Earth Day 2024: Reduce Your Dog's Carbon PawPrint & Remove Plastics!


 




Happy Earth Day Week!


This year, the topic is "Planet vs. Plastics" and today, we're talking about plastics and our pets.

Did you know that forms of plastics can be found not just in the obvious things, such as water bottles folks drink out of and at times use to fill pets' dishes, but can also be found in pets' bedding, pet clothes, toys, shampoos, grooming products, and even in their food and food/treat packaging?

Scary, right?

According to EarthDay.org, "We consider our pets as part of our family, but what we don’t realize is that we are exposing them to harmful substances every single day. There is a plastic component to nearly everything we buy for them, and most pet owners are completely unaware. Their plush toys, water bowls, and even the food they eat comes with the added ingredient of microplastics, known as primary microplastics, or little fragments of plastic material that shear off from larger products, known as secondary microplastics."

What are microplastics? Yale explains it all HERE.

Many, many years ago, the dog food storage units (I thought at the time was awesome because it held a 30-lb bag of dog food in it and the food and water dish perched up top) I soon realized were not so awesome because then news of the dark side of plastics began to surface. That's when my family began searching for "BPA free" items for our household. (Think bowls, cups, bottles, etc.) When we replaced anything plastic with glass, stainless, or BPA-free items, I began to think about my FiveSibes. If plastics can have a detrimental affect on us, it certainly can on our pets, so I replaced all the food and water dishes with stainless steel, and that was over a decade ago. Pets are family, so we need to address the same issues that affect us could/will affect our pets. Bye-bye plastics. While in theory that sounds great, it's not so easy to go completely plastic free. Just take a peek around your house or office.

Our Harley, in a #FiveSibes #Flashback moment from 2015 enjoying a run on the Earth with some of our tips to help you reduce your pet's carbon pawprint. 
 


According to EarthDay.org, "The overall lack of chemical-specific regulations for pet products means that microplastics that leach from these objects can be potentially harmful. BPA, the same chemical used to make the resin in pet food containers, has also been found in other items like food bowls and food storage containers. Many dog toys also contain chemicals known as phthalates — more commonly called plasticizers — that make these toys more durable. But as your dog chews on these toys, they are exposed to these chemicals. Phthalates have been shown to have impacts on the reproductive systems of animals and disrupt endocrine function."


So this statement led me to start thinking about dog health issues. My one, as you, Gibson, was an epileptic. While so many things can trigger a seizure, I'm guessing with all the knowledge we now have about plastics, could plastics also be a trigger? All the more reason I am glad I bumped the dishes out and replaced with good ol' stainless steel. In retrospect, all of my FiveSibes eventually had growths or tumors of some type, thankfully some were benign, but eventually Gibson and Bandit both passed from cancer, hemangiosaroma. Bandit had a mouth tumor eight months prior,  and while we had it removed, she was our biggest toy "bandit." Studies have show dogs who chew on toys are directly coming in contact with the toy's ingredients, which now we know could contain some type of plastics. A connection? Maybe. Maybe not. But we can't ignore the possibility that plastics in our world are making pets sick. And maybe there's some answers in there to some of the idiopathic illnesses our pets contract.

The idea for this came from when I made my Huskies homemade doggy cake pops and this one came out looking like Earth! Harley, pictured here in a #Flashback moment from 2018, was excitedly waiting for her bite of the Earth Doggy Cake Pop!

A good article to read is from ScienceDirect.com, where they state, "Chewing and mouthing behaviors exhibited by pet dogs are likely to lead to oral exposures to a variety of environmental chemicals. Products intended for chewing and mouthing uses include toys and training devices that are often made of plastics."Additionally, according to EarthDay.org, "Microparticles can absorb other contaminants such as metals and organic substances that can make our pets ill, and we also know that microplastics carry bacteria and potentially even viruses. These can cause disease and illness in humans and animals alike. Exposing pets to bacteria via plastics can cause a variety of health problems or exacerbate existing conditions. Intestinal toxicants in particular have been linked to microplastics, which interfere with gut microbiota and critical intestinal functions."

As with our human household, same goes for our pets. Look for items that are BPA-free and eco-friendly. But our world is far from plastic free. Maybe we will never be totally free of it, but, we do need stricter regulations in the pet industry and EarthDay.org has a Global Plastics Treaty they are asking folks to sign. "The Global Plastics Treaty has the potential to end plastic pollution, protect human health, and lead to a waste-free world." To sign, visit HERE.

 
If you are a teacher, EarthDay.org has Grade K - 12 Curriculum packets to download for free HERE. You can read and print out the full EarthDay.org article on "Pets and Plastic: The Hidden Danger" article HERE. 

 
The children of today are our future. The more they know, they more they can help our planet and all of its inhabitants.

To download EarthDay.org's toolkit that contains mega information, click on image.

 

We Have a Question For You!


While I shared this on Earth Day - April 22nd - caring for our Earth Day and helping to reduce our pet's carbon pawprint while reducing plastics, should be/and is an Every Day event. Tell us...

 

What steps are you doing to 
Reduce/Recycle/Remove Plastics 
from your pet's household? 
Share in the comments!


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Comments

  1. We can do that.

    Have a fabulous day and week. Happy Earth Day. ♥

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was a terrific post and there's always so much more we can all be doing to help our planet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fantastic post and being Earth Day today is a good chance to really spread the word how to save our pets and the planet for future generations. This is a must read for everyone as we need to open our eyes to what is going on, thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
  4. I must admit, while I'm aware of plastics in our every day lives and what we can do to reduce their use, I had never considered that issue in relation to our pets. It's pretty frightening thinking there may be microplastics in their food. Thanks for the great tips and advice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent article, Dorothy! Plastics are a huge issue. I've seen islands of plastic in the middle of the ocean. Sadly, sea and land animals are dying form ingesting plastics in their environment. It's truly horrible! But as Maya Angelou would say, we now know better know and we can (and must) do better. Honestly, I didn't realize that plastic was getting into the manufacturing of dog beds, toys, or clothing. I knew about dog food, which is horrific! But the fact plastics are making their way into all aspects of our and our dogs' lives unfortunately isn't that surprising. I switched Henry's water bowls from plastic to metal shortly after I adopted him. Thankfully, I've always had a ceramic food bowl for him. I also think about poop bags. There are eco-friendly ones. But those are that get stocked in the free grab and go holders at parks or trails I'm certain aren't eco-friendly. I had thought about flushing poop, but apparently that causes more issues as well. I will stick with my eco-friendly poop bags that are supposed to break down more easily. Super article and so very important! I LOVE the photo of Harley and the earth cake pop. What a great shot! I'm sharing with all my dog parents.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Terrfying post in so many respects. So many companies do it 'cheap' and damn the consumer's health. Microplastics are disturbing, we need to stop them. I hope I am doing my part with steel and ceramic (and bamboo) bowls and as little plastic as we can use.

    It is interesting because our boy Angel Harvey was allergic to plastic!!! It gave him acne on his chin. As soon as we moved to a raised ceramic bowl (a beauty from Japan) it disappeared.

    We do not do enough, consumer demand is lazy and wants it cheap. It's a tough battle we all have to fight.

    Marjorie and Toulouse
    DashKitten.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I switched my cats away from plastic bowls because Sunny and Ryder reacted to the plastic. But I definitely can’t say plastic is out of our lives.
    Emilia and the cats

    ReplyDelete

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