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RISMEDIA, April 19, 2010—From the 8 billion pounds of kitty litter heading to landfills each year to the effects of a pet’s carnivorous diet, pet parents should be aware of the substantial carbon footprint left by pets. To address this important matter, PETCO has developed an exclusive partnership with Greenwala.com, a leading online resource empowering people to go “green.” With the help of both Greenwala.com and Tracie Hotchner, author and host of NPR’s Gracie-Award winning show, “Cat Chat” on Sirius Radio, PETCO has compiled a list of simple ways to reduce the environmental impact of pets.

10 Steps to Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint:

1. Go bio-degradable and sustainable to clean up after your pet- Who wants to populate the landfill will plastic bags full of waste? And are you aware that cat-litter made from clay is mined much like coal? Use bio-degradable bags when walking your dog and an eco-friendly cat-litter in the kitty box.

2. Think adoption first- The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, of whom approximately 3-4 million are euthanized.

3. Spay or neuter your pet- Over 70 thousand puppies and kittens are born every day. We are already at crisis mode in terms of homeless and abandoned animals. Thanks to the economy, this has only gotten worse. Help decrease the number of homeless animals in the United States by spaying or neutering your animals. Not only does it help control animal over-population and homelessness, but it also has been demonstrated to provide long-term health and behavioral benefits for pets.

4. Use natural and organic pet food- Your pets should eat the same quality foods you do. Natural, organic and holistic pet foods use proteins that are raised in sustainable, humane ways and do not contain hormones. They are preserved with natural vitamins. In addition, these healthy foods create less waste for you to clean up at the dog park. Look for the labels and see that they are full of vitamins, and nutrients and free of pesticides, and any attempt to bio-engineer the product.

5. Use organic grooming and cleaning products- Make cleaning product choices that are as safe for the planet as they are for you and your pets and children. Many pet shampoos and cleaning supplies use plant-based cleansers and natural bio-cultures to remove pet stains and odors. These products are completely non-toxic for pets and people, including natural flea removers.

6. Use organic and sustainable pet accessories- We humans spend a third of life sleeping. Well so do most dogs. We obviously want to be comfortable, so look for organic cotton and sustainable bedding to help give your dog a sound sleep. While you’re at it, you can also look to get collars, leashes and PET bottles made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers without herbicides or pesticide as well. Bison branded collars and leads are made from recycled plastic bottles from landfills that are melted and spun into fibers that are woven into strong material.

7. Avoid pet toys with harmful toxins- When looking for pet toys, do the same thing you would do for your kids, and that’s to read the label and avoid toys with lead in them. Lead in products are equally as harmful for pets as they are for humans. In fact, the best thing to do is to get creative and create toys from recycled items that you have lying around the house.

8. Be active and live a healthy lifestyle- Get out and get active. Not only is this a great tip for humans, but it is absolutely the best thing to do for your dog. If you don’t have a dog, let your cat run around outside, but make sure there is a cat enclosure. In fact, if you want to get out with your dog, go to a dog park to play with other dogs.

9. Planet-friendly manufacturing- Choosing natural and organic-based products is important. However, it’s just as important to support brands that incorporate sustainability into their everyday business practices such as packaging, ingredient sourcing and recycling. Most companies proudly share their eco-conscious efforts on their websites where you can easily find it.

10. Be committed to your pet- The worse thing a pet owner could do is not be committed to them once they own one. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and not just to have fun or because it is the latest trend/fad. Yes pets are fun for all ages, but they need care like a child and if you are committed to your pet it will be easier for you to implement the tips above.

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