Image Source: Pixabay
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a long walk through the picturesque woods with your dog, or sitting back and watching as your cat delights in watching the birds in your garden. But scenes like these could be threatened by climate change and the harm that humans are inflicting on the environment. If we want to continue to enjoy nature with our pets, we need to take steps to help preserve the environment. Fortunately, the pet industry is already working on becoming more sustainable for this very reason.
Understanding Climate Change
You’ve probably heard about climate change and how we need to work to stop or slow it, but often the details of climate change are misunderstood. Climate change refers to the increase in the world’s temperature and the resulting changes in the earth’s overall climate.
Climate change is caused by what’s called the “greenhouse effect,” where gases in the atmosphere prevent the planet’s heat from escaping into space. These gases have created a sort of “greenhouse” layer over the planet, so heat that would normally be dispelled is instead trapped, surrounding the earth and warming it.
Increased carbon dioxide levels are mainly to blame for the greenhouse effect, and humans have done many things to cause this issue. Clearing land has destroyed trees which naturally filter carbon dioxide out of the air. Burning fossil fuels like oil releases carbon dioxide. Methane and nitrous oxide also contribute to the greenhouse effect and are released through human and industrial activities.
Risks of Climate Change
Unfortunately, the future does not look promising unless we find ways to slow down or stop climate change. Climate change has already caused air pollution and significant natural disasters. In the future, we’re likely to see additional effects of climate change such as severe heat, drought, flooding, and more.
Climate change can affect your pets, too. Heartworm, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, used to only be found in certain states during warmer months. Because of climate change, heartworm is now found in every state, all year round. Ticks and fleas are also thriving in the warmer climate, and ticks can carry Lyme disease. While heartworm, flea, and tick preventative does offer your pet some protection against these pests and diseases, be careful — flea and tick treatments can be toxic to your pet if he gets ahold of the packaging.
Many corporations are now focusing on sustainability. As companies study and understand how their products and their production affects the environment, they can take steps to make their companies more eco-friendly.
Companies can incorporate sustainability in many different ways. They can adjust the materials used so that they source sustainably produced materials or even create their products out of recycled materials. Companies can assess their manufacturing methods and use facilities that prevent pollution while also conserving energy and water. Product design can also be adapted to be sustainable, with companies creating packaging that can be easily recycled.
Companies in the pet industry are also focusing on sustainability.
How Pet Product Manufacturers Are Embracing Sustainability
Manufacturers of pet food, treats, and accessories are focusing on sustainability. Some companies are using recycled materials to create their products. For instance, P.L.A.Y. fills every bed with recycled plastic bottles. Planet Dog also offers catnip-filled mice toys that are made from 100% recycled felt.
Other companies have focused on sourcing naturally found, sustainable materials to create their products. Buck Bone Organics uses antlers that elk have naturally shed to create its dog chews. The chews are free of hormones and preservatives, so they’re good for your dog as well as for the environment. Rather than using harsh chemicals, Wondercide Natural Products offers a variety of shampoos and flea and tick sprays for both dogs and cats that are made with natural ingredients like lemongrass and cedarwood.
Beco Pets uses bamboo, one of the most renewable resources in the world, to create its pet bowls. The company has an active recycling program, too, turning cardboard boxes into packaging for shipments, and stuffing its plush toy line with recycled plastic bottles.
How Pet Service Providers Are Embracing Sustainability
Companies that offer pet-related services also have plenty of opportunities to adopt sustainability practices. Pet boarding facilities and veterinarian’s offices can make small, affordable changes, like switching from fluorescent light bulbs to LED bulbs and turning the lights off at the end of the day to save energy. Bringing in solar panels can be an expensive investment but can also allow that business to benefit from naturally occurring solar energy.
Businesses can also use eco-friendly recycled envelopes and paper or go paperless entirely. Establishing recycling programs can also help to reduce a business’ environmental impact.
Holistic groomers have embraced the move toward natural, chemical-free products and practices. These businesses use products that are safe both for dogs and for the environment, and some even use products manufactured locally, which reduces the use of fuel in transporting the products.
The Future of Pets and the Changing Environment
With climate change already progressing, we’re sure to see some environmental changes in the future. In some cases, environmental problems are already here.
Air pollution from vehicle emissions, power plants, construction, and even livestock already affects pets and their owners. Smoking in your home can result in reduced lung function in your pet. Dogs exposed to pesticides have often developed cancer, and pets exposed to the heavy air pollution in Mexico City had increased brain inflammation.
To protect your dog from air pollution, avoid exercising him in a high traffic area, and instead seek out a quieter residential area. Don’t use chemical pesticides in your yard, and don’t smoke inside your home. Vacuum your house and change your air filter regularly to help improve the quality of the air in your home.
When traveling with your pet, whether that’s by car, plane, train, bus, or boat, you’ll want to do some careful planning to make the trip as safe and enjoyable for your pet as possible. If you’re traveling by car, you’ll also want to think about air pollution and ways you can protect your pet. For instance, if you run into traffic while your dog is in the car with you, close the windows and turn on the AC to minimize the fumes that enter the vehicle.
Air pollution is, unfortunately, just one environmental threat that we need to be concerned with, and we’ll all need to work together to help slow down climate change. Luckily, the pet industry is already working to become more sustainable to help preserve the environment for future generations of both humans and pets to come.