Living an environmentally responsible life is not only good for the planet, but it’s good for us, as well. From the food that we eat to the cars that we drive, there are many ways for us to be environmentally friendly. But have you ever thought about your pet’s carbon footprint? According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association National Pet Owners Survey, there are approximately 77.5 million owned dogs and 93.6 million owned cats in the United States. With this many companion animals, what we feed our pets and the products that we buy for them can have a big impact on our planet. Here are some ways to help your pet live a more eco-friendly life:
Natural food and treats:
When it comes to pet food, its best to buy products made without synthetic additives — no artificial flavors, colors, or chemical preservatives. Not only are these additives bad for your pet, they are also bad for the environment, as each synthetic ingredient is produced with its own carbon footprint. Keeping the ingredient list simple helps keep the environmental cost of producing the food down, for a smaller carbon footprint. Most of these suggestions for natural food and treats can be found in Santa Barbara at Lemos Pet Supply, La Cumbre Animal Feed, and even some grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Lazy Acres.
• Wellness offers natural pet food, treats, and supplements for dogs and cats. They believe that the best formulas for food are those that strive to offer natural ingredients with no by-products, artificial additives, or preservatives. Wellness requires that ingredients be derived from the most wholesome sources and prepared with a process that maintains the complete integrity of the nutritional benefits. Both of my cats eat Wellness canned turkey formula, and they love it!
• Innova offers true natural and premium holistic pet food for adult dogs and cats, puppies, and kittens or special formulas for large-breed or overweight pets. All Innova food products include elements from the five food groups — meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit, and grain — plus essential fats and oils to deliver supreme nutrition for the overall health of your pets.
• California Natural makes a natural line of pet food for dogs and cats with sensitive digestive systems. They have the shortest ingredient list of any dry pet food. They combine just one protein, one fat, and one carbohydrate to create their food.
• Karma makes certified organic dog food and treats. Karma is produced without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, GMO grains, or irradiation, and its packaging is made from recycled materials.
• Nature’s Variety offers healthy kibble diets, canned diets, raw frozen diets, raw frozen bones, and all natural treats. It provides quality nutrition to help your pet maintain proper body weight, reduce the risk of allergies, and enjoy a longer life by maintaining a healthy diet.
Environmentally friendly accessories:
Green pet companies are not only making or selling healthier products for cats and dogs, but they are making the world a better place by choosing Earth-friendly materials and ingredients for their products.
• Molly Mutt sells a doggy duvet that can be reused. The plan behind this idea is that you purchase the duvet and then stuff it with your old towels or blankets. For more information, visit www.mollymutt.com/dog-duvets.html.
• Cat Goods makes a cat collar that helps prevent your indoor/outdoor cat from killing birds. It is not supposed to interfere with your cat’s normal activities; it just acts as a barrier between your cat and the bird your cat is after. The Audubon Society estimates that millions of birds are killed each year by house cats. A simpler way to prevent bird deaths would be to keep your cats indoors, especially since the American Humane Society says that cats who are allowed to roam outside live an average of three years, while indoor cats typically reach a lifespan of 15 years or more. But if you insist on letting your cat out, for just $11, you can at least help prevent your cat from killing birds. For more information, visit www.catgoods.com
• Gorgeous and Green sells a very hip-looking recycled polyester pet nap mat that gives new life to those old soda pop bottles. For more information, visit gorgeousandgreen.ca
• Only Natural Pet has a vast array of eco-friendly products, among them hemp collars and leashes — even breakaway collars for cats. search.onlynaturalpet.com
Nontoxic grooming products:
Choosing nontoxic cleaners and grooming products reduces the risk of damage to our Earth’s ecosystems, wildlife, and our pets and families, too. Most of these suggestions for nontoxic grooming products can be found in Santa Barbara at Lemos Pet Supply and La Cumbre Animal Feed.
• Buddy Wash has been specially formulated using coconut oil, aloe vera, vitamin E, and natural ingredients to provide a soothing and nonirritating bathing experience for your four-legged friend. This gentle shampoo uses herbs and natural oils to freshen and deodorize your pet’s coat without using chemicals or additives.
