Eco-Friendly Dog Products for A Tiny Carbon Paw-Print

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Looking to provide sustainable dog care for your pooch? Darcy Matheson, author of Greening Your Pet Care discusses how to reduce your dog’s carbon paw print, alongside recommendations for the best eco-friendly dog products.

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Many of us go to great lengths to decrease our own carbon emissions by recycling, taking public transport, and buying organic fruits and vegetables. However, few pet owners consider the enormous “carbon pawprint” their companion animal leaves on the environment.

Researchers in New Zealand recently found that the average medium-sized dog has a carbon footprint roughly twice the size of an SUV driven 10,000 kilometres a year. Cats weren’t much better, occupying the same footprint as a small Volkswagen.

Between their meaty diets and the poop they leave behind, pets are big polluters. There’s also all the treats, bedding, clothes, toys, and supplies we lavish on them. Thankfully, there are easy ways to care for your dog and products you can buy to make your dog’s life a little more eco-friendly.

The Best Eco-Friendly Dog Products To Care For Your Pooch Sustainably

Dog with dog toy and a blue text box that reads the best eco-friendly dog products for a tiny carbon pawprint.

The following tips on eco-friendly dog care and products are from my book, ‘Greening Your Pet Care’. This provides simple everyday steps to lower your pet’s carbon footprint. Both for the sake of their health and well-being and the future of our planet.

1. Use Eco-Friendly Dog Poop Bags

A staggering amount of dog waste is created each year. At least 97,000 tonnes of poo is left in parks in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada, alone. It’s a massive environmental issue if it’s not cleaned up. This is because the bacteria in faeces leach into the ground and water sources. This then contaminates lakes and rivers, drinking water sources, and hurts fish and other marine life.

The solution, however, is simple: clean that sh*t up. Contrary to conventional wisdom, rain doesn’t actually wash it away. Therefore, the environmentally-friendly solution is always to scoop the poop.

Conventional plastic grocery bags take anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years to break down in a landfill. Instead, opt for eco-friendly dog products, such as compostable dog poo bags. These break down exponentially faster. Look for bags that are naturally scented and created from non-GMO crops like tapioca and corn.

Moral Fibres Recommends

Beco home compostable dog poop bags

Beco Compostable Dog Poop Bags – from Ethical Superstore (£5.99 for 60 super strong bags) – are our top product recommendation for eco-friendly dog poop bags.

Extra large and thick, these unscented home compostable poop bags will protect your hands and cater for all poop sizes. Each roll of bags comes on a recycled cardboard core and fits in most standard dispensers.

Meeting international standards for compostability, these bags will completely break down in compost facilities.

Do note, the best way to dispose of these bags is in a well-managed contained home compost for non-edible plants only.

Whilst these bags will break down in an industrial compost environment, most food waste composting streams do not accept pet waste, so do check before disposing of the bag and its contents.

 The bags can be disposed of in normal waste but, like all compostable and biodegradable bags, they won’t compost in landfill.

2. Introduce Eco-Friendly Dog Food

In terms of eco-friendly dog care, it’s important to consider your dog’s diet. Producing meat for pet food consumes vast amounts of land, water, and resources. 

What’s more, cattle production is the most polluting and environmentally draining of them all. Lamb is a close second. The UN estimates livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of all CO2 emissions worldwide.

Instead of choosing beef-based kibble or wet food, switch to a food whose primary protein is something with a smaller carbon footprint. Chicken, turkey, sheep, or sustainably harvested fish are lower-carbon alternatives. There are also a host of vegan dog food alternatives available.

The same goes for treats. Look for grain, cereal, or fish-based treats instead of those sourced with beef.

Making slight changes in your pet’s diet will go a long way to reduce how much they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. With more than $23 billion spent on pet food last year, your individual choice can add up to a big difference.

Moral Fibres Recommends

The Pack cans of vegan dog food

The Pack vegan dog food (from £8.99 for a pack of three cans) offers an easy way to introduce plant-based food to your four-legged friend.

This wet dog food is 100% nutritionally complete, high in plant-powered protein and filled with superfood-rich, premium ingredients. 

