Going green with your dog doesn’t have to be that hard, it’s actually really easy. And, besides doing mother earth a huge favor, you’ll also be saving up on some costs and making sure Fido lives a healthier, happier life! Check out this infographic that tells you all about the 14 steps you can take as of today to become a more environmentally friendly person with a dog at home. Have fun!
Going Green With Your Dog
With each and every passing day, more and more people are becoming increasingly educated about the “eco-friendly” cause, getting to know all about how they could contribute to a better world for the future generations to live in.
Three things that would probably first come to mind when talking about “going green” are preserving energy in our homes, changing the ways we do things in our day to day lives outside the house and implementing more environmentally-friendly practices at work.
But, have you ever thought about going green with your dog? Yes, that’s a thing!
With well over 70 million dogs existing in the U.S. alone, which makes for something around 37-47% of households in the U.S., Fido’s a very well established member of the family and, just like you and I have our fair share of effect on earth when it comes to carbon footprints, our dogs can have the same effect with their “carbon paw-prints”.
But, good news! YOU can change all that TODAY, all while:
- Making your dog a WHOLE lot healthier, happier and increasing their lifespan (who doesn’t want that?!)
- Saving a TON of money in the process
Sounds too good to be true? It’s not!
As a dog owner, there are a whole lot of changes you can take up on to make sure that Fido is preserving this earth as much as possible, and this info-graphic and article is going to show you everything you need to know to achieve all of this.
Despite there being a large number of areas in our life where we are encouraged to consider the environment, it’s equally important to recognise that our pets also have a part to play in creating a greener, cleaner planet.
So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty, shall we?
1. Buy Green
Did you know? One of the most surprising things about the environmental impacts of dogs and their owners is that dog lovers who are happy to spoil their dogs are a big part of the environmental problem. In Australia, the pet care industry is worth $3.6 billion dollars, with people spending huge amounts on unnecessary pet products that, for the most part, are not environmentally friendly.
Before you buy any product for Fido, carefully read the labels first and make sure that the products are biodegradable and are made up of eco-friendly materials and packaging.
If you don’t do your due diligence when it comes to this point, it’s really easy to go out there and buy dog toys, supplies and food that are manufactured with synthetic materials, byproducts/fillers and chemicals.
Not only will you be harming the environment (even though you don’t really mean to), but you’ll also be burning your pocket real fast because these products don’t last long at all and it’s only a short matter of time before you have to make another trip to buy a replacement. On the other hand, dog supplies made from sustainable fibers last a whole lot more, hence saving you a whole lot of money in the process.
Best case scenario is where the product packaging/container/bottle is made of biodegradable materials, recycled materials or sustainable fibers, all while not containing any toxic ingredients.
Anything from organic dog food, collars, leashes, toys, dog beds, bowls and bottles, you can find eco-friendly versions of! Whether it’s something made from recycled materials, plant-based materials or sustainable fibers, either option will do the environment (and your dog) a whole world of good.
So, the next time you’re shopping for Fido, look for a hemp collar and leash as well as a dog bed made from organic cotton to kick things off!
2. Natural Grooming & Cleaning Products
Using products like regular shampoo and conditioner that’s filled with toxic chemicals harm your dog’s skin, can lead to allergic reactions, and cause water pollution when they go down the drain.
Instead of using these regular shampoos and conditioners, use eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners that are free from chemicals and manufactured with natural ingredients.
You can even go as far as making your own dog shampoo and conditioner , that’ll end up being as gentle on the environment as gentle can be, by just following a few instructions and making use of products and natural ingredients you already have at home.
And, assuming Fido has an accident and eliminates outside their designated “potty area”, use eco-friendly cleaning products to clean up after them. You can even easily make your own from really simple resources like diluted vinegar and baking soda.
3. Organic Dog Food
First and foremost, and besides the fact that you’ll be doing the environment we all live in a huge favor by feeding your dog organic dog food, this change also has tremendous effects on their overall health, such as increased energy and improved coat condition.
Commercial dog food is rich in corn or wheat, both of which act as nothing but filler that has zero nutritional value for your dog. Many dogs even get allergic to the corn or wheat contained in these products. Organic dog food manufacturers, however, make sure that none of these useless fillers make their way into your dog’s system.
