End Plastics

Why Write Pets vs. Plastics?

Pet ownership has surged and increasingly their “needs” are being listened to and have made our families furry! It’s big business.

But the truth is our pets shape our daily routines, our lifestyle choices, where we live, and environmental consciousness. I myself am a self-confessed, over-the-top pet parent. I understand the relationships and bonds we build with our pets are deep and while for some that may seem extreme — it doesn’t change the reality that I love my dogs. Buzz and Sally Rider are important to me and my wife and we want both them to be healthy and happy.

Beyond the walks, the playtime, and the cuddles lies the largely unspoken issue of plastics and its potential health effects on our best friends. 

Buzz and Sally Ride are truly beloved, each with their own unique background and personality. My wife and I rescued Buzz about 5 years ago while we were living in Wilmington, North Carolina and still in college and he quickly became our best friend. We consider him to be the perfect dog. Sally Ride is our sassy, wild, foxhound who is 100% great if somewhat unruly, who  entered our lives while I was living in Stumpy Point, North Carolina looking for a companion to ride out with me while I was working in wetland reclamation. Long, often boring days alone were transformed into real adventures when she started to join me. Sally Ride made me see the landscape with new eyes, I noticed more because she noticed more. I was more alert and more in tune with nature because this little furball forced me to be. 

These dogs are part of my family and are akin to my children. I don’t have to apologize for that.

The detrimental effects of plastics on our environment are well-documented and have become part of the mainstream environmental debate when it comes to pollution and increasingly, thanks to reports like Babies vs. Plastics, their impact on human health.  Be it pollution in our oceans or the harmful chemicals released during plastic production or the impact of plastic chemicals leaking out of our landfills or contaminating our air, our soil and our homes — the toll of plastic is beyond what anyone could have anticipated. However, what is largely overlooked is the direct and often negative impact of plastics on our pets’ health and well-being. 

Plastic toys pose many risks to our furry companions. Beyond being a potential choking or obstruction hazard, most plastic toys have little to no regulation and contain harmful chemicals like phthalates and BPA, which can leach out into our pets system through chewing and prolonged contact. These chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and even cancers, in many species of animals including humans and of course dogs and cats.

Plastic food and water bowls can harbor bacteria and other pathogens, and are generally more difficult to clean compared to stainless steel or ceramics. They can also shed microplastics and plastic related chemicals into the water and the food they contain, which our pets then ingest.

Writing the Pet vs Plastics made me realize that the ‘system’ does NOT put our pet’s interest first, it favors profits and often plays lip service to really protecting our pets. 

So now I am on alert, I am consciously trying to take the polymers out of my pet’s lives.  My wife Emily and I have made changes in our own lives to keep our wonder dogs  safe — we opt for more natural materials when it comes to toys and the blankies.  Believe me, our dogs have hidden them away in every corner of our apartment. 

We have sourced the best kibble we can afford and replaced canned pet food for cooked sweet potatoes and chicken, even deboned fish sometimes. They need smaller portions as a result as it’s healthier and has a higher protein content. We scour the web for plastic free everything for them and are generally much more aware of everything now that we realize how much plastic our dogs can and have been coming into contact with. 

The Pets vs. Plastics report is not meant to scare pet parents. It was written to inform and inspire and to bring more individuals into the anti-plastic fold. We want to highlight how good of a job the plastics and petrochemical industry, by the way one and the same, has done implanting themselves everywhere, almost insidiously in every corner of our lives.

Our pets give us so much. We rely on them for love, companionship and their unwavering loyalty. The bare minimum we can do to protect them is to move away from plastics and protect them from plastic toxic chemicals.

Make small changes in your life to protect them, which could be as small as giving them a wooden stick rather than a plastic frisbee or perhaps cooking their meals from items you get from the grocery store. It may sound ridiculous, but boiling some chicken and feeding sweet potatoes (as long as your pet can handle it) can go a long way in prolonging and improving the life of your best pal. They say cooking is a form of love, potentially even for your dog and cat.

Think of moving away from plastic as a health issue. Our pets are only a part of our lives for a short while, because their life expectancy is so much smaller than our own, why not make it the best it can be? Love them, cherish them and make sure you get the plastics out of their lives. When I look at Buzz and Sally Ride, I know I will never be able to repay the love they have given me, but I am determined to try. And for me that means NO MORE PLASTICS.

That’s why we are releasing the Pets vs. Plastics report, it’s dedicated to my dogs and the deep love I have for them and all pets, everywhere. Choose pets over plastics. Read the report when it comes out shortly.