Created with industry-expert pet food technologists and animal nutritionists, this ensures all The Pack meals are deliciously savoury, succulent and fulfilling. 

Plus, with up to 17.6x less CO2e per can than a meat-based meal, this eco-friendly product is an easy way to lessen your dog’s carbon footprint.

3. Opt For A Sustainable Dog Food Bowl

Tonnes of pet products made from plastics end up being trashed in landfill each year. These non-renewable materials can also be a danger to the health of you and your pet.

Inexpensive plastic pet products, including toys, beds, feeding dishes, and clothes, can contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This is a chemical classified as a human carcinogen and a danger to animal health by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For feeding bowls, opt for stainless steel, which is long-lasting and durable. Alternatively, opt for recycled plastic for a more environmental approach to feeding time.

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Dog eating from a recycled plastic dog food bowl - one of the many eco-friendly dog products available.

Fetch Club’s Ochien bowl (£19.95) is a top choice when it comes to eco-friendly dog food bowls.

Available in four different colours, this bowl is made in Cornwall with over 95% recycled ocean plastics. This includes fishing nets and ropes formerly destined for landfills or the open sea.

As well as being made from recycled materials, it’s also fully recyclable at the end of its life.

What’s also to love is that the non-slip feet on the bottom help to keep the bowl securely in place. This means your dog bowl won’t end up on the other side of the room!

Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for Fetch Club’s mailing list.

4. Look Out For Eco-Friendly Dog Toys

When it comes to dog toys, look for toys and other eco-friendly dog products made from natural and sustainable materials. Think organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, untreated wood and wicker.

Items made from canvas and natural rubber are also sustainable and tough, reducing the odds your pup will destroy it.

There are also many great manufacturers making great strides to divert plastic from our landfills by creating stylish and eco-friendly dog products. These include plush toys, made using recycled plastic water bottles.

Moral Fibres Recommends

Sustainable dog toy from Beco Pets - a great eco-friendly product for pets.

Beco Pets has a great eco-conscious line of durable dog toys. These are locally sourced and made from environmentally responsible materials, including recycled plastic. 

This durable and vegan-friendly dog toy (£10.99) – available from Ethical Superstore – for example, has a natural rubber ball, harvested from the trunk of rubber trees. This is super tough and has natural elasticity making it great for dog toys.

As it’s made from natural rubber, it’s more sustainable than virgin plastic that’s derived from fossil fuels. Natural rubber is also fully compostable at the end of its life.

Meanwhile, the silky soft but strong recycled cotton rope makes it easy to throw – ideal for a more sustainable game of fetch.

5. Choose Natural Chew Toys

Plastic chew toys are great to keep your pups entertained and occupied. This lets them satisfy their natural desire to chomp without destroying your shoes or furniture.

However, if you’ve ever watched a dog rip one apart, you’ll agree most end up in the bin after being destroyed. Plastic products like Nylabone can also create dangerous intestinal blockages if large pieces are ingested.

For more eco-friendly dog care, opt for a tougher and longer-lasting “green” chew. Made from natural rubber, Kongs are a great eco-friendly solution for even the heartiest chewers in your life. What’s more, they come in a variety of sizes. They’re also great stuffed with peanut butter and treats, to use for crate training puppies and reducing separation anxiety in nervous dogs.

Antlers are another eco-friendly chew. Unlike rawhides that are frequently sprayed with chemicals like arsenic and formaldehyde during production, antlers are naturally shed from animals like deer and elk. This means they are free of preservatives and additives.

Antlers also give your dog’s teeth a great cleaning. As your pup grinds down the antler to get more marrow, it massages their gums and cracks away plaque and tartar. Another green alternative is getting some discarded raw bones from your local butcher.

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These split deer antlers from Fetch Club (starting from £4.29) are a great natural dog chew option.

Available in three different sizes, these 100% natural, deer antlers ethically and responsibly sourced from the Scottish Highlands

Known as one of the longest-lasting chews available, the Split Antler will keep your pup entertained for hours, helping to alleviate boredom and reduce destructive chewing behaviours in an eco-friendly way.