The meat found in natural and organic dog food is negligibly processed, raised sustainably, and free of added hormones, preservatives, and pesticides. Compare that to the meat found in your average commercial dog food product that requires a whole lot of agricultural land, energy and resources to be raised, you can see the difference when it comes to the environment.
Here’s an interesting statistic for you. Research shows that for every 2.2 pounds of chicken to be cultivated, 1.7 miles of land is required. On average, a dog consumes about 360 pounds of meat every year, and the U.S alone has over 83 million dogs owned by households. Yes, it’s that serious!
This has a positive effect on your bottom line as well, as because you’ll be feeding your dog organic dog food and dog treats, you’ll find that your dog will be feeling fuller throughout the day and will hence require less amounts of food than they used to.
By doing this you’ll also notice that your trips to the vet, and the bills that come along with it, will greatly decrease when compared to dog owners that feed their dogs commercial dog food and treats without going that extra mile to ensure quality.
Again, ask your vet all the questions you have regarding and organic dog food diet, as they’ll be able to best give you all the information and advice you need to know about it.
4. DIY Dog Food And Treats
When it comes to your dog’s diet, going green can save you a whole lot of money given the fact that all your dog needs to eat can be prepared by making use of readily available ingredients at home, thus refraining from buying packaged dog food that results in packaging waste and is greatly overpriced.
Just make sure you consult with your veterinarian about this first to ensure your dog is getting all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need from their diet.
And this doesn’t have to apply only to your dog’s regular food, this can also apply to dog treats that you prepare yourself at home instead of buying them from the store. By preparing your own homemade dog treats, you can be sure that every ingredient you use is safe for both your dog and the earth.
If preparing your dog’s own food and treats at home sounds like a hard task that you’re unable to stick to, look up and find one of dozens of companies that manufacture dog food and dog treats in eco-friendly ways.
There are many companies that manufacture organic dog food and dog treats that:
- Are barely processed
- Contain meats that were sustainably raised
- Contain no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, preservatives or artificial ingredients
5. Buy In Bulk
The next time you go to the store to buy some food for your furry buddy, buy in bulk.
What you’ll be doing is using up less and less plastic packaging and cardboard boxes, which means less waste that’ll end up in landfills, and less frequent trips to the store back and forth using your car which we talked all about in the last section.
You’ll want to make sure that all the products you buy for Fido will be used before their expiration date, just so you don’t lose out on your hard earned money.
6. Think Twice Before Trashing
After you finish using certain medications/treatments or dog care products on your dog, throwing them in the trash can as is is a big mistake.
This practice can easily lead to soil and water pollution.
Instead, consider giving your local solid waste agency a call and they’ll tell you all about what you can do in this situation!
7. Scoop That Poop
First off; no matter what the circumstance, no matter where you are and no matter what’s going on, pick up your dog’s poop. That’s #1, and anyone not doing this is simply an irresponsible dog owner. And, yes, this is a very strong message to everyone out there who walks their dog outside and doesn’t pick up after it! There’s nothing more demeaning in the world.
After you do that, one of the easiest things you can do as a responsible, environment-caring individual starting today is using biodegradable bags to pick up (A.K.A scoop up) your dog’s poop instead of the oh-so-common plastic bags.
Dog poop that’s put in non-biodegradable bags and that goes to landfills can lead to serious pond and lake contamination because of the bacteria contained in the feces, which can (and often does) lead to illness and diseases (around 65 of ’em) in other animals and humans.
Some diseases that might be transferred to other animals and humans because of not properly picking up after your dog are E.coli, roundworms, and salmonella.
Not to mention the fact that dog poop that’s put in non-biodegradable bags and that goes to landfills may take 100’s of years to decompose, while biodegradable dog poop bags are long gone in a matter of a few months.
Just think about it this for a second, studies have shown that a dog is responsible for around 274 pounds of poop a year! Imagine what’s going on when we don’t properly pick up after our dogs.
One thing you can also do when it comes to your dog’s poop is composting it. When you properly compost your dog’s poop, you can even get quality fertilizers to use later on in your garden!
Either create a compost pile yourself and use it in your backyard, or, better yet, buy a dog poop composter from your local store to make the whole process easier.
8. Adopt From A Shelter
If you adopt a dog from your local shelter or local rescue instead of buying one, you’ll be engaging in what’s called “getting a recycled dog”, instead of biting into the “breeding for profit” game that most of today’s breeders take part in.
