Billings_iStock_000045052444_LargeWhat comes to mind when you think of Earth Day? Images of children holding hands and running barefoot through green grass? A crystal blue ocean filled with leaping dolphins and whales? Or perhaps a bustling recycling plant overflowing with plastic bottles ready to be turned into sweaters and park benches?

Public health probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when Earth Day is mentioned, but for pet owners, perhaps it should be.

While recycling and planting trees are wonderful and meaningful Earth Day (or everyday) activities, we invite you to consider the ways in which you as a pet owner can increase the safety, health, and beauty of your community.

Scoop That Poop!

Picking up your pet’s waste is one of the single most eco-friendly acts you can perform as a pet owner. Here’s the scoop on why it’s so important to clean up after pets:

  • Storm water carries pet waste into the waterways, where it adds nitrogen to the water, depleting oxygen necessary for fish and other underwater life.
  • Besides nitrogen, animal waste may contaminate water with harmful organisms such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Giardia, which can be transmitted to humans.
  • Dog feces may contain intestinal parasites such as hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, whipworms, and more, which can live in the soil for long periods of time. These organisms can infect humans, especially children, and other pets as well.
  • Besides being the law in many communities, picking up after your dog is simply good manners. No one wants to step in poo!
  • To avoid potential infection and runoff concerns in your own backyard, be sure to remove pet waste from your property every 1-7 days.

The Role Of Monthly Heartworm Preventives

The importance of monthly preventive medication for your pet cannot be overstated. Besides protecting your pet from the year-round risks associated with this deadly parasite, most heartworm preventives contain an added bonus: compounds that prevent or treat common intestinal parasites like roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm.

Keeping your dog or cat parasite-free will make your community a healthier place to be.

Other Ideas For Celebrating Earth Day With Pets

Celebrating Earth Day with pets doesn’t have to be all work and no play! Consider the following:

  • Check with our local animal shelters to find out what items they’re in need of. Newspapers, plastic bags, old pet toys, and other recyclables are often welcomed and can help pets in need.
  • If you haven’t had your pet spayed or neutered yet, consider doing so. By doing your part to prevent pet overpopulation you are helping to reduce your pet’s carbon “paw-print”.
  • Enjoy the outdoors with your pet! Whether it’s a hike, swim, or just a stroll through the park, taking the time to enjoy nature is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Just don’t forget to scoop that poop!

If you need to get your pet started on a heartworm preventive, Billings Animal Hospital can help. Give us a call to set up an appointment today!