It’s no secret that we Americans love our dogs. It’s estimated that between 37-47% of all families across the nation own a dog – that’s between 70-80million canine companions!
Owning a dog involves purchasing lots of different products. Dog food, beds, toys, and grooming items will become an everyday part of your life. Choosing what options to buy can be a daunting process; there are thousands of different products to choose from out there. Here are our tips for selecting the perfect eco-friendly products that both you and (more importantly!) your dog will love:
Dog food & treats
Dog food seems to be one area of the product world that doesn’t seem to have really caught on to the eco-friendly movement. However, there are still some eco-conscious dog food companies out there, such as Evanger’s Organics that use natural, locally sourced ingredients to reduce the carbon footprint of their manufacturing process. Similarly, the Eco Dog Company only sells quality natural treats.
There’s also the option to make your own dog treats. We love this video by Rosanna Pansino as she clearly dotes on her dog and makes him a selection of birthday treats using organic meat and wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Doesn’t everyone deserve a cake on their birthday?
Choosing safe dog toys can be a worry, especially for new dog owners. If you purchase rubber or plastic toy dogs, look for those that are marked as ‘BPA free’. BPA is a chemical that is often used in dog toys. It’s recently been banned from use in baby bottles due to research that showed it can have lasting health impacts. If it’s banned for children, you probably shouldn’t give it to your beloved dog either.
If choosing brightly colored dyed toys (e.g. rope-based toys), try to find out what dyes have been used before you purchase them. Some dog toys use harsh chemicals to dye the materials. Not only are these potentially damaging to the planet, but they can be harmful to your dog’s health if they chew on them for prolonged periods of time, particularly if they ingest any of the fibers. Try to find dog toys that have been made using natural dyes. Remember that the color of the toy is mainly done to attract people into purchasing it – your dog won’t really care what color it is as long as it’s fun to play with!
For even greater peace of mind about the contents of your dog’s toy, why not try making your own?
Keeping a dog’s mind active is important for their development and happiness. There are many “brain teaser” style dog toys available commercially, however, they tend to be made of plastic and other harsh materials that aren’t ideal for our planet.
If you’re handy with a hammer, you can create your own version with some plywood and other DIY materials you’ve probably already got in your garage. Remember that your dog should always be supervised when playing with toys such as this.
Every dog needs a comfortable bed to call his own. As dog owners, we want to purchase something easy to clean, affordable, appropriately sized, and free of dangerous chemicals or materials that might be harmful to our canine companion.
For a truly green dog bed option, consider beds that have been made with recycled materials. For example, P.L.A.Y uses recycled placed bottles to create their beds. Their manufacturing process turns plastic bottles into PlanetFill poly fiber. There are a whopping 108 recycled plastic bottles in every extra-large sized dog bed.
Creating dog beds from plastic bottles is a common theme for environmentally friendly dog bed companies. Greener Pup also does this and, what’s more, 100% of the profits from the sale of their products go to a dog rescue charity.
If recycling is something you are interested in, you could go one step further and craft a handmade dog bed. Here’s an example of how you can turn an old sweater and a couple of pillows into a bed fit for your pampered pooch:
Shampoo and bathing
At some point or another, your dog is going to need a bath! Whilst taking your dog to a local groomer for a pamper session is certainly an option, that can be expensive and time-consuming. Not to mention the carbon footprint of driving your dog to and from the location.
Bathing your dog at home can be an eco-friendlier option. But, what shampoo products should you use? Many dog shampoos are full of artificially produced chemicals that not only leave their mark on our planet during their manufacturing process but can also act as a carcinogen for both pets and owners.
For a safe dog shampoo, use one with natural ingredients, avoid artificially colored products, and definitely stay away from anything that contains lead or coal tar.
Or… make your own for a truly natural scrub!
Cleaning up pet poop
Let’s face it, cleaning up after your dog is not one of the better parts of being a pet owner. It’s easy to gloss over the poop clearing process and not really think about the environmental impacts. Nevertheless, there are some really simple changes you can make to help out Planet Earth.
Biodegradable poop bags are readily available in pet stores and they are kinder to the planet than the plastic variety. They generally break down in less than a year, whereas it takes plastic bags a whopping 1,500 years!
If you have a compost heap, when you clear up your garden, add the poop to your compost. It might not be very pleasing to the eye (or nose!) but adding manure can supercharge your compost and help to fertilize it.
So, there you have it – our top tips for an eco-friendly existence for your dog! Do you have any green tips for living with a canine companion? If so, let us know in the comments below.