Greening Your Pets

1. Clean up after them

Cat owners should avoid clumping clay litter at all costs. Not only is clay strip-mined, but the clay sediment is also permeated with carcinogenic silica dust that can coat your cat’s lungs. In addition, the sodium bentonite that acts as the clumping agent can poison your cat through chronic ingestion through their fastidious need to groom. Because sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement—it’s also used as a grouting, sealing, and plugging material—it can swell up to15 to18 times their dry size and clog up your cat’s insides. Eco-friendly cat litters avoid these problems; a happy cat is a cat that doesn’t claw your face off. Scoop up your doggie doo in biodegradable bags.

2. Give them sustainable goods

Your furry friends can get in on some saving-the-planet goodness, too—and have plenty of fun—with toys made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers (sans herbicides or pesticides) such as hemp. A hemp collar (with matching leash) is a great accessory. These days, you can even get pet beds made with organic cotton or even recycled PET bottles.

3. Use natural pet-care and cleaning products

Don’t use toxic-chemical-laced shampoos cleansers. Instead, lather up your cats and dogs with natural pet-care products.

4. Tag your pet

Ask your vet for more information. For hanging tags, check out these recyclable aluminum ID tags and these WaggTaggs made from recycled silver.

4. Adopt from a shelter

Pet breeders have been pilloried for misdeeds such as over breeding, inbreeding, poor veterinary oversight, lousy food and living conditions, overcrowding, and culling of unwanted animals. Thousands of animals need adoption.

5. Spay or neuter your pet

“Multiplying like bunnies” isn’t just any old trope. We don’t need any more homeless animals than we already have. As a bonus, spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by eliminating the possibility of uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancer, and decreasing the incidence of prostate disease.

6. Swap out the junk food

Most conventional pet-food brands you find at the supermarket consist of reconstituted animal by-products, otherwise known as low-grade wastes from the beef and poultry industries— inedibles you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot fork. In fact, the animals used to make many pet foods are classified as “4-D,” which is really a polite way of saying “Dead, Dying, Diseased, or Down (Disabled)” when they line up at the slaughterhouse. Unless that can of Chicken ‘N Liver Delite explicitly states that it contains CFIA-certified, food-grade meat, you should know that its contents are considered unfit for human consumption—but apparently good enough for your cat or dog. Since nutrition is one of the key determinants of health and resistance to disease, ideally you’ll want your pet’s chow to be comparable in quality with what we would eat.

Natural and organic pet foods use meats that are raised in sustainable, humane ways without added drugs or hormones, minimally processed, and preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Check out for an organic pet food store near you.

Kreg Weiss is a co-founder of My Yoga Online and certified Hatha Yoga Teacher. Several years ago, Kreg discovered yoga while teaching health and fitness. Yoga dramatically transformed Kreg's approach to teaching health and wellness as well as changed his personal life bringing new direction in finding physical, mental, and spiritual growth.

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