By Victoria Heuer
When you live on Planet Earth, every day is Earth Day. And who better to save the earth’s natural resources than you? When it comes to environmental friendliness, it’s up to each and every one of us to do our bit. And our dogs? We're sure that if they were able to, they would also make an effort, but since they can’t, it’s our responsibility to lead the way.
So, what can you and your dog do to live a greener life? Luckily, it’s a lot easier than you might have guessed.
(To view in page format, click HERE)
An easy way to get Bella in on the act is with her toys and snacks. Toys and treats made with organic materials and ingredients are all the rage, so you can find them anywhere, not just in specialty boutiques. And they have the added benefit of being not only “green,” but much healthier for your dog, which means a healthier immune system.
Instead of relying only on doggy bags, why not save a little money and reuse your grocery bags, too? Many businesses are using a lighter and more biodegradable plastic for their bags anyway, which makes them too flimsy for kitchen trash but perfect for picking up after Boomer. The veggie bags from the produce section also make for great doggie bags.
The dog as family member is going mainstream, and that means more people taking their dogs with them wherever they go. The walks are getting longer and more time is being spent away from home. But are dog parents keeping their furry kids properly hydrated? You can’t always be sure that businesses will have water bowls. While throwaway plastic or Styrofoam bowls are an immediate convenience, you’ll have more peace of mind knowing that you have a dependable and permanent solution already in hand. There are some attractive reusable dog bowls that collapse flat or fold up neatly that you can drop into your pocket, or attach to your belt or your dog’s leash. If you really do need to take the disposable bowl route, there some made from recycled and biodegradable materials. And don’t forget your reusable water bottle!
When it comes to your dog’s clothes and bedding, try recycling old clothes. Toddler clothes can be adjusted to fit most dogs. Clothes that are not good enough to be worn or donated can be stuffed into a large pillow case—the kind made for floor pillows—making a perfect, washable dog bed. Use some of your old, worn-out clothes that haven’t been laundered yet so that your dog has your sweet scent to snuggle up to.
Don’t let the thought of making your own toys intimidate you. If you know how to tie a knot, you can make an awesome dog toy. Old jeans and t-shirts torn into wide strips can be knotted a few inches apart to make tug toys. Or you can use old socks, which don’t even need to be torn; just stretch the sock and give it a few knots, or stuff a disposable water bottle into it before knotting the top to make a crinkly-sound chew toy. If you use paper towels, repurpose the leftover cardboard cylinder by poking a few holes in it and dropping some small treats in. Secure the ends of the cylinder by folding them down and sealing them with duct tape, and you’ll have a treat puzzle, for the low, low price of $Free.
Note: Never allow your dog to play unsupervised with anything that can be a choking hazard - which includes cloth that can be chewed and swallowed.