As the symptoms of climate change become all the more severe, sustainability is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. Many of us are examining all aspects of our lifestyles and looking for ways to minimize our harmful impact on the environment. Those of us with dogs know that our faithful hounds play a huge role in our lives, so if we’re making our lifestyles more sustainable, we’ve got to make caring for our dogs more sustainable too.
What aspects of dog ownership are unsustainable?
Dog ownership tends to involve high levels of plastic use and waste generation. For example, many people enjoy the convenience of single-portion dog food packets, most of which contain plastic and aren’t biodegradable. Every dog poop calls for a plastic bag for clearing it up, and the majority of these take decades to break down.
Plus, destroyed or neglected dog toys tend to be made from plastic. Not only is plastic a drain on finite natural resources, but it also doesn’t decompose. The plastic used in dog toys often isn’t easily recyclable, so it winds up in landfill where it generates greenhouse gases which contribute to the climate crisis.
How can dog owners improve sustainability?
Here are three simple ways dog owners can make caring for their pets more sustainable:
1. Choose eco-friendly toys
Instead of plastic dog toys, opt for eco dog toys from wildthought.co.uk. They’re made from safe, sustainable materials like natural rubber, jute, and olivewood. Production of these toys is kinder to the environment and you can rest assured they’ll biodegrade after disposal once your dog is done with them.
2. Use biodegradable or compostable poop bags
Biodegradable and compostable poop bags are a brilliant way to cut down on waste as a dog owner because it’s an easy switch to make. If you have a compost bin at home, compostable bags are the best option because they break down within a few months and you can use the compost as fertilizer for your plants. You could also consider the way you use poop bags and whether you could cut down on how many you go through. For example, it may be possible to clean up poop in your garden with a shovel rather than a poop bag.
3. Switch to food in recyclable packaging
Although single-portion dog food packets are useful, they’re incredibly wasteful. Consider switching to cans of wet food instead, which can be rinsed and put in household recycling when they’re empty. For kibble and dry food, look for cardboard and paper packaging instead of plastic. Also, shop for dry food in large bags because less packaging is used overall compared to buying the same volume across multiple small bags.
4. Look into Plant-Based foods.
Some breeds of dogs can survive on a plant-based diet and in some cases, this is necessary for health reasons. There are a growing number of vegan dog foods available to pet owners which is a much more sustainable method of feeding your pooch.
Rearing animals is one of the largest contributors to global warming so reducing the demand for animal-based pet foods is a great start on improving sustainability.
5. Stop Buying New Plastic Pet Products
Another simple method of being more sustainable is to stop buying plastic toys for your dog. The eco toys mentioned previously are a great alternative, however in general a dog does not need a huge selection of plastic toys and would benefit more from dental chews or outdoor adventures.
6. Go Chemical Free At Home
Some pet owners use a large number of chemical products in order to maintain a dog’s health and hygiene. Why not give these products a miss? There are plenty of natural products that provide the same effect such as shampoos, soaps & even medicines.
7. Recycle Unwanted Toys
This may be an obvious one, but if you have purchased any plastic toys that perhaps your pet does not enjoy or has lost interest in – why not pass it on? You can share your dog toys with friends who also have pet dogs, or you can donate them to an animal shelter.
All these methods should be used by all pet owners in an attempt to be eco-friendly and sustainable in this ever-changing world. Hopefully, this article appeals to your better nature and helps us reduce climate change one dog at a time.