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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Top 10 Ways to be an Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

Mar 31, 2021 12:14PM ● By Gina Saka

 Living an environmentally-conscious lifestyle means making green choices not only for yourself, but your pets as well. Here are the top 10 ways to be an eco-friendly pet owner. 

1.      Adopt. Adopting a pet means saving a life. Millions of animals are euthanized annually because there are so many pets with no homes and too little space in the shelters. When you adopt instead of shop, you also fight against the cruel puppy mill industry, which breeds dogs for profit and keeps them in treacherous conditions. Adopt through local animal shelters and rescues like Burlington County Animal Shelter 35 Academy Dr, Westampton, Homeward Bound Pet Adoption 125 County House Rd, Blackwood  Burlington County Animal Alliance , Animal Welfare Association (AWA)  

 2.      Sustainable Foods. Many kibbles are riddled with questionable fillers and nasty animal byproducts. When choosing pet food, look for whole food ingredients (like carrot, chicken, beef, etc). Many excellent options can be found at Daminger's Natural Pet Foods 641 Main St. Sewel or Concord Pet Foods & Supply 10 Barclay Farms Shopping Center, Cherry Hill.  Pet parents can also talk to their vets about raw and fresh food diets.

3.    DIY Treats. Instead of buying unhealthy treats in all that packaging at the store, make them at home. You’ll find many homemade dog treats recipes with ingredients like peanut butter, sweet potato, eggs, and other common household ingredients. See recipe by 

4.      Support Local Pet Businesses. Support your local pet boutique rather than going to huge big box pet stores. When you shop local, you support the local economy and keep your carbon footprint down. Plus you’ll find cute pet accessories and eco-friendly supplies at places like Earthwise Pet in Voorhees and Turnersville. 

5.      Environmentally-Friendly Toys. Many standard toys are made with toxic plastics, chemicals and dyes. Stick with eco-friendly, non-toxic pet toys made from sustainable and recyclable materials. There’s an excellent selection of toys at The Principled Pet in Collingswood and organic beds at

6.      Non-Toxic Shampoo. Conventional pet shampoos use toxic sulfates and surfactants that can cause skin irritation and even cancer. Opt for natural pet shampoos made with ingredients like castile soap, oatmeal, honey, aloe and other natural ingredients. 

7.      Spay and Neuter. With so many dogs and cats that need homes, it’s important to prevent unwanted pet pregnancies that can burden the already overpopulated shelters. Be sure to spay or neuter your pet, which can actually also protect against many diseases and even cancer. Ace of Spays is an affordable spay and neuter care with clinic or private patient care.  

8.      Natural Cat Litter. Many cat litters contain silica dust, sodium bentonite and chemical fragrances, which can cause upper respiratory issues and toxicity in cats. Opt instead for natural cat litters made from corn, grain, pine, grass seed and other safe, renewable materials. 

9.      Compost Poop. Never leave dog poop on the ground or flush it down the toilet, as the municipality does not have treatment systems to remove the contaminants in animal waste. You can Google how to compost dog poop yourself to create a beneficial soil additive, or there is even a composting service called K9 Doodie Patrol that serves Burlington County. 

10.   Biodegradable Waste Bags. Instead of plastic waste bags that sit in landfills for hundreds of years, use biodegradable waste bags that can be composted. This goes hand-in-hand with tip #9. However, please note that pet waste compost should not be used for edible gardens, as there are pathogens that may not break down. 

 With these 10 easy steps, pet parents can become more eco-conscious and reduce their carbon footprint. By adopting sustainable pet care habits, there can be a greener, safer future for all the furbabies of the world. 


Gina Saka is a freelance writer for Natural Awakenings Magazines editions across the country. To connect, email her at [email protected]