Most dogs love going on daily walks. The sights, sounds, and smells are all things to get excited about for your four-legged friend. Plus, it helps you both to burn off some energy and stay active. On average, dogs need between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise each day. Walking to a local park or heading down a nature trail is a great way to get in that activity and keep up with your own health, too!
But, have you ever noticed that some of your dog’s favorite walking spots could use a little sprucing up?
It’s never fun to see trash on a trail or waste and liter in what would otherwise be a beautiful park. Not only is trash an eyesore, but it could be dangerous for your dog, other animals, and especially the well-being of the planet.
Trying to live a green lifestyle with your dog at home is only half the battle. If you spend time walking with your pooch each day, pay attention to your surroundings and what you can do to “greenify” your daily stroll together. It could start with something as simple as cleaning up.
The truth about trash
There’s no denying we have a waste problem in this country. In 2018 alone, the average person produced about 1,800 pounds of trash. Landfills are becoming dangerously full, plastic is becoming a major problem, and our reliance on non-renewable resources makes so much waste production irresponsible and dangerous.
Thankfully, more people have started to recognize these issues and have committed to reducing their waste. Some people even practice a zero-waste lifestyle by trying things like:
- Reducing what they need
You don’t necessarily have to go “no-waste”, but if you want to be a more eco-friendly dog owner, you can start by cleaning up on your favorite walking spots. While you might not be able to do anything about the trash people get rid of, you can get it off of the ground and into a proper receptacle.
If you want to take things one step further, bring a bag or small box along with you and separate things that can be recycled. You can take them home and recycle them yourself, or take them to a nearby center to do it for you. This simple action can go a long way toward keeping your dog’s favorite spots clean and safe.
Get a group involved
Dog parks and walking trails are incredibly popular for people with pets. It’s a great way to meet like-minded friends and neighbors, and give your four-legged friend a chance to socialize, too.
But, instead of just getting together to walk and talk, why not do something as a group to benefit your dogs and the planet?
Many hands make light work, and if you’re all passionate about keeping walking spots clean, holding “clean up” — known in the green energy industry as environmental remediation — days is a fantastic way to get things greener! Getting a group together can be as simple as:
- Sharing event information online or handing out recyclable fliers
- Talking to other pet owners you know
- Creating sign-up forms
- Delegating jobs and responsibilities
- Composing a detailed plan that includes safe disposal
Cleaning up with a group of pet owners can help to spread the word about the importance of keeping outdoor spaces green. You might inspire others to live more sustainably, or at least start paying more attention to their waste production.
Benefits of cleaning up at the park
Picking up at your pooch’s favorite walking spots is a great start, but if you really begin to see the benefits of cleaning up, you might consider adding more locations to your eco-friendly efforts.
Consider driving to other nearby walking trails or parks that you don’t usually visit. Your dog will love experiencing new smells and sights, and it’ll give you a chance to make a positive impact there, too. Make sure to keep your furry friend safe on car rides by securing them in the back seat, and never leaving them in a car alone — especially in hot weather.
By traveling somewhere new, even if it’s still in your community, you can extend your outreach and get even more pet owners interested in cleaning up.
As a bonus, you’ll meet even more dog lovers and could even form a few great friendships. If you can get enough people together within your community, you might be able to convince your local government that picking up litter isn’t a pointless activity. Rather, it’s something that should trigger a policy change and stricter consequences when it comes to throwing trash on the ground in local parks and on walking trails.
Final thoughts on cleaning up walking spots
Cleaning up your dog’s favorite walking spots will benefit you, lower your dog’s risk of getting into something dangerous or toxic, and can have a significant impact on your local environment if you’re able to get others involved.
Don’t be afraid to start small and do your part to keep things clean. You might be surprised by how quickly your fellow pet lovers join you.
Miles Oliver is a proud dog lover and an outdoor enthusiast. He can often be found writing on his patio with a hot cup of tea and his four-year-old border collie mix by his feet. When Miles is not working as an independent freelance writer, he is most likely mountain biking and roaming the great outdoors with his four-legged companion.