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Green Living is a free, online magazine focused on sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. Feel free to contribute an article on green fashion, food, design and gadgets!

Pets going green

We’re all busy reducing our carbon footprint – but what about our pets’ carbon pawprint? Getting your pet to live green will not only ensure the Earth’s health but also your pet’s. Here are five things you can do to green up your pet’s life:

animal shelter

• Adopt a ‘recycled’ pet from a shelter

Some pet breeders’ only focus is to raise large quantities of purebred animals for profit, sometimes committing crimes like overbreeding, inbreeding, poor living conditions, overcrowding, and culling of unwanted animals. So why would you buy when you can adopt one of the countless puppies and kittens born every day around the world? Consider going to a local shelter or rescue to choose your perfect match.

• Get crafty or buy eco-friendly toys

Your pet will love eco-friendly gifts as much as any other gift. Cat will love they can play with scrap yarn and fabric you might otherwise toss in the bin, you can transform them into fun pet toys. This prevents you from having to buy toys that have been transported thousands of miles just to get drooled on by your dog or cat.

If you don’t like arts and crafts, just go ahead and buy toys made of recycled materials or sustainable fibers (such as hemp) which won’t contain any toxic ingredients. Also, hemp collars and leashes are hypoallergenic and they get softer with wear and tear.

pets eating

• Swap out the junk food for natural or organic

Nutrition is one of the most important keys to a healthy life and building up resistance to disease, for you but also for your pet. Most conventional pet-food you can purchase at the supermarket is heavily processed and consists of low-grade wastes from the meat industries, which aren’t nutritious at all. Natural and organic pet foods consist of meats that are raised sustainably and minimally processed without added drugs or hormones. So this last option is much healthier and tastier for your beloved pet.

• Clean up or compost their business

When walking your dog, please pick up its poop with a biodegradable poop bag so your dog’s waste doesn’t live in a landfill plastic bag taking up to 100 years to decompose. Buy biodegradable bags at your local pet store or online. Cat owners should avoid clumping clay litters because the clay is strip-mined and consequently harmful to the environment.

Dogs and cats create billions of tons of waste a year, and no one really knows where it's going. The best option for getting rid of your pet’s waste is to compost it. If you have some space in your backyard, install your own pet-waste composter.

cat and bird

• Protect native wildlife, keep your pet on a leash

When going for a walk, make sure to keep your pet on a leash or keep them indoors. Cats are hunters and the baddest bird killers ever. Most vets would recommend keeping your pet cat indoors because of life threatening risks such as cars and disease. Keeping your cat indoors and your dog on a leash will create a win-win situation: your kitty stays safe and so does the local wildlife.