Earth Day: 12 Ways to Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

April 22 is Earth Day, a day for the world’s communities to come together on a global scale to talk about climate change and the environmental future of our planet.

Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

The year 2020 will see the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and its mission of forging a vision of change to protect the environment for future generations, and that includes our pets. But the health of our planet is not a concern for just for one day, it’s an everyday priority.

Did you know besides the many ways we can reduce our own carbon footprints, we can also reduce our pets’ carbon pawprints, too?

Here are some of my FiveSibes™ tips on how we can all work together in joining the Earth Day Network and help to make our environment safe and green for generations to come:

1. Walk This Way!

Why take a vehicle when you can go for a walk? What a great way to protect the environment, while helping you and your dog to stay fit.

2. Recycle! Recycle! Recycle!

Stop before tossing those empty pet food cans into the trash. Recycle them instead. And when you’re shopping for more, don’t forget to use recyclable shopping bags instead of the store’s plastic ones.

3. Up, Up, Upcycle and Away!

Have a favorite blanket and an old one-drawer wooden file cabinet you were thinking of tossing? Well hold on to them! Wash, stuff, and sew the blanket; remodel, refinish (with non-toxic paint), and add some pretty trim to the file cabinet. And, voilà! You’ve turned them into a comfy dog bed and snazzy indoor open kennel for your four-legged best friend!

Don’t have a dog of your own? Donate your new upcycled creations to a rescue or shelter for dogs in need!

4. A Cure for Pet Rx Bottles

Did you ever wonder what to do with those pet (and human) medication bottles? Just check with your vet, pharmacist, and acupuncturist, as many will happily accept the empties.

5. Clean “Green”

You can be sure to clean green by using only chemical-free household supplies, which are not only good for our environment, but best for the health of our pets and family, too.

6. Doggy-Do

When out walking your canine companions, do be sure to pick-up after them, and use biodegradable “doggy-do” bags.

7. Turn Down the Heat

When it’s chilly out, turn down those thermostats! Our Earth and your pets will thank you for it (especially if you have Siberian Huskies, like I do)!

Pet’s Carbon Pawprint8. A Tree Remembered

Plant a tree in memory of a beloved pet.

9. Splishin’ and a Splashin’

When emptying out your pet’s water dish and splash pool at the end of the day, don’t just dump it, instead, use it to water flowers, shrubs, trees, and the grass!

10. Repurpose With a Purpose

Do you have a stash of old dog toys or torn dog beds just sitting and collecting dust in your attic (basement or garage)? Instead of filling up a landfill, repurpose them by stitching up any tears, give a good wash, and then donate them to your local animal shelter.

11. Spay or Neuter Pets!

Please spay or neuter your pets to reduce the overpopulation of homeless animals in shelters.

12. Unplug!

Turn off your TVs, computers, and smart phones and go outside to play with your pets or volunteer to play with some at a shelter. Not only will you save energy, you will be bringing joy to yourself and the animals!

While Earth Day is celebrated on the 22nd day of April each year, we should be thinking green each and every day. There are so many ways in which we can help protect our planet for future generations.

Are you doing all you can to help reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint?

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dorothy wills-rafteryDorothy Wills-Raftery

Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the international FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.” Named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, Dorothy is a 5-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2016 for her writing. An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home­ with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram (@FiveSibesMom).


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34 Responses to Earth Day: 12 Ways to Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

  1. Nichole says:

    Great list of things we can all easily do! We’re working on our Earth Day posts for this year too.

  2. Pamela says:

    We live full time on a sailboat. One of the reasons (besides it’s just plain fun) is because it’s very light on the environment.

    However, one thing I miss from my land-based home was using flushable dog waste bags. Our local dog park actually composed dog waste, which is even better. Now we’re back to scoop and trash, which is the best method for most people.

    If only I could figure out how to convince Honey to stop pooping. Or to at least use our composting head. :)

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Living on a sailboat sounds exciting and adventurous and great for the environment! (Maybe a little challenging for a packrat like me! LOL!) If you can convince Honey, please let me know how! ;-)

  3. Dash Kitten says:

    Chemists Do take back bottles it’s just a case of taking them back – right *eyeroll* and we agree 1,000,0005 about walking. A walk is not only more ecolgically sound but healthy and lifts your spirit and its free!

