In May of 2010 Ron and I rescued a small chihuahua mix named Barley with an incredibly lovable and happy-go-luck personality (yes, I agree, not usually a chihuahua trait). Now we not only need to try and make eco-conscious choices in our lives, but also in the life of the four-legged member of the household.
The organic, holistic, raw-food, gluten-free, all natural choices of dog food is staggering. Does Barley care about grain-fed beef, or organic lamb? What about his toys? According to thebark.com, a site about modern dog culture, toys are not just fun luxuries for dogs- they are necessities for a healthy dog. They satisfy the instinctual need to chew, chase, fetch, baby, and destroy.
Consumeraffairs.com notes that there is currently NO regulatory control of pet toys in the United States. Problems regarding latex, lead, cadmium, chromium, and other toxic chemicals continue to surface and resurface in dog toys, sometimes with deadly results before they can be discovered.
Barley enjoys his reindeer tug toy from simplyfido.com , a company that makes organic, naturally dyed products and although the website is not incredibly informative, I loved the recycled packaging, organic materials, and Barley enjoys trying to engage anyone with a game of fetch or tug-of-war (did I tell you he is no ordinary chihuahua?)
Although Barley has not tried it, westpawdesign.com is another company that boasts eco-friendly, American made, and organic pet products. There are also green pet product stores like olivegreendog.com and local favorite barknatural.com that have lots of goodies for your pet that is healthier for your dog and your earth.
It is important to supervise play and be realistic about your shopping choices (just because your Fido doesn’t eat an organic food doesn’t mean he may not enjoy a few organic toys in his toy box).
The most important thing you can do to help an animal is rescue. Sites like petfinder.com have millions of different dogs (or cats, rabbits, horses, birds, pigs). It is a huge myth that the only way to find a purebred dog is through a breeder- spend 30 seconds on the Petfinder Web site and see that any type, age, size, temperament, and personality of dog is there- from purebred dogs to mutts, and puppies to seniors; more often with a much smaller adoption fee than the purchase price from a breeder. Rescue is common sense, and you will have a companion that will never forget that you saved his or her life: and that is mindful consumption.