Known as the world’s most significant environmental movement, Earth Day is an annual event when the world comes together to drive positive change to help save the planet. That change can come in many different forms of action both large and small. As an ever-growing population of dog owners (the UK now has a large pet population with 12 million dogs ), we too can take action against Climate Change in simple ways, such as with the eco-friendly dog products we choose for our pups. So, to celebrate Earth Day, we’ve put together our guide on how to be an eco-friendly dog owner by making choices that are not only great for our pups but have a positive impact on our planet. Read on to see how you and your dog can make a difference…
What is Earth Day?
Before we go any further, let’s recap about Earth Day. Every year on April 22, Earth Day is a global initiative to demonstrate support for the protection of the environment and our planet. Incredibly, the first Earth Day events were held more than 50 years ago, and Earth Day is now marked by a massive range of global events, co-ordinated by Earthday.org involving 1 billion people in more than 193 countries, taking action (no matter how small) for a better and greener world. The Earth Day website has some great suggestions for tips on supporting Earth Day and many of what’s covered in this blog post support those too, so let’s dive in.
How to be an Eco-friendly Dog Owner And Shop Sustainably For Your Pet
Most dogs would be happy with a warm and comfy dog bed to lay their head, a full tummy of tasty food, the occasional treat and plenty of love from their humans. However, most of us humans can’t resist spending a considerable amount of money on our pets, whether buying another stylish dog collar and lead, to having a dog bed in every room (guilty on both accounts). Soon, without realising it, we are suddenly spending a small fortune on our pups – in fact, Britain is now second only to the US in terms of per-person spending on pet accessories which is quite eye-opening.
To be more eco-friendly as dog owners, we either need to either buy less or shop more sustainably. So, here’s our round-up of eco-friendly dog products that will help the pup pounds we spend have a more positive impact on the planet.
This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to make a purchase using my link(s).
Be Stylish and Sustainable With Eco-friendly Dog Collars and Leads
Gone are the days when the words vegan dog collar or eco-friendly dog lead conjured up images of, let’s just say, some not very cute accessories. These days, more and more pet brands see the benefit of producing dog accessories that look good and do good for our environment. In terms of sustainable and eco-friendly dog collars and leads, these are usually Recycled, or Vegan with great choices available in both.
Here are some of our favourites so you can stay on-trend and be eco-friendly:
Vegan Dog Collars and Leads
This London based brand has made the switch from leather to vegan leather dog collars and leads for the BARC London range, and they’re gorgeous! Available in a range of colours that will complement most canines, the vegan dog collar and lead set is something any stylish pup (and their human) will be proud to be seen in whatever the occasion. We recently got a matching BARC London collar and lead set and get compliments on ours all the time. If choosing a lead, our tip is to go for the versatile lead so you can go hands-free when out and about.
Plus as featured in our guide to brands that give back, Barc London donates to Wild at Heart Foundation with every purchase and has even created a dedicated range where 60% of profits go to the charity.
New pup on the block Milgi London has brought a stylish range of vegan dog collars and vegan dog leads to the UK market. The Milgi London products not only look good (we are loving the rose gold finishes) but are practical too and can be easily wiped down if muddy so great for everyday wear. Our tip is to go for the ones with rose gold hardware, even for the boys!
Recycled Dog Collars and Leads
When it comes to recycled dog accessories, Project Blu have pups covered. Known for their efforts to keep our oceans plastic-free, Project Blu recycle plastic and upcycle old clothes from waste into a whole range of stylish doc accessories, of which their leads are one. Plus Project Blu also has a range of Apple Leather Vegan Dog Collars and Leads too.
Go Plastic Free With Eco-friendly Dog Toys
Your dog will undoubtedly have a considerable amount of toys throughout its lifetime to keep them happy. Sadly, many of us (me included) have bought plastic dog toys in the past without realising that they can be unsafe for your pup and harmful to the environment. Plastic dog toys are often manufactured in environmentally harmful factories, and at the end of their life, they then end up in landfill, taking a considerable toll on the planet.
