3 Sustainable Tips For Pet Owners To Lead A Low-Waste Lifestyle
Besides being faithful companions and best friends, dogs can also boost the quality of our lives and improve our health. But, like all other living beings, they have a carbon footprint and can wreak havoc on the environment.
According to Darcy Matheson’s book, Greening Your Pet Care, a medium-sized dog has a yearly carbon footprint, or should we say pawprint, of 2.1 acres. However, your dog’s carbon footprint depends solely on your willingness to reduce the waste they create.
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While producing absolutely no waste may seem like an impossible feat, even the smallest lifestyle change helps the environment! Keep on reading to discover helpful tips on leading a low waste lifestyle for pet owners.
1. Feed Your Dog With Zero Waste Food
When it comes to feeding your dog, there are several things you can do to make your dog’s food eco-friendly. These small habits can have a major long-term impact on waste and emissions. Plus, they are also kind on your dog’s stomach!
Cook Homemade Dog Food
Many dog parents in the zero-waste movement opt to cut down on plastic and general waste by making homemade dog food. Making your dog’s food is a great way to reduce waste, but you’ll have to make sure that you know what you’re doing.
Making dog food that contains the right amounts of nutrients your pup needs can be time-consuming and requires knowledge about canine nutrition. Dr. Baker’s Real Food For Healthy Dogs and Cats provides a rotation plan and recipes for homemade food based on your dog’s dietary needs.
If you’re thinking of cooking for your pooch, this book can provide a wealth of information and help you get started.
But replacing store-bought dog food with homemade recipes, even for a couple of meals each week, can add up to reduce quite a lot of packaging and production waste.
Transition Your Dog To Raw Diet
Feeding a raw diet is both environmentally friendly and healthy for your pooch. While still a subject of controversy, raw diets have many benefits and can improve your dog’s overall health.
Besides being good for your pooch, raw food is also good for the planet since it eliminates the need for processing which causes air pollution. Since raw food has a much lower carbon footprint than processed food, it’s something worth considering if you’re into sustainable living. More info on this in the following articles:
If you can’t commit to feeding a 100% raw diet, but you still want some of the nutritional benefits of raw feeding for your dog, you can feed them a partially raw diet, alongside nutrient-rich and grain-free kibble. This also applies to transitioning to a raw diet. But even small dietary changes can help you take a step towards a low-waste life.
Buy Dog Food & Treats In Bulk
If you live near an eco-pet store that sells loose dog kibble and treats, you can bring your own containers and buy in bulk. This way you’ll eliminate plastic packaging and cut down on general waste.
But if you can’t find a pet store that stocks food in bulk another eco-friendly option is to buy the biggest bag of food that you can find. Furthermore, you can opt to buy dog food from brands that use recyclable packaging.
A few places where you can buy in bulk from are:
- Bundle deals from Raw Pets Pet Food (for both treats and food)
- EcoKind Treats & Chews – 100% natural and eco-friendly packaging
- Valued Pet Supplies – bulk orders at great prices
Don’t Buy Kibble With Beef Or Lamb As The Main Ingredient
Dog foods that feature lamb or beef as the main ingredient have a much higher carbon footprint than chicken or turkey-based dog foods. Beef and lamb have one of the highest greenhouse emissions and the greatest impact on climate and the environment.
Instead of feeding your dog lamb or beef try James Wellbeloved Turkey Dog Food. To really minimize your dog’s carbon pawprint choose foods made with poultry instead of red meats.
2. Buy Earth Friendly Pet Products
Finding low waste pet products is another way you can reduce and minimize your dog’s environmental impact. Because let’s be honest – sometimes little gadgets or toys can make life easier for us and more enjoyable for our dogs too.
Sustainable pet products aren’t hard to come by, but here are a few eco-friendly ideas to get you started.
Look For Sustainable Dog Toys
Before you decide to spend a lot of money on new chew toys for your dog, check out your local thrift or charity shops for second-hand kids’ toys. Rather than wasting money on new toys that your pooch might destroy right away, do something good for the environment by buying used children’s toys.
If buying second-hand isn’t an option, look for durable dog toys made from hemp or bamboo that can be degraded once they are destroyed. Wagging Green Pet Shop has a bunch of cool eco-friendly dog toys and products made from bamboo that will reduce your pup’s carbon footprint.
Invest In Dog Accessories That Will Last
Wondering how to be an eco-friendly pet owner or reduce your dog’s waste? One of the things you can do is to invest in dog accessories that will last for a long time.
