If you’re a new pet parent, or you’ve been raising dogs for over 20 years as I have, you’ve probably noticed dogs go through a lot of things! There are treats, food and toys. And if you’re getting those products delivered, there can be a lot of packaging!
The stats can be staggering! Did you know that over 300 million pounds of plastic pet food and treats bags are being thrown away in the US each year? Or that dogs and cats are responsible for up to 30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the US?
You might be wondering how to raise an eco-friendly dog. Is it possible to reduce your dog’s carbon paw print? It is possible! Here are some ways to start with small changes that make a big impact!
4 Sustainable Pet Brands Share Tips to Raise an Eco-Friendly Dog
To get trustworthy advice on how to raise an eco-friendly dog, I interviewed several woman-owned sustainable pet brands on my podcast. They shared great tips on how to make your life with your dog more eco-friendly!
Get to know the founders of Yay Hound, Piggyback Treat Company, PureEarth Pets, and Jiminy’s. These inspiring women share their advice on how to raise an eco-friendly dog! Keep reading to learn about repurposing dog toys, buying sustainable treats, opting for recyclable and compostable packaging, and considering alternative protein sources. These are all great ways to help reduce our pets’ carbon paw prints!
Save the Environment with Alternative Proteins like Cricket-Based Dog Treats
Have you ever considered that dog treats could change the world? Anne Carlson left the corporate pet industry to start Jiminy’s, her own sustainably-minded brand that uses an unusual protein source, crickets!
According to a UCLA Study, dogs and cats are responsible for 25% to 30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the US.
Jiminy’s is working to change those stats by creating pet treats and food using insect protein and other plant-based ingredients. On the podcast, Anne told me, “There are about 525 crickets in one of our bags of biscuits. What’s great is that you use the entire cricket so there’s hardly any waste. It makes it this incredible superfood because it’s not just protein, we also get fiber from the cricket’s exoskeleton.”
Crickets are also better for the environment than traditional protein sources. A recent study found that Jiminy’s treats “consume substantially less water, [and] emit an average of 7.4 times less greenhouse gas than beef protein treats, and 2.3 times less greenhouse gas than chicken protein treats.”
>> Learn more about Anne and Jiminy’s on podcast episode 48!
Re-Purpose Dog Toys You Already Have
When Veronica Guzik her husband first rescued their greyhound, Fly, they bought her tons of new toys, treats and goodies! One day they looked around at the pile of stuff and thought, “There has to be a more sustainable way to pet parent.” And that’s how Yay Hound was created!
For her online store, Veronica curates sustainably sourced, non-toxic dog toys made with the earth in mind and ships them out in compostable mailers. When I talked to her on my podcast, she shared great advice on how to get the most out of your existing dog toys so you throw away less.
To reduce waste, Veronica recommends donating toys your dog is bored of to local animal shelters. If you’re not ready to part with them, you can also use some of those toys your dog is bored with to make DIY toys! Stuffing toys inside of each other, wrapping them in towels or adding treats makes for great enrichment toys!
>> Learn more about Veronica and YayHound (formerly Pupcycle) on podcast episode 132!
Buy Sustainable Dog Treats That Reduce Food Waste
Jen Kirby started Piggyback Treats Company to make dