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How to Be an Eco-Friendly Dog Parent: 10 Sustainable Suggestions

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

owner holding or hugging a happy puppy Labrador

How to Be an Eco-Friendly Dog Parent: 10 Sustainable Suggestions

More and more people are thinking about the environment and how to reduce their carbon footprint. There are many things a person can do to do this, such as taking public transport and recycling. But what about dog parents? How does having a pet impact the environment, and can you be an eco-friendly dog parent?

Our canine companions do have a carbon footprint all their own due to things such as poop bags and their consumption of meat. So, how can you be an eco-friendly dog parent and ensure your pup’s carbon footprint shrinks? We have 10 ideas you can incorporate into your daily life to do just this. These may take a bit of time and effort, but you’ll do a world of good for the earth and your furry friend!

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The 10 Ways to Be an Eco-Friendly Dog Parent

1. Eco-Friendly Poop Bags

Dogs poop a lot. On average, our canine companions poop about 274 pounds a year1. And because you have to pick all that poop up with poop bags, you’re using a whole lot of plastic each year. Waste bags are unavoidable; you must pick up your pup’s poop to protect your local watershed and keep your yard looking its best.

But you can reduce the impact of poop bags by using eco-friendly ones. There are many biodegradable waste bags you can use to pick up poop that will help out. However, some of these bags have specific requirements for disposal you’ll need to follow for them to work, so be sure you read those before using them!


2. Switch to Organic Food

Organic foods are considered better for the environment due to the lack of chemicals used in their production. So, switching to organic dog food can have an impact on the environment. Also, ensure any dog food you get for your pup is made with whole ingredients, not processed ones. Not only is this healthier for your pup, but the less processed a food is, the fewer resources are used to make it, which is better for the environment.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even start making your dog’s meals yourself. Homemade pet food uses only whole ingredients, like veggies, chicken, and brown rice, and can often be healthier for your pet. You can also make homemade doggie treats to cut back on wasted resources and processed foods!

English cocker spaniel dog eating in the kitchen
Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock

3. Ditch the Pee Pads

Pee pads are a lifesaver when potty training a dog, but the materials used to make them are often less than environmentally friendly. Plus, you have to throw away so many of them! Instead, try using washable options for pups who are recovering from medical procedures or are older. For puppies, you can find pads made with recycled diaper material or that are plant-based. You’ll still be throwing a lot away, but it’ll be a bit better for the environment.


4. Get a Biobased Pet Bed

What exactly is a biobased pet bed? A bed that is created from biodegradable, recycled, or biobased materials. For example, some dog beds don’t come with the typical stuffing a dog bed would (the kind that’s not great for the environment). Instead, you get to stuff it yourself with blankets, towels, or whatever else your dog prefers. If you don’t want to do that, you can use a biobased wool insert from the company. Cotton and wool are natural materials, and because this bed is machine washable, it’s easier to clean and can improve the chances of it lasting longer.

an empty dog bed at home
Image Credit: Jareerat, Shutterstock

5. Make Your Own Dog Toys

Dog toys are another way your pet makes a huge impact on the environment. While some environmentally friendly dog toys are available, many toys are made of rubber and plastic because our pups love to chew on things. Instead of going out and buying toys only to turn around and toss them in a month or two when your dog destroys them, why not make your own dog toys. DIY dog toys are easier than you think and can be created with a number of items already found in your home. Some of them can be especially long-lasting, as well! And as a bonus, you get to save tons of money that you were formerly spending on manufactured dog toys.


6. Skip the Plastic

If you have to purchase dog toys, avoid plastic as much as possible. Look for high-quality dog toys that will last your pet a long time and toys made of environmentally friendly products when possible. Toys made of rope, wool, or felt are all excellent options! Also, try to avoid toys that come in lots of plastic packaging.

woman playing tug of war toy with dog
Image Credit: Hero Images Inc, Shutterstock

7. Donate Used Goods

Does your dog have a lot of dog toys they no longer play with? What about old blankets or clothes they’ve outgrown? Maybe even dog beds they no longer love? Rather than tossing these into the garbage, donate them instead! Your local shelter or rescue organization would probably love to have your dog’s old stuff for the animals staying with them. Don’t have a shelter or rescue nearby? Then, take your pet’s used stuff to a thrift store or find a group online that lets you donate things you don’t need to people who do. This way, you’re doing a good deed and keeping items out of the landfill.


8. Use Organic or Non-Toxic Grooming Supplies

Let’s face it: often, shampoos and conditioners contain chemicals and other ingredients that aren’t necessarily great for our dog’s skin. They also aren’t always wonderful for the environment. So, when looking for grooming products, try to stick to only those that use all-natural ingredients and don’t have anything toxic in them. This way, your pup’s skin stays healthy, and you’re not inadvertently washing chemicals down the drain.

If you are looking for the perfect, pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner combo, we highly recommend the products by Hepper. With a soothing oatmeal shampoo, free of soaps and other harsh chemicals, and a cucumber and aloe scented conditioner, your pet's skin and coat will be smooth, hydrated, and irritation-free. 

Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool pet company!


9. Use All-Natural Household Cleaners

Chances are you’re already doing this, but when it comes to household cleaners, all-natural ones that aren’t toxic are the ones you want to pick. Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but it ensures your pup doesn’t come into contact with harmful chemicals. If you don’t want to purchase an eco-friendly, all-natural cleaner, you can make your own and save big bucks. Everyday household items, such as baking soda and vinegar, are great for cleaning and generally safe for pets. Of course, always talk to your vet before you use a household item as a cleaner, just to be safe.


10. Shop Local

Whenever you can, shop locally. Shopping locally can mean different things. It could be purchasing local brands from a nearby pet store that you can walk to or use public transport to get to. Or it could be supporting locally owned dog-related stores, like a bakery, hometown pet shop, or something similar. Essentially, shopping locally means that the products you’re purchasing were made nearby, so they didn’t have to travel far to get to you, thus using less fuel and packaging. Plus, shopping in town means you use less gas and boost your local economy!

woman buying dog food at pet store
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Being an eco-friendly dog parent is easier than you think! Our pets, adorable as they may be, can make quite an impact on the environment around them, so it’s up to us to help reduce their carbon footprint. With these tips, you can make a difference in your local environment and support your local community all at once.


Featured Image Credit: Helen Sushitskaya, Shutterstock

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