Eco-friendly dog toys made from recycled materials from brands such as Mongrel London (not only a great name but Mongrel London also run a dog rescue Cookie’s Rescue), Smug Mutts, or Beco Pets are much better choices, both for the planet and your pet.
Snooze Sustainably With Eco-friendly Dog Beds
We recently discovered eco-friendly dog beds, particularly those from Project Blu made from recycled plastic bottles that would otherwise be destined for our oceans and turned into fabulously comfortable and stylish dog beds. In fact, just one of their dog beds can stop anything from 41 to 133 plastic bottles (depending on bed size) from reaching our seas which is pretty amazing and certainly makes me value our new Project Blu bed even more!
Buy Eco-friendly Dog Accessories
Unfortunately, we live in a world where the throwaway culture has become too much of the norm and changing this is key to becoming a more eco-friendly dog owner when we shop. Look out for dog brands that really care about changing this throwaway mindset, like Ten Year Tags.
Ten Year Tags is a dog tag company that make tags that they will guarantee, for you guessed it, ten years. Sick of having to constantly replace lost cheap and flimsy dog tags for their own pups, the founders of Ten Year Tags set out to make a solid brass tag that would go the duration. They’re so confident in their tags that they’ll replace the tag in the rare event it was not to last ten years (or you were to lose it), and at just £14 per tag, that’s a bargain.
The tags come in the sweetest tin with your dog’s name on them, and you can tell each tag is made with a lot of love, making them extra special.
Use Eco-friendly Dog Poop Bags
I’m sure there’s a statistic somewhere about how much dog poop we pick up in our pup’s lifetime, but even without knowing what the actual number is, I know it’s a lot! So opting for an eco-friendly dog poop bag is essential in my opinion. Fortunately, there are plenty of sustainable dog poop bags out there to choose from, such as the biodegradable/compostable ones from Adios Plastic or Fetch It.
These break down in just a few months, instead of standard plastic bags or even degradable ones that can take up to 1,000 years to break down and still release micro-plastics into the environment and harm wildlife.
Choose Eco-friendly Dog Shampoo and Grooming Products
Like human shampoos and conditioners, dog grooming products often have chemicals and synthetic fragrances or colours added to make them more appealing. However, that means they’re not good for us, not good for our pets and not good for the planet! Try to avoid products containing BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole, DEA (diethanolamine), SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) or SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulfate) or other synthetic colours and fragrances.
Instead, look for products that are biodegradable, free of parabens and artificial fragrances, use all-natural and/or organic ingredients, and, of course, are cruelty-free. You can find eco-friendly pet grooming products at Wild for Dogs (who donate to Wild at Heart Foundation with every purchase), Hownd, Cooper & Gracie or Charlie & Co Naturals, for example.
Buy from Sustainable Shopping Sites
As more and more brands are offering eco-friendly dog products, we’re also seeing sustainable shopping sites spring up where you can find eco-friendly dog products and accessories from a range of brands. One such site is Pets Against Plastics who stock a range of plastic-free pet products and have committed to donating 5% of all orders placed on their site to Ocean Generation.
Another option for sustainable shopping for your pet is the Mooch and Gander Marketplace who focus on supporting small businesses that sell natural, and planet-friendly pet products.
Other Ways To Be A More Eco-friendly Dog Owner
How Food Can Reduce Your Dog’s Carbon Pawprint
Pet food has a huge (negative) environmental impact as meat-based diets require a lot of land, energy and water and are the most significant contributor to a pet’s carbon footprint or pawprint.
