enzymatic "Super Digester Concentrate" for your backyard pet septic system.
6. Give them sustainable goods
Don't overload your pets with toys that will just end up in the landfill. Nothing can make a dog more happy than just spending time with you--toy or no toy. When you purchase toys, buy toys made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers (sans herbicides or pesticides) such as hemp. You can even get pet beds made with organic cotton or even recycled PET bottles.
7. Use natural pet-care and cleaning products
You don't use toxic-chemical-laced shampoos and beauty products. Read the labels and use natural pet-care products. Clean up your pet's messes with nontoxic and earth friendly cleaning products like Simple Green and Mrs. Meyers products.
8. Melt the ice, nicely
Use a child- and pet-safe deicer such as Safe Paw's environmentally friendly Ice Melter. Rock salt and salt-based ice-melting products, which kids and animals might accidentally ingest, can cause health problems, while contaminating wells and drinking supplies.
10. Tag your pet
If your pet gets lost or a natural disaster separates you, odds are that if your pet is micro-chipped, you will be reunited faster (save time, money, paper for flyers and mental anguish). Coastal Pet Rescue offers several microchip clinics throughout the year. Check the website for more details www.coastalpetrescue.org. The cost is minimal but the result is priceless.
11. Offset your pet
Feeling a little guilty about that electric-powered water fountain or that self-cleaning litter box. Consider purchasing green tags, otherwise known as renewable energy credits, to offset your pets' carbon emissions. And check if your state sells green power so you and your furry compatriots can go carbon neutral.