Congratulations, you are almost officially a dog parent, Hurrah!
You’ve prepared to weather the storm on daily walks, learn to master the art of the perfect grooming session, up for playing hours and hours of fetch, and picking up more poop than you’d ever like to admit to anyone! But it’ll be a whole heap of fun right?
Dog parenting is without a doubt a lifestyle choice and a very rewarding one at that. We all know you’d do absolutely anything for your canine friend, but have you ever thought about the impact of some of those actions?
Deciding to go eco-friendly with your dog can be a wonderful option. The effects on the environment is an important topic and one, as a dog owner, you have a responsibility to uphold. There are many reasons why it is a great idea to go eco-friendly with your dog and it’s pretty easy to achieve once you know how.
Why should I go eco-friendly with my dog?
We, as humans, create a substantial impact on the environment daily, through the items we buy and some of the things we choose to do. Living an eco-friendly life helps the planet to conserve energy and prevent air, water and noise pollution. Plastic is a major culprit in polluting the earth, since it cannot be recycled and most types of plastic are non-biodegradable.
According to Green Peace ‘A truckload of plastic enters the ocean every single minute and UK supermarkets produce 800,000 tonnes every year’ this is an enormous amount of waste!
As dog parents, we tend to buy as much for our canine friends as we do for ourselves (yes, yes I know, you can’t help that they’re just so damn cute), which only escalates the already dire situation. Take a good look around your household and see if you can identify all the sources of plastic you have? You will be very surprised how much you find.
Leading an eco-friendly lifestyle with your dog allows you both to give back to the planet. There are reported to be over 40 million pet dogs in Europe alone. Just imagine if everybody thought in the same way. Think about what a difference that would make?
What is eco-friendly dog parenting?
Eco-friendly dog living is a conscious lifestyle choice for both you and your canine friend. It is making those small, insignificant changes that really make a difference. Changes to your lifestyles that you will barely notice, but a commitment that takes some careful thought and planning.
Eco-friendly dog parenting is looking carefully at the products you buy for your canine friend, whether that be the packaging or the item itself. Trying to seek alternative options and analyzing how you can reduce waste in the home.
Eco-friendly dog products are becoming more and more widely available in the market as we learn ways in which we can combat these environmental issues. Many more eco-friendly dog outlets exist these days than once were and is a great starting point to go eco-friendly with your dog.
‘But these are expensive!’ I hear you say. Not true!….Nope…..I won’t hear it. Eco-Friendly and sustainable does not equal expensive. The good news is there are many eco-friendly pet stores that are retailing at very reasonable prices, allowing access to sustainable doggy goods for everyone.
How can I become an eco friendly dog parent?
Everything is easy once you know-how. Research and preparation is key to a successful outcome. This doesn’t appeal to everyone, so we’ve decided to help you out a bit (you are welcome) with our top tips for you and your dog to lead an eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle.
You wouldn’t think that feeding your dog has the ability to put so much pressure on the environment, but it absolutely does. Many dog foods contain plastic packaging and when you think about how often you feed your dog, you can see why this can become a real issue. Try to buy dog food that comes in 100% recyclable packaging or buy in bulk to save wastage. Buying food loose, in particular dry biscuits, can be stored in containers at home, rather than throw away packaging. Some small changes to feeding time can make the world of difference.
It should be noted that meat itself, is pretty resource intensive to produce and has been identified in many research studies, such as the one carried out at the Cummings Veterinary Medical Centre (Tufts University). We’d never suggest your dog go on a plant based diet, but certain meats have a significantly higher impact, such as beef and human grade meats. Try to avoid these if you can and choose meats such as chicken and rabbit that have a much lower impact on the environment.
Poop, Poop and more Poop!
No-one ever really wants to bring up the discussion of poop, but as a dog parent it regularly comes up in conversation whether you like it or not. As a dutiful owner, picking up your dog’s poop is part of daily life and is ultimately your responsibility (although some owners sadly don’t seem to think this is the case, but it is).
So, you know those little plastic bags you are using to clear up your fluff ball’s mess? Sorry, but those need to go. They are made of plastic and are not recyclable or biodegradable. The great news here is, there are a few alternative things you can do to fix this problem:
Buy recyclable dog poop bags
Buy compostable dog poop bags
Buy biodegradable dog poop bags
Bury dog poop
Flush said dog poop down the toilet
It’s ultimately whatever works best for you, just don’t use plastic.