    Thank you for an inspiring post!

  4. How wonderful – I hadn’t really thought about it beyond the biodegradable bags, but yes indeed, an earth friendly pet is great! We do a vast majority of the things you mentioned – and absolutely love the idea of regifting dog toys, clothes, etc. We’ve joined a “Buy Nothing” group in our neighborhood and give away a lot of goodies this way, including our pup’s never or lightly used items!

  5. These are all great tips! We needed the reminder about using reusable bags when shopping. We are just now making the switch to green cleaning products though, and we also just planted a dogwood tree in our backyard in memory of one of our cats. :)

  6. I also shop for all our food in a zero waste grocery store. It is the BEST!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      What a great concept! We do not have a zero waste grocery in our area, but do have some health food coops that you can purchase just what’s needed. I hope to see zero waste groceries become more popular here!

  7. #12 unplug. This is my favorite tip. If we spent more time doing, we would have less waste. Too much “stuff”

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thanks, Tonya! It’s an important, yet often (easily) overlooked, tip, especially in this technology obsessed world we live in! I so agree with your “too much stuff” – we are actually in the processing of sorting and lightening our stuff here. We accumulate so much over the years. Clearing it out, recycling, donating, and whittling down – it is a much bigger task than I ever thought it would be! But will be so worthwhile in the end. :-)

  8. Some great ideas. It’s so hard for me to learn to recycle because I grew up in the 60s. I’m so used to throwing everything away in one trash can. I’m trying to “reteach this old dog” some new tricks.

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thanks! I know what you mean – it takes some adjusting, but now I am a recycle queen here! The hardest part is getting used to the extra containers, but our city supplies the recycle ones, so that is a huge help!

  9. Beth says:

    Thanks for these suggestions!

  10. Kamira Gayle says:

    These are great Earth friendly tips. Another idea I had was to repurpose old towels and donate to animal shelters. They always need items like that to keep kitten warm or line the bottom of cages.
    Nice post.

  11. Ruth Epstein says:

    Great list and reminder thanks

  12. Carol Bryant says:

    Thank you so much for what is a definite hit of a post! There are so many things us pet parents can do to help reduce pet carbon pawprints. You nailed so many of them here!

  13. I absolutely love the idea and concept of planting a tree in memory of a sweet animal that’s passed. You have so many great tips in here. I live with a senior dog on lots of meds and I always think about those bottles I’m recycling — I never thought to pass that back to our vet! I’m all about the green tips too and it’s time to turn that heat off – finally!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you, Christine! I’m glad you enjoyed my tips! Those Rx bottles can become overwhelming! With an Epi-dog on several medications, I had so many over the years and was thrilled when I mentioned to my vet that my acupuncturist loves them, and they immediately offered to take them back, too. Yay! Two resources and no more stored bottles (falling on the floor)! :-)

  14. I have some old toys that I washed and I still need to donate. Thanks for the reminder!

  15. Cathy Armato says:

    These are excellent tips, thanks for sharing! I didn’t know you could take empty pet medication containers back to the Vet. I have one sitting in the medicine cabinet with 2 pills in it. I didn’t want to throw the pills into the environment and didn’t think I should recycle a medication bottle. I’m calling my Vet today!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you, Cathy! And thanks for sharing my post, too. I really appreciate it! Oh those Rx bottles can add up quickly! With five Huskies and one being an Epi-dog who had several medications, I had a mountain of them! I was so glad I my acupuncturist was here at my house doing a visit and she saw the empties and asked for one. Aha! A resource! Then when I mentioned to my vet how excited I was to find a home for them, they offered to take my empties back also. Yay! No more empties piling up (and falling out on the floor)!

  16. Great tips and it’s good to know that we do most of them! Although there’s a bit of a misconception about the biodegradeable poop bags as according to an environmentalist I know nothing can biodegrade unless it’s exposed to air. But we still use them! Love Dolly

  17. Bryn Nowell says:

    Great post with important reminders. Thank you for sharing all of these. We donate dog items to our local shelter and always try to re-purpose something before considering letting go of it. If we do, we often post gently used items on “freecycle,” instead of throwing stuff out. Another man’s trash….

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