As the Earth's most intelligence species, we have a responsibility to our planet to keep it sustainable for us to continue our lives on it. While many of us go out of our ways to reduce our carbon footsteps, we don’t realize that we can continue to do so on the behalf of our pets. However, there's something we can do about this too, starting by lowering our dogs' carbon paw prints.
First and most important thing we as dog owners can do is begin using biodegradable plastics and switching to organic or homemade shampoos for our pets. We can also remove more of the toxins from our homes and read on a multitude of other ways how to stay aware of the environment.
Either making our own dog food or simply spending more time with our four legged companions, every time we make a conscious effort to protect our environment, small ripples of change appear. If you decided to be more environmentally conscious, eventually you won’t even feel like you are doing anything out of the ordinary, and we all will be well on our way to securing an environmentally sustainable future.
Want to know more about how can dog owners go green and be more eco-friendly? TopDogTips put together a list of 10 tips you can join the environmental movement.
1Biodegradable dog products
Switch to buying biodegradable dog products that are made from recycled or sustainable materials.
Today, there are many companies out there that you can find online or in your local directory who make and supply a variety of biodegradable dog products for your pooch. These include anything from dog toys, bowls, blankets, and beds to leashes and collars.
Supporting the concept of recycling through purchasing the right dog products can make a massive difference in our society. The more dog owners do this, the more it will drastically reduce the impact our waste products and materials have on the Earth and all of its natural resources.
2Choose activities over products
How many times did you opt for watching TV at home while giving your dog a new toy to play with instead of going outside?
The most exciting toy for your dog is not the most expensive or fancy one you can buy; it’s you. There is no one in this world your pooch would rather spend time with than her family.
Instead of spending time at home, choose something that's better for the environment, as well as for your and your pet's health. Go for walks, play in the yard, spend long lazy afternoons scratching her behind her ears. These are the most enjoyable times for your pet, and are also good for her well-being, good for you, and good for the environment in many different ways.
3Reuse everything you can
It's always easier to go for something that can be used and then thrown away, but every trash that leaves your home has a small impact on the environment.
One of the ways dog owners can go green is instead of using paper towels to clean up after their pets they can use old towels or rags that can be washed and reused later. This is such a small change for you, yet if all of us would do this, it would have a massive positive impact on our planet.
Filling our landfills up with paper products is wasteful, and the clearing and devastation of trees impacts our fragile environment and ecosystem by destroying the natural homes of many animals, and impacting our air quality and urban pollution.
4Don't throw away – donate
Everybody has something in their own that's not being used, and most of the time we'd rather throw it away because it's easier than donating.
Dog owners who want to go green should make a little effort. Donate unused or outgrown dog toys or your old dog beds to your local animal shelter or to your friends instead of dumping them in landfills. The end result for you is the same, yet you're providing somebody else with things they will find useful and avoid putting out more things that will become garbage out there.
If you don't have where to donate your dog products, check with your vet to see if they will take any second hand items or if they know a place who would like them. Shelters and many people who can’t afford expensive dog toys, houses, crates or beds for their pets are always happy to take them.
5Buy everything in bulk and store
Think about it, how often do we go to stores and buy single items, or a few items, just to be back in that same store for the same product next week?
If you want to become environmentally conscious, start buying your dog food in bulk. This will reduce the amount of driving you have to do to get to the store, which will greater benefit the environment. Buying in bulk also limits the amount of plastics and packaging used, which impacts energy and resources put into recycling.
Our air is now polluted with carbon emissions produced by the factories that make our pet food. Electricity is used, chemicals are brought in and distributed to keep the factories clean and sanitary, and then there is the transportation of the product from the factories to our stores that needs to be considered. Buying your dog food in bulk stops a lot of that from happening.
6Use biodegradable dog poop bags
It's great that you're already cleaning up after your pet, but how about going a step further and finding ways to go green?
What every dog owner can do is use biodegradable dog poop bags whenever they go for walks and need to clean up after their Fidos.
The reason environment professionals advise using these is because biodegradable dog poop bags break down in around a month’s time, as opposed to their plastic counterparts, which can take up to 1,500 years to fully disappear from the planet. It's a very simple and quick change, yet avoid putting out more plastic out there is possibly one of the best things you can do for the planet.
7Don't buy a dog – adopt one
Stray homeless dogs is a growing problem all over the world, and even we as loving dog owners are partially responsible for this.
When deciding to add a furry four legged friend to your family, head down to your local animal shelter to find one who needs a forever home instead of going to a pet store or a breeder. Not only will you help to reduce the problem of stray dogs, but this will also have an impact on the environment.
A lot of resources are used in sheltering abandoned or unwanted dogs, including electricity and supplies needed to operate these dog shelters. There are also massive amounts of pet products including dog food, toys, homes, beds and crates that need to be bought for shelters, therefore, more of them are manufactured, which in turn generates more energy and resources used.
8Spay or neuter your dog
This goes alongside what has already been said before about helping to control the growing population of dogs and preventing even more of them becoming homeless.
Neuter or spay your dog. Controlling the reproduction of animals is one of the most effective ways dog owners can go green and help reduce our carbon paw prints. Our animal shelters are filled with puppies that have been abandoned or disposed of after a dog has had an unwanted litter. By spaying our dogs we can ensure that they are not having any more puppies which cannot be kept, and which will then be taken to a dog shelter or abandoned on the street in the worst case scenario.
From an environmental standpoint, animal shelters are overrun with these puppies, and they need to be kept alive, so electricity has to be generated, water needs to be run and food manufactured and bought. Controlling this and eventually eliminating the need for pet shelters altogether will make a big difference to our environment.
9Go completely green with home products
There is an abundance of products that you use to take care of your pooch when at home – some of those can be exchange for something better.
Dog owners can reduce the toxins in their homes by making a few small changes. For example, switch to homemade or green cleaners like baking soda, diluted vinegar and lemon juice.
Not only are these fantastic for our environment by greatly reducing the amount of toxins that enter our waterways after the cleansing out of our homes, but are much safer and healthier for our pets (and for the rest of our family) to be around and breathe. You can also use natural or homemade shampoos for when Fido needs a bath; this is great for her coat and overall well-being.
10Make your own dog food and treats
Last but certainly not least of the ways dog owners can go green is making their own dog food at home, using natural ingredients. It's a win-win.
Speak to your vet about the best foods for your dog, but a diet that has plenty of meats, vegetables and grains will usually be the most well-balanced and ideal for your pooch. Making your own homemade dog treats and food can save you money, and is wonderful for your dog as you remove any chance of added chemicals or preservatives that can make their way into store bought pet foods.
You also help the environment by reducing the driving time you would need to go to the store to buy the food, the plastic or tinned packaging that dog food comes in, and can also impact the amount of electricity, waste and carbon emissions that are produced with the running of these factories that make pet foods.
Featured photo courtesy of Joshua Hackett