Pets are good for our health—studies have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Our fuzzy friends also reduce stress and prevent loneliness. Just watching a cat can improve your mood (often because you laugh at their antics). Pets can also be great exercise buddies. But are you thinking sustainable for your pets as well as yourself?
One thing to keep in mind with pets is that a little care can prevent huge vet bills. Make sure your dog has healthy treats to keep his or her teeth clean—that means buy those made in the US. Buck Bone makes organic chews. Shop also for not just the cheapest food, but those with good ingredients to ensure a healthy pet. Look for Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, Castor and Pollux and Henry’s Health Pet Food. If you shop for non-GMO and organic, you’re encouraging those companies with your dollars.
Honest Pet Products can be found online and they make toys for cats and dogs—they are also from a company dedicated to sustainability. Another company with a ‘reduced pawprint’ is Only Natural Pet, which is a great place to go shopping for everything your pet needs.
Other pet care options are to look for friendly flea and tick controls. Wondercide makes a variety of non-toxic pet care and grooming products. The upside is that not only are you not exposing your pet to chemicals, you’re keeping them away from yourself and the rest of the family.
All of this doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Consider making a dog tug-toy out of an old pair of jeans cut up and woven together—and what cat can resist a box that’s been put out. Keep an eye out for vet clinics to make sure your pets are up on all their shots—and to make sure they get spayed and neutered so you don’t end up with lots of dogs or cats to feed and care for. To reduce cost even more, consider making your own pet food. Back in the early 1900s there was no such thing as dog or cat food—they ate scraps, hunted for their food, and did very well. Dogs love meat scraps, cooked skin and organs, and cooked veggies. Cats need to stay on a meat diet, but again you can cook up the stuff you don’t want to eat, freeze it and thaw it for their meals. You can find recipes for cats online at felineliving.net and for dogs at damndelicious.net, or just do a search for “make your own dog food” (or cat food) and you’ll find tons more recipes that will end up being cheaper than buying food. This also avoids the disaster of pet food recalls and possible vet trips for pets made sick by the wrong kind of food.
If your pet passes and you are thinking of getting a new pet, consider adoption. Fur and Feather has cats and dogs looking for good homes, and if you want a particular breed, go online and search for that breed’s rescue site in your area. If you do rescue a pet, it is a good idea to do an initial vet check up–and many areas have local pet funds to help you if you’re short of cash, so check with your vet about that. Remember, a little bit of care can prevent major problems down the line. The same goes for making sure your pets have clean water, some regular grooming to keep their coats clean, and then you can enjoy sitting down together to enjoy life. You and your pets will all live longer.