As a pet owner, I am always conscious of what we purchase, what waste we produce (or they produce) and how even our beloved animals also come with a carbon footprint – yes, that’s right even our pets contribute towards global warming. In the UK alone we are reported to own around 12 million pets – that’s 44% of us who own a pet of some variety, so what exactly does this look like in terms of emissions?
Well, we can get an idea of how much carbon our favourite pets are producing by referring to Mike Berners-Lee’s book, “How Bad Are Bananas?”, which reveals the carbon footprint of just about everything, including some of the most popular pets:
- Goldfish – 25kg of CO2e per year
- Average-size cat – 310kg of CO2e per year
- Average-size dog – 770 kg of CO2e per year
- Large dog – 2,500kg of CO2e per year
To put this into visual terms, a dog living an unsustainable lifestyle could well produce more than twice the amount of CO2 than that of a 4×4 car. Surprising? It is a bit, isn’t it?
So, how can you do your bit to reduce waste, reduce plastic usage and reduce that carbon pawprint? Here are 10 ways you can be a more eco-friendly dog owner…
Food is the biggest contributor to your dog’s carbon footprint simply because most of us feed them meat. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, about seven football fields of land are bulldozed worldwide every minute to create more room for farmed animals and just one kilo of beef creates 1,000 kilos of carbon dioxide. Going meat-free or cutting out meat from both our diet and our dog’s diet would have a huge impact, but how do you go about this? One way is to switch over to a sustainable dog food that is made using insect protein rather than animal protein. Your pet will still get all the nutrients they require but in a way that won’t have such a detrimental effect on our environment. Of course, not all dogs can switch their food with ease or they may be on a special diet for health reasons. If this is the case you can be more eco-friendly in other ways including:
- Choosing food that comes in recyclable packaging such as paper, card or tins
- Reducing the amount of treats you give
- Feeding the right quantities so you aren’t using more of the food product you have chosen (also better for your dog’s weight and overall health)
- Looking for food that is made in your country
- Bulk buying to cut down on packaging as well as your trips to the shops
When shopping for your dog’s food bowls, make sure you choose something that is durable and that will last the test of time. These Beco Pet Food and Water Bowls from SaveMoneyCutCarbon are made from a combination of bamboo, cornstarch and rice husks – a natural byproduct of rice farming. This perfect combination results in producing a material that has the same strength and durability as plastic. They are lightweight, easy to clean and can even be taken out on the go with you but, best of all, they will naturally break down if you ever need to dispose of them.
If you feed your dog (or your cat) wet food from a can then you may find you need to cover it over quite often if you don’t give a full can at each meal. Using clingfilm has long been a popular choice but this single-use plastic is incredibly bad for our environment. Once discarded it will take hundreds of years to breakdown and even then it won’t completely vanish, it will simply become smaller plastics called micro-plastics – not seen by the naked eye but still there polluting our ground and waterways. To cut back on your single-use plastics and to save you money in the long run, why not invest in some hardwearing can covers which will fit any 400g tin? A cover like this Beco Pets Wet Food Can Cover from SaveMoneyCutCarbon forms an airtight seal so your pet’s food stays fresher for longer and you won’t experience any stinks inside your fridge either. It is made from BPA-free silicone so it won’t leak any bad chemicals into your dog’s food and it can withstand fluctuating temperatures and constant flex without losing shape.
All of our pooches will need a groom at some point but with some breeds needing a hair cut every 8 weeks, that’s a lot of fur going into the bin. However, did you know there are other more eco-friendly ways of disposing of your dog’s hair? Pet hair can either be popped out into the garden for the birds to use in their nests or you can safely compost it in your home compost bin. Simple, yet very effective and helpful.
When it comes to choosing a shampoo for your dog you need to tread very, very carefully. Cheap shampoo may seem like a bargain but over the years I have encountered varieties that have made hair fall out, seen articles about skin burns and posters for recalling products that have actually turned out to be toxic – bad for your pet and bad for our waterways and oceans. Shopping around, asking your vet’s advice and researching any chemicals that you see listed on a bottle are all really important steps you can take in order to provide the best shampoo you can for your dog. Looking for shampoos that list natural ingredients, that are organic, eco-friendly and gentle on their skin are all key factors in ensuring that you will be getting them the best you can find.
There are several ways in which you can make your dog bed more eco-friendly. The first option would be to make your own at home using old clothing, material, towels, blankets etc and getting a little bit crafty with the sewing machine. Your next option would be to either reuse a previous pet’s bed rather than buying new for the latest addition or purchasing one secondhand. The final way would be to shop around for a dog bed that has been ethically and sustainably using natural materials such as cotton, wool or hemp.
Over the years, I have come to learn that many a dog toy isn’t made strong enough to withstand any real play – not from a border terrier anyway! We now own our second border and even as a puppy she has proven that no dog toys are a match for her which becomes quite annoying when you part with your hard-earned cash and realise you are simply creating extra and unnecessary waste. Thankfully we have finally found dog toys that can cope with being tugged, pulled, thrown and shaken and this Beco Pets Recycled Teddy is now a firm favourite. Made from up to 15 recycled plastic bottles, with a puncture-proof squeaker and woven with double stitching for extra strength, this toy is ideal for any rough player.
As a dog owner, picking up after your pet is imperative. There is simply no excuse in my eyes and having had my last dog for 18 years, I can honestly say that I was never caught out – it is just about overpreparing for every walk. There are many dog poop bags on the market right now but if you want to be an eco-friendly dog owner and do what you can for our environment your best option would be a Biodegradable Poop Bag. Whilst these bags are still made with plastic, they’re mixed with an agent that will completely break down in 2 – 5 years – leaving behind no micro-plastics, chemicals or residues.
Poop Bag Holder
Following on from my last point, you can make absolutely sure that you will never run out of poo bags with this fantastic Poop Bag Dispenser. Just like the food bowls above, this lightweight poop bag dispenser is made from a combination of bamboo, cornstarch and rice husks. This sustainable combination results in producing a material that has the same strength and durability as plastic, but it will naturally break down if disposed of. It is designed to fasten onto most leads or you could wear it on your wrist. It will fit all standard poop bag rolls (15 degradable poop bags are included).
Now that you have your beloved pooch you may want to consider ditching the regular holidays abroad and instead opt for a dog-friendly holiday in your own country. Not only will you be saving money on a dog sitter or kennels but you will also get the opportunity to explore more areas on foot and discover some hidden gems you may not have previously heard of. By staying local or using your car or train instead of taking a plane you will be reducing your carbon footprint which is a big step in helping in the battle against climate change.
So, there we have it, 10 ways you can be a more eco-friendly dog owner all of which should be quite achievable and sustainable. Do you have anymore to add? Let me know in the comments.
If you’d like to save more money on these eco-friendly pet products or any other eco swaps that will help to reduce your carbon footprint and household waste, then why not sign up to the SaveMoneyCutCarbon Members Club where you will receive exclusive special offers, products and bundles, you can earn Planet club points, unbeatable prices, exclusive guides and so much more.
*This is a paid collaboration with SaveMoneyCutCarbon but as always all opinions remain honest and my own. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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