This piece was originally published on November 6, 2017 by Emily Folk. It was last updated by the eco18 team on August 3, 2020.
Thanksgiving is about being with the people you love and eating some really great food. You’re supposed to celebrate all the great things in your life that you’re most thankful for, like the people sitting at the table around you. This Thanksgiving, don’t forget what everyone should be the most grateful for: the world we live in and what it’s given us. Holidays are always marketed to be a time of buying things you like, but instead, this year try thinking of how you can use the holiday to give back. It’s no secret that being eco-friendly benefits the planet to help keep it spinning for future generations. And just like people overlook the goodness that nature has provided for us, we also can overlook the pets that give us joy every day. Before you sit down for dinner this November, read up on some ways to have an eco-friendly and pet-friendly Thanksgiving. You’ll be able to enjoy good food and great company without any worries about how you might be impacting the environment or even potentially hurting your pet.
Eat Local Foods
While it’s always a good idea to support local businesses to show neighborly love and benefit the economy of your hometown, eating local also helps lessen your impact on the planet. Small town farmers often don’t use the chemicals corporations spray on their crops for mass production. These same chemicals can pollute the air and wash off into waterways. Buy as much food as you can from local farms so you keep the planet from being harmed by companies that are just out to make a buck.
Only Buy Organic
The truth is, not everything on your Thanksgiving grocery list is going to be offered by local farmers, so what you can’t buy from down the street should be purchased organically instead. Organic foods are grown without any substances that pollute the earth, and they’re often raised or grown on farms that care about the treatment of their plants and animals as well. Before Thanksgiving arrives, check your usual grocery store for their organic sections or products. They’re often clearly labeled so you can shop for organic foods with ease. If you’re not sure how to find out what’s organic or what organic really means, you can read about how to find out if something is organic so you don’t have to worry when it comes time for your turkey dinner.
Including your pets in your Thanksgiving traditions can make the holiday feel complete, but don’t forget to take some extra precautions with them. One thing most people will probably have to think about is how to safely travel with your pet. If you’re driving, it can mean taking frequent bathroom breaks, and if you’re flying, it will mean you have to check with your airline to see exactly how they’ll keep your pet safe. You’ll know best how to make your pet comfortable while you travel, so always put them first. With the recent pandemic, airlines have changed how they allow pets to travel too. Learn more about how to travel with pets during COVID here.
Keep Human Foods for the Humans
Depending on what kind of pet you have, you may not ever share food with your furry friend, but dog owners know it’s all too tempting to share a piece of steak or scoop of ice cream when your pet comes to beg. You love them and want to spoil them, so what’s wrong about that? What pet owners don’t think about is that their pet could have food allergies they’re unaware of. Dogs most often share their human’s food, with or without their permission. Whether you give your dog your scraps or find them jumping up on your counter to polish off that chicken, you’ll need to keep human food away from them. Some common dog food allergies include beef, chicken, fish, dairy, lamb, egg, pork, and soy. Keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving by limiting them to their favorite pet food.
This piece was originally written by Emily Folk. Emily is a sustainability writer and advocate for eco-friendly living. You can check out more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter.