Zero Waste Ideas for Dog Owners

When it comes to having a lower waste lifestyle with a dog, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out not only where to start, but to also look after your dog in the best way!

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Of course when it comes to having a dog, you want to make sure that anything they consume is going to be the best for them (especially since they can’t pick it out themselves!), but it’s also a good idea to figure out what’s healthy for the planet to consume too.

Although maybe not everything you may have access to or be the best solution for your dog, it’s a good idea to consider each option, especially if you’re looking to get a dog or the things you own are starting to wear out.

With having Annie, my bedlington terrier, she’s pretty low maintenance as she’s now 10(!), but she sleeps more than she plays so I haven’t had to buy many toys for her over the years. But of course she loves her treats and food so it’s been a task to find stuff she likes!

I’ve created a list of different way you can be more conscious and zero waste having a dog, some may work for you, some may not!

Food

Food is obviously one of the most important things, because sadly dogs cannot eat the same as us (although they wish they could). Finding the best food for your dog is essential because they each have different diets and some may require different food than others.

For dry food I use Harringtons, as it comes in completely recyclable and compostable packaging, as well as being carbon negative. They also make grain free dog food, as well as cat, guinea pig, and rabbit food too.

For wet food, I really like Lily’s Kitchen. They are made with real meat (so no meat meal or bone meal) and plenty of veggies, and they even have a vegetarian selection if that’s better for your dog too! All of their products are recyclable, and there’s a guide on their website to show which is kerbside, teracycle, and supermarket recycling too.

Eco friendly treats

While finding zero waste dog treats that not only your pup likes but are better for the environment can be a little tricky, more options are steadily becoming available, especially in larger supermarkets too.

For treats, I really like Scrumbles as they do a range of different treats, such as training, dental, and calming treats too. The packing for their treat pouches are plastic free, compostable paper bags. They’re also certified B corp, as well as being 1% For The Planet too.

Compostable poo bags or poop compost

When it comes to poo bags, there can be a decent amount of greenwashing involved. A lot of the time you’ll find packaging that says “biodegradable” but these are still made of plastic, and do they’re only degrading into smaller plastic pieces.

It can be a hard decision to make with poo bags, because if they still get sent to landfill, they won’t breakdown regardless of if they’re compostable or not. Of course, you could always reused old bread bags or shopping bags if you still wan’t to reduce your plastic consumption without buying too many new bags.

Another option is a backyard poop compost. Because you can’t put your pet’s waste into general composting, if you have a back garden of your own then looking into a compost bin for your dog could be a good idea. This is the kind of idea I mean – although I haven’t tried them myself, I do know a few people who have.

Sustainable toys

If you have a dog that is very energetic and loves toys to play with, then a great idea is to find ones that are not only long lasting, but won’t harm your dog or the planet.

A lot of dog toys are made of cheap polyester materials (plastic), which can get ripped up and sometimes consumed by your pets. There are lots of different toys you can find which are made of natural materials such as jute, cotton or rubber.

Another alternative is getting toys secondhand – these don’t necessarily need to be specifically dog toys, but as long as they don’t have button eyes then they’re perfectly fine!

Coats and jackets

When the weather starts to turn for the winter, the last thing you want in your house is a wet dog, but of course taking them for walks is unavoidable, even in the rain.

There are countless of different rain coats to get for dogs these days, and there any many available now that are made of recycled plastics – which is what helps it be waterproof.

We recently got Annie a fleece jumper from Equafleece which is made of 85% recycled plastic, which is rainproof as well as being warm and breathable. This means that it’s great for the winter when it’s a little cold and damp, or any days in the rain or at the beach, so she’ll keep warm and dry when outside.

If you can’t find any recyclable ones that take your fancy, I would suggest looking online for secondhand ones. Make sure you have measurements of your dog so you know it’ll fit, and you can even have a look at specific brands to see which sizes they’d suggest.

Low waste dog beds

Regardless on where you let your dog sleep at night, finding a good eco friendly dog bed is a definite must, especially since so many are made from nondurable materials which get thrown away very quickly.

There are a few different brands you can find that are more eco conscious and help your pup get a good night sleep. One I’ve found is from Project Blu, which make their beds from 100% recycled materials like ghost fishing nets, plastic bottles, and discarded textile fabrics – they are also a certified B corporation.

Collars and leads

Every dog needs to go out for walks, so why not make them stylish as well as eco friendly? There are lots of different options to find for both collars and leads if you need something brand new, but of course you could always check out places like Facebook marketplace for second hand ones if you’re on a budget.

For collars, there are a few different kinds available, such as hemp ones from Salt Dog Studios and The Good Dog Company, or Lupine and Project Blu who make some from recycled plastic bottles. Both Lupine and The Good Dog Company are US based, but you can find Lupine collars available in the UK too.

For leads, there are a few that are made of hemp, which is a hypoallergenic so great if your dog has sensitive skin. I found these ones from Smug Mutts, and they also do one with a wool felt handle too. You can also get cotton ones such as from Dogs Lead Shop, who also make cotton harnesses as well.

Reusable lint roller

As with most pets (and humans) they tend to shed a lot of hair, especially when they change to and from their summer and winter coats. One way you can help keep on top of it is with a lint roller, and no I don’t mean the sticky ones that you peel layers off or the gel ones that you rinse off. You can get metal lint rollers now which are plastic free and don’t take up much room either.

Shampoo

Of course, the dreaded bath time comes around every so often, which likely neither you nor your dog likes doing. I know getting Annie into the shower can be a decent task, but a lot of the time you still have to deal with plastic shampoo bottles.

Like humans, you can now get zero waste dog shampoo bars too, which is great to have if you travel around a lot with a dog, or you just want to gain a little bit of space back. Ethique do solid shampoo and conditioner bars for your dogs, as well as making mini travel sized bars which are great to try out with first. These obviously take up a lot less space but will also last you a lot longer than liquid shampoo will too.

This is just a brief few ideas on how to be more eco friendly with your dog, but hopefully it helps! Let me know if you have any suggestions with your pets!

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