Make Pet Ownership Green

Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr

From greener grooming and natural food, to cleaning up after Fido and Fluffy’s “accidents” and ridding them of pests, you can reduce your pet’s carbon paw print and improve their health and quality of life. Here are our top tips for caring for your four-legged family members while also caring for the environment.


  • Adopt from a shelter. There are thousands of deserving, adoptable pets at shelters and animal rescues just waiting for a loving home. Adopting from a shelter means you won’t be supporting abusive practices like puppy mills and contributing to overpopulation. If you’re conducting your search for the ideal pet friend online, check out pet adoption sites like Petfinder, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of America.
  • Have your pet spayed or neutered. Pet overpopulation takes a major toll on our environment and animal welfare. According to the ASPCA, 3 to 4 million companion animals are euthanized each year. Estimates for stray animals living in the U.S. are staggering - upwards of 70 million cats alone! Do your part by spaying or neutering your pet.
  • Keep cats inside. Cats can be a damaging forces on ecosystems. They kill as many as 3.7 billion songbirds annually, not to mention mammals, amphibians and other sensitive wildlife. Consider making your cat indoor only.
  • Buy healthy food. Conventional pet foods have been known to contain some pretty nasty ingredients including pesticides, hormones, animal byproducts, and antibiotics. A massive pet food recall from 2007 was responsible for killing thousands of dogs and cats. Yes, organic pet food can get pretty pricey, but healthy diets means fewer vet visits and medical bills. 
  • Get rid of fleas and ticks naturally. Use a fine-toothed flea comb to remove fleas and don't forget to dust and vacuum regularly. Another way to keep fleas off pets is to add garlic and brewer's yeast to their meals, which makes them taste bad to bugs. Many such products are sold in pet supply stores. And check out our tips for making fleas and ticks take off.
  • Use biodegradable poop bags. Plastic bags take forever to decompose in landfills, and many of those bags end up in our waterways and oceans. Buy biodegradable bags instead. Want to go the extra mile? Consider composting your pet’s poop in a pet waste composter.
  • Buy in bulk and recycle. Buying in bulk the pet supplies you use most often will cut down on packaging waste and car trips. And just as you would recycle your own food containers, make sure to add your pet’s empty cans, bags and bottles to your sorting bins instead of the trashcan.
  • Use natural grooming and pet-care products. Pet products often contain toxic chemicals, so make sure to read the label before lathering up your furry friends. Better yet, try making your own pet products. Check out these recipes.
  • Buy green ID tags. Opt for a pet tag made from recycled materials like aluminum, steel, or silver. Check out Etsy and Dog Tag Art for some creative eco-friendly tags.


Have your own suggestions to add to this list of pet-friendly tips? Have you tried one or more of these tips? Let us know in the Comment section below!