Every day my dog goes on three walks, and he poops on two of them (usually). He eats a cup of salmon kibble for breakfast and dinner and plays with maybe one of his 20+ toys. With April being Earth Month, I started doing some quick iPhone calculator math to better understand the impact of my mutt, Bodhi.
Each year Bo averages around 1000 walks, 132 lbs of kibble, and one total toy played with…And over the course of his lifetime (he’s almost nine), the impact really starts to add up.
- 9,000+ walks = a significant amount of plastic doggie bags
- Thousands of lbs of food = lots of packaging waste
- Hundreds of toys purchased = hundreds of toys donated
Bo is just one dog, and there are hundreds of dogs in my neighborhood, about a million pets in this city, and tens of millions more throughout the country. The real magnitude of our pets’ impact starts to truly add up. But what if…
What if… every dog parent in my neighborhood picked up one piece of trash on their walk? I bet the park would be a lot cleaner. What if… every pet parent in the U.S. did the same? That’d be a helluva lot of trash disposed of properly.
It started to become painfully apparent that one SMALL act has the power to make a BIG impact. So to celebrate Earth Month, we wanted to compile a super-easy-anyone-can-do-it list of small acts we can all take to better our pets and the planet together.
- Leave no trace and switch to compostable poo bags
- Use dog walks as an opportunity to pick up one piece of trash in your neighborhood
- Recycle your pet food bags through TerraCycle and/or How2Recycle
- Switch to biodegradable kitty litter for less mess (for the earth)
- Repurpose household items, like boxes and rope, into pet toys (they may be more fun)
- Switch your pet’s food to one of our lower-carbon options
- When it comes to pet messes and odors, use natural cleaning products to avoid unnecessary chemicals
- Use non-toxic pest prevention for fleas
- Biodegradable pee pads are an easy swap for puppies and older pets
- Choose natural bedding, like cotton, to help your pets sleep soundly
- Avoid buying new plastic toys and opt for ones made from natural materials, like hemp
- Instead of plastic food bowls, go for recycled metal or ceramic
- Take your pet on local walks around your neighborhood instead of driving to a destination
- If your pet has a favorite meal, buy in larger quantities to reduce packaging waste over time
- If you’re thinking of adding another furry friend to your family, consider adopting
While these aren't all relevant to every pet parent, try just one and stick with it. This month. Bo and I have started picking up a piece of trash on each walk, we switched to our plant-based kibble, and found that a tennis ball inside a sock is the only toy he ever needs.
Can you think of anymore? Share your tips in the comments or on social using #SmallActsBigImpact and together we can push for a more sustainable future.