• Hartz Clean Earth Gentle Cleansing Dog Shampoo can be used regularly to clean and condition a dog’s coat with Earth-friendly, botanical extracts.
• Only Natural Herbal Defense Shampoo and Conditioner is made with 70 percent organic ingredients to help repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
Environmentally responsible pet waste products:
Products made from recycled materials ease our landfill burden, as do biodegradable products like natural cat litters and cat litter disposal bags. Most of these suggestions for natural pet waste products can be found at Lemos Pet Supply Store and Healthy Pet Store, both located in Santa Barbara.
• Feline Fresh Natural Pine Cat Litter is flushable, scoopable, naturally sterile, and biodegradable, and is made from 100 percent pure Southern Yellow Pine.
• World’s Best Cat Litter is an all-natural cat litter made from whole-kernel corn that controls odors and is flushable.
• Bags on Board sells a compact, refillable dispenser that attaches to any type of leash. Inside is a roll of biodegradable doggie clean-up bags. Compost your pet’s waste. For instructions on how to composting your pet’s waste, visit cityfarmer.org/petwaste.html
All this information may seem overwhelming. But even if you change one thing in your pet’s life — natural food for your dog, or natural litter for your cat — you can reduce your pet’s carbon footprint and help to make the world a little bit better not just for your pets, but for all of us.
Half Off Adoption Fee for Black and Black/White Kitties
ASAP and Animal Services will be holding a special promotion for black and black/white cats on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. The adoption fee for all black and black/white cats will be only $35. As a special feature of this promotion, ASAP will stay open until 7 p.m. on Friday evening. Approximately one-third of ASAP’s current cat population is black or black/white cats, so they are hoping this promotion will generate some interest in these special felines!
The following is included in the adoption fee at ASAP: spay or neuter surgery, flea treatment, vaccinations, microchipping, health evaluation, including testing for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Cats thought to be 10 years or older receive a full blood panel evaluation, thus assuring that the cat is indeed healthy and adoptable; medical and drug coverage through ASAP’s vet for two weeks beyond adoption; if necessary, temperament evaluation; and cat carrier (you can save the county money by bringing your own).
Visit ASAP at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road. Adoption hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.asapcats.org or call (805) 683-3368
CARE4Paws Takes Big Stride in Fight Against Pet Overpopulation in S.B. County
On Sunday April 29, CARE4Paws (www.care4paws.org) rolls out its brand-new Spay Mobile with a Spay Day for 15 dogs and cats on Santa Barbara’s lower Eastside. The kickoff for the Spay Mobile—the county’s first spay-neuter clinic on wheels—coincides with the launch of CARE4Paws’ latest project: a pilot Critical Communities Targeted Neighborhood Spay-Neuter Outreach Program. This innovative program focuses on promoting spaying and neutering and responsible pet ownership on the lower Eastside, a Santa Barbara area where animal overpopulation is a major concern.
The “Critical Communities” Targeted Neighborhood Spay-Neuter Outreach Program is funded by the Santa Barbara Foundation and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), both of which recognize the need for innovative approaches to the persistent problem of pet overpopulation. Following the April 29 Spay Day kickoff, CARE4Paws’ Spay Mobile, outfitted with the generous support of the Santa Barbara Humane Society, will be deployed to high-need neighborhoods throughout Santa Barbara County.
CARE4Paws—short for community awareness, responsibility and education—was created in 2009 by Isabelle Gullö and Carlos Abitia with the mission to help end pet overpopulation in Santa Barbara County and to inspire a greater sense of accountability, compassion, and respect for animals in the process. CARE4Paws’ programs include Pawsitive Thinking, an elementary school curriculum and children’s book; bilingual/bicultural community outreach; spay and neuter services for low-income pet owners; Dog Training Intervention, including Project ResponsiBull (a free spay/neuter, dog training and educational program for pit bull-type breeds); and regular adoption events to support shelters and rescue groups. The organization recently started Companion Pet Assistance by CARE4Paws, bringing pet food and other necessities to low-income pet owners so that they don’t have to relinquish their animals to a shelter. As part of Companion Pet Assistance, the brand-new Veterinary Intervention Program helps qualifying low-income pet owners who cannot afford veterinary care for their dogs and cats.
Adoptable Pet of the Week