TerraBluTeams Practice #25

“Dogs have owners, cats have staff.” – Anonymous

Kidding aside, we are responsible to make sustainable choices for them. While filming a composting segment for our cable show several questions were asked about pet waste composting. And as Animal Rights Awareness Week begins today, here’s the scoop!

Summer is a great time to begin this project and re-examine how to help your pets live sustainably while you are at the beach or waiting for your garden vegetables to ripen.

The WHY and WHAT:

Did you know that according to the Humane Society, there are approximately 78.2 million pet dogs and 86.4 million pet cats? The average dog creates about 274 pounds of waste a year, (21.4 billion pounds), the average cat 118 pounds of waste (8 billion pounds of cat litter and 10.2 billion pounds of waste). That totals 39.6 billion pounds of dog/cat pet waste in the USA alone.

Pet waste contains bacteria, E. Coli, Parvo, tapeworm, other viruses, and nutrients that can run off into local waterways and diminish water quality.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 2 days worth of dog waste from about 100 dogs would contribute enough pollution to close a beach, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it. Some people advocate flushing pet waste, but this uses a lot of water and concerns have been expressed about the potential spread of zoonotic diseases; especially if you live near the ocean, as it may contain the protozoa Toxoplasma gondii, which was recently linked to sea otter deaths in California.

Composting animal waste safely can help minimize these adverse environmental effects.

The HOW:

Ten ways to keep pets environmentally friendly and live a more sustainable pet lifestyle:

1. Keep cats indoors (cat experts say that indoor cats can be happy if provided with an enriched environment or build/purchase outdoor cat enclosures for safe excursions.

2.Compost your pet’s waste so that it will not go into a landfill or contaminate our water resources through run-off (See links below for DIY – do it yourself- or purchase).

3. Don’t walk dogs in ecologically sensitive areas, particularly those with ground-nesting birds.

4. Seek products made from environmentally friendly materials and less packaging when purchasing food bowls, carriers, toys, and other pet products.

5. Have pets spayed and neutered to prevent overpopulation.

6. Use natural, non-toxic flea control methods.

7. Use biodegradable cat litter.

8. Prevent pets from eating raw meat or seafood or fish (where parasites often reside), as well as keeping pet waste, waste-handling tools separate from other tools.

9. Animals and humans have been powering machines with their energy for centuries. Create a way that you and your pet could generate a resource of your own. (Conversion bikes/wheels, you both jog for exercise while supplying energy to your home?)

10. Socialize your pets, let them interact with others.

Communicate your favorite sustainable pet tips and tricks by commenting here or on our Facebook page!

Note:

Remember to take a moment to celebrate the Summer Solstice, June 20 of this week. I heard that Stonehenge is providing free open access this year.

June 17 – 23, 2012: Animal Rights Awareness Week

The Deep Dive:

USDA, NRCS Composting Dog Waste Guide (pdf)

Clear Choices, Clean Water Pet Waste Information (pdf)

Analysis of different kinds of Cat Litter

2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, pet spending financial data, trends, etc.

Powered by Pooches, article in San Francisco Chronicle about utilizing pet waste as an energy resource

Tumbleweed Pet Poo Converter from people poweredmachines.com

Doggie Dooley Composter

Check out Planet Blue Dog, where products are inspired by animal & environment lover’s

Professor Thomas’ document on animal power production

Kitty powered humidifier

DIY Cat powered auto-feeder

Dog powered scooters

For the kids, here’s some of Simon’s cat powered machines (Animations):

 1 minute quiche

Enriched environment for rescue cats (1 minute video)

One thought on “TerraBluTeams Practice #25

  1. LOVE the Cat Enclosures link! I was really surprised by a lot of this data! Thanks for opening my eyes to it. I look forward to trying to make the way I care for my Cats more sustainable for me, and the environment. Great research!

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