How Can I Be an Eco-Friendly Pet Owner?
Do you wish you could be more “green” as a pet parent? It can be challenging to know how to be more sustainable with all of the waste your dog creates. When it comes to poop bags, toys, dog food, cleaning supplies, and dog beds… how do you know which dog products are eco-friendly? Is there even such a thing as “going green” with your dog?
There are tons of sustainable and eco-friendly dog products and businesses out there. We will show you all of our favorites. It’s easy to become an eco-friendly pet owner. These simple tweaks can make a significant difference.
1. Choose Eco-Friendly Dog Cleaning Products
Whether you’re talking about pet shampoos or products that help clean up after an accident, plenty of eco-friendly options are on the market.
Typical household cleaners contain toxic chemicals that can be irritating or harmful to your dog, your kids, and even to you. Instead, check out companies like Grove Collaborative, Seventh Generation, and BlueLand. They provide an assortment of safe cleaning products that are free from harmful toxins.
2. Feed Your Dog Sustainable Pet Food
When picking dog food for your pup, some companies offer more sustainable options than others.
- Check out the packaging: Does the food come in reusable or recyclable containers? Or is the packaging made from recycled materials?
- Can you buy it in bulk: If the dog food company allows you to purchase in bulk, it will help save on their packaging and shipping waste—not to mention the gas from your car!
- Is the food of higher quality? The higher the quality of ingredients used in your dog’s food (such as human-grade ingredients), the healthier your pup will be. This means fewer health issues for your dog and cleaner, healthier poops.
3. Eco-Friendly Dog Poops Bags
Eco-friendly dog poop bags are all the rage! As goofy as that might sound, it’s true. Dog poop bags create an insane amount of waste. “Approximately 500 million plastic poop bags are used annually throughout the world. One plastic bag can take over 500 years to degrade in a landfill; that is if it ever fully degrades.” Crazy, right?
Many companies have “gone green” to help solve this problem. Just remember to read the details before you purchase. Some dog poop bags will make their products and packaging look green and earthy, or they’ll use some of the right buzzwords without actually being helpful to the planet.
Also, you’ll notice that some dog poop bags are “biodegradable,” and some are “compostable.” But what’s the difference? “Like degradable bags, biodegradable [bags] are often still plastic bags that have microorganisms added to break down the plastic. Compostable bags are made of natural plant starch, and do not produce any toxic material. Compostable bags break down readily in a composting system through microbial activity to form compost.”
So although biodegradable dog poop bags are still better than typical plastic bags, your best option for helping the planet is to purchase compostable dog poop bags. Check out products like Earth Rated Compostable Dog Poop Bags, Moonygreen Compostable Dog Poop Bags, or My Alphapet Compostable Dog Poop Bags.
4. DIY Dog Treats
Think about all of the packaging that accompanies dog treats. It just creates a bunch of extra waste! Instead, try making your own dog treats at home.
The easiest way to do this is by giving your pup small, cut-up pieces of dog-friendly fruits and veggies like carrots, celery, green beans, or apples. But before you try any other fruits or veggies, always double-check that they are safe to consume by dogs.
5. Buy Sustainable Dog Toys & Pet Products
There are a couple of ways to give your dog sustainable dog toys. One great way to reduce waste is by reusing products from second-hand stores like Goodwill.
If you want to purchase some new stuffed animals, a dog bed, or even a blankie for your pup, check out your local Goodwill or thrift shop for some gently-used items. Just give them a good wash first! In doing this, you eliminate extra waste, save yourself some cash, and give your dog some new gifts.
In addition to buying gently-used products, you can shop from companies that use eco-friendly materials like West Paw and Harry Barker. Both of these companies dedicate themselves to using materials for their pet products that are safe for the planet. Whether they are chemical-free or made from recycled materials, these are companies you can feel good about supporting.
6. Save Water
Lessening our water waste is always helpful for the planet—even when it comes to our dogs. And there are a couple of ways you can do this.
- Choose a pond or creek instead of a kiddie pool: If your dog loves swimming and splashing in the water, try taking them to a pond, creek, or other natural body of water instead of filling up that kiddie pool with gallons of wasted water. Or, if you have a friend with a pool, take your pup for a swim at their house!
- Rethink bathtime: Instead of filling up the bathtub with water, try using a detachable shower head or a pitcher of water to wet and rinse off your dog. This will save countless gallons of water too.
7. Adopt, Don’t Shop
Next time you’re considering adding a new furbaby to the family, consider adoption rather than purchasing a pet from a breeder. According to the ASPCA: “Approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.” And only “approximately 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year.”
Think about those poor pups and kittens who need a good, loving home. Rather than breeding new companion animals, let’s find homes for the millions of dogs and cats who currently need families. You can search for the gender, age range, and breed mix you’re looking for at PetFinder.com.
8. Spay & Neuter Your Pets
Getting your pets spayed and neutered helps too! A significant contributor to the overwhelming number of shelter animals is unintentional dog and cat reproduction. But we can considerably lower those numbers by spaying and neutering our pets before they reproduce.
How Can I Make My Pet More Sustainable?
All of these steps are super easy to do. But they are also super easy not to do. It’s up to you to choose. Start small by picking one at a time. And before you know it, the world will become a greener, more beautiful place thanks to your actions.