With over 75 million dogs in households throughout the United States, you can bet dogs are leaving a pawprint on the environment. And as our dogs live in an increasingly contaminated and dangerous human environment, we all want to know how to keep them as safe as can be, to live the healthiest, happiest, longest life possible. So what can you do?
Help your dog go green!
We look at being a Green Dog as a two part approach; making choices that help them live a healthier life and helping your dog leave the lightest carbon pawprint on the environment.
We believe that being green is a lifestyle, a whole new way of living. But, the best part is you don’t have to do an overhaul overnight. You can make subtle and important changes in your life and your dog’s life to help your dog be the healthiest they can be and help the environment be a safer place for both of you to live.
One way to find out your dog’s impact on the environment is through their carbon pawprint. A dog’s carbon pawprint measures the impact a dog, and their activity, has on the environment in terms of how much greenhouse gases are produced from that activity. The less of a pawprint a dog leaves, the better it is for our environment.
By putting to use some of the general practices below, you can have a healthier and happier pup, and help the environment at the same time:
Utilize environmentally and dog-friendly products and processes to help keep your dog’s environment safer and healthier, inside and out.
Learn about and how to find dog products that are eco-friendly, organic, and are made of recycled and/or sustainable materials and fabrics.
Select the healthiest foods and treats and learn how to keep your dog’s water safe.
Seek out alternative and holistic veterinary practices as preventable measures to supplement your dog’s healthcare.
Utilize the green system of reducing, reusing and recycling to help the environment.
One of the ways a dog most negatively impacts the environment is with their doo. So how you take care of your dog’s waste is where you can have the most positive effect on your green dog’s environment. Did you know that in 2004, the American Pet Association estimated that the 71 million dogs in the US (at that time) produced over 4.4 billion pounds of waste every year? That’s enough to cover 900 football fields with 12 inches of dog waste. Now, that’s a lot of doo! With all this doo, we thought we’d highlight some of the green ways you can take care of your dog’s waste to keep our environment the healthiest you can.
Pick it up
The most important thing is to be sure and pick up the doo when you’re out and about, and away from home. Using an environmentally friendly pick up method, like biodegradable poo bags or some of the new flushable poo bags on the market, are the best methods when you’re away from home.
By using biodegradable bags you are reducing the time it takes for those bags to decompose in the landfill, helping out the environment. And by using the new flushable bags you can take the filled bags home and flush them, completely eliminating any contribution to landfills.
If the amount of waste your dog(s) eliminates is manageable, you can scoop up the doo from your backyard and take it inside and flush it down. This is how we dispose of the doo at our house. With two dogs under 30 lbs, it’s very manageable and a great way for us to completely eliminate our impact on the environment.
If you have more dogs with a larger amount of waste every day, check out these options.
One of the best green dog inventions on the market today is the Doggie Dooley. It’s a container that you bury in the ground, right in your own backyard. You add in your dog’s waste, along with the all natural and safe digestive enzymes. And voila, biodegrading begins to take place and your dog’s doo is returned back to nature. These products are great if you live in a milder climate, and you can make your own. But they only work well when the ground temperature is above freezing, so they may not be the best option if you live in a colder climate.
Doggie septic tanks
There is a new product recently introduced, doggie septic tanks. These devices are installed in your yard and hooked up to your septic system or waste drain pipe. After you scoop up your dog’s waste, you deposit it into the doggie septic tank and flush, just like you would in your inside loo. This does add to the usage of water resources, but may be a good option if you have a multiple, large dog household.
Another option to dispose of your dog’s waste is vermicomposting. Vermicomposting has been around for centuries and used for years to compost kitchen and yard waste. Now, we’ve seen a lot of green folks utilize this system for dog waste. Vermicomposting utilizes earthworms to â€˜work their magic on your organic matter (like your dog’s waste) and turn it into high quality compost and tea, which you can then use to fertilize your lawn and garden. We like the double duty of this method of dog waste disposal.
Summing up the doo
We hope these ideas help you make a more informed decision about how you can dispose of your dog’s doo. Remember, you don’t have to make a complete change overnight, try out some of these options and before you know it, you’ll find one that works well with your, and your dog’s lifestyle while helping the environment at the same time!
Over the next weeks we will be posting more detailed tips, information and processes to help you achieve a greener dog. So, stay tuned!
Green Dogs and Winter Time
Winter time can be a tough time for dogs it’s difficult for them to get enough exercise, they get bored, and the dangers increase in their environment. So what’s a green dog to do? We thought we’d share a few of our top tips for keeping your green, or aspiring green, dog happier, healthier and safer this Winter.
1. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on roadways and sidewalks will not only irritate the pads of your dog’s feet, but if ingested they can be very toxic. Keep your pet away from the streets and sidewalks that have salt put down. And if they have to venture out into these areas, wipe their paws the minute they come in from outside with a damp cloth. An even better idea would be to make your dog some homemade dog boots to wear around these areas, and to keep their paws nice and comfy in freezing temperatures. If you do have to put something down on your sidewalk, patio or driveway to keep from slipping, look into using sand, gravel, or an old runner mat. You can also find pet friendly deicers at your local pet store.
2. When it gets below freezing, it’s not safe for most dogs to be out in the cold for any length of time. Just like humans, a dog is susceptible to frostbite. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on your dog’s behavior for danger signs and never leave him in the yard for more extended periods when temperatures dip below freezing. It’s also a good idea to bone up on information about hypothermia in dogs and how to recognize the symptoms.
3. Trim the excess fur from footpads and toes of longer haired dogs. It makes it more comfy in the snow and cuts down on those painful ice balls between their toes. You can also rub a little Salmon oil on their paws to help keep the ice balls from forming, and they can lick it off safely when they come indoors.
4. Be very careful with your dogs around rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes. Dogs are drawn to those areas like magnets and during the winter months they can be deceivingly dangerous.
5. Also, be careful letting your dog off leash in snowy or icy conditions. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost during these times. And make sure they always wear ID tags.
6. Watch out for that anti freeze! It can leak onto driveways and roads, and in your garage. It smells and tastes very good to dogs, but it is highly poisonous and can be lethal to your canine companion if ingested. Keep this phone number and link on hand, as well as your vet and emergency vet number handy, just in case of an emergency.
7. When it’s very cold like it has been the past several weeks here in the Midwest, we can’t get outside to play, hike or even take a nice long walk! So what can you do to keep your dog busy, active, out of trouble and in shape, when you can’t get in your regular activities? Lots of things here’s our short list:
A)Teach your dog to walk on a treadmill, it’s great indoor exercise.
B) Learn how to help your dog work out on an exercise ball, there are several resources on dog exercise ball work, just do a quick Internet search.
C) Play some fun indoor games with your dog; like hide and seek, find target, or work on an agility skill; like table downs/sits using an ottoman.
D) Teach your dog new tricks, like beg, roll over, back up and more to help them be more aware of various parts of their body, build some muscle for other activities, help them stay in shape both mentally and physically, and out of trouble.
E) Sign up your dog for winter indoor classes at your local training center, for obedience, agility, rally, and more.
F) Look into the amazing interactive and intelligent dog toys on the market. They can be great brain builders.
G) One other thing we like to do to keep JoJo and Gracie healthy and having fun during the deep of Winter is making us some yummy, healthy, homemade treats. Their absolute favorites are homemade Sweet Potato Chews and homemade Marrow Bone Stew. Oh so good on a long Winter’s day.
And when it warms up a bit, get out there and have fun with your dog! Cause dogs know how to have fun.