There’s no denying, a dog is a man’s best friend. Or a purring, fluffy cat if that’s more your style. With pets such a big component of the average family, including them in your quest to go green is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and protect their health.

Here’s a list of some first great steps to take.

Pet Food
• Look for brands that use canola or olive oil rather than animal fat
• Avoid the terms “by-product”, “by-product meal”, and “meat and bone meal”. These are the leftover parts of meat not eligible for human consumption (and shouldn’t be for pet consumption either)
• Avoid unnecessary additives like colors and dyes
• Make sure the product meets the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) to ensure complete, balanced nutrition

Fleas
• Read the label! Avoid products containing malathion, chlorpyrifos, tetrachlorivinphos, phosmet, naled, and diclorvos as these chemicals are dangerous for both the environment and your pet
• Prevent fleas by good green grooming

Grooming
• Avoid commercial dog and cat shampoos and sprays loaded with all those chemicals
• Opt for products with plant and essential oils
• All grooming products should be fragrance and dye-free

Safer Cat Litter
• Cat litter generally contains crystalline silica which is a known human carcinogen. Avoid it by buying litter that is made from recycled newspaper, cedar, wheat, corncobs, alfalfa, peanut hulls, or oat hulls
• Clumping litter should be avoided all together as the clumping in the litter box can do the same in cat’s intestines! This is possible by accidental ingestion… is the litter box close to your cats food bowl?
Note: Do not compost dog/cat waste! Potentially harmful parasites in feces can ruin healthy compost and endanger your health!

Toys and Beds
• Look for chew toys made from recycled plastics and organic fibers
• Look for dog collars and leashes made from dye-free organic hemp and cotton
• Dog beds should be made from dye-free materials, all those toxic chemical dyes can potentially harm your pet

Planet Green has a great page that will make the search for green pet products easier! Visit their page at http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/green-pets/green-pets-stuff-resources.html