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“The earth is what we all have in common.” -Wendell Berry

Whether we’re cat people or dog people, the one thing we have in common is the earth, and we are all responsible for taking care of it. In preparation for Earth Day, the Virginia Beach SPCA would like to recommend some earth-friendly ideas for all pet parents. Our collective efforts can go a long way.

Scoop the poop.
This call to action isn’t just because it’s polite, pet waste can have high levels of nitrogen and bacteria, which are carried into our waterways every time it rains. According to AskHRgreen.org, “Excess nitrogen leads to rapid algae and weed growth in the waterway and produces cloudy, green, foul-smelling water. In turn, aquatic life suffers from depleted oxygen levels.”  You can take your eco-friendly actions even further by picking up your pet’s waste with compostable bags and/or bags made from recycled materials.

Don’t flush kitty litter.
Many people may consider switching to “flushable” kitty litter as a way to reduce the waste that ends up in landfills; however, flushing any kind of cat litter can cause all kinds of problems. Not only can it overburden a septic system, flushing litter can release dangerous toxins into the water supply. Cat feces can carry a bacteria called Toxoplasma, and municipal sewer systems cannot eliminate this organism in the water treatment process. Disposing of litter in biodegradable bags is a safer, more earth friendly option. If you are ready to make a bigger impact, when choosing cat litter, look into an organic, biodegradable product.

Make your walks earth-friendly.
Unfortunately, not everyone has jumped on the “No Littering” bandwagon, and it’s fairly common to see trash on the ground, whether it be a single cigarette butt or an entire bag of fast food trash. Not only can your pet get sick from eating rotten scraps, but broken glass could also cause injury. A great way for you to make a difference is to bring along an extra bag when you walk your dog, and use it to pick up litter. This is a simple way to leave your walking path a little better.

Use your purchasing power
Let your dollar make a difference and be a responsible consumer. There are many quality, earth-friendly products out there, from Earth Rated pet waste bags to ECO Lupine Collars made from recycled plastic bottles. Your dollar can go even further by purchasing these products at the Virginia Beach SPCA and the VBSPCA’s Pet Supplies and Adoption Center. By purchasing your pet products at one of the VBSPCA locations, you are directly supporting homeless animals in our community. You also help further the VBSPCA mission of compassion by increasing the demand for humane and earth friendly pet products throughout Hampton Roads.