It is sometimes easier to go zero waste with your dog than it is with your human family members. Pets love you unconditionally and will support all your ‘crazy’ ideas. But we don’t think there’s anything crazy about leading an eco-friendly lifestyle and bringing your four-legged friend along with you. So, let’s find out how to do it right!
Well, it’s not the most pleasant thing in a dog owner's daily routine, but there’s no getting away from it. There are two eco-friendly options to deal with dog poo: flush or compost. But after we know ‘what’ to do, the question of ‘how’ still remains.
As only biological dog waste is flushable (no bags, even biodegradable ones), this option only works if you have a toilet and suitable accessories close to hand. If so, simply scoop the poop with your designated scooping tool, and flush it.
Here are a few alternative options:
Taking into account the possible contamination of crops with parasites, if you compost dog poop in a garden composter or a worm farm then you should only use the compost to fertilise your non-vegetable garden and lawns.
Unfortunately, dog food and treat packaging is not very sustainable. Dry dog food needs to stay dry, that’s why easily recyclable paper packaging doesn’t suit it well as a rule. Treats also often come in plastic packaging.
So, the best zero waste approach to feeding your dog is to cook for it. Do some research or consult your vet to create a well-balanced diet for your pet, especially if you are going to serve your pooch with vegetarian food.
You can also offer your dog raw-feeding. The local markets sell a lot of different kinds of byproducts of meat production, such as brain, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, stomach, thymus, tripe, tongue, and so on. You can buy them in your own reusable container without any packaging.
If industrially-made dog food and treats are the only option for you, try these tips to make feeding more sustainable:
Try to make toys yourself: turn old T-shirts into a tug rope or an old tennis ball into a treat dispenser. If you are not a tennis player yourself, you can ask for old balls from tennis yards. They often have a load of tennis balls that are not suitable for playing with anymore. The top players use a new ball every few games!
A wide range of preloved dog toys are also available online. They could make great value toys for your own pooch.
Dog chew toys made from natural rubber are a good choice to entertain your dog for a long time if you have a rubber recycling option near you. Otherwise, there are a lot of plastic-free toys made from wood and hemp on the market.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the packaging (it is perfect if there is no packaging at all, or if it is at least recyclable) and the sustainability policy of the producer.
Dog walking accessories are the basics of canine supplies. You can find a lot of dog collars, harnesses, leashes or muzzles second-hand, and save resources in this way. Hemp and bamboo items with durable metal fittings are the most sustainable options if you want to buy a new one.
If you adore dressing your pet in fancy clothes or need to cover your dog from the rain during walks, look for second-hand dog clothes, upcycle human clothes, or buy items made from recycled material from companies that offer post-use recycling options.
While making a canine rain jacket definitely requires some sewing skills, you can make an upcycled dog bed of your old T-shirt in a few hours without much effort.
Similarly to their owners, dogs also have diverse health and beauty care products. And most of them are available in zero waste packaging. For example:
If you have a puppy or are going to adopt one, buy a few washable pee pads instead of disposable ones to go through its potty training period in a zero waste way. Similarly, you can get washable dog diapers for either incontinent pets or unspayed female dogs.
In conclusion, we’d like to remind you that while living a zero waste life with your dog may take more effort, it’s not "impawssible"! Start off with a few swaps, then go deeper into a waste-free life day by day.
Images credit - www.freepik.com.