How You Can Become a Sustainable Pet Owner | The Beat Asia

SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainable Pet Ownership: Loving Your Pets and Nature at the Same Time

We love our pets, and we also love the environment. We can shower our fur babies with all the toys and food they love, but finding ways to treat the latter better has been quite a challenge up until today. The good news is you can love both equally! It will take a little getting used to, but one step at a time is better than not doing anything at all. Here’s how you can get started.

Skip the Commercial Pet Food and Find Protein Alternatives

cricket powder

As much as we want to spoil our pets and give them a nice meal, traditional protein sources such as beef and lamb contribute to the release of greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. It’s pretty much the same issue with us consuming meat. Good thing, there are protein alternatives out there, and some of them are even better source of nutrients!

Cricket powder, for instance, contains two to three times more protein than beef, chicken, fish, and pork. It’s also rich in vitamin B12, essential amino acids, and chitin, a prebiotic fibre that aids in good bacteria growth in the gut. You can use this as an ingredient to make your own treats or you can just buy these bite-size Laika treats (THB150) that look like cookies if you don’t trust yourself in the kitchen.


Choose the Right Material for Your Pet’s Toys

dog pulling rope toy

Avoid anything synthetic and choose toys made of bamboo, hemp, cotton, natural rubber, or wood. If these materials are from ethical and sustainable sources, the better. Inspect the toys carefully as well to see if they’re durable enough. There’s no point in trying to be sustainable if you often end up buying new toys after a few chews and tugs.

Toys made of upcycled materials like fabric scraps are also a good choice as they’re given a new life instead of being thrown directly to landfills. But if you can’t find one anywhere, you can make it yourself out of your old clothes!

Avoid Clay-based Animal Litter and Find Biodegradable Ones

coconut shells

Clay-based litter may be the most common and cheapest option out there, but it isn’t biodegradable and will continue to sit in the landfill for many years. While some argue that it’s a better option than synthetic, it’s a naturally occurring soil mineral that requires mining. Strip mining is destructive as it involves removing trees, plants, and topsoil, which can damage habitats and cause soil erosion. Moreover, clay-based litters are often mixed with silica which generates dust that can irritate those with respiratory issues. It’s not only bad for the environment, from sourcing until fulfilling its purpose, but also for your health.

What you can do instead is buy litter that use natural biodegradable materials, such as coconut or walnut shells, animal bedding, and dried wood shavings and sawdust. You can also try getting this Meesook Cat Sand (THB399) by Pet Smile and Tom Casava as it’s locally sourced and made of rice straw and cassava stump.

Reduce Pet Overpopulation by Adopting, Spaying, and Neutering

dogs inside cage

You’ve probably heard of the lines “Adopt, don’t shop!” somewhere. It’s a simple message yet it’s challenging to get the idea across. Adoption gives a second life to animals and reduce the demand for backyard breeders who don’t practice eco-friendly and humane ways of raising them.

If you do adopt, the next step is to have your pets spayed or neutered. Many shelters already do this, but in case you adopted yours from a relative or you picked a random one from the streets, it’s best to bring them to the vet. Pet overpopulation has been a huge problem worldwide. The more animals there are, the more we’ll need to house and produce food for them. It’s a never-ending cycle that impacts us and the environment unless we do something about it.

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