Let's learn about eco-friendly ways to be a responsible dog owner together. We should all care about the environment, our pets, and ourselves, but it can be tough to know where to start.
Here are 7 easy ways to go green with your dog.
Buy sustainable food.
One of the easiest ways you can make a difference when it comes to sustainable living is to look at what you're feeding your dog. The pet industry has seen a boom in recent years, along with the number of brands that are working hard to introduce sustainably made products.
When comparing dog food and treats, look for brands that incorporate sustainable ingredients into their recipes and have environmentally-friendly processes. Petaluma focuses on plant-based nutrition from sustainable sources, and we love fellow Canadian dog food brand Wilder Harrier who is doing some awesome things with alternative proteins like crickets! You might also want to consider buying from local pet stores that offer bulk dog treats and kibble to save on packaging. A little bit of research will reveal which brands care about sustainability, too — many pet food brands list certifications on their website or product packaging (like "Certified Sustainable Seafood" and "1 % for the Planet" among others).
Ask for eco-friendly toys.
When you purchase new toys for your dog, look for toys made with recycled materials or natural organic cotton. Avoid plastic toys and those with squeakers, which are often made of non-recyclable plastics as well as wasteful subscription boxes which can be "ruff" on the planet. We really like West Paw's durable Seaflex line made of ocean plastics. They also offer a closed-loop recycling plan!
Pick up trash on your daily dog walks.
Doing a Canine Cleanup by picking up trash on your daily walk is not just good for the environment and your dog, but it’s also a simple way to help out Mother Earth. It’s one of the easiest ways to live more sustainably with your dog. Next time you head out with your pup, bring some gloves and a bag or bucket and do your part together.
Buy recycled dog products.
When it comes time to purchase dog supplies, you've got a lot of choices. Some products, like Wanderruff's range of dog harnesses, leashes, and collars are made from recycled materials and our webbing is thicker and more durable than others making it last longer. Picking a stylish Wanderruff recycled plastic walk kit is an easy eco-friendly swop next time your dog needs a new outfit.
Use natural bedding.
It's important to know that your pup's bedding is non-toxic and organic, or at least made from recycled materials too. There are a variety of choices out there, and they all have benefits depending on what you're looking for.
If you want something that can be tossed in the washing machine, organic cotton is your best bet. Organic cotton uses less chemicals and creates less greenhouse emissions than conventional cotton. For absorbency and durability, hemp is your best choice. Hemp is not only gentle on the earth, needing very little pesticides, it also uses around 50% less water than its less hardy cousin cotton. And if you have a dog who likes to chew through things—we won't name names—recycled plastic might be the most practical choice for a tough but easy-clean option.
DIY dog enrichment
Instead of buying dog food puzzles, you can make your own! Here are some great DIY enrichment games you and your pup can build together:
The Cardboard Box
Everyone knows that dogs love cardboard boxes. With this enrichment game, the more random things you throw into a big box for them to paw through, the better. Look around your house for old cardboard egg cartons, old cereal boxes, and other paper packaging (pizza boxes work well!), and see what happens when your dog gets to dig through those things like a treasure chest. It's a bonus if you can find something with an interesting scent or texture—like crumpled tissue paper—to enrich their experience even more!
The Tissue Paper Bag
If your dog likes digging in the trash as much as ours does (calling you out Norman!), then they'll love this super-simple enrichment toy. Simply fill a brown paper bag with shredded tissue paper or compostable packing peanuts (better yet: do both), tie off the opening securely with twine or string, let them sniff it out, and watch as they dive into their new treat-filled treasure trove!
Use compostable or recycled poop bags
If you've ever walked your pup around the neighbourhood, you know there are a lot of dog owners out there. Although we all love dogs, there's no denying that they produce a lot of waste. Luckily for us as dog-owners, and for the environment at large, our furry friends' leavings can be easily disposed of in a way that minimises the impact on our planet. Poop bags made from recycled plastic are a great option—but even better is to use compostable poop bags. These bags are often made from plant-based materials like cornstarch or vegetable oil derivatives—perfect for tossing in a compost bin after daily walks with Fido!
As mentioned above, these bags may not be suitable for curbside composting depending on where you live (check with your local garbage service if you're unsure). But don't worry! Compost bins are fairly easy and inexpensive to set up, and they make excellent fertilizer for plants in your garden or yard. Plus it saves space at landfills by reducing what goes into the ground!
There are simple, small ways to make your dog's life more sustainable - and they're not that hard.
You may not realize it, but there are simple, small things you can do to make your dog’s life more sustainable.
When you're trying to be green, it's easy to forget about your dog. But just as humans are affected by the environment around them, so are our furry companions. We're not saying that you'll be saving the planet with these changes. But every little bit helps. Greening up your life with your dog will ensure that we all enjoy a healthier planet for years to come.