Celebrate Earth Day with Dogs All Year Long
Friday, April 22 was Earth Day - but the day's pro-planet vibes needn't be a distant memory now. It's easy for Dogstersto observeEarth Day all year long by respecting the planet, conserving its resources, and minimizing our impact. Our dogs will appreciate us for it, and together we'll live longer, happier lives.
Many Dogsters have first-hand (and paw) experience with adopting a shelter pet. Unwanted animalssuddenly find themselvesbehind bars, but they are innocent. They are living proof that one person's trash is another's treasure. Welcoming home a dog that someone else threw away and giving him or her a new leash on life is a form of recycling. In fact, it's the highest, noblest form of recycling - and everyone knows that recycling is a wonderful way to showMother Earth you care.
To recycle a dog, simply visit your local animal shelter, or go to Petfinder.com.
Afteryou bring your recycled dog home, you'll want to work together to reduce your carbon paw-print. A great way to start is byusingbiodegradable poop bagswhile you're out for your dog-walks, then stocking up on non-toxic, earth-friendly cleaning products. Read about some great products here, as well as recipes for homemade cleaners you can mix yourself, using items you already have around the house.
The advantage of cleaning with eco-friendly cleaners is that it's safer and more pleasant for you, your dog, and yourshared home - Planet Earth. Your dog has an exquisitely fine-tuned sense of smell, so s/he will appreciate the care you take in avoiding heavily fragranced home cleaners that contain harsh chemicals.
If you like to burn candles at home for atmosphere,whether candles in a jar or tapers in a candlestick, it's a good idea toavoid paraffinwax and opt instead for soy wax or beeswax. Paraffin is a by-product of the petroleum industry and when it burns, it emits a dark, planet-pollutingsmoke that's very irritating to dogs' lungs.
Add to this the fact that decorative paraffin candles are colored with chemical dyes, and you get a noxious mini-bonfire. Burning chemically-dyed paraffin waxcandles doesn't just cloud up your immediate home environment, it negatively impactsthe environment as a whole.
Soy wax and beeswax, on the other hand, burn cleanly and won't cause your dog (or you) to sneeze and cough. Happily, soy candles are widely available (Er'go makes great ones, like their pineapple-scented one, right), and beeswax onesmay be found at your favorite farmer's market.
If sprucing up for Spring means you're undertaking some home improvement projects, please use non-toxic paint. As described here, paints that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - and that's most paints out there on the market - emit toxic fumes while they're being rolled onto the walls. Even scarier, theycontinue to off-gas years - years! - after the paint is dry. For the Earth's sake, as well as your dog's health and your own, please choose VOC-free paint.
Just as most paints contain VOCs, most fragrances aggressively marketed by the cosmetics industry contain harmful chemicals. On top of that, the loud scents cause dogs to sneeze pitifully! Choose natural fragrances made of essential oils instead. They're safer for you, and won't flood your dog's air space with sickening scents. Besides, they smell infinitely moreseductive than chemical fragrances - and isn't seduction the whole point of perfume?Read more about them here.
One of my favorite naturally-aromatic fragrances is by A Perfume Organic; it's called Perfumed Wine - Rose, pictured at left,and its unisex blend of clove and nutmeg is a delightful cocktail that smells equallydelicious on men and women.
Do you have any ideas for fun ways to celebrate Earth Day with your dog year-round? Please share them in the comments!