Green dog? How to make your dog eco-friendly

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Research shows that dogs aren’t a benefit to the environment. Plastic, non-biodegradable bags filled with dog waste sit and fester in landfills, releasing methane gas at an alarming rate. It is estimated that a 20 pound dog will leave a carbon “paw print” spanning 2.1 acres, which is twice as large as a someone that drives an SUV. So how does an eco-friendly owner go about reducing this giant paw print? Here are some hints and tips to making your dog a bit greener.

Store bought versus home made

Before tearing open that bag of dog food or taunting the dog with his favorite treats, think about sustainability. Are these packages able to be recycled? Are the ingredients nutritionally sound for the dog? Feeding a dog artificial colors and flavors may make him dance for joy, but it isn’t doing anything for his health. Find some healthy treat recipes online. Not only is homemade better for the digestion, there aren’t any wrappers to worry about, reducing the carbon paw print at the landfill!

Energy by any other name may not smell as sweet

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On a normal, average day an owner walks his dog through the park. Fido hunches to do his business as the owner patiently waits, plastic bag over hand- the waste is scooped and ready for disposal, but instead of throwing it into the garbage, the owner tosses it into something called a Methane Digester. This forward line of thinking takes a dog’s waste and converts it into energy. To learn more about this growing concept check out the Park Spark project

Ditch the toybox

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Does the dog have more toys than the kids? Does he have an actual toy box instead of a small pile? Instead of adding to the growing pile of stuffies and chew toys, reduce the hoard by selecting a handful of favorites. Wash them all in the washing machine. Sticking them in the freezer for a couple hours will kill any mites that may have embedded themselves. Keep a few of the favorites and donate the rest to local rescues or shelters

A blown winter coat could help the environment

All dogs shed. Some breeds do it all at once with what is called “blowing” a coat. Usually done during the spring thaw, when thoughts turn to summer heat and swimming pools, an owner’s house may look like several dogs took up residence overnight. Brushing the dog will produce a couple bags worth of fur. Don’t throw all that fur away- donate to an environmental cause! Excess Access will gladly take the fur. It’s used for cleaning oils spills in bodies of water.

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