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Dogwood Animal Hospital

2050 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045

Earth Day with Fido: Pups and Plastic.

April 15 2024

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. This year’s subject is combating the use of plastic. Earthday.org seeks to reduce plastic use by 60% overall. That’s a pretty big goal! This is a ‘pawesome’ opportunity to include some environmentally responsible practices into your dog’s care routine. In this article, a local Lawrenceville, GA veterinarian shares some recommendations for celebrating Earth Day with Fido.

Are Plastic Products Safe for Pets?

There is no definite yes or no response to this one. Plastics are not typically not on the list of items we urge pet owners to be aware of. In fact, many dog items and toys include or are made of plastic. This contains items such as toys, dishes, leash casings, and kennels. However, plastics aren’t completely safe. Many plastic items can be choking hazards, and can cause dangerous obstructions if ingested.

You may have observed increased awareness and worry about microplastics. These are, as the name implies, tiny pieces of plastic. They’ve now been found in a variety of substances, including water and shellfish. According to a recent investigation, even shrimp and lobster now contain microplastics. 

As one might anticipate, toxins and microplastics have very comparable impacts on both dogs and humans. While further study is needed, studies have connected them to a variety of medical conditions, including cancer and digestive difficulties.

This does not mean you have to throw away Fido’s favorite plaything or Kong toy. Simply be attentive while you go shopping.

How Do I Make My Dog’s Care More Environmentally Friendly?

You don’t have to entirely redesign Fido’s care routine to leave a greener pawprint. This is one area where minor details may add up! Here’s some suggestions:

Choose Environmentally Friendly Toys 

Many dog toys are made of plastic and rubber. Pay attention to the label and the country of origin. Many  products that were made overseas have been discovered to contain dangerous compounds, including BPAs and lead. Choose products manufactured using sustainable resources.

Upgrade Your Pet’s Dinnerware 

Do you use plastic bowls for your four-legged friend? If so, consider replacing them with ceramic, bamboo, or stainless steel. This also goes for Fido’s treat jar!

Get Your Furry Friend Fixed 

If your canine pet has not yet been fixed, we strongly advise doing so as soon as possible. Millions of stray and abandoned pets are already looking for suitable homes. Having this procedure done is not only appropriate for overall animal care but will also help conserve resources.

Continue Fido’s Preventative Care 

You might not think that giving your canine companion his flea medicine on schedule would be good for the environment. However, protecting your pet against parasites and diseases is far easier and less expensive than treating him for them. Treating preventable medical conditions makes things much more difficult for Fido in the long run. This also means that more resources (including plastics) will be required. It also costs more! If your canine companion hasn’t been to the Lawrenceville, GA vet clinic in a while, this is a good reminder to schedule an appointment!

Pick Up After Your Dog

Did you know that dog feces is a leading cause of water contamination? Pick up some biodegradable trash baggies and have them handy. If you need a new leash, opt for one with a space for baggies.

Buy In Bulk

 Purchasing kibble for your pet? Opting for larger bags can help decrease packaging waste. It may also save you money! However, there is definitely a sweet spot here. You don’t want to get too much because it may spoil before your furry friend eats it.

If you purchase huge quantities of dog food, you may want to reconsider your storage alternatives. Many individuals store kibble in little plastic garbage baskets or bags. Choose a stainless steel container instead. 

Choose Eco-Friendly Cleaning Methods

Dogs are excellent pets and companions, but they can be messy housemates. There are some simple steps you can take to incorporate eco-friendly measures here. For example, if your canine companion enjoys creating nose print art on your windows, try a vinegar cleaner to remove those doggy masterpieces. You can also purchase biodegradable waste bags. Opting for cloth rags instead of paper towels will help reduce your use of both plastic and paper.

What Happens If Fido Eats Plastic?

We just cannot write a blog on dogs and plastic without addressing this issue. Some of our canine patients are voracious chewers, gnawing on anything within reach, even plastic. Fido also has a habit of devouring the squeakers in chew toys.

Most dogs can naturally pass very little particles of plastic. However, in other circumstances, plastics can cause dangerous blockages. These can cause extremely serious, and even life-threatening, injuries. If you think that your dog has ingested plastic, contact your Lawrenceville, GA veterinarian right away.

Recycle, Upcycle, Reuse

There are also ways to just generally reduce waste … including some you may not have thought of! 

Dog fur is actually a resource. When you brush Fido, do you get enough dog fur to make another dog? Of course, you can throw it away, but if you’re particularly crafty, you can make yarn or felt from it. You don’t even need to do it yourself. There are companies out there who will handle it for you.

Are you an avid gardener? Stuff a pair of cut pantyhose with Fido’s fur and hang it in your plant beds. This is an effective deterrent for rabbits and other creatures. You can also simply spread it around the roots of your plants. Another good option? Send it to a business that cleans up oil spills. If that all sounds like a bit too much work, simply let it blow away. Birds frequently utilize it to build nests.

How Do I Celebrate Earth Day With My Dog?

Weather allowing, now is an excellent time to take your canine partner to a park or path. The sunlight, fresh air, and movement will benefit both of you!

Or, you can also do some quick and simple home projects. Plant some native flora, which will attract pollinators. Or, plant a little herb garden. Your furry friend will gladly supervise.

Those who garden may want to look into environmentally friendly methods for attracting helpful insects and repelling harmful ones. Ladybugs, for example, consume a large number of dangerous pests. Recent research has also revealed that some insects, such as mealworms, consume plastic.

Choosing environmentally friendly methods is also safer for your dog. Keep in mind that pet poisoning is one of the leading reasons for emergency pet hospital visits. Lawn and garden pesticides are quite harmful to Fido.  For example, if you are struggling with hornets, consider hanging a paper shopping bag on your doorstep. They’ll assume it’s a competitor’s nest and move on!

This seems like an appropriate time to discuss the dangers of slug baits, which are extremely toxic to dogs. (Here’s a tip: use oats instead. The slugs will eat those before they get to your plants. It won’t go well for them.)

Finally, spreading the word can assist. This would also be an excellent opportunity to share some adorable photos of your pet bestie. Spread information, such as this blog, through social media. Use suitable hashtags, such as #EarthDay, #GoGreen, #SaveThePlanet, and #EcoFriendly.

Visit Your Lawrenceville, GA Pet Clinic

Do you have any queries or concerns regarding your dog’s health or care? Is Fido due for a wellness checkup? Contact us, your local Lawrenceville, GA pet hospital, at any time!

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