5 ways to be an eco-friendly pet parent
Here in the UK we’re a nation of animal lovers, and it’s fair to say that we’ll do pretty much anything for our beloved furry friends. We’ll traipse out with them in the cold and rain, morning and night. We’ll shovel up their poop and carry it around in little bags until we find a bin. Heck, we’ll even buy them advent calendars. So if you’re someone who’s eager to reduce your own carbon footprint, it stands to reason that you’ll probably be wondering how to reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint at the same time. Here are five easy ways you can do just that.
1. Invest in tougher and/or plastic-free toys
We all know how quickly our four-legged friends are capable of shredding through toys. Even the ones at the tougher end of the spectrum are often no match for those razor-sharp little teeth, somehow still ending up in a million pieces all over the kitchen floor. The thing is, while these toys might keep them occupied for a few hours, your pooch poses a plastic problem when you’re continually having to buy them new toys to replace the ones they’ve unceremoniously destroyed.
One solution is to buy tougher toys that last longer or that don’t contain harmful plastics, such as the Triangle Tug from Wild Ones. Made from natural rubber strengthened with a reinforced core, and paired with a sturdy 100% cotton rope, this is a toy that stands up to the demands of even the most persistent chewers.
It’s also worth thinking about how you can keep smaller pets entertained with some of the waste your household generates anyway. For example, you can amuse your cat for hours with a cardboard box or a ball of used foil, while hamsters and gerbils love scurrying through used toilet roll tubes.
2. Arm yourself with compostable poop bags
If you’re on a mission to be plastic-free, don’t neglect that least glamorous of objects in the dog owner’s arsenal: the poop bag. Compostable bags, like those made by Earth Rated, are the eco-friendly alternative to regular plastic bags. The rolls’ cores and packaging are made of recycled materials and excess material is recycled or reused for future production. To top it off, they’re still reassuringly strong and split-proof (phew).
3. Switch to eco-friendly pet food
Just like with our own food, your pet’s meals and nibbles are another area where you can make some changes to ensure you’re being kind to the environment. There’s the food itself - our pets’ meat-rich diets are just as bad for the planet as our own - and the packaging it comes in.
When it comes to what your pet eats, try switching their food to chicken or rabbit instead of beef, which has a far higher environmental impact than other meats. You could also look out for pet food made from meat by-products, such as bonemeal, as this helps reduce waste associated with the human-grade meat industry.
Opting for pet food that comes in recycled and/or recyclable packaging is another good move, as is choosing food that’s been made in the UK and travelled fewer miles to get to you.
Another good way to avoid unnecessary packaging, as well as to reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint, is to make them treats from scratch rather than buying packaged ones. Not only does this mean you’ll know exactly what’s in them - no nasty palm oil, preservatives or other chemicals around here, thank you very much - but it also means you’ll save on packaging. You’d be amazed how many recipes there are out there for nutritious homemade dog treats.
If you can avoid driving to your dog-walking destination of choice, then it goes without saying that walking straight from the house eliminates the need for using the car, which is at its least fuel-efficient on short journeys. The added bonus is that you’ll have less mud building up in your car from dirty paws - and you’ll save money on petrol!
Don’t forget that your dog’s lead and collar can also be eco-friendly. While there’s no need to ditch your existing collar and lead and thereby create more waste, if you do need new ones then opt for eco-friendly versions. The Farouche leash, for example, is recyclable.
Finally, let’s not forget that just as we humans are making eco-friendly switches for our personal care products, such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, so too are there environmentally conscious alternatives for our beloved pets. Not only are natural, organic products better for your pet’s skin, but they’re also better for the environment.
The Hebal Dog Co's shampoo, for instance, is completely free of palm oil and parabens Their bottle is also completely recyclable and made in the UK.
So there we have it: there are so many ways of reducing your pets’ carbon pawprints and keeping their impact on the planet to a minimum. What eco-friendly switches will you be making for your pets? Do you have any other great tips for eco-conscious pet parents? We’d love to hear them!