Pamper Your Pets (and Waterways) on National Love Your Pet Day

county of san diego watershed protection program


Love Your Pet Day

Pamper Your Pets (and Waterways) on National Love Your Pet Day

February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day and a great time to celebrate your faithful furry companion! While you’re sharing your love for your pet, why not show your love for our environment by preventing pet waste and cleaning products from entering our waterways? If not properly managed or disposed of, pollutants such as pet waste, cleaning detergents, and litter associated with pet products can flow into our storm drains and eventually enter our local waterways and ocean without being treated. Learn how to pamper both your pets and the environment by taking the following pollution-prevention and zero-waste actions.

Pet Waste & Detergent Prevention and Disposal: Pet waste and bathing detergents can threaten the health of animals and people if not treated properly. 

  • Pet Waste – Pet waste is full of bacteria and excess nutrients that contaminate local waterways and contribute to poor water quality. Clean up pet waste in your yard at least weekly, and dispose of it in covered trash bins or use toilet paper to pick it up and flush it down the toilet where it will be treated effectively through the sanitary sewer system. When walking your dog or letting it roam free in fenced dog parks, carry extra bags, bag the waste, and place it in pet waste collection containers or public trash bins or dumpsters. Teach your kids early on to be good environmental stewards by educating them on the harm of pet waste on water quality and proper disposal habits, and by involving them in community pet waste programs like San Diego County’s award-winning Poo Points Program. Contact the County at to learn more.
  • Pet Bathing/Detergents – Pet shampoos or detergents may contain harsh chemicals which can cause ecological problems. When bathing your pets, look for biodegradable, natural, or chemical-free alternatives. However, even biodegradable soaps should not be washed into storm drains. Manage water runoff when washing your pets outdoors by washing them on a lawn or over a landscaped area where wash water can be absorbed into the soil. If bathing your pets indoors, wash animals in a sink or tub so the water goes down the drain to the sanitary sewer system.

Zero-Waste Mindset: Adopt a zero-waste mindset when planning and purchasing meals, supplies, and toys for your pets. Minimizing waste associated with caring for your pet can prevent excess waste from going into our landfills and storm drains, further preventing pollutants from reaching our local waterways and eventually our ocean. Consider reducing, reusing, and recycling using the following tips:

  • Pet Food – Buy food in bulk when possible or better yet, make your own pet food using pet-friendly recipes. If you do purchase packaged foods, look for products that come in recyclable packaging. Bring reusable bags with you to haul food and treats home.
  • Pet Toys – Choose good, quality toys for your pets with minimal packaging to avoid the need to purchase more toys and sending cheap material from broken toys to the landfill. Better yet, use old items you have on hand in your home and repurpose them into do-it-yourself toys for your pets.

For other ways to adopt a waste-free pet lifestyle, including resources for donating used pet supplies and disposing of pet waste in an eco-friendly way, check out I Love A Clean San Diego’s blog on Zero Waste Pets. Learn more ways to show love for your waterways year-round by visiting our Watershed Protection Program webpage.

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