As the world embraces all things plant-based, it’s no surprise that plant-based dog food is becoming more mainstream. Ethical lifestyle brand for dogs Hownd is leading the way with a new plant-based superfood wet food for dogs, formulated by veterinary and pet food nutritionists. This means you can introduce this to your dog’s diet on a flexitarian basis (Meatless Monday anyone), or if your lifestyle is vegan, your pup can be too and you can be confident they’re getting all the nutrients they need whilst reducing their carbon pawprint.
You could also consider other sustainable dog food options such as Yora’s insect protein dog food made from, you guessed it, insect protein. Even if like us, you and your pup aren’t ready for the thought of eating grubs, the Yora website is an interesting read to learn more about insects as a sustainable source of protein and how it produces low amounts of CO2.
Apart from changing your dog’s diet to become more sustainable, why not choose pet food from brands that put recycling at the core of what they do. Dog-food brands such as Hownd, Different Dog or Edgard Cooper make sure that their dog-food packaging is recyclable, biodegradable or compostable, for example.
However, not all pet food brands have been able to make a complete switch to recyclable dog food packaging yet. In that case, you can take advantage of the Terracycle Recycling Programmes to recycle plastic pouches for pet food and dog treats from pet food brands like Mars Petcare. And for brands such as Lily’s Kitchen where most (88%) of their packaging can be recycled through domestic recycling, the remainder can be recycled through the Terracycle initiative to avoid it ending up in landfill.
Enjoy a Staycation with Your Dog
Now that Staycations are here to stay (pardon the pun), more and more novel ideas for you to have the pawfect holiday with your pup are springing up. And whilst our four-legged friends might not have been frequent fliers anyway, opting for a UK holiday will certainly help reduce your own carbon emissions. From puppy getaways to dog-friendly spas – as featured in our Dog-friendly Holiday Predictions for 2021, the choices for a holiday where you and your dog can have the best holiday together here in the UK have never been better. And if you can get to your dog-friendly staycation destination by train rather than by car, then that’s more environmentally friendly bonus points for you.
Adopt a Dog, Save a Life and Help Save The Planet
With the shocking statistic that there are 100,000 homeless dogs in the UK at any given time, the argument for adopting a dog speaks for itself, even without considering the positive environmental impact this has. Putting it simply, just like humans, the more densely populated the planet, the higher our carbon emissions and, therefore, the potential damage to the climate. So in giving a home to a shelter pet, you’ll not only save a life but helping to save the planet too, that’s a win-win all round!
Do you have any more tips for how to be a more eco-friendly dog owner or any other eco-friendly dog products you recommend? If so, we’d love to hear them, let us know in the comments below.
Lovely to see a review of some more ‘eco-friendly’ alternatives, but I urge your readers not to be ‘green-washed’ and research the full product lifecycle and impact it has. Products made from recycled plastic are ultimately still ‘plastic’ and these are often the most difficult types of plastic to recycle so ultimately ending in landfill. Not even claiming to have any green credentials, polyester batting which is found in most pet beds, pet toys and human cushions take between 20 and 200 years to rot down in landfill. As it’s earth day, I urge your readers to check out their blog posts on plastic and the message Remove – Refuse – Rally so we can all make better informed purchases.
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I know that the information out there can be confusing – for example I only discovered not too long ago that the ‘degradable’ dog poo bags we were using weren’t ‘biodegradable’ as I thought and that there’s a very big difference. Every day we learn more, and in turn we can do more and every little helps
Great suggestions! You can also get refill Lucy’s kitchen dog food at Bulk Market in Hackney (and probably in other places but that’s the only one I know of) – so less plastic. We’re trying yora and give it a thumbs up at the moment too!
Thank you And thanks for the tip about the Bulk Market in Hackney and feedback on Yora too.
I’ve recently switched to a soap bar for my pooch to cut down on plastic and I can absolutely recommend the doggie shampoo bar from the Cornish seaweed soap company – really impressed, it’s easy to use and smells lovely https://www.cornishseaweedbath.co.uk/product/dog-shampoo-bar/
That’s interesting to hear – thanks for the tip