Household Wonders

Paws for the Planet: Your Guide to being an Eco-Friendly Dog Parent

Owning a dog has filled my life with a different kind of love, fun, and companionship that my partner (sorry, honey, I still love you) can’t provide.

As much as our pups enrich our lives, it’s equally essential that we return the favor to them and the planet we call home.

This article will guide you on the best practices for eco-friendly dog ownership to keep your four-legged friend tail-wagging happy and leave a smaller environmental pawprint.

Buy (or make!) Eco-Friendly Dog Food & Eco Treats

I make a lot of my dog’s food at home, but when I do buy, I buy eco-friendly dog food. This helps to:
• Ensure my dog has wholesome nutrition,
• Reduce my carbon footprint and my dog’s pawprint,
• Support ethical practices,
• Save on waste,
• Have a clearer conscience, and
• Lead by example.

Wholesome nutrition

When I purchase eco-friendly dog foods, I know that my dog eats high-quality, natural ingredients free from artificial preservatives, fillers, and additives. After all, his health is my top priority. I want to give my furry friend (my Olly) the best chance at a long, healthy, nutritious life.

Castor & Pollux is one of the first brands that comes to mind as the best natural, nutrient-dense, and responsibly sourced pet food providers. They’re not kidding when they say they make purposeful pet food.

Reduced carbon footprint/pawprint

The conventional pet food industry significantly contributes to pollution and carbon emissions.

Eco-friendly dog food brands focus on responsible sourcing and production to reduce adverse environmental impacts. By supporting these brands, I’m helping to reduce my carbon footprint and my dog’s pawprint.

Some sustainable pet food brands have even introduced vegan-friendly dog food. We know this diet choice can reduce our own carbon footprint.

I’m not making a personal recommendation here because meat is an essential component of my dog’s diet (even though I rarely, if ever, eat meat myself). I strongly recommend you do thorough research and consult your vet before switching your dog to a vegan diet.

Support for ethical practices

As a dog owner, animal welfare is high on my list, as I’m sure it is on yours too!

I like to ensure that the eco-friendly dog food brands I’m supporting source and make their products ethically. This includes brands like Open Farms, which are about “more good in every bowl.”

Save on waste

The pet food industry can be wasteful, considering how much food a dog consumes. Like our own food, buying your pet’s food in bulk is a great way to reduce waste.

You can also support brands like The Honest Kitchen, which uses minimalist recyclable or 100% biodegradable packaging.

Paper pet food bags are becoming more common now, and this type of packaging usually tells you whether it is recyclable. Try to move away from metal containers where possible and choose brands that use recyclable paper, cardboard, and BPA-free plastic that is recyclable.

Keep an eye out: Zero-waste dog food is on the way but is yet to be available nationwide. One company in Canada, Good Boy Collective, 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 to stock up.

A cleaner conscience

When I feed Olly eco-friendly dog food, I know that my choice is good for him and the environment. Considering how small this act is, it’s surprising how much purpose it gives to my role as a pet parent.

how to be eco-friendly with a dog
Meet Olly
IMAGE CREDIT: Household Wonders

Lead by example

My last point on why I buy eco-friendly pet food is that it sets an excellent example for my friends, family, and fellow dog-park goers (where the real gossip and competition happens 😂).

Buy sustainable dog essentials

Food products are the most common for plastic, but it’s good to have a plastic-free rule for all your essential dog accessories. Beds, collars, leashes, bowls, toys, and clothing items all contain various types of plastic that damage the planet.

The next time you need to stock up on any essentials, consider some more sustainable dog products.

Doggy doo-doo bags

As a responsible dog owner, you probably clean up after your pooch when out in public – well, I hope you do!

Regarding eco-friendly dog poop bags, I go for 100% compostable ones.

One of my favorite brands is Beco Pets. If you’re not an active composter, don’t worry, Beco Pets also has poop bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled material.

compostable dog poo bags
Image Credit: Beco Pets

Dog beds

Even if you share your bed with your dog, you probably still have a dog bed somewhere in the house or backyard.

Eco-friendly dog beds are a no-brainer for me for the following reasons:

  • They use recycled or organic materials and eco-conscious production processes,
  • They don’t contain harmful chemicals and allergens,
  • They are crafted with longevity and durability in mind, and
  • They lower my carbon footprint.