What’s more, these Split Antlers are free from common allergens and grains, making them a safe and satisfying treat, even for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs.

Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for Fetch Club’s mailing list.

6. Try Out Green Dog Grooming Products

The chemicals, synthetic colours, and fragrances added to most dog shampoos, conditioners, and grooming products can contain pesticides and suspected carcinogens.

These ingredients can cause major skin irritation for your pup. This can include redness, painful hot spots, itchiness, and rashes. These chemicals also hurt local waterways when they’re flushed down the drain.

Instead, seek out formulations that are biodegradable, and free of parabens and synthetic fragrances. Also, look for products that use organic ingredients wherever possible. Avoid what I call the “foul four’: DEA (diethanolamine), SLS (sodium Laureth sulfate), BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), and synthetic colours and fragrances.

There is a wealth of naturally-scented eco-friendly dog hygiene products available now that work hard without putting your pet’s health and the environment at risk.

Moral Fibres Recommends

Miniml eco-friendly dog shampoo

Miniml’s Eco Dog Shampoo (from £4.99) is a naturally derived dog shampoo that is specially formulated with calming essential oils and natural cleansers for a healthy coat.

pH balanced to be gentle on your dog’s skin, this vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and made-in-the-UK shampoo is the perfect way to look after your dog’s coat sustainably.

It’s also free from VOCs, chlorine bleaches, solvents, lanoline, sulphates, parabens and phosphates.

This refillable shampoo is available in different refill options – including 1-litre and 5-litre refill options. The refill packaging is returnable, where it will be cleaned and reused by Miniml for a closed-loop approach to dog washing.

Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for the Miniml mailing list.

7. Adopt, Don’t Shop

Finally, tens of thousands of wonderful companion animals are euthanised each year in UK shelters, so by adopting you are saving that pet from death while freeing up space for another one to be taken in. Think of adopting as “the ultimate recycling.”

One of the biggest misconceptions is that there are only mutts and old pets in shelters. The Humane Society says a full 25% of the shelter population is purebred.

Start your pet search at local animal shelters and rescues. If you have your heart set on a certain breed, reach out to breed-specific rescues in your area. These groups are focused on re-homing unwanted, abandoned, and homeless pets of a particular pure breed.

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  1. Thank you for sharing such helpful resources! I can’t wait to try some of these products out. As a new dog mom, I am struggling to find natural dog toys and products. I finally found a carpet cleaner who has a natural method for pet urine removal which has been a godsend! Anyway, thank you for sharing your advice, you’re so inspiring.

  2. What a great article. Some really interesting ideas and plenty of thought for thought. I’ll definitely be adopting some of these ideas into my day to day life.

  3. Thanks so much for featuring me on your awesome blog. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about eco-friendly pet care!

  4. Ooh this book looks interesting. We always scoop the poop, you’ve got to :)
    Our pup’s favourite toy – an old bit of fleece. I’m going to try and make another pull toy out of old tshirts that would be going to rag. Not sure Chop could go full veggie but he does love his peanut butter and carrots so that’s a start!

    1. This is a really great idea Steph! We also do “stuffie hospital” at our house — which just means sewing up old toys to make them new again. I also find putting an old plastic water bottle into a sock and knotting the end makes a great, safe chew toy that also diverts bottles from the landfill.

  5. Re point 2: You can go a step further and get vegetarian/vegan dog foods. Dogs are okay to eat vegetarian diets (whereas cats are not). A quick online search brings up the different brands.

    1. Not sure why you keep deleting my comment when it’s a perfectly valid point. There is a far greater impact to the environment in having a child than owning a dog and BOTH are a choice. So people moralising about why people shouldn’t own a dog because it’s bad for the environment while they have children is a nonsense.

        1. That’s fine. But I would argue the original commenter was equally disrespectful towards dog owners. Saying they are a nuisance and have no redeeming features is quite offensive to people who have chosen to have animals in their family because they don’t want or can’t have children. Animals are a big part of people’s lives and I wish everyone was a little more understanding of other people’s choices and motivations.