Environmental impact is a hot topic in today’s climate (pun intended).

Sometimes, it’s not easy being green, though, especially as a pet parent. We dutifully try to reduce our families’ waste and to use our reusable grocery bags, but it’s easy to overlook the sizable environmental “pawprint” that our furry family members also leave.

For example, one of the greatest contributors to pet pollution is poop. It’s a natural part of life, but unfortunately, there’s no perfect option for its disposal. Leaving dog poop to decompose or wash away on trails and sidewalks contaminates waterways. Collecting cat or dog feces in a bag is definitely better, however, it then ends up in a landfill. There, the lack of oxygen essentially mummifies even so-called “biodegradable” bags. Composting is a good option, but it’s not always feasible as it must be kept separately and never spread on anything edible due to risk of disease.

So what’s an eco-conscious family to do? When in doubt, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. We can’t efficiently reuse or recycle poop, but we can reduce it significantly through a high-quality diet.

Are you picturing a pastel-coloured bag with illustrations of mountains and thick, juicy cuts of chicken breast right now? Interestingly, animals do not particularly benefit from eating our go-to cuts of muscles. In fact, organ meats and animal by-products are the cuts that humans do not favour and would otherwise be wasted, but they are packed with nutrients. More nutrients mean less poop, which benefits your pet, your wallet, and the environment!

Speaking of food, if you choose to let your cat outside, you’re likely already grossly familiar with your kitty’s inner carnivore. Outdoor cats decimate backyard ecosystems, but this can be minimized by controlling outdoor access with a leash or “catio”, or providing your pet with exclusively-indoor activity. If your furry family member has unsupervised outdoor access, remove anything that attracts wildlife and most importantly, talk to your vet about getting your pet spayed or neutered.

It can feel like an uphill battle trying to live a green life, but we know how critical it is for us to leave the Earth a better place for our children and grandchildren. Even small changes make a big difference when we do them together, hand-in-hand… Or sometimes, hand-in-paw.

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.