It’s no secret that the UK is a nation of dog lovers, we spend a fortune every year on toys, food and other accessories for our beloved pooches and furry friends, but at what cost to the environment? According to an article in Forbes, dogs and cats are responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by animal agriculture.
The pet industry puts a massive strain on our environment worldwide, a survey in the United States found dogs’ and cats’ eating habits create 64 million tonnes of greenhouse gas that’s dumped into our atmosphere every year. That’s the equivalent of an extra 13 million cars on our roads around the world.
So, how can the eco-conscious, or indeed aspiringly eco-conscious pet owner make a difference?
Select your brands carefully
We all have our favourite brands when it comes to toys, food and anything else we buy our pets, but how far do we really look into the ethics, materials and methods these brands employ to manufacture and ship their products?
Carefully choosing the brands that manufacture and produce the products we buy for our pets is a great place to start! You will probably learn a lot about the different processes and materials brands use to create their products, and along the way, you’ll definitely stumble across some great new companies and products you’ve never heard of. Things to look for include; mission statements, brand ethics, materials used and any commitment to green production and an awareness of the environment.
Use compostable poop bags
Just think how many doggy poop bags you get through each year, every time you take Fido for a walk, you’re using non-degradable poop bags to clean up after him. There are an estimated 9 million pet dogs in the UK according to PDSA, so imagine how many poop bags a week we go through!
Finding a compostable alternative is a great way to help the environment and to reduce the amount of harmful, non-degradable plastic bags you use annually. Look for doggy bags that are marked up as fully compostable, they're usually made from things like natural vegetable starch.
Choose eco-friendly toys
Dog toys can be really bad for the environment, there’s no way around it. All that irresponsibly used plastic, wasteful stuffing and excessive packaging makes one of the most popular items behind the food we buy for our dogs bad for the planet. Choosing the toys you buy your pets carefully can help, there’s a growing market for sustainably-made pet toys for the eco-conscious shopper. Toys made from recycled plastic bottles, without stuffing and those made from natural rice husk rubber help to address the problem.
So next time you are looking for a fun toy for your doggy, keep your eyes peeled for terms like; stuffing-free, ethically produced, sustainably sourced, made from natural rice husk rubber, and anything else along those lines!
Try sustainably sourced dog food
Dogs consume food that is generally high in meat content and that causes a problem for the environment. Internationally, our pets consume 20% of the world’s meat and fish, which is a staggering statistic. This naturally puts a big strain on the planet. Choosing to buy sustainably sourced and ethically produced dog food can help reduce your dog’s carbon foot, sorry, paw print. You can even buy dog food made from insects now!
Adopt, don’t shop
Shopping for your next furry companion creates further demand for breeding dogs, so adopting from a dog charity or shelter is a good way to help the environment, and can help avoid the issue of dogs being put into shelters in the first place. The more dogs we have in shelters, the more it costs to heat, feed and look after them. By adopting and donating to a great dog charity, you can do your little bit to help break this cycle, and give a deserving dog a great home.
Whatever you buy your dog, we advocate informed choices. It’s really easy to do a bit of research online to find the best eco-alternatives to everyday items we buy for our pets. There is always an eco-alternative, and if you can’t find one, then try and come up with your own solution, like making homemade dog treats!