Five Green Pet Care Tips for You and Your Dog

By Sher Warkentin in Thinking Sustainably

Green pet care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or effort; it takes just a few adjustments to the routine you two already follow. If you don’t have a dog, or are thinking of adopting another, the best way to ensure you raise an eco-friendly pup is with pet care that keeps your companion just as healthy as his or her surroundings. From DIY chew toys to hypoallergenic stain remover, you can minimize his carbon paw print while giving your kids a chance to watch over another species.

Here’s what you can do in terms of green pet care:

Pooper Scooper

There’s no way around it—dogs poop. But although the “present” they leave you is natural, the plastic bags many dog owners use to clean up aren’t. Instead of stocking up on regular bags, opt for biodegradable ones, which cost about the same and are just as easy to find.

Another easy option when cleaning up in the yard is to skip the bags altogether and use my go-to green pet care product: a pooper-scooper. I keep a dedicated trashcan just for dog waste and can quickly scoop any of it with one hand.

Green pet care pooper scooper

Eco-Friendly Play

Playtime is not only fun, but an important part of keeping your dog healthy and strengthening the bond between you two. If you have a high-energy dog like mine, toys wear out in no time. To make your pup’s collection a little more eco-friendly, look for items made from recycled materials like old fire hoses so you’re not being wasteful as you discard an old chew toy. Another option is to pick a product that’s easily repairable. Many of today’s soft dog toys include replacement squeakers so you can easily swap them out rather than throw away the entire thing.

If you feel like getting crafty, keep in mind you can make your own dog toys, and it’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s also a fun project to do with your kids to teach them about the importance of recycling. For an easy do-it-yourself dog toy, all you need is a plastic water bottle and an old sock. Slide the bottle inside the sock and tie a knot in the open end. Make sure the cap is off so the bottle is more forgiving as your buddy bites down.

DIY dog toy

Donate Dog Gear

Like babies and kids, dogs can quickly acquire a lot of things, from kennels and beds to even clothes they wear on cold walks. As your dog gets older, however, he’ll outgrow some of his possessions. Rather than throwing them away, donate them just like you would your own stash—but to a local animal shelter, pet hospital, or rescue group.

Donate dog gear

As a puppy our dog slept in a crate, but his small, ten-pound body grew into a stocky forty pounds in just a few months, keeping him from squeezing into the tiny crate he used to love. Instead of tossing it we donated it, along with a small dog bed and leash, to the same shelter we adopted him from.

The Clean Effect

Keeping both your dog and your house clean is a challenge, but it’s easy to do safely and effectively with certain products. For starters, look for all-natural dog-grooming solutions that don’t contain harsh chemicals and parabens. Not only are these safer for the environment, but they’re also hypoallergenic for dogs who have unpredictable sensitivities.

The same goes for the products you use to clean up the occasional pet stain. Look for natural cleaning products that are just as safe when discarded as they are for your kids when playing on the carpet. One of the best things I’ve found to fight pet odors is to simply sprinkle some baking soda on high-traffic areas before vacuuming.

You Are What You Eat

Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet is so important to keeping him healthy. Every dog is different and you should always discuss the best food for your pet with your veterinarian, but choosing eco-friendly dog food can help you protect the environment while keeping your pup healthy and happy. Try to choose pet foods that are made with organic or human-food grade ingredients that avoid hormones and additives. It’s also helpful to buy in bulk to reduce packaging and transportation waste. I buy the biggest bag of dog food available and then store it at home in a large container. This also helps keep the food fresher for longer, preventing food waste in the process.

Try these green pet care tips and you won’t just keep the most playful family members healthier; you’ll also add eco-friendly to the list of life lessons your kids will have learned from having a family pet.

Image source: Sher Warkentin

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Green pet care doesn't require a great deal of effort or expense. Even simple things like switching to natural pet products and toys can make a huge difference in your pup's carbon paw print. It also helps to keep your pets, family, and planet safe and healthy.