Who do you share your living space with? A cat or dog? Maybe a parrot, or something more exotic? “As of 2023, 66% of U.S. households (86.9 million homes) own a pet” according to the American Pet Products Association. Responsible pet owners like to focus on the well-being of their beloved cats, dogs, and other comfort creatures, providing them with yummy food, grooming, and regular exercise.

However, we may not realize that our pets also have a stake in the way we handle our garbage and waste. Let’s explore why your pets care about how you manage your trash and what benefits good waste disposal brings to them.

  1. Health and Safety

Just like us, improper waste management can affect pets’ health. If garbage is allowed to pile up, it attracts pests and insects, which may carry diseases or cause discomfort to our furry friends. Does your dog or cat search the kitchen for scraps? Moldy or spoiled food poses a health risk if it is ingested accidentally.

  1. Air Quality

Pets have a much stronger sense of smell than humans. They have been trained to detect bombs, cancer, drugs, people buried in avalanches, and much more. So if you can smell your garbage, then the odors from overflowing or rotting food can be overwhelming for them. Poor air quality can cause respiratory issues in pets, leading to discomfort and potential health problems.

  1. Curiosity and Ingestion

One of the reasons we love pets is because they are naturally curious creatures. They remind us what it means to explore the world around us, even in the most familiar settings. Ingesting spoiled food, non-food items, or harmful substances from the trash can lead to digestive issues and, in some cases, require expensive veterinary treatments. Even if it doesn’t cause any long-term damage, it can decrease their spark for exploring.

  1. Environmental Impact

We don’t often talk about how environmental issues are bad for our pets. But our pets are part of this world we share. When garbage is improperly disposed of, it can contribute to pollution, harming wildlife and ecosystems. Microplastics, which are becoming increasingly present in our systems, are also affecting domestic animals. Efficient and contained waste management is one of the best ways to limit your environmental impact.

  1. Emotional Well-being

One of our favorite characteristics about pets is that they are there for us on our glum days. They can tell when we want a snuggle. In general, they are attuned to their owners’ emotions and living environments. A cluttered, unkempt home or apartment with overflowing garbage bins may lead to stress or anxiety in us and, by extension, in our pets. A clean and organized living space can improve their overall emotional well-being and happiness.