by Lucy Nowell MRCVS, Station House Vets
As a healthcare provider, veterinary practices are a significant generator of waste and CO2 emissions and, being passionate about protecting our environment, we are making changes to lessen our impact. We take care to segregate waste and recycle, are upgrading equipment to reduce energy consumption, and are reducing anaesthetic emissions by using a range of techniques which also benefit our pets.
We can also make choices to reduce the environmental impacts of pet ownership. Pet foods are packaged to minimise waste, enabling us to purchase foods for our pets in quantities that they will consume without wastage. Dry foods are particularly good for those pets that are grazers, as they can be left out all day. We recommend calculating your pet’s daily allowance so they are not fed excessive amounts leading to weight gain. Only put out the amount of wet food that they require, or will eat over a short time period, to avoid wastage.
Meat-free foods are becoming available for dogs for those wishing to avoid meat altogether, but this is not possible for cats. Meat sources in pet foods tend to be ‘fit for humans to eat’ but are the parts of an animal that we don’t chose to eat.
Make sure you understand which worming and anti-parasite products your pets need, and how to apply them. Spot-on preparations need to be applied directly to the skin and your pet should not be bathed or swim for a period of time after else they can wash off and end up in our rivers. These products are very important for both your pets and your health and are available in a variety of formulations. Do pick up, bag and bin your pets waste wherever you are, as alongside being unpleasant for others, this can be harmful to farm animals and have an impact on the environment.
If you are looking for a pet, consider whether you could give a home to an unwanted pet from a rescue centre. An older cat is less likely to hunt birds and small mammals, though cats can live indoors provided you can meet all their inherent needs through play and activity centres.
Though there are many wonderful ‘accessories’ for our pets, consider what they actually need, and be creative with what you have in your recycling.Cardboard boxes remain a firm favourite of my children, cats and bunnies. What your pets really wants is companionship, play and probably your bed or sofa!