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There is no getting around it having a pet increases your carbon footprint. Specifically dogs & cats create a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by animal agriculture. That equates to a massive 64 million tons of co2 released in the production of their food.
We have a dog ourselves and that is something that I would never change. He’s part of our family and brings me a lot of joy. His name is Charles and he’s a Cavachon which means he’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross Bichon Frise . He’s an amazing family dog and is great with the kids.
Although having a dog does increase your carbon footprint there are some small changes that you can make to reduce the impact.
If you can try and buy your dog food in bulk to reduce packaging waste. Most pet stores sell big bags which you can then decant into smaller containers. We use glass mason jars for ours.
Buy Dog Food In Recyclable Packaging
Try and opt for dog food that comes in recyclable packaging. Check the labels to see if and where it can be recycled. In the UK there are a lot of Terracyle recycling stations now so it’s worth checking what’s available in your area. Even items that you wouldn’t think could be recycled like the pet food pouches can be recycled so it’s definitely worth doing some research.
Dog food that comes in tins can be recycled you just need to wash them out first.
If your dogs favourite food isn’t in recyclable packaging then write to the company and ask them if they have any plans to swap to eco-friendly packaging. I did this before and they responded saying they had no plans to change their packaging so I switched dog foods.
Buy Package Free Dog Food
A few pet stores now offer package free dog food which they store in large bins. You just need to take your own container and fill up. You can then store it at home in your own containers. If your local pet shop doesn’t offer this service that why not ask them if they’d consider doing it?
Vegan Dog Food
Quite a few people are now swapping to vegan dog food for their pets. Personally, we haven’t done this as I’m not sure if it would be good for Charles or not. I will be asking our vets opinion on this at our next appointment though.
Ethical Superstore sell a range of *vegan dog food which you might want to check out. I would definitely recommend speaking to your vet though before you make any changes to your dogs diet.
Package Free Dog Treats
A lot of pets shops now have loose package free dog treats, if yours does opt for those over the packaged treats.
Homemade Dog Treats
Alternatively, you can also make your own zero waste dog treats if you have time. Try these homemade dog treat recipes that I found online.
Eco Friendly Dog Treats
If you can’t find loose treats and don’t have time or the inclination to make your own then opt for eco dogs treats like Bug Bakes. You may remember me mentioning them before? They are eco friendly dog treats which are made from crickets. Crickets are a great source of sustainable animal protein for dogs. They are also packaged in compostable packaging.
Anyone that has had a dog will know that they poo quite a lot and it can be hard to deal with that in a sustainable way.
Compostable Dog Bags
Around 8 billion dog poo bags are used and disposed of each year. If you can then opt for 100% biodegradable & compostable poo bags like *these ones from EcoVibe. These are the ones we use for Charles when we’re out and about. They’re made from all-natural, renewable corn starch and plant oils which are EU grown and use no palm or soya, no virgin soil or deforestation.
They’re also plastic-free and have a low carbon footprint as they’re made with wind-powered electricity. The EcoVibe bags are designed to be recycled by industrial composting but don’t worry if one of the compostable bags escape into the environment. It will biodegrade slowly depending on how much oxygen is around.
Even if the bags are sent to landfill, they will break down in the same way as any other plant material. If the bags are incinerated, they will leave no trace behind, unlike plastic bags which release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.
Get 10% off your *EcoVibe order by using my unique code: GYPSYSOUL10
If you’re really hardcore eco you can use newspaper or paper from your recycling bin when you’re out to pick up their poo, wrap it and then put it in the bin like the queen of zero waste Bea Johnson does.
Dog Waste Composter
If you have a garden at home you could set up a dog waste composter. You must set it up away from your normal composter, veg patches etc. Dog waste cannot go into your normal composter. You can either buy a dog composter kit or create your own. Now that we have a proper garden again this is something that I’m going to be looking into this summer.
I found this video to be particularly helpful: DIY Dog Poo Compost
Secondhand Dog Toys
Before you buy new dog toys see if you can find some secondhand. You might find some in your local charity shop or on a local Facebook selling group.
Toys Made From Natural Materials
If your dog needs toys then try to find ones made from natural materials. Like this *natural rubber dog bone or this *natural rubber dog ball. They are both very tough, made from sustainable rice husk rubber which means they’re long lasting compared to a tennis ball.They’re also non-toxic & eco-friendly.
If you’re dog needs washing then there are a few zero waste options to choose from…
Zero Waste Dog Shampoo Bars
As well as human shampoo bars you can also get *dog shampoo bars. They are cruelty free, 100% vegan, 100% natural ingredients and the packaging is made of recycled and recyclable cardboard.
You can get 10% off your order at *EcoVibe by using my unique code: GYPSYSOUL10
Alternatively, you could use liquid soap, castile soap is particularly good and can be used for cleaning a whole range of things in your home. It does, however, come in a plastic container but you can recycle it. It’s best to buy it in bulk if you can.
Zero Waste Dog Accessories
Try and buy long-lasting good quality products for your dog. For example, we bought thick china bowls for both his food and water which should last him the duration of his life (as long as I don’t smash them!)
You can also find collars, leads and beds which are made from natural materials. Charles has a metal and leather lead which again should last him until the end of his life. Sustainable living is all about buying better quality, long lasting products rather than cheap throw away items.
About Gina Caro
Gina is a content creator and award-winning blogger. Her aim is to help you live a more sustainable & simple life. Her blog covers zero waste, minimalism, wellbeing & thrift. She currently lives in Cornwall with her partner, two kids and Charles the dog.