I was won over by Molly Mutt‘s sustainable cotton dog bed covers. They craft 100% sustainable, durable cotton beg covers. The best part is that the mattress stuffing comes from your old clothes, pillows, and blankets.

If you don’t have your own fill materials, don’t worry. Molly Mutt has plenty of options to suit all dog owners.

Eco-friendly dog collars (and leashes)

Choosing an eco-friendly dog collar and leash for your dog gives you the same benefits as sustainable dog beds.

My favorite brand would have to be WigglyWoos.

WigglyWoos collars and leads are incredibly stylish, and you can choose from eco-friendly materials such as hemp, cork leather, and cotton. They also use nickel-plated buckles to cut down on plastic.

Use natural, eco-friendly pet shampoos and fur care products

Bath time can be a delightful bonding experience…scratch that. My Olly isn’t a fan 😂

Like traditional human shampoos, conventional pet shampoos contain harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and artificial colors. These shampoos can irritate your dog’s skin and harm the environment.

Not only is Ethique a favorite brand for my hair, but they also have a selection of dog-friendly shampoo bars! I use their unscented shampooch for sensitive dogs. I love knowing my dog gets everything I get from my shampoo bar – a plastic-free, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly clean.

I can’t go past Zefiro’s bamboo dog brush when curing those furry locks. If you’re from California, you may already be familiar with this brand – they pride themselves on being Chicago’s first zero waste store.

Give the gift of a green dog toy

We love hemp here at Household Wonders, so we might be biased in our next recommendation.

Honest Pet Products is a passionate team of pet owners committed to staying true to pets, people, and the planet. They have a range of hemp material dog toys to entertain your dog naturally, pun intended.

What makes hemp an excellent material for toys that get very dirty is that hemp material is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, mildew-free, and rot-free!

Olly loves the eco-tosser, and I’m sure he’d only be too happy to tell you if he could!

eco friendly dog toys
IMAGE CREDIT: Honest Pet Products

Prevent unplanned litters

Overpopulation of pets is a huge problem. It’s estimated that nearly 1 million animals are euthanized in shelters each year in the US alone. Not adding to this issue should be the priority of any pet lover.

It’s imperative to get your dog neutered (males) or spayed (females) at an appropriate age for your dog’s breed. Usually, this is while your dog is still a pup.

How does this help the environment? Just as with people, the higher the population of animals, the more resources are required. More resources = more ecological footprint!

Unplanned litters often lead to animals being sent to a shelter where they’re cared for up until a certain age. If they can’t be rehomed, they’re sadly put down.

If you ask me, puppies are great fun, but one is more than enough to handle! If you agree, take a little responsibility to get your pup “fixed” at the appropriate time and avoid any unplanned puppies.

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.

I wish I had considered adopting when welcoming Olly into my life. He is adorable, and I wouldn’t give him back, but adoption is a more sustainable route for future pet owners.

By adopting, you are saving a dog’s life, and with over 2.7 million adoptable dogs (and cats) in the US, there is one out there for you! Why pay someone to breed dogs when you could save the life of an existing dog living in a shelter and give them the life full of love they deserve?

eco friendly pet practices
Adopt before you shop

If more people adopt, fewer animals will occupy shelter space, allowing strays to be saved from the streets. It also helps to take the pressure off shelters.

“Puppy mills” sounds cute, but the reality is quite different. Puppy mills treat dogs like cash crops, keeping them in squalid and overcrowded cages. Dogs can suffer from malnutrition due to insufficient feeding and watering. They may also not receive the veterinary care they need.

For a sustainable and compassionate pet world, adopt before you shop if you can.

Final thoughts

Now, more than ever, is a great time to switch your dog to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Many great brands offer everything from food to toys that have less of an impact on the planet.

Generally, approach your eco-friendly dog accessories and needs with a plastic-free approach. Plastic pollution has hit alarming levels over the last 5 years, and reducing plastic wherever possible is becoming more critical than ever.

As you can see, plenty of great eco-friendly dog brands are out there to choose from. You can find even more that will suit your dog’s needs with a little bit of research online.

When buying sustainable pet supplies, look for companies using eco-materials that have committed to sustainability.

Minimal packaging is also a good sign, and certifications such as USDA Organic, FSC-Certified, Leaping Bunny, and FDA-Approved can help make better purchasing choices.

I hope this updated guide has helped you to discover these incredible eco-friendly brands to start you and your dog on your new eco-friendly lifestyle together. Your shared happiness and health don’t have to cost the earth.

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