Eco-Friendly & Pet Friendly Products
Published on November 16, 2018 by A. Rothstein
With an eco-friendly lifestyle, one problem professionals and owners face is sifting through conflicting science and opinion. Owning animals and following a green lifestyle should not cause worry and it should never endanger pets.
Some eco-friendly lifestyles, however, can put a pet’s health at risk. Companion animals are not humans despite owners treating them like family. When concerns arise over greener alternatives, vets and vet techs should look for a balanced approach. Stick to the well-known facts, like natural diets, both beneficial and harmful herbal and natural items pets might encounter, and the truth about food labels and marketing terms. Navigate owners toward safer options outlined below that will fit their eco-friendly concerns and lifestyles without causing too much disruption of their pet companion.
Better Eco-Friendly Food
Budget can play a large role in an eco-friendly lifestyle. When it comes to food, owners should understand that picking the best quality they can afford is best for their pet. Holistic and organic claims grace packages on the cat and dog food aisle. Informed owners know these are marketing terms. To date, no governmental body regulates the claims made on animal food or treats.
Owners should seek commercial food with a third-party independent ingredient testing, which means a dog or cat has eaten the food, received tests to ensure optimal nutrition, and any adjustments necessary before it hits shelves. It is important to note that most commercial formulas are not tested before they are released.
Ingredients Owners Should Avoid
Teaching a concerned owner what ingredients they should avoid is a better solution than relying on marketing gimmicks.
In cat food, avoid these ingredients: generic rendered fat, corn, soy, rice, wheat, yeast, generic meat meal, generic meat by-products, BHA/BHT, food dyes, whole grains, and Ethoxyquin.
Dog food and treat ingredients owners should avoid are: corn, soy, wheat, generic animal fat, generic meat, generic meal, and generic by-products, BHT/BHA, food dyes, Ethoxyquin, and Propylene Glycol.
The listed ingredients make the majority of avoid or concern lists. Some reasons are simpler than others are, such as the ingredient is not part of the animal’s natural diet, contributes to obesity, or a possible allergen.
Corn and soy are ingredients owners might have concerns about because of GMOs or over farming. They might have concerns about non-organic ingredients, pesticide residue, or feeding non-specific meat sources. Address these concerns but understand the owner’s concerns reach beyond their pet companion.
Other countries might have banned the ingredients after scientific tests revealed they are toxic to animals. However, many major brands are switching to safe, natural alternatives for preservatives and colors, such as Vitamin E.
Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Commercial Dog and Cat Food
It takes dedication and research, but owners can cook healthy meals and treats for their pets with the help of their veterinarian. It can be eco-friendlier than buying prepackaged food and treats too. Owners have full control over the quality of the ingredients. Cooking for their cat or dog also allows them to safely ensure their furry friend remains safe from harmful contaminants common in animal feeds.
Make Eco-Friendly Treats at Home
Treats can be the worst offenders. Most natural snacks on the market for cats and dogs are out of the average owner’s budget. The vet tech should encourage owners to make their own from wholesome ingredients. Countless healthful recipes exist to cover common concerns from allergens to natural flea control, and all of them are safer alternatives to many commercially produced treats. They often cost a fraction of the cost to make.
Owners can find countless eco-friendly toys on the market for cats and dogs. They are generally made from recycled materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Cat toys tend to contain eco-friendly materials and environmentally friendlier plastics. Most dogs and cats require little coaxing if an owner is switching to new eco-friendly toys. However, if they resist giving up an old toy, do consider giving them more time to adapt or allowing them to keep their favorite.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning and Grooming Products
Switching to eco-friendly cleaning and grooming products helps protect the home, owner’s health, and their pet’s health. Owners can also safely make many of their own cleaning and grooming products from everyday household ingredients.
Essential Oils and Pets
Essential oils have become a favorite additive to homemade and eco-friendlier cleaners and shampoos, but some are not safe. Cats raise the greatest concern since their reactions are typically severe.
According to the Pet Poison Hotline, citrus, wintergreen, pine, Ylang Ylang, peppermint, cinnamon, pennyroyal, clove, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil are all poisonous to cats. Avoid these essential oils for dogs: tea tree, pennyroyal, pine, and wintergreen oil. While they are not as toxic to dogs as they are to cats, owners should use essential oils under the guidance of their vet to ensure their pet’s safety.
If using an active diffuser that releases mist into the air for an air freshener, the listed essential oils can still be harmful to cats and dogs if breathed.
Eco-Friendly Poop Disposal
When it comes to picking up poop, choose biodegradable plastic bags. Regular plastic poop bags spend years in the landfills before breaking down. Kitty litter comes in an eco-friendly variety too. Cats can be finicky about their litter, so introduce it slowly. Owners can choose from newspaper pellets, which generally consists of recycled materials, or biodegradable, renewable resources like wheat or corn. Many are dust-free, work as well as controlling odors, and also resist bacteria.
Another eco-friendly waste solution is composting. However, unless using enzymes, owners should not fertilize vegetable gardens with their composted animal waste. Use it in regular garden beds freely instead.
Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Lifestyles
Beginning or switching to an eco-friendly lifestyle with pets is easy and often affordable. Owners do have to be more cautious with their cleaning products and air fresheners if using essential oils. The pet owner will need to study food labels to ensure their pets receive quality food without fillers. Toys and waste disposal can be far easier to incorporate, and the result is generally a healthy, happy, and eco-friendly pet.
Did learning about eco-friendly pet products interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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