We live on a beautiful planet and we all have a duty of care to ensure it stays that way for generations to come. With relative ease, we can make decisions and choices that can positively impact the world around us. This is true in many aspects of our lives and even applies to being a dog owner.
Many of the things you need as a dog owner can be created from eco-friendly materials. Products such as beds, bowls, blankets, harnesses and collars can be sourced from companies that use materials that have little to no negative impact on our environment. Look out for products that are labelled as ‘sustainable sourced’ or ‘recycled materials’. Avoid plastics that take a long time to break down.
You will likely go through a lot of dog-waste bags. By choosing to switch to a biodegradable bag, you can have a positive impact on the environment. They are compostable and break down relatively quickly. Even if they are incinerated with landfill rubbish, the number of toxic fumes released into the atmosphere is considerably less than with standard bags.
Environmentally friendly toys
Toys do not need to cost the earth! With some DIY, you can create toys out of household items you intend to throw or no longer need. For example, toilet rolls can be cut into different heights and glued onto cardboard to make an exciting enrichment feeder. Old clothes can also be knotted into a chew toy.
If you do choose to buy a toy, look for ones made from renewable and recyclable materials like wood, jute and hemp. Instead of throwing away a toy that is no longer wanted, why not donate it to your nearest dog rescue?
Food for thought
Over the last few years, people are more aware of the impact farming might have on the environment such as the release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. In particular, the pet food industry contributes to a large amount of gas due to its farming procedures.
We can reduce our impact in several ways. Dogs are omnivores and they can live healthily on a vegetarian/vegan diet. As no animal products are involved, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced. If moving to a meat-free diet is not feasible, even just committing a day or two per week can have a positive effect on the environment. As with any diet change, always consult your veterinarian to ensure any diet you try is suitable for your pet.
Knowing where your dog's food comes from is also helpful. Choosing locally sourced pet food reduces the number of air miles your pet’s dinner has travelled. Other labels to look out for are organic and sustainably farmed products.
A non-toxic cleaner for cleaning your dog’s toys is recommended. Often, the cleaning solution is emptied into the sink which may end up polluting the river and the sea. There is also the issue of increasing the production of plastic by buying spray bottles. Choose a cleaner that can be refilled easily to avoid doing this.
Every step counts
Choosing to be an eco-friendly dog owner can sound daunting. However, taking small steps can make it manageable. Rather than replacing all of your dog’s belongings in one go, why not swap them for sustainable counterparts when they finally do need to be replaced? Or start small and try a vegetarian dog treat before committing to a new diet. Before you know it, choosing eco-friendly options will become second nature for you.