If you want to buy new, instead of non-recyclable and synthetic dog collars and leashes, look for sustainable products that can degrade faster – so ideally made out of biodegradable, natural, or compostable materials. Accessories such as this bamboo dog collar and this natural hemp leash are eco-friendly and your pooch will be able to use them for a long time.
You should also look for durable and chew-proof dog beds, metal dog crates, and stainless steel food and water bowls for your pooch. Besides stainless steel, look for earth-friendly pet products made of ceramic or other strong eco-friendly materials.
Give DIY Pet Products A Shot
If you’re looking for ideas on how to be an eco-friendly pet owner, use the stuff you don’t need to make cool dog toys. Use old tennis balls as fetch toys, and you can tie knots in old t-shirts to make tug toys.
If you have any old wooden pallets laying around in your backyard use them to make a sturdy dog house or a kennel for your pooch. These DIY projects can also save you some money and help you get rid of clutter that would otherwise end up as waste in the landfill.
Here are a few more DIY dog toys and puzzles you can fashion from household items:
- 5 DIY No-Sew Recycled Denim Dog Toys
- Interactive Dog Tube Treat Puzzle
- An Easy-To-Make Enrichment Dog Toy Box
- DIY Braided T-shirt Dog Toy
- More Sustainable Toys & Treats Ideas
3. Disposing Of Dog Poop In Eco-Friendly Way
This guide for a low waste lifestyle for pet owners wouldn’t be complete without some tips for eco-friendly poop disposal! There are 10.1 million owned dogs in the UK and one medium-sized dog produces about 180 kilograms of poop per year! That’s a huge amount of poop that ends up in landfills every single year!
Instead of letting your dog’s mess end up on a landfill, you should start disposing of it in an eco-friendly way! The biggest thing you can do to reduce your pup’s environmental impact is to scoop their poop!
Many owners don’t realize that leaving their dog’s poop where it falls is a potential biohazard. Besides being able to disrupt the natural ecosystem the bacteria and microorganisms found in dog feces can wash into waterways and contaminate drinking water.
Dealing with pet waste in an eco-friendly way can be tricky, but nevertheless, you should at least try! Here are a few tips on how to dispose of your dog’s waste in an eco-friendly way:
Use Compostable Poop Bags
If you’re looking for the most eco-friendly way to dispose of your dog’s poop start by eliminating single-use doggy poop bags. With an estimated 500 million doggy bags ending on landfills each year more owners should start using zero waste dog poop bags.
Keep in mind, compostable zero waste dog poop bags are great, but only if you intend to use them right and actually compost the poop. If you just plan on tossing them in the garbage the poop will end up in the same landfill with all those plastic bags.
If you can decide between compostable vs biodegradable dog poop bags, choose compostable every single time. Despite flashy claims that they are 100% biodegradable, recent research showed that degradable dog poop bags stayed intact after being buried in the ground for three years.
Using composting doggy bags is by far the most eco-friendly option when it comes to poop bags and the only way you can make a real difference.
Scoop & Flush
Scooping and flushing your dog’s waste in the toilet is probably the most convenient way to dispose of doggy poop in an eco-friendly way. And you may be surprised to learn that flushing is EPA’s #1 recommendation for disposing of dog waste.
If you have a fenced yard where your dog eliminates, you can use a scooper to pick up their poop before flushing it down the drain. And if you don’t have a fenced yard, use paper bags to pick up your dog’s poop during walks and flush it once you get back home.
Start Composting Dog Waste
This zero-waste guide for dog owners wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention dog poop composting. If composting is your thing, you’ll be happy to learn that there are several ways you can safely compost your dog’s poop, you’ll just need to use a separate bin.
You can either invest in a good pet waste compost system or go for a DIY dog poop composter. With composting the main thing is ensuring that the compost gets to a high enough temperature that will kill any potential microorganisms and parasites.
If your compost system can’t maintain a high temperature you might want to consider composting your dog’s poop with worms. Vermicomposting dog poop is surprisingly easy and it can produce high-quality compost if you do it right.
Living Low Waste As A Pet Parent Concluded
Like all other living beings, dogs have a carbon footprint and create a lot of waste that can wreak havoc on the environment. Luckily, there are many ways you can reduce your dog’s impact on the environment by using earth-friendly pet products and making some changes in your lifestyle.
Owning pets and producing absolutely zero waste might be impossible, but there’s no harm done in trying! Using these tips for a low waste lifestyle for pet parents will help you reduce your dog’s waste and care for them in a more environmentally friendly way!
More Sustainable Tips For Dog Parents
- Eco-friendly Dog Poop Cleanup Options for Green Minded Owners
- The Best Alternative To Single-Use Plastic Bags For Dog Poop