How Can I Be an Eco-Friendly Dog Owner?
- Choose the right food for your dog.
- Handle his waste in a responsible way.
- Pick out environmentally friendly toys and games.
- Make your own dog-care products.
Most people are concerned about the environment and would like to reduce their carbon footprints. Pet owners are no exception! If you have a dog, there are some ways that you can be a more eco-friendly dog owner, which, in turn, can make your dog even healthier and happier. Check out this list of ways that you can boost your (and your dog’s) environmental friendliness.
#1 Choose the Right Food for Your Dog
A trip to the grocery store or any pet supply store will show you a dizzying array of brands and types of dog food. What should you choose? There are some companies throughout the United States that strive to reduce packaging and use environmentally friendly practices in making their food.
Answers Pet Food, for example, uses humanely raised livestock as their meat source. They are also committed to using biodegradable packaging, and they don’t use GMO products in their foods. For pet owners in Connecticut, Paul’s Custom Pet Food makes dog food that is sourced locally and sustainably.
They pack their food in paper and even offer a discount if you provide your own container. Your Pet Chef is another company that uses recyclable packaging for their food; they also recycle the packaging that they get when they order their ingredients.
They deliver to customers in the greater Chicago area using a hybrid car, too! Of course, you could always make your own dog food. Consider using locally sourced meat and vegetables to cut down on shipping, and look for ingredients that come from ecologically responsible companies.
#2 Handle Your Dog’s Waste Responsibly
If you’re like other responsible dog owners, you take care of your dog’s waste. If you’re like most, however, you might tie it up in a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage can. That’s not a very landfill-friendly approach. Consider these options:
- Pick up your dog’s waste using paper bags, newspaper, or something else that’s biodegradable. The problem here is that you will need to find a way to contain it so it’s not rolling around in your garbage bin, and that usually involves a plastic bag of some sort.
- Flush the waste down the toilet. Call your local environmental services department first to check, but waste is waste, and it generally will do just fine going down the toilet. Pick it up with newspaper or toilet paper and flush it away.
- Use a biodegradable bag. These are made from corn and are said to melt away in landfills. The jury is out on how true that is, but it’s better than using plastic. Earth Rated is one company that makes these bags. The Green Pet Compost Company goes one step further and comes to your home to collect the waste in their biodegradable bags.
#3 Choose Eco-Friendly Toys and Games
There are certain toys and games that your dog will enjoy that can reduce his carbon footprint. The best way to help your dog become more environmentally friendly is to let him play with whatever you already have laying around the house.
Doing this means that you won’t be buying anything new or throwing away any packaging. Of course, you need to choose toys that are safe, so make sure no pieces can fall off to be choked on and that your dog isn’t going to be able to swallow it whole. If you have old stuffed animals, balls, or yard toys, start with those. You could also take an old t-shirt, tie a few knots in it, and use it as a tug toy.
If you want to go the commercial route, there are some companies that specialize in creating toys that are environmentally sound. West Paw Design, for example, makes rubber toys out of Zogoflex, which is a non-toxic, BPA- and phthalate-free, recyclable material. Their stuffed toys are filled with stuffing made from recycled plastic bottles. Harry Barker is another company that makes eco-friendly dog toys. Their ropes are made from recycled cotton yarn, and their stuffed animals are made with hemp and stuffed with material made from recycled plastic bottles.
#4 Make Your Own Dog-Care Products
When it comes to keeping Fido clean, you don’t have to resort to sudsy commercial shampoos and heavily scented products. Keep in mind that brushing your dog regularly will help keep him fairly clean.
If your dog does need a bath, however, you can use natural products that are safe for your furry friend and for the environment. Try one of these two recipes, depending on your dog’s needs.
- If your dog tends to have itchy, dry skin, try putting a cup of dry oatmeal (rolled oats) in the food processor. Pulse until it’s powder, then mix in a half cup of baking soda and a quart of water. Use this to soothe your dog’s skin and remove any oil that’s giving him a doggie odor.
- Make a dry shampoo out of equal parts baking soda and cornstarch. Mix it together and store it in an old salt shaker. Just shake it on your dog, avoiding his face, and brush through. It will absorb oil and refresh his fur.
Your dog can have a smaller ecological footprint with your help. You don’t have to change everything at once: Even small changes can add up to a big difference! Choose just one way to be more environmentally friendly when it comes to your dog’s care and know that you are making the healthiest choice possible for your four-legged pal.
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