Many of us have chosen to lead a more eco-friendly and sustainable life. But, have you thought about the impact your furry friend has on the planet? Dogs consume too, and the food and products we buy for them all carry an environmental footprint.
So, how can you be eco-friendly with your dog? Opt for eco-friendly dog brands for everything from food to beds to shampoo. Prevent unplanned litters, “Adopt, Don’t Shop”, recycle pet food packaging, reduce plastic use, and choose sustainable dog food brands.
In this article, we will guide you through the best practices for eco-friendly dog ownership. Your dog doesn’t have to harm the planet, he can be green just like you. Here’s what you need to do.
6 Ways to Be Eco-Friendly With Your Dog
There are many ways in which you can help your doggy go green. The pet industry is slowly shifting to more eco-friendly practices to help support you. Here are the most effective ways to make your dog eco-friendly.
1. Buy Eco-Friendly Products
Just like people, dogs have needs, and so they consume goods. While many of us are changing our consumer habits to be more eco-friendly, many of us haven’t considered the footprint of our dog’s products such as food, beds, toys, clothing, and accessories.
You can now find all of these things in eco-friendly versions. Environmentally friendly dog brands are popping up all over the place to help you out. Some notable brands include:
- Honest Pet Products (link to Amazon storefront) – toys made from eco-friendly materials.
- Beco Pets (link to Amazon storefront) – biodegradable poop bags.
- Ark Naturals (link to Amazon storefront) – natural food with a low carbon footprint.
- King Kanine (link to brand site) – organic, high-quality CBD products for anxiety.
- NEPCO (link to brand site) – eco-friendly bedding and litter.
- Castor & Pollux Natural Petworks (link to Amazon storefront) – pet food made with responsibly sourced ingredients.
- Cycle Dog (link to Amazon storefront) – sustainable toys and gear.
- West Paw Design (link to Amazon storefront) – beds made from recycled plastic.
- Ethique (link to Amazon storefront) – eco-friendly shampoo and various care products.
- Chews Happiness – (link to brand site) collars and leashes made from cruelty-free yak down.
- Olive Green Dog (link to brand site) – bamboo brushes.
As you can see, there are plenty of great eco-friendly dog brands out there to choose from. A little bit of research online and you can find even more that will suit your dog’s needs.
When buying sustainable pet supplies, look for companies that are using eco-materials and who have made commitments on sustainability.
2. Prevent Unplanned Litters
Overpopulation of pets is a huge problem. It’s estimated that nearly 1 million animals are euthanized in shelters each and every year in the US alone. Not adding to this issue should be the priority of any pet lover.
It is imperative to get your dog neutered after eight weeks of age. For females, you should have her neutered after eight weeks and preferable before her first heat.
How does this affect the environment? Just as with people, the higher the population of animals, the more resources are required. All of which carry an ecological footprint.
Often, unplanned litters lead to animals being sent off to shelter where they’re cared for up to a certain age. If they can not be rehomed, then they’re put down. Not only does this have an ecological footprint, but it’s also cruel to the animals.
So, make sure your pup gets neutered at the appropriate time and avoid any unplanned puppies.
3. Adopt, Don’t Shop
The “Adopt, Don’t Shop” movement has been hugely successful over the last decade and continues to raise awareness about the issues surrounding “puppy mills” and private breeders.
Why adopt? You will save a dog’s life. Currently, there are 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats in the US. Why pay someone to breed dogs when you could save the life of an existing dog living in a shelter?
If more people adopt fewer animals will take up space in shelters and allow more strays to be saved from the streets.
By adopting and taking the pressure of shelters, you’re helping to reduce the sheer amount of resources used to care for the animals and boycotting all the energy put into breeding dogs.
“Puppy mills” sounds cute, but the reality is quite different. Puppy mills treat dogs like cash crops. They’re often kept in squalid and overcrowded cages with minimal shelter.
Dogs often suffer from malnutrition due to insufficient feeding and watering. They also receive little to no veterinary care as the breeders are unwilling to pay for it.
Adult dogs are continuously used for breeding more puppies until they can no longer reproduce. They’re then put down when they cannot produce any more pups and become “unprofitable”.
