Tuesday, 4 November 2008
buy nothing month: day four - green pets
Hello - it's day four today of our month long period of abstinence from shopping and I have been getting a little panicky about food and whether we are going to be able to manage on a veg box a week alone. I made soup for lunch and carefully metered out the ingredients for the kids to make scones to go with the soup. My youngest said to me that I'm not very good at following my own advice in that the thoughts you focus on and give most time and energy to are the ones that are mostly likely to happen. I broke off a big piece of humble pie and marvelled how even when I think no-one is listening, it's all being absorbed.
We said goodbye to our adopted puppy yesterday and I felt really sad to see him go, although the house had started to acquire that warm, wet dog smell and he did try to eat one of our lady chooks. Jez rescued her in the nick of time. As he is a rescue dog he was in quite a bad way emotionally and health wise. We gave him Bach Flower Remedies to balance his emotional state and fed him on 'natural' dog food but it got me to thinking about other ways in which we can reduce the carbon pawprint and nurture our animals in as natural a way as possible.
Over 50% of us have pets at home and £3 billion pounds are spent annually on petcare products in the UK. So it is certainly worth making ethical choices in this area of our lives.
COME TO THE RESCUE - Find out about your local animal shelter and adopt a rescued animal if possible - there are thousands of mistreated or abandoned animals who need safe homes. Try the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs Home or Cats Protection.
ORGANIC FOOD - Look for organic or natural petfood at your local pet food store. Try and avoid plastic packaging as far as possible. The most healthy diet for cats and dogs is said to be raw meat, combined with cooked rice and vegetables. There are many books with recipes and further information about providing pets with a diet as close to their wild ancestors as possible - try the local library. Find out more about the nasties contained in conventional pet food and about how to give your pet a natural diet in Issue 23 of The Green Parent magazine.
NATURAL TOYS - Shun plastic in favour of homemade toys - what cat can resist a feather or a ball of string? Animal Pure and Ecoutlet have a great range of natural alternatives made from hemp and loofah.
SCOOP THE POOP - Bag and bin dog poo in a biodegradable Poop Scoop bag or use the Onya Dump It with biodegradable bags inside.
BANISH FLEAS - Add 2 crushed cloves of raw garlic to your pet's food at each mealtime as a natural flea repellent. Ask a herbalist about a herbal treatment, containing wormwood and tea tree for example, that can be added to your pet's collar. Find out more about pesticide-free flea treatments at Pesticide Action Network.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE - Animals respond well to many alternative therapies including homeopathy, Reiki and Bach flower essences. You might also be able to find a holistic veterinary surgeon near you - we have one at the end of the road! You can read more about natural therapies for pets in Issue 23 of The Green Parent magazine.
BIODEGRADABLE LITTER - If you use cat litter, for kittens or housebound pets, source natural cat litter, which is made from 100% paper and is completely biodegradable (although faeces has to be removed before composting).
ANIMAL WELFARE - Exotic animals are not suitable for pets but are still sold in some pet shops. These animals have usually been trafficked thousands of miles, often illegally, in cramped and inhumane conditions. Find out how you can help stop this at Traffic International. In this country some dog breeders are unscrupulous and puppies are kept in dark, cold, cramped conditions. Find out more at The Dogs Trust.
PROTECT WILDLIFE - Domestic cats are one of the main causes of declining bat numbers in the UK - fix a bell to your cat's collar and stop him from being so stealthy. RSPB reports show that bells reduce wildlife deaths by over a third.
Any other green tips for pets - do let me know!