CVMA-ACMV

Eco-friendly Pet Care Tips

October 21, 2014

In 2013, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association introduced the “CVMA Green Veterinary Practice Resource” which provides guidelines for veterinary teams to follow to reduce the impact of veterinary hospitals on the environment. 

Have you ever wondered what you could do at home to reduce your pet’s impact on the environment? Here are some tips and remember, every little bit helps! 

  • Poop and scoop: pick up your pet’s waste to avoid contamination of surfaces shared by other people and pets. Use plastic bags that break down to “pick up” (composting bags are an example). 
  • Avoid letting your pet void urine and pass feces into rivers, streams and public lakes to keep the environment clean and reduce parasite/bacteria/virus transmission. 
  • Avoid passing urine and feces on waterway banks. Regulations require a cottage to be set 100 feet back from the water to help reduce impact of weeping beds and direct yard soiling by pets on the body of water, so keep your pet from soiling where rain can wash it into the water body. 
  • Use low or no phosphate biodegradable pet shampoo products and do not bathe a pet in lakes or rivers, to help prevent phosphorus, body oils and dirt in wash products from entering the waterway
  • Recycle toys and out-of-fashion or outgrown doggie clothes and products if they are still safe and in good repair, by cleaning and take to your local humane shelter or other animal care facility as a donation, or sell them so another family can make use of it. 
  • Recycle bags and plastic containers for pet products, such as litter.
  • Buy accessories made from sustainable resources and not made of plastic where possible. (e.g., cotton or sustainable fibres for collars or leashes)
  • Reuse newspapers for indoor potty pads noting one can use pee pads as a back-up underneath to reduce the amount of plastic-lined pads you use.
  • Practice “pet-healthy” preventive care to reduce the chance of significant illness and thus the need for medicines.
  • When your veterinarian recommends culture and sensitivity tests for infections, sign up for that valuable test to reduce the overall amount of antibiotic needed, and thus indirectly passed into the environment. Animals excrete drugs after they are metabolized, so those drugs can be passed in feces and urine.
  • Do not flush or dispose of needles and syringes, return them for proper disposal at your veterinary clinic or at a pharmacy.
  • Do not flush leftover medicines into the toilet. These harmful residues will adversely affect aquatic organisms. Hormones, antibiotics and other medicines may cause problems in fish, amphibians and the animals that feed on them in the food chain. 
  • Buy small bags of food so that they will not expire before being used up, and thus preventing waste. Feeding expired food also is not smart since some key nutrients break down during storage. 
  • Make your own doggie and cat beds using natural fibres, or buy beds with natural fill inside rather than polystyrene foam. Natural sourced sustainable fill inside a sturdily built bed can include dried beans, chopped hemp or other fibres, and cotton batting. 
  • Use natural compounds for cat litter such as pelleted shredded paper and litter from grains and such to help maximize use of recycled materials. Clumped litter is not good to flush down the toilet for many reasons.
  • Use natural cleaning compounds to wipe up and cleanse after messes. Use diluted vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, soda water and similar products for a green clean, instead of potent bleaches and ammonia cleaners.