For a more sustainable and compassionate pet world, always adopt your dog and never ever shop.
4. Recycle You Pet Food Packaging
Your dog probably eats a lot of food, just like you. Each time she eats, it most likely comes out of some sort of packaging. This packaging will no doubt end up in a landfill.
It’s important then to choose food from eco-friendly brands such as The Honest Kitchen (link to Amazon storefront) that uses minimalist recyclable packaging that is 100% biodegradable.
Food cans are the leading cause of pollution when it comes to your dog’s food. Try to move away from metal containers where possible and choose brands that use recyclable paper, cardboard, and BPA-free plastic that is recyclable.
Paper pet food bags are becoming more common now, and this type of packaging usually tells you on the side if it is recyclable or not.
Zero-waste dog food is on the way but not yet available across the country. One company in Canada, Good Boy Collective (link to brand site), is leading the way in zero-waste dog food. They run a zero-waste program where you can buy a refillable container from them or bring your own.
Each time you visit their store, you can refill the container and take it home. They also use natural and eco-friendly ingredients. One day in the future, zero-waste dog food will be the norm, but we may have to wait a few years.
5. Reduce Plastic Use
Food products are the most common for plastic, but it’s good to have a plastic-free rule fro everything. Beds, collars, leashes, bowls, toys, and clothing items all contain various types of plastic that are damaging to the planet.
The plastic pollution issue has hit alarming levels over the last 5 years, and it’s becoming more important than ever to reduce plastic wherever possible in our lives. This includes our doggy friends.
Here are some plastic-free (ish) dog brands worth checking out:
- Food – Beco and Lily’s Kitchen (link to Amazon storefront)
- Poop Bags – Beco and Lily’s Kitchen (link to Amazon storefront)
- Treats – The Honest Kitchen (link to Amazon storefront) and Only Natural Pet (link to Amazon storefront)
- Toys – Honest Pet Products (link to Amazon storefront) and Cycle Dog (link to Amazon storefront)
- Accessories – Koko Collective (link to brand site), West Paw Design (link to Amazon storefront), and Dogit (link to Amazon storefront)
- Care Products – Ethique (link to Amazon storefront) and The Clovelly Soap Co. (link to Amazon storefront)
- Beds – Earthdog (link to brand site) and Olive Green Dog (link to brand site)
Avoiding plastic has become much easier over the last few years. Try to find products that use natural materials such as hemp, bamboo, organic cotton or even recycled plastic.
When researching the brand, look for sustainably sourced materials and certifications that back up their claims. This way, you can ensure you’re buying quality products from a company that is actively trying to reduce their footprint on the planet.
6. Buy Sustainable Pet Food
Pet food is one of the biggest food industries on the planet. Most of that food is made using animals such as cows, pigs, chickens, and fish. All of these animal products carry a huge carbon footprint.
Some people choose to feed their dogs a vegan diet. As omnivores, a vegan diet is possible for your dog and can be a healthy choice for them. However, we strongly recommend that you do some thorough research of your own and consult with your vet before making any decision.
For those that want to stick to meat for their furry friend, then you can always consider investing in sustainable dog food. Brands from the USA to consider include:
- The Honest Kitchen (link to Amazon storefront)
- Ark Naturals (link to Amazon storefront)
- Castor & Pollux Natural Petworks (link to Amazon storefront)
- Lily’s Kitchen (link to Amazon storefront)
- Steve’s Real Food (link to Amazon storefront)
- Primal (link to Amazon storefront)
- Benevo Organic Dog Food (link to Amazon storefront)
Not only do these brands help to mitigate the footprint of the food they supply, but they also aim for natural and healthy ingredients. They avoid any nasty preservatives or other harmful ingredients that are commonly found in conventional dog foods. So, your dog will be happy too.
These eco-friendly dog foods are more expensive than regular dog food brands. But, if you can afford them, we believe it’s well worth it for the planet and your dog’s health.
Now is a great time to switch your dog to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. There are tons of great brands offering everything from food to toys that have less impact on the planet.
We hope this guide has helped you to discover these incredible eco-friendly brands. Hopefully, this is the start of you and your dog’s new eco-friendly lifestyle together. Both you and your dog’s happiness doesn’t have to cost the earth.