It probably comes as no shock to any of y’all that I LOVE dogs (probably more than people – ha!). Over the years, I have learned to make more sustainable choices when it comes to caring for my dog Rufus, as well as our revolving door of foster dogs! Here are some tips for how to go green with your dog and his/her accessories:
1. Use compostable waste bags
Plastic adds up FAST when you walk your dog frequently and use plastic bags to scoop their poop. Our dog typically uses at least 3-4 bags per day. That’s a lot of plastic!
A couple of years ago we started using compostable waste bags. These biodegrade and can be composted (if you use a compost service, just check to make sure they will accept pet waste).
2. Use non-toxic dog shampoo
Hair and skin care products, including those made for dogs, are often full of chemicals that can be toxic to you, your pets, and the environment. Be sure to choose non-toxic hair care products for your pets to keep your home chemical-free! Shampoos made with oatmeal are especially great if you have a dog with sensitive skin. This shampoo from 4Legger is next on my list to try.
3. Make your dog’s food yourself
One of the biggest sources of waste in my own home is dog food. The plastic bags of dog food aren’t great, and if you have a dog that eats canned food like ours does, you’re probably going through dozens of cans each week. Ditch all this packaging by cooking food for your dog yourself! In addition to saving on waste, it also saves money. I’ve been wanting to try out this recipe for my own pup.
4. Use non-toxic pet stain cleaner
Even if you have an incredibly well trained dog, accidents in the house are inevitable! My Rufus never potties in the house, but he does occasionally throw up (ick!). Having a good pet-friendly cleaner for your floors and carpets is essential. Opt for one without toxic ingredients, such as Earth Rated Pet Stain and Odor Remover.
5. Choose a sustainably made collar and leash
Choose a collar and leash for your dog that are made in an eco-friendly way. Natural fibers like hemp, bamboo, or cotton tend to be better for the environment than synthetics. You can usually find better-for-the-earth collars and leashes at local, independently owned pet stores, or of course on Amazon.
And then once you have a collar and leash for your dog, wear the heck out of them! Don’t buy new ones just because you want a change in color. It is wasteful to toss an old collar just for an aesthetic update. Your dog won’t mind wearing the same color for a few years–Rufus has had the same collar since the day we got him over 5 years ago, and he doesn’t mind a bit!
6. Walk places with your dog!
Walking is so much better for the environment than taking a car or some other type of fossil fuel transportation. Let your dog encourage you to make the earth-friendly choice: take a walk! Walking places with your dog rather than driving is better for the earth, but it’s also good for your health (both physical and emotional!) and your dog’s health. So the next time you’re headed to a brewery or need to make a quick stop by a friend’s house, grab your walking shoes and your dog’s leash!
7. Choose sustainably made toys
Dog toys can be a big source of waste, especially if your dog tears up toys as quickly as ours does! Choosing toys made out of natural fibers (i.e. hemp, cotton) or recycled materials tends to be better for the environment than buying toys made from virgin plastic and other synthetics.
I hope these tips are helpful for you eco-minded dog owners out there! What did I miss? If you can think of any other sustainable pet tips or know of any great earth-friendly products, please drop a comment below!
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