By adopting a dog this way, you’ll be decreasing the shelter/rescue’s needs and usage of resources, as less things like electricity need to be used and less products like dog food, dog toys, dog beds and dog crates need to be bought and used by the shelter.
Besides, if you adopt from your local shelter or local rescue, you’ll be a reason that one more space has opened up for one more puppy, meaning that one less puppy will be put to death because of no more spaces being available. Yes, you read that right, you’ll be the reason a puppy’s life is saved.
9. Spay and Neuter
Spaying or neutering your dog, which is a term for controlling the reproduction capabilities of your dog, will go a long way in helping decrease puppy births that are unplanned for.
Spaying or neutering dogs:
- Reduces puppy overpopulation in shelters
- Leads to a great deal of conservation of food, energy and resources that would otherwise be spent on them in the shelter they are in
- Saves young puppies from trauma and abuse they will face before they get to a safe shelter/rescue
- Saves the environment from the huge amount of wastes which would be produced by these homeless puppies
Just consider the fact that more than 70,000 puppies and kittens in the U.S alone are born each and every day to become homeless, with the hope that a capable shelter provides homage for them.
10. Donations, Donations, Donations!
Chances are, if you’ve got something that used to belong to your dog and is no longer needed, donating it to your local shelter can do the environment a whole world of good than just throwing it away.
Anything from dog clothes, unopened bags, towels, sheets, beds, houses, crates, toys, canned food and used newspaper can help out a shelter big time, as they always need to stack up on resources for the dogs they’ve got to take care of.
This way, you’ll make sure that this old stuff that your dog doesn’t make use of anymore doesn’t end up in some landfill where it’s only a matter of time before it causes environmental damage, and is given to support a very good cause that can actually make use of it.
Just like you’d use a reusable bag when going to your local grocery store, use a reusable bag the next time you go to the pet store or veterinarian.
You can also use something in your household for your dog to play with over and over again, and then use it for another purpose, instead of getting them a plastic dog toy only to throw it away after a while and cause harm to the environment. Who said your dog can’t have the world of fun with some good old socks or a tennis ball you already have at home?
And, when it comes to good old paper towels used to clean up after dogs, why not use a towel or rag that you can later on wash and reuse instead of using a paper towel one time and then throwing it away only to end up polluting a landfill?
If you don’t want to use a towel or rag to clean up after your dog but insist on being eco-friendly, you can always make use of reusable personal hand towels that can be easily washed and re-used!
You can also use reusable containers to store your dog’s food in, wash and use again whenever needed instead of using plastic bags.
As for feeding your dog, consider using a reusable plate you can wash and use again instead of feeding your dog with a paper plate that you’ll just throw away and cause more waste for the environment to deal with.
Rotating your dog’s toy collection is also a good idea. Putting half of them away to bring back out a little later is a great way to reintroduce your dog to a new toy and save all the extra cost and potential waste of having to purchase new ones.
12. Less Driving, More Walking
How often do you find yourself driving to the dog park just so you could walk Fido around? Or taking the car to go shop for some dog products?
If you’re going to be environmentally responsible, you have to try your best to minimize your car’s usage in these situations!
So, try to search for a dog park nearby and within walking distance from your house, which will result in you saving gas and money, not to mention saving the earth. You can also consider walking your dog around the neighborhood instead of going to the dog park if the closest park to you is not within walking distance.
Also consider walking with your dog to the store instead of driving, Fido will love the extra exercise and it’ll brighten up their mood for the day!
When it comes to shopping for some supplies for your dog, shop local. This way you’ll reduce the time you spend driving to the store.
13. Flea & Tick Medications All In Check?
If you’re adamant about going green with your dog, then you must always stay on top of your dog’s flea and tick medications.
However, make sure you don’t use any pesticides, but topical, spot-on treatments rather than sprays, powders, or collars.
14. Tag ‘Em
Putting a visible tag on your dog that tells all about your contact information in case they get lost is not often talked about, but can be very useful to preserving the environment.
What’s the first thing you would do when you lose your furry companion and start panicking? You immediately think about printing a million and one “Missing” papers with their photograph on it and spreading it around wherever you think it might help.
And, what will all those papers turn into in no time? Paper waste.