We all know we have to think about our own behaviour to be eco-friendly and reduce our carbon footprint but what about our pets and their carbon pawprint? We give you our top 5 ways to be a sustainable dog owner and help the planet.
Our pets are big polluters, something we may not have been aware of. Between excess meat in their diets, plastic dog toys and dog mess they leave behind, this all leads to a high carbon paw print. Read on to find out how you can be a green dog owner.
1. Scoop that poop
A huge amount of dog waste is created every year which is a huge environmental issue if we leave it and don’t clear it up. Letting your dog foul and leaving it means bacteria goes into the ground or water and contaminates it and can be extremely harmful to marine and aquatic life.
Never let your dog foul near or in the water because of these dangers. Always opt for a greener biodegradable doggy bag when clearing up your dog’s mess, as traditional poop bags can take up to a thousand years to break down in a landfill.
Greener poop bags will break down far quicker and make sure you put the bag in the correct bin!
2. Check for chemicals in pet products
Pet shampoos, conditioners and products may contain harmful chemicals which can damage the environment if not used responsibly.
Also check for chemicals in flea treatments, such as insecticides, which can be super harmful to aquatic life if they get in to any water.
Did you know insecticides found in some pet and flea products are also harmful to bees (which we need to protect as they are so beneficial to our environment)? Keep an eye out and dispose of any treatments and packaging properly if you aren’t sure.
3. Plastic dog toys
People are becoming more conscious about the impact of single-use plastic on the environment and this has come into great effect for plastics we humans use but this applies to plastic pet toys too- something we may all forget about.
If your dog destroys a plastic toy in record time, this plastic may end up straight in the bin, meaning you end up chucking away loads of excess damaged plastic toys each month. Plastic toys can also cause dangerous intestinal blockages if your dog decides to eat the plastic too.
Go for tougher and long-lasting eco toys which are often up-cycled sometimes even from ocean-bound waste!
There are also loads of plant fibre and bamboo pet toys out there already. Why not try getting crafty and making homemade pull ropes for your dog, or crafting your own engaging enrichment toys. We have some tips here.
Another environmentally friendly idea is to arrange a toy swap with dog owner friends so you can swap toys your pet isn’t interested in rather than throwing them straight away. A fun and sociable activity which is also helping the environment.
4. Go green with dog food
Pet food production sadly is hugely polluting and hard on the environment, with the UN estimating that livestock production is responsible for over 18% of all CO2 emissions worldwide
These delicious products will still have your pup salivating, and making small changes in your dog’s diet will go a huge way in reducing their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
Pet owners spend millions on pet food every year, so don’t underestimate how your small change can make a big difference.
You can also reduce plastic waste by buying food in recyclable tins or packaging so always look out for these.
5. Adopt don’t shop
This is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do… and the ultimate recycling act (even though it sounds strange to think of it that way).
Adopting rather than buying pedigree or bred dogs helps reduce the environmental demands of overpopulation. Adopting, rehoming or rescuing a dog also means you are helping an unwanted or lost soul find a new home.
With tens of thousands of dogs being put to sleep every year you are giving these dogs a new chance and freeing up space in these shelters too for other dogs to be helped.