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These clever pet-owning tips can save you over $180 — here’s how

You’ll also have way, way less trash to manage.

You'll also have way, way less trash to manage.

Photo Credit: iStock

As a pet owner, you’ve taken on the responsibility of caring for your furry friend, and of course, you want the best for them. The great news is that there doesn’t have to be a trade-off between quality and sustainability! 

Some of the best pet supplies are made by people who care about all animals, including both pets and wildlife. That motivates them to make their products high-quality and eco-friendly — plus, switching over can save you as much as $180 over 10 years.

You’ll also have way, way less trash to manage. Eco-friendly pet care strategies can keep huge amounts of trash out of landfills and reduce carbon pollution by 180 pounds a year, creating a cleaner, healthier environment for you and your pet.

Switch to all-natural pet food

While most commercially available pet food brands rely on beef, pork, or chicken as a base, a potentially superior option is emerging: insect protein. It’s good to check with your vet about dietary changes too, of course.

Pet food made from clean, farm-raised crickets or grubs has more protein, vitamins, and fiber, it’s less likely to trigger an allergy in your pet, and they gobble it up too. Meanwhile, it takes way less water and land to make the same amount of protein from insects than from farmed and ranched animals, and pound for pound, bugs can put 80 times less heat-trapping methane gas into the atmosphere.

If you’re not sure about insect protein, there is also a wide range of top-rated pet foods with more traditional ingredients that still pack a nutritional punch while working to limit their impact on the environment. 

For example, Pezzy Pets relies on invasive fish for protein instead of beef and pork, and Beco uses wild-caught and free-range meats.

Feeding your pet sustainably shouldn’t break the bank. Most owners can find eco-friendly options in the same price range as standard pet food. Meanwhile, if the brand you choose produces even 10% less air pollution than the average formula, you can eliminate 1,800 pounds of heat-trapping carbon pollution in 10 years; that’s almost a full ton.

Switch to eco-friendly kitty litter and poop bags

Pet waste is just as big an issue as pet food, especially for cats, which can use 400 pounds of litter per year. That’s over a pound per day, a ridiculous amount of trash to send to the landfill if we can avoid it.

Worse, clay cat litter — the most common kind — is awful for the environment because of the way it’s produced. While the material itself occurs naturally, it’s collected via strip mining, which destroys trees and plants, and leaves total devastation behind.

Eco-friendly alternatives to clay cat litter are biodegradable litters that actually break down after use instead of sitting at the dump. 

These include litters made from corn (like World’s Best Cat Litter), wood (like Feline Pine), recycled paper (like Fresh News), walnut shells (like Naturally Fresh), and grass (like SmartCat from Pioneer Pet). Biodegradable litter is more expensive than traditional litter, but only by about $15 per month.

Buy healthy, long-lasting pet toys

The cheap toys you see on a pet store shelf are generally made from plastic or plastic-based fibers like polyester. They’re cheap to produce but brittle and wear out easily, so you have to keep buying new ones. 

Those costs add up — and all those tiny fragments of plastic breaking off from the toys end up either in the environment or in your pet’s stomach. Meanwhile, the hard material can wear down your pet’s teeth, potentially leading to vet bills later on.

Durable and eco-friendly pet toys cost more upfront, but they pay for themselves in the long run, potentially saving you about $180 in 10 years. Look for wool or hemp chew toys, which last for years and can be laundered to refresh them. You can even make your own from old clothes!

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