Did you know that your dog is ruining the planet? It’s true, sneak up on your dog at any given moment and you’ll find them throwing plastic bottles into the bin or forgetting to turn off the lights when they leave the house… Okay, that’s not quite true. But our four-legged children do contribute to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere thanks to the meat raised to feed them and the “presents” they leave.
According to a study by UCLA, dogs (and tbf cats) are responsible for 30% of the environmental impact of meat eating in the US, which has the environmental impact of an extra 13.6 million cars on the road, and produce 5.1 million tons of faeces annually, which produces methane and increases the amount of rubbish that we produce. And the bigger the animal, the bigger the problem.
So, should you give up your beloved puppy? No. That would also have a less-than-green impact on the environment. Instead, you should find ways to lessen your dog’s carbon paw print and I (Emma) am going to outline some steps for you below.
Disclaimer: The links in this piece are not affiliate links, but things that have been tried and tested by my friends/family with dogs. As always, feel free to do your own research on top of this article to find out what is best for your furry friend.
While dogs love their meat, some dogs can actually live on a vegan diet. Just ask your vet for advice before you make any massive changes to your dog’s diet.
If your dog can’t go vegan, then you can still reduce their meat intake by putting more (home-grown) vegetables onto their plate. My aunt’s dog goes crazy for a carrot, eating them whole and raw. You can also opt for organic dog food, which will be made from animals/plants that were raised/grown without added chemicals.
You can also do your bit to reduce packaging waste for their food by:
- Cooking their meat yourself
- Seeking out recyclable packaging (and rinsing it before popping it in your green bin)
All good dog parents like to spoil their babies, so my first advice is to think about what you have before buying more. Does Fido really need a third ball to play catch with?
If you are buying something that your dog does need, look for a retailer that has long-lasting, good quality products that can stand up to your puppy’s standards. After all, there’s no point in buying a lead that will break the first time your dog pulls on it or a toy that will fall apart after mere days. Always remember to compare the products and read reviews to find out which is the best for your pup.
And finally, when your dog doesn’t need an item anymore, be sure not to bin it. Instead, donate the toy/cage/raincoat to your local animal shelter, where they can either sell the item or use it to help their dogs.
Pick up your dog waste! I had some friends in school, who I assume have since learnt the error of their ways, who wouldn’t pick up their dog’s waste and when I questioned them about it, they told me that the waste would naturally decompose/wash away. Turns out that your dog carries toxoplasmosis, which is harmful to people with compromised immune systems, and when you don’t pick their waste up, it can pollute waterways, coastal areas, and even the parks where children play.
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of put dog waste into a plastic bag and then into a bin, then you could:
- use biodegradable bags
- use flushable bags and put the waste down the loo
- use a pooper scooper
- reuse bags that would have gone in the bin anyway, like the bag that your frozen chips came in
Some top tips
When I polled my friends and family for their top tips on raising an eco-dog, some didn’t fit neatly into the sections above, so I created a new section for them.
- “Upcycle products for your dog. You can easily make an old t-shirt into a rope toy.” – Andy
- “Buy a dog brush that you can easily remove the fur from and use the fur to line birds’ nests or for your compost.” AND “Don’t choose plastic when buying their toys/bowls/etc. Use metal or glass or china” – Yasmin
- “Incorporate your existing eco-hacks into your pet’s life, i.e. not using single-use bags to buy their food/toys.” – Meg
- “You can buy/make eco-friendly flea and tick treatments.” – Sarah
- “Ditch the gym and use the twice-daily walks as your exercise.” – Debby
- “Buy microfibre cloths to clean up after or dry your dog.” – Steve
- “Adopt, don’t buy.” – Hayley
Well, that’s it from me (and my friends) about raising an eco dog, but now we want to hear for you. What tips do you have for raising a green dog? Let us know in the comments.