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The Problem With Pets and Plastics

Plastic. It’s in so many things we use. Plastic storage containers. Plastic water bottles. Plastic food containers. Plastic bags.

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Sadly, many foods for companion animals now come in plastic containers

I’m sure you’ve already heard about the problems with certain chemicals in plastic potentially causing harm if ingested. A single piece of plastic may contain up to 30 chemicals that can leach into food. How did they learn these chemicals were harmful? By testing them on animals, of course. So if you won’t use the container to heat or eat in, your beloved dog or cat shouldn’t either.

Plastic materials make up between 60 to 80% of total marine debris, and since plastics last for years and years, it’s not going away without intervention. Tens of thousands of animals are killed each year from ingesting plastic, and those deaths are often slow and painful.

And it’s not just ingesting plastic that can be problematic. Jen buys our food in large bags. Those bags could trap an animal looking for a meal.

So what can I do to reduce the amount of plastics out there harming animals?

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How can I help?

Endangered Species International lists ways we can each help:

  • Refuse– avoid single-use and disposable plastic products
  • Reduce– use less plastic by looking for degradable packaging or buying in bulk
  • Reuse– invest in steel or glass containers that can be reused safely
  • Recycle– recycle when possible, but keep in mind that not all plastics can be recycled
  • Educate with a Smile– nobody wants to be preached at our hounded!

If you must throw away plastic bags, especially food containers, cut them first so they are less likely to trap a wild animals looking for a meal.

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Jen cuts open the bags so at least a feral cat or fox won’t get caught inside.

I found some great tips for reusing those pet food bags online. Try here and here.

What tips do you have to help reduce the amount of plastics that are harming animals? 

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About rumpydog

I am a malamute that was rescued by her. I live with June Buggie the cat. I blog about animal welfare and responsible care of companion animals at rumpydog.com. You can follow me on Twitter - @RumpyDog. And don't forget to LIKE my Facebook page! Thanks!

Discussion

37 thoughts on “The Problem With Pets and Plastics

  1. This is a great post, I agree. And some great tips for re-using/recycling dog food bags.

    Posted by shacklefordlb | October 24, 2013, 5:54 AM
  2. This is not necessarily a direct plastic related. I have seen a snake got stuck in a plastic net that people placed in the lawn to hold the ground or grass (?) together. It was sad to see that. I was so scare and at the same time wanted to help the poor snake. I did get it free to move but it still had the thin nylon net around the body 😦

    Posted by YellowCable | October 24, 2013, 5:59 AM
  3. A woman who worked at the shelter I vol’d at was very well up on all aspects of animal welfare etc..this was her life…she was shattered and never got over the guilt when one of her much loved dogs got into a large bag of kibble and she found him dead..he had suffocated…we put all kibble into large kids wheelie bin toy tubs due to the lesson we learnt. And like the post above we have removed all the fruit netting we have found that previous owners put down to trap snakes..it is a hideous way to die and actually more dangerous as a pet seeing a trapped snake will surely get bitten..we have a company that makes nets for fruit trees that are friendly so bats etc cannot get stuck in the nets…we have placed a metal snake mesh around the yard fence no snake can fit and it is safe.

    Posted by fozziemum | October 24, 2013, 6:30 AM
  4. I’ve cut way back on the amount of disposable containers I bring into the house..the simplest thing to do was to stop buying bottled water…and I’m lucky in that our city has a great single stream recycling program that makes it extra easy

    Posted by Gizmo | October 24, 2013, 7:29 AM
  5. I agree with Gizmo, we don’t buy bottled water and I only rarely buy things where the plastic-package is bigger than the product ( razor blades by gillette – shame on you P&G for this plastic waste, and shame on you Nestlé for the plastic capsules)

    Posted by easyweimaraner | October 24, 2013, 8:29 AM
  6. Thanks for this post, very informative!

    Posted by Russell Smith | October 24, 2013, 8:33 AM
  7. It’s not so good for the hooman folks either!

