September is Responsible Dog Ownership month. askHRgreen.org, the HRPDC’s environmental education and awareness program, is celebrating by helping people think about ways to green their pet care practices. Consider these tips for being a responsible caretaker for both the environment and your dog.
- Scoop the Poop Every Time - Whether you are in your backyard or a shared green space, always scoop the poop. Animal waste is a significant source of nitrogen and bacteria in our local waterways. Excess nitrogen and bacteria cause public health threats and green, foul-smelling water. Be even greener and reuse plastic bags when you ‘scoop.’ You can keep plastic bags tied to a leash and in the car so you’re always prepared to be green.
- Ditch the Lawn Care Chemicals – Dogs love to roll in the grass and play outside. So rethink what chemicals you and your community use in outdoor spaces. Eliminate herbicide, pesticide and fertilizer use whenever possible. Even when kept away from the treated areas until dry, dogs can ingest the chemicals and even track them into your home. Lawn care chemicals can cause upset stomach, respiratory illness and long term health issues in dogs.
- Homemade Pet Food - Try your hand at making dinner for your dog. Homemade dog food reduces packaging waste and is a healthy option for your best friend. You can even use locally grown or organic veggies to make it greener. Does the DIY approach sound a little ambitious? Only purchase foods in recyclable containers or find locally made dog foods to do your part.
- Green Toys – Look for creative ways to reuse items as dog toys like wrapping an empty water bottle in an old t-shirt to create a fun, crinkly toy. You can also find toys made with recycled content at a local pet supply store.
- Donate, Don’t Dispose – Do you find yourself throwing out used dog supplies in favor of the hottest new products? If so, make sure those collars, leashes, and beds get donated to a local animal shelter or animal rescue. They are always in need of supplies and it will keep usable products out of our landfills.
askHRgreen.org is a public awareness program of the 16 cities and counties of Hampton Roads administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC). Members include the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg; the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry and York; and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD).