Earth-safe products for your dog can make our community cleaner, greener - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Earth-safe products for your dog can make our community cleaner, greener

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Mark Siebel

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Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012 3:45 pm | Updated: 3:02 pm, Tue Nov 27, 2012.

Owning a dog is a lot like playing golf. By this I mean there are rules and appropriate behaviors/etiquette that correspond to dog ownership. Dogs are natural followers and WANT to please. With the right leadership and guidance, you can establish an amazing bond with your dog. To find this connection, it’s necessary to establish a routine to let your dog know the rules.

In recent years, many have also become leaders in an effort to establish a closer bond with Planet Earth. “Go green” is a phrase now used, which refers to the “conservation of our planet.” This too comes with rules and appropriate behaviors. We must leave the earth CLEANER than that onto which we were born. In regards to dog ownership, there are numerous ways that we can be in tune to keeping our parks and communities clean with our furry friends by following these simple tips:

1. Clean up after your dog. Except for an occasional child who does not pick up after their dog’s duty, there is NO excuse for any adult NOT to pick up after their dog. By trying to limit our use of non-degradable plastics, the consideration of bio-degradable poop bags is a great idea; visit for more information. I often tie two or three bags on my leash to ensure that I have an ample supply to clean up after my dog. Not only does cleaning up after your dog keep our parks clean, but it will limit the transfer of disease and attraction of bugs and other ground mites/ticks.

2. Consider using recycled leashes, toys, and bedding. There are many products available today that are MADE IN THE U.S.A. that consist of organic, recycled, naturally hypo-allergenic, anti-bacterial, and odor-absorbing materials. These products are dog friendly and will help us to help our earth stay abundant and clean. There are a large variety of colors and prints, and the selection of items ranges from leashes, bedding, poop bags, and toys. Ask your local pet store if they carry any of these items. You may have better luck finding them at smaller, specialty pet boutique stores;

3. Stay informed. To stay on top of the many ways of keeping our planet GREEN, you must keep yourself in the GO GREEN pipeline. This can be achieved through consistent research of pet eco-websites, joining a GREEN networking group or social club, and networking with local pet friendly businesses. I find that by going to a local pet boutique or feed store, you can learn a lot. These stores focus on NEW pet products and have many resources to inform us about eco-safe pet product options.

4. A little bit goes a long way. Just like the old camp motto: “Leave the campground cleaner than how you found it,” should be the same way we view our earth and parks. When you take a walk in your local park, consider picking up a piece of trash or dog duty even if it’s NOT yours. It’s the right thing to do.

As dog owners, we can make a difference in how we view our pets and the products that we buy. It’s the little changes that will give us the biggest results, so, think green and we ALL can make a difference. Together we can make our communities, cities, states, countries, and earth a cleaner place for the future.

• Mark Siebel is owner of DOGGIE STEPS Dog Training, LLC. He has trained more than 400 Valley dogs, speaks regularly at local schools about the importance of dog safety and ownership, and donates time to youths wanting to learn more about dogs. Siebel is a member of the Arizona Professional Pet Sitters Association and Australian Shepherd Club of Arizona. Contact him at (602) 318-0122 or

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