    Posted by Teepee12 | October 24, 2013, 8:55 AM
  8. And don’t forget — using saranwrap to cover stuff in the microwave is bad for all of us, too. I usually use a sheet of wax paper or just a paper towel. Also, the lining of a bag of kibble is usually a thin plastic — good for trapping moisture and growing mold. UGH! Since we got our first fridge with the water/ice dispenser, I’ve been refilling the plastic bottles instead of buying the bottled water. I do have to get a steel bottle though one of these days and take those old plastic bottles to the recycling bin next to the liquor store.

    Posted by The Golden Life | October 24, 2013, 9:21 AM
  9. Well….we havn’t heard about the problems with certain chemicals in plastic….*blush* But after reading today’s post, it makes us realized that we have to be more careful those risky plastics.

    Posted by eripanwkevin | October 24, 2013, 9:29 AM
  10. Thank you for this reminder.
    We tend to buy things and not consider the packaging.
    Thanks to this post, we will take a closer look at the things we buy
    to ensure we do not harm animals and the environment
    .Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Treasure,Tiger, JJ and Julie

    Posted by Tillie and Georgia | October 24, 2013, 9:33 AM
  11. We’ve cut way back on the amoutn of plastic we use in an effort to help. But it’s difficult to give all of it up.

    Posted by mariodacat | October 24, 2013, 10:29 AM
  12. WE are TRYING to reduce the amt. of plastic we use… butt it is REALLY hard beclaws MORE and MORE stuffs is done in PLASTIC.

    Posted by Frankie and Ernie | October 24, 2013, 10:51 AM
  13. Another idea to keep animals from being trapped in large dog food bags that we throw away is to cut off the bottoms of each bag. 🙂 Great article.

    Posted by mykidhaspawsblog | October 24, 2013, 11:14 AM
  14. My mommy threw away our plastic bowls and switched us to stainless steel after we were getting chin acne. Who’da thunked? I even had to go to the vets because my acne was getting bad. So yes, even eating from plastic bowls is not too good.

    Posted by Chocky Quinones | October 24, 2013, 1:32 PM
  15. Plastic drives me crazy. It ends up in our bay/lake/gulf where fish and birds can grab it and they die from eating it or getting trapped by it. Not good for humans either. Great post

    Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | October 24, 2013, 4:53 PM
  16. Mam buys our food 50 lbs at a time, and Rabbit food 20 lbs at a time. Then she turns the bags into reusable grocery bags so she doesn’t bring home plastic bags from the store. These bags that she sews get emptied, folded and put back in her truck for the next trip.

    Posted by Louie Varela | October 24, 2013, 7:19 PM
  17. Excellent post, Rumpy!! OurPeople didn’t realize that animals could get trapped in big kibble bags. We’ll make sure they cut them in half lengthwise from now on! They go through three or four a week feeding their community cat colonies. One thing they do is buy things in bulk or cardboard, then transfer to big glass containers and recycle the cardboard. They also don’t buy those skinny-necked Yoplait yogurt cartons. OurGirl once got sprayed when she helped a skunk whose head was stuck inside one. She said it was more than worth it to see the skunk toddle off into the bushes.

    Posted by Annabelle Essert (@RainbowCatsx8) | October 24, 2013, 7:28 PM
  18. We like to do our bit that’s why all our smaller UK bags are paper with a compostable plant based lining, which can be broken down in a similar way to kitchen peelings! We like to think it’s a start!!

    Posted by Basil | October 25, 2013, 3:36 AM
  19. I always try to cut up any discarded plastic that an animal might become trapped in. I’ve been using plastic pet food bags that can be resealed for catbox scoopings. My feeling is that the scent of waste is a territorial marker in the wild and would deter animals from checking out that particular plastic. The same goes for a tied up plastic bag of kitty waste.

    Posted by Catwoods | October 25, 2013, 1:29 PM
  20. correction, bags of kitty waste.

    Posted by Catwoods | October 25, 2013, 1:30 PM
  21. We stopped using bottled water about ten years ago. Only if in a foreign country do we ever buy bottled water. We have always cut up plastic soda packaging because we have for 30 years been supporting and helping with marine mammals, fish, etc. We pick up plastic whenever we take hikes, walk on the beach…done that for over 30 years…and we recycle our grocery plastic…but mostly we have our own bags and only take paper ones…have to figure what to do with using plastic bags for storage and freezing stuff…working on that

    Posted by Savannah's Paw Tracks | October 25, 2013, 5:23 PM

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