Pets are the best. Whether you have a cat, a dog or any other kind of furry friend, you probably love them like they are a member of your family. And that’s great! Pets keep us company, they are fun, they reduce stress and are overall a positive influence on our lives. If you want a pet and are able to care for one, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get a new fur-baby. However, just like humans have a carbon footprint, pets have their own “carbon pawprint” as well. This means that being a responsible pet owner goes beyond taking good care of your pet, you should take care of the environment as well.

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Pet shops: just say no

If you are thinking of getting a new puppy or kitty, stay away from pet shops. Consider visiting a rescue center or an animal shelter. That way, you will provide a loving home and care for animals that are already here, instead of encouraging puppy mills and other shady practices.

Feeding your pets: why vegan diets are harmful

We know that producing meat wastes ten times more resources than producing beans and other vegetables. This is why many pet-owners believe that feeding their pets a vegetarian or vegan diet is the answer, but this is far from the truth. While dogs are fairly omnivorous and can sometimes live on a (carefully designed and monitored) vegetarian diet, this should only be attempted after talking with your vet to make sure your puppy is getting everything he needs. Cats, on the other hand, are true carnivores, which means they must eat meat to stay healthy. Attempting to feed a cat a vegetarian or vegan diet will result in harm to the animal and it’s very unnatural. What you can do instead is finding a good brand of organic pet-food, that will give your furry friends all the nutrients they need with less of an environmental impact.

The other end of the problem: green waste disposal

Cat and dog waste is not only smelly and unpleasant, it’s also dangerous. They carry parasites and toxins that can be very harmful to the environment and can even contaminate water sources. When it comes to dogs, the very least you should be doing is immediately bagging and tossing away their poop. However, if you ant a more radical (and permanent) solution, consider installing a specially sealed “doggy loo” that is half-buried in your garden. It will naturally break down the waste and disperse it harmlessly into the soil. Cats should never be taught to poo in the toilet, as that can contaminate the water. Instead, consider switching your clay cat-litter for sawmill waste, hemp or straw litter that is lighter and completely biodegradable.