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How to be an eco-friendly pet owner

Feeding a dog

Pets are important to many of us and can be great companions at any stage of life, whether that’s young families with children or older people who might rely on stairlifts at home. Pets can be a tremendous source of joy and friendship but is there a way to be a pet owner and eco-conscious at the same time? There certainly is and in this article, we will share some tips and advice for how pet owners can become more eco-friendly. From the food you buy to the grooming products used, there are lots of ways you can help the world and love your pet.

Give them environmentally friendly pet toys

Many pets love playing with their toys – it’s good for their exercise and is tremendous fun, even for us owners. However, we should be mindful of what our pet toys are made out of, making strides to source sustainable products that are not damaging to the environment. With a little research, you can track down pet toys made from sustainable or recycled materials, which can also be recycled once your pet no longer needs them.

Green & Wilds, a retailer of natural foods and treats for pets, including eco pet toys, shared with us some things to look out for when picking up an environmentally friendly pet toy. They advise to “make sure that the toy is made from natural materials,” to “buy ethically sourced goods,” to check “that the dye used is 100% natural,” and to also choose a toy with “100% natural stuffing”.

Another option is to get creative, looking around at your discarded items at home that could become your pet’s new favourite toy. For example, old balls, teddy bears, and knotted T-shirts as pull toys. Of course, make sure it’s safe for your particular pet before handing it over. Or if you are someone who enjoys crafts, why not consider making your pet a toy from sustainable materials?

Do your research

There are plenty of brands, outlets, and websites that look the part when it comes to eco-conscious pet products, but the onus is on us to dig a little deeper to make sure the company we choose to shop with is really doing the right things when it comes to the environment. Doing your research is the advice shared with us by Project Blu, a supplier of eco-friendly dog and cat products:

“While many companies claim to be ethical and eco-friendly, some are less genuine than others - so before buying a product I would encourage you to research into the company deeper than the surface - for example by reading through their 'About Us' page or their product labels - to gather an idea of how they genuinely look after the planet and the people involved in the creation of their products.” Project Blu also offer the tip that “giving to dog shelters is also a great way to put unused/second-hand items to good use!”

Speaking to us about their own products, Project Blu shared: “Project Blu was born from a desire to do something different. We set out to break the mould of the traditional manufacturing process to offer products that are sustainable, affordable and built to last. We are constantly innovating our product range and seeking new polluting materials that we can convert to sustainable designs.”

Use eco-friendly pet food

Dog asleep next to bowl

Meat is certainly good for some pets like dogs and cats, but it can be resource-intensive to produce – particularly beef, with its production being the most environmentally damaging of all. So that leaves the pet owner with a few options at their disposal. For those who already have pets that eat a plant-based diet, avoiding plastic packaging will be the way to go. You can buy it loose and use your own reusable containers to store it. Whatever type of pet food you utilise, sustainable packaging will be a big win. Purely avoiding beef will be a green move to take as well, instead feeding your pets lower impact meat such as chicken and fish. Regarding the latter, Green & Wilds advise: “if buying fish treats, look out for MSC certified fish.”

Talking about food sources and meat in general, The Wildlife Trusts advise: “While they might seem like a good idea, human-grade meats used in high-end pet foods put additional pressure on our food production systems: try looking for pet food made from by-products of the meat industry like bonemeal and organ meat, or with high plant-based content.”

You will also want to be eco-conscious regarding treats for your pets, with Green & Wilds advising that owners “check the ingredients of any treat and make sure that it is free of artificial additives.” 

Clean up after your pets the right way

While are all aware of the importance of picking up dog poop for the consideration of others, it’s also important to pick up poop for the benefit of the environment. Rainwater won’t wash it away and the bacteria in faeces can contaminate water sources, causing harm to marine life. And while traditional plastic poop bags aren’t environmentally friendly, there are eco-conscious alternatives.

Hiro + Wolf, a retailer which specialises in ethically made cat and dog collars – as well as other pet products - shared the following tip with us: "One of the biggest and easiest things you can do to become more eco-friendly as a dog owner is switch to bio-degradable poop bags. We stock some fabulous ones by UK based brand HoobyNoo that are made from corn-starch and will break down naturally under non-industrial conditions.

“At Hiro + Wolf we are passionate about keeping things local, so all of our fabrics are printed in the UK and everything is sewn in our Staffordshire workshop. It’s always tempting to buy cheap plastic toys and accessories for our pets but try to stop and think, how far has this item travelled and how long will it last me before making a purchase."

Utilise up-cycled pet accessories 

Cat in bed

Our pets need all kinds of accessories during our care of them so this is certainly an area where we can apply our eco-friendly mindset, giving them what they need and limiting our footprint. Sadly, most pet products like toys, beds, and feeding dishes are made of plastic and get dumped into landfills when they are no longer needed. Instead, opt for items like stainless steel bowls and beds made from recycled materials. There is no reason why you can’t help protect the environment while keeping your pet comfortable and happy with the sustainable everyday items they need.

Pick up eco-friendly grooming products

Sometimes, our pets need a good clean and a bit of a groom to keep them healthy. Therefore, picking up some eco-friendly grooming products is a smart move. Unfortunately, some conditioners, sprays, and shampoos can contain chemicals which when not used responsibly, can cause damage to the environment. For, example, the BBC explains:

“Some dog flea treatments contain permethrin, an insecticide which is highly toxic to aquatic life if lots of it gets into the water. As it is an insecticide, it can also kill bees and other insects that are beneficial to the environment - so watch out where you're spraying and dispose of packaging properly.” So, as well as using products correctly, track down shampoos and conditioners that are made with organic ingredients and that list fully everything that the product contains.  

Tips for becoming an eco-friendly pet owner

  • Give them environmentally friendly pet toys
  • Do your research
  • Use eco-friendly pet food
  • Clean up after your pets the right way
  • Utilise up-cycled pet accessories 
  • Pick up eco-friendly grooming products

As you can see, there are myriad ways that we can become more eco-friendly as pet owners, from sourcing recycled pet accessories and toys to feeding our pets the most ethical food. So, if you want to help the world around you and your beloved pets, please utilise the tips above!

For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our news page.


This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.