Eco friendly dog living and Homemade Delights
If you’ve ever fancied yourself as the next Delia Smith, this could be your time to shine. Making your very own dog treats at home is a great way to bypass any unnecessary packaging and unsustainable palm oil found in many similar products. You can store all the goodies in reusable containers and include all the tasty ingredients you know your dog loves.
For those with particularly green fingers, you could even start your very own vegetable patch at home to save on buying produce that usually comes in packaging. Be aware, there are some fruits and vegetables that are not safe for dogs to eat. Check out this list put together by the American Kennel Club for clarification – AKC
Toy Box Fun
Your canine friend loves nothing more than to have a play and let off some energy (ok to be fair, probably the second favourite to food). Their toy box is full to the brim with all kinds of doggy fun, but have you noticed the one small problem? Most of them are made from plastic in one form or another and are completely non-recyclable.
Look for ways in which you could make some fun toys with everyday items you have at home. A knotted up old T-Shirt of yours will make for a great pulling toy that you and your dog can have hours of fun with. Check out this great video from Tuja Wellness to get your creative mind flowing.
There are also many eco-friendly dog shops around that sell an abundance of toys. Seek toys made from hemp, bamboo and wood in particular. These are usually produced from sustainably managed forests and hemp dog bones are becoming particularly popular at the moment.
Bath time Bubbles
Bath time for your canine friend can be fun or sometimes even mayhem, but there is one thing you can be sure of (aside from the bubbles), the doggy shampoo you will be using will likely be made of? You guessed it, plastic! Most dog shampoos present themselves in plastic bottles, but there is definitely an eco-friendly way around this problem.
Remember the times when we mostly relied on good old bars of soap? Well now is one of those times. There are a few doggy soap bars on the market that are completely plastic free and come packaged in cardboard. The packaging can be recycled, with no wastage and you can continue your journey guilt free to an eco-friendly life for you and your special friend.
The Willing Walker
Have you ever driven to the park to walk your dog? Hand on heart, I don’t think many of us can categorically say we have never ever done that. The reality is, life is busy and we’re always looking for the quickest way to get everything done.
Maybe there is a park you like to take your dog to for a run around, but the thought of actually walking to get there puts you off. Or maybe you like to drive to a park far away because your dog sees it as their second home.
Either way Eco-friendly dog living is definitely not about releasing unnecessary carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the air. Consider finding a doggy park closer to home that you can walk to rather than taking the car. Your dog will get an extra bit of exercise and it will be good for you too!
It’s fair to say your pooch probably owns way too many items. Don’t we all? Doggy toys, blankets, collars, beds, feed bowls, you name it, there’s probably at least 3 of everything going spare. It gets to a point where you become a borderline doggy hoarder and I’m sorry to say, you have no choice my friend, it’s time to say farewell.
Recycling items is a great way to help the environment and allow your dog to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle. Donate unwanted items to local rescue centre’s, they are always crying out for doggy items that can be reused. Helping a good cause, as well as the environment. A double thumbs up!
There you have it, some introductory ideas to go eco friendly with your dog. If this sustainable way of living is something new to you, then the best way to approach it is to try to slowly transition into this way of life. Remember sustainable living habits are not a series of independent events or actions that you perform. Rather it’s a constant series of lifestyle choices that you embrace from moment to moment. If you are a ecofriendly dog parent, great. Why not suggest ideas or other ways that dog care gives can embrace an eco friendly lifestyle.
Lucy is a freelance pet writer from the United Kingdom who has a strong passion for animals and creative writing.
Being around animals most of her life, in particular dogs, cats and horses, has given her the skills to pass on valuable knowledge and enthusiasm to other dedicated pet owners. She would be described as a true animal lover at heart and considers pets to be members of the family.
CPD Animal Care and BHS (British Horse Society) qualifications allow her to provide accurate, up to date pet care information, in addition to exceptional research skills.
Lucy has a quirky, informative writing technique, in a light-hearted, conversational tone. She really likes to engage and reach out to an audience through her writing.