From their diet to their cleaning regime, here’s how to make sure your four-legged friend is doing their bit for the planet…
It’s official – the UK is a nation of dog-lovers.
Already the most commonly owned pet in UK households, the pandemic saw a further spike in dog ownership, with an 18% increase since 2020.
However, with great cuddliness comes great responsibility, and pet ownership does inevitably have a knock-on effect when it comes to living sustainably.
Fortunately there are plenty of steps you can take to make sure your canine chum isn’t doing the planet too much harm – here are five of the best ways to keep their carbon paw-print in check…
1. Pick up poo responsibly
One of the less glamorous parts of having a dog is looking after their bathroom needs at least three times a day.
We all know that bagging up dog poo is a must – but if you’re using regular disposable bags, all you’re doing is adding thousands of plastic bags to landfill that won’t break down.
Instead, use recycled or biodegradable poo bags, and if you have a garden, consider taking your bagged poo home in a compostable bag to use as fertiliser.
Failing that, follow the Forestry Commission’s advice to “find a stick, pick a spot, flick into the bushes so it can rot.”
It’s vital to ensure poo is out of footfall, but since animal poo is an organic material, it will break down in undergrowth while giving soil nutrition.
Just don’t flick it into rivers or streams – it can contain bacteria which damages aquatic ecosystems.
2. Go chemical-free
Decreasing the amount of chemicals your dog is exposed to isn’t only good for their health but also for the state of the planet.
Pet shampoos, conditioners, sprays and repellents can all contain toxic chemicals which cause damage to the environment and wildlife.
Some dog flea treatments, for example, contain the insecticide permethrin in it which is fatal to cats, bees, aquatic life and other insects that are beneficial to the environment.
Thankfully, being mindful of your dog’s clean living has never been easier.
Brands like Faith In Nature are embracing green grooming for our pooches and have just launched their range of dog shampoos, which are biodegradable, of 99% natural origin and pH-balanced especially for dogs.
With a totally biodegradable formula, it’s available either in liquid form or in a 100% natural origin, plastic-free shampoo bar version, for a more planet-friendly way to keep your dog feeling and looking their best.
Try it for yourself with 20% off your order when you use the code FINSTYLIST*.
3. Avoid plastic
It almost goes without saying, but opting for plastic and polyester-free toys and fabrics is better for your dog and the environment.
Choosing bedding made out of natural fibres avoids harsh chemicals or dyes, and by eschewing plastic toys you won’t be adding to landfill when you inevitably need to throw them away.
Like anyone, dogs have preferences of toys and will sometimes shun them altogether. If that’s the case, donate those toys to a dog shelter or arrange a toy swap with friends.
Plus, you can entertain your crafty side by upcycling old clothes into rope toys or making stuffed toys out of old socks.
There are so many DIY toy ideas out there that make use of old household items, so get Googling…
4. Check their diet
Shop smart for your dog food by comparing brands’ food sources, keeping in mind those which use local ingredients (which means reduced air miles) and less resource-intensive meats.
Do your research and experiment to see which lower-impact meats (like chicken and insects) suit their stomach and lifestyle best.
You can also explore feeding them by-products of the meat industry such as bone meal and organ meat, while it’s also worth remembering that unlike cats (who are carnivores), dogs are omnivores, so they can have plant-powered food and treats mixed into their diets, lowering their meat consumption without sacrificing their protein intake.
Then when it comes to getting rid of packaging responsibly, make sure to look into recycling schemes like The Mars Petcare programme which allows you to recycle all pet food plastic pouches and flexible plastic bags.
5. Embrace walking (and carpooling)
The biggest source of greenhouse gases here in the UK comes from car journeys, so, while it may be tempting to always drive your dog to a big park to let them off-lead, it’s worth checking out nice neighbourhood walks you can do nearby.
Get up maps and enjoy finding small streets and pretty closes you could check out with your pooch – you might just discover a whole scenic residential part of your area you didn’t know existed.
And, for park days and road trips, consider taking public transport or carpooling with friends or family to all go together.
Looking to make your petcare more sustainable? Faith In Nature has a new range of dog shampoo, which uses a biodegradable, 99% natural formulation to leave your dog feeling clean and comfortable. There’s an option to suit all types of dog, including coconut (for curly coats and knots), chamomile (for sensitive dogs and puppies) and lavender (for particularly dirty dogs). Available in 5 litre and 400ml bottles (complete with an eco-friendly refill option), as well as a plastic-free shampoo bar, it’s sensitive and pH-balanced to ensure it’s as easy on your pet as it is on the planet. Shop the range here and use the code FINSTYLIST to get 20% off your order*.
*Valid 20th September – 20th October 2021.