All I can think about lately is the day I’ll finally have a dog again. I grew up with dogs (often more than one at a time) constantly around me until about 8th grade, so I have been living with an ever-growing a dog-shaped hole in my life, and once I graduate that dream will finally be realized. However, I understand that there is a lot to consider with this kind of choice, and having worked at Natural Home now for a while, I have even more to consider than just which breed and names I like.
You don't have to dye your dog green to have a green dog. Follow these tips to get started on greening your dog ownership. Photo by Beau B/Courtesy of Flickr
While my boyfriend and I may bicker about the fine points, what we both agree on is that we will be as green in our pet ownership as possible. Even though we won’t have to make any big decisions for a few months still, we’ve already come up with some guidelines to follow:
-First and foremost, we want to adopt a “recycled” dog if at all possible. Adopting from a local shelter or Humane Society is important because those animals need homes, and there is limited space for all of them. I’ve volunteered at the Lawrence Humane Society, and I can attest that the people who work there take good care of the animals there, and they only want what’s best for them. Going to a shelter can feel overwhelming and tiresome, especially if there is a particular breed you are searching for, but at least consider checking out your local shelter before you contact a breeder.
-The next important step to green pet ownership is spaying or neutering. We both know this is important because it prevents unwanted puppies, and thus more animals in shelters. We don’t want to add to the problem of animal overpopulation—we want to be part of the solution.
-I’ve been really interested in making my own green products lately, and I plan on continuing that into the future. I’ve found some great dog treat recipes lately, like this one for homemade frosty paws, and I want to try them all out. This way, I can be sure that only the best ingredients go into our pup’s treats. Another way I can be sure this is to feed it organic food.
-Making toys is another venture that can save you money and can ensure that your dog isn’t coming in contact with dangerous substances. One or two knots + a cotton towel or wool sock = hours of fun for your best friend.
Enough sites exist with information about owning a green pet to make your head spin, and it can be overwhelming sifting through everything. I’ve found the Raise a Green Dog blog extremely helpful and entertaining. It features products and tips that I never would have thought about (like using dog- and eco-friendly melting salt to help keep your pet and your rivers healthy and chemical-free), plus an engaging blog to help you through the green transition.