April is National Pet Month so here are nine ways in which you can make the animals in your life more sustainable.
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 rspca.org.uk, battersea.org.uk or cats.org.uk.
ORGANIC FOOD – Look for organic or natural petfood (denes.co.uk) 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.
NATURAL TOYS – Shun plastic in favour of homemade toys – what cat can resist a feather or a ball of string?. Find toys, bowls and beds at becothings.com and jute dog toys at thepaws.co.uk.
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 (pan-uk.org).
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 (bahvs.com) near you.
BIODEGRADABLE LITTER – If you use cat litter, for kittens or housebound pets, source natural cat litter, which is made from plant material and is completely biodegradable (although faeces has to be removed before composting). See veggiepets.com.
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 (traffic.org). In this country some dog breeders are unscrupulous and puppies are kept in dark, cold, cramped conditions. Find out more at dogstrust.org.uk.
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.
ECO TREATS FOR PETS
- Bowl, from £3.99, becothings.com - Becobowls are made from unique plant fibre material. Made from waste plant fibres they are completely sustainable and fully biodegradable when finished with.
- Toy, from £15.99, - This toy is 100% recyclable and non-toxic. It can be thrown and chewed and it even floats. This tough dog toy has all the fun of a ball, bone and stick in one toy.
- Rope toy, £7.99, - Made from 100% natural hemp rope and jute canvas, this toy also helps to clean dog’s teeth and gums while chewing and chucking. Made in England.