On April 22, 2017, our planet will be celebrating its 47th Earth Day. This special event was launched for the first time in 1970. Back then, only a few regions around the world marked the occasion. Today, almost 200 countries will join in consort with the Earth Day Network that features an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. Since the formal agenda does include some eco-friendly endeavors introduced by pet owners over the years, today I'd like to highlight a few of the successful and meaningful ways you can engage with your pets for Earth Day, 2017.
Donate Pet Food
Has your dog and cat food pass their expiration date? If so, don't toss it. While this food may not be as fresh as it once was when you first purchased it, packaged pet food is still edible approximately 6 months after its expiration date. So consider donating them to local animal shelters, to help these facilities feed some hungry pets while they are anxiously awaiting adoption.
Your pet’s water can be re-purposed
No pooch (nor human for that matter) cares very much for drinking water that’s been sitting around in the sun for any length of time. When it’s time to refresh your cat or dog’s water, don’t toss that water down the drain. Instead, use it indoors to water your house plants or outdoors in your gardens?
Veterinarian Dr. Justine Lee's has some green pet-care recycling tips for you on Earth Day!
- If you feed your dog or cat canned food, do us all a favor and buy the biggest cans. It’s more ecologic and less metal. Most importantly, recycle those cans.
- Next, save all that extra plastic in your house for poop bags. If you only have cats, save them for your dog-owning friends – they’ll appreciate it! It could be something as insignificant as that bread bag or that cereal box bag; after all, we dog owners will take what we can get!
- A little hint for when I’m scooping my backyard? I scoop the yard once a week, and only need to use 2 bags in the process. I use one as a glove, and just scoop directly into another empty plastic bag. This helps me reduce my plastic bag use from 7-10 bags a week, to just 2 bags while scooping.
Purchasing what your pet needs from a local pet store reduces shipping and transportation required to deliver product to your door from hundreds of miles away. Also, a lot of the pet goods featured in franchised stores around the country also have a long journey to get to your location. You can further reduce the need for transporting these items by buying toys, dog food, treats, beds, and other pet merchandise at local farmers markets or from a local shops and pet boutiques. Plus, by shopping local you are supporting businesses in your community and growing your local economy.
There are a lot of other opportunities to help you and your pets work with the environment. At times, these choices can be overwhelming and not every option is practical for your lifestyle, or your pocketbook. So just keep mindful. It's not about doing everything right, it’s about doing one or two simple things that make an impact no matter how large or small. If everyone made even one small change, together it could collectively make a big difference.
Happy Earth Day to you and your pet!