Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine had a great article recently on “going green” with your dog. If you are trying to reduce your own carbon footprint and go green, think about how a few simple steps can help you reduce your assistance dog’s impact on the earth as well. Hope you enjoy this synopsis of their points.
Feed your assistance dog organic pet food
Organic food is wholesome and the process used to create it will be one where the protein sources (such as chicken) will have been raised in a more humane and healthy way.
Pick up after your assistance dog
This is nice for the planet and for your fellow citizens. Dog waste can pollute waterways and oceans when it is not picked up. Even if you put it in a plastic bag, once the poop is in a landfill, it won’t biodegrade if you don’t use an earth-friendly biodegradable bag.
Consider a dog waste septic system
A septic system allows dog waste in your yard to biodegrade with the help of special enzymes. You can build your own or use a product like a Doggie Dooley. But check into local regulations to make sure it’s allowed if you have a well.
Consider a dog waste compost bin
Compost is an excellent source of organic matter to add to your garden or potted plants. Although it shouldn’t be used for human consumption such as crops, it can be used as a soil additive for revegetation, law establishment and planting beds. Check into Composting Dog Waste published by the United States Department of Agriculture ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/AK/Publications/dogwastecomposting2.pdf.
Use dog products without chemicals
Shampoos and pest control products can contain petrochemicals, which can irritate your dog’s skin and be ingested when he or she licks. You can use herbal products and chemical-free shampoos. Consult with your vet about prescription flea and tick control products.
Go Natural around your home and garden
Think about products you use to clean your home and control pests in the garden. Remember, your assistance dog will be exposed to anything you use. Try to keep cleaning products out of reach of your dog, but also shop for eco-friendly products.
Don’t contribute to extra waste in the landfill. Recycle those food cans.
Natural toys and beds
Look for toys made from recycled or organic materials. Beds made from natural and organic materials are also available.
Walk or Roll instead of drive
Taking your dog to the park? Try walking or rolling instead of driving. Or carpool with a friend. If you walk you can get some exercise and spend some quality time with your dog. If you need to use your accessible vehicle, invite a friend to ride along with you.