Energy and pets seem like two completely unrelated entities. But surprisingly, they aren’t. Many of us walk through our days completely unaware of how much the oil industry affects our lives as pet owners. When you take your dog to the park or even grab a scoop to take some kibble out of the bag, you likely don’t give much consideration to the toys your dog plays with or the packaging the dog food came in; they are just products that you provide for your dog’s comfort and pleasure. Just what type of materials make up the ball Fido loves to chase and the comfortable bed he regularly lounges on? And what about that bag which finds its purpose as a holder for the treats that encourage your pooch to trot out his most amazing tricks? As consumers, we are all guilty of having used products without taking the time to ponder where they came from or what they might be comprised of. And that is where the link between the energy sector and your life with pets comes into play. Yes, it is true that energy makes Fido’s life a lot better. But how?
The Truth About Pet Products and the Oil Industry
Though it’s hard to believe, most of the products our pets consume, wear, or use are manufactured from oil or oil by-products. Oil is a critical component found in most plastics, resins, and paint which means it is even in the color on your walls and is part of the formula which makes your floors more resistant to scratches and stains. You’ll even find oil and oil by-products contained in the leash and collar you use on your dog every day.
When you relax on the sofa with Fido after a hard day, the last thing on your mind is oil. But everything from the sofa you rest your weary body on to the rug and even the flooring contain oil. If you take the time to consider, it doesn’t seem possible. But oil is a common product used in many home furnishings. Most typically it is used in wood finishes and glues, but its use is not limited to these two purposes.
Have you considered the picture frame which proudly showcases the pictures of Fido as a puppy, or the photo album which takes pride of place on your bookshelf? What is it made of, and what holds it all together? Perhaps you gave your best canine pal a Christmas gift this year. The tape you used to wrap his present with…also made of oil.
Here is a list of some of surprising items which contain oil in their chemical makeup:
Cell phones, house phones, TVs, computers, and other appliances
From the phone you use to call your vet, groomer, and pet sitter to the computer you use to research common behavior problems and health issues to the TV shows you watch with Fido perched by your side, all of these items contain oil. Even the refrigerator that stores Fido’s favorite treats was manufactured with the use of petroleum products. The vacuum you use to clean up Fido’s pet hair? It’s made from plastic which finds its source in oil.
Unless you’re going somewhere on foot, you’re going to need to take a car, bus, plane, or train to get to your pressing pet appointments. When it comes to vehicles everything from tires to battery casings, upholstery, carpeting, and more contain oil or oil-by-products. But it also takes gas to power your vehicle which makes any car a double whammy of petroleum in one shot.
Medications, needles, packaging
Many human and veterinary medications, supplements, and even vitamins are created using oil. Capsule packaging which is used to encase powdered medications and herbs are produced with the use of oil as are the plastic portions of syringes. Even some emollients such as petroleum jelly and other medicated creams list oil high up on their list of ingredients.
Plastics and silicone are a part of our everyday lives as pet owners. Many dog toys, bowls, leashes, and collars are oil-based products. Even plastic dog tags can be traced back to petroleum.
Have you ever considered the plastic band which rests at the back of your aquarium to hold the tank together? Another important pet product brought to you courtesy of the oil industry.
Food scoops and plastic packaging
Believe it or not, every time you reach for Fido’s food scoop in the kibble bag, you are coming in contact with petroleum-based products at least twice. The scoop is most often manufactured of plastic which is known to contain oil in its chemical composition. But food packaging itself including bags of kibble and plastic which encases treats, bones, and other chews is comprised in part of oil.
Window sills, caulking
If you’ve got a cat, seeing your favorite feline perched on your window sill watching the world go by is a familiar scene. But did you know that the window sill and the adhesive applied to keep it in place owes its construction to oil?
Food, food preservatives
While we can readily accept that oil is needed for many different aspects of our lives, the realization that the leading food preservatives and even some types of food contain petroleum is a bitter pill for many to swallow, yet it is true. Though you cannot feed this substance to dogs due to its canine toxicity, chocolate is one product which contains a substance known as paraffin wax, a petroleum-based material which keeps chocolate from spoiling when kept at room temperature. Pick up a few fries from McDonalds to share with your pooch? Chicken McNuggets and French fries are known to be heavily laced with an oil-based food additive known as TBHQ. This substance preserves the longevity of the product and intensifies flavor…but is also considered to be toxic.
Think pet food is immune from added petroleum? Think again. Not only is food affected by oil laden packaging, the food itself must contain some preserving agent to make it shelf stable, meaning most kibbles will contain oil in some amount.
And what about rawhides, dehydrated bones, and chews? You see them sitting at dog eye level in many different pet stores. If you put a piece of meat on your kitchen counter for an indefinite amount of time, it wouldn’t be long before it became rancid. These fave pet products are painted with an oil-based lacquer which prevents spoilage.
Synthetic fabrics, clothing, and shoes
From the carpets on your floor to the linens on your bed to the duds you put on your back and feet (and Fido’s too!), you will find oil plays a prominent role in each of these products final construction. Petroleum may appear in thread, soles, shoe treads, buttons, zippers, or even in the material itself.
Cleaning agents and antiseptics
As a pet owner, you know the importance of keeping your home clean, and you can’t do it without the use of solvents and cleansers. Yet many of these agents designed to clean and disinfect our homes are also replete with petroleum. Even the simple antiseptic rubbing alcohol is petroleum-based.
Yes, oil is a very big part of our lives whether we realize it or not. In time, oil will play a smaller role when renewable energy changes the landscape. But for now, oil is an essential component in our society, and it does make Fido’s life better. And ours too.