You love your dog, right?
Like me, you probably want to take care of your pup as best you can. And chances are – if you’re reading this – you also want to do what you can to lessen your environmental impact.
So you may be asking yourself… “what does it take to be an eco-friendly dog owner”?
Here are 7 simple and straight-forward ways to raise a more sustainable dog.
#1. Make Your Own Sustainable Dog Treats
^ I made these peanut butter-flavored treats for Ember and she loves them!
Make your own dog treats to reduce waste (plastic packaging) and to control exactly what goes in your dog’s treats. You can give them peanut butter or sweet potato-flavored treats that they’ll love and are good for them (especially compared to store-bought treats made with chemicals and preservatives).
Doing this can also save you money and ensure you always have treats on hand.
Look up some easy animal-friendly biscuit recipes or feed them pet-safe “people” foods. For example, my dog’s favorite vegetables are bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli (specifically in that order lol). Cooked eggs are a healthy treat too as long as your dog is not sensitive to chicken-based products.
#2. Feed Your Pup Sustainable Dog Food
Be deliberate about choosing dog food brands that are sustainably sourced. A quick google search will reveal many eco-friendly dog food brands that use ingredients like sustainably caught fish.
Support your canine’s health and the health of the environment.
Some dog food brands (like Open Farm and Wellness TruFood) are even partnered with TerraCycle so that they pick up your empty dog food bags and recycle them into new upcycled products when you are done with them.
#3. Let Them Play With Eco-Friendly Dog Toys
^ Ember’s favorite durable Goughnuts ring dog toy
Before buying yet another new dog toy that will inevitably be destroyed (if your dog is like mine) and thrown in the trash within days or weeks, consider more environmentally-conscious dog toy options.
Search for unused items around your home that you can reuse as sustainable dog toys. You can transform those forgotten t-shirts at the back of your closet into a knotted pull toy or dig around for some old stuffed animals or tennis balls. Some dogs love chasing after bubbles if you have those around the house.
Get creative – but make sure it’s safe. You may still need to watch your dog while he/she plays to make sure they don’t ingest something they shouldn’t.
<– My dog loves bubbles…
There are other eco-friendly toys for dogs out there. Instead of buying more plastic toys, choose biodegradable dog toys. Biodegradable dog toys are those made of natural materials like hemp or wood.
Westpaw has a type of toy – called ZogoFlex that is made out of recycled toys. Their “join the loop” program means you can send those toys back and they can infinitely recycle them to make more toys.
OUR FAVORITE DOG TOY:
Our dog, Ember, is a rescue. We don’t know what mix of breeds she is, but we do know that she has one of the strongest jaws out there.
No toy is safe. She thinks it is her job to destroy – not necessarily “play”.
So we have discovered our favorite dog toy company: Goughnuts. They make tough durable toys out of engineered and natural rubber. What makes these eco-friendly is:
- They are so durable that your dog can keep this one toy for a long time and you can stop adding all the destroyed dog toys to landfills.
- If your dog does damage the toy, you can send it back and they will recycle it (and then send you back a tougher toy of your choice).
P.S. I am not sponsored by Goughnuts nor am I an affiliate, I just wanted you to know about them because I love their durable dog toys.
#4. Wash Your Pup With Eco-friendly Dog Shampoo
^ Whether you wash your dog in a bathtub or in the backyard, using natural dog shampoo is important for the environment and your dog’s health.
Just like human shampoo that comes in a plastic bottle and is made with all kinds of chemicals, your dog’s shampoo is probably similar.
You can be eco-friendly with your dog by using solid shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoo in plastic bottles.
Ethique shampooch, Washbar, and JR Liggett’s pet shampoo are all great sustainable dog shampoo options. They are all made of natural ingredients that are gentle on your dog and on the environment. And they all come as shampoo bars with limited paper packaging instead of plastic.
Just lather some onto your hands or directly into your dog’s fur and scrub like you would with liquid shampoo!
#5. Pick Up After Your Dog
When it comes to pet waste, the first step to an eco-friendly dog is to simply pick up your dog’s poop.
Dog poop is harmful to the environment. If and when it is washed into a water body, it adds injurious bacteria to it. After a rain, the dangerous contents of feces such as fecal coliform bacteria (including E.Coli) and parasites like ringworm can kill animals and plants in water ecosystems.
Furthermore, the high nitrogen content of dog feces depletes oxygen in water ecosystems, hurting aquatic life that survive on the oxygen in water.
By picking up your dog’s waste, you are also protecting yourself and fellow humans. 🙂
This is because some pathogens that are sometimes found in dog feces are harmful to humans too.
As these levels increase in water bodies, rivers and lakes can become too dangerous for people to swim in or drink from.
Tips for picking up dog poop:
- Scoop pet poop from your backyard about once or more each week.
- If it looks like it will rain or rain is forecasted, quickly poop scoop your yard to prevent it from moving into storm drains.
- Do not hose dog poop into the street to keep it from ending up in storm drains.
#6. Use Biodegradable Poop Bags.*
*read the next tip on how to properly dispose of these
You may think the best way to be eco-friendly with your dog is as simple as compostable/biodegradable dog poop bags. And yes that’s a great idea! But WAIT, there’s more.
That’s only the first step of two. If you only buy biodegradable doggie bags, but keep throwing them in the trash, you are just wasting money and effort.
Unfortunately biodegradable dog bags do not break down in landfills.
This is because those compostable dog bags require the high heat of a compost pile to actually break down. When dog poop in bags is sent to a landfill, it is so compacted that there is no oxygen to break it down, even if it is “biodegradable”.
And what’s more, some landfills don’t even allow pet waste because of its potential to contaminate water sources, so be sure to check your city’s solid waste rules.
If you have to pick up dog poop, and you use earth friendly poop bags, but you can’t throw them in the trash because they won’t actually biodegrade…
WHAT IS THE ECO-FRIENDLY WAY TO DISPOSE OF DOG POOP?
#7. Compost Dog Poop
Here’s the answer…
Check with your city’s green organics bin rules to make sure they allow dog poop. If so, dispose of your dog’s poo in eco-friendly dog waste bags (AKA “biodegradable” or “compostable”) and then toss them in your organics bin. That’s it!
If you have your own compost pile, it is still recommended that you leave the composting of dog waste to the experts (commercial or industrial composting facilities). They can conduct pathogen testing to know what temperatures are necessary to safely eliminate pathogens.
And if your city does not allow dog waste in the organics bin, you can purchase a dog waste disposal system or dog waste compost bin at your local pet store. Or you can hire it out with a dog waste disposal service who properly disposes of it or sends it to the sewage treatment plant.
If you do decide to give it a try, keep in mind that the resulting compost should be used for landscaping purposes. Do not use it with edible gardens or near water sources.
(Sorry I had to talk about dog poop so much…)
Anyways! I hope you consider tackling some of these simple ways to have a more eco-friendly dog!
Is there anything else sustainable that you do for your dog that we should know about? Tell me in the comments!
Now go love on your dog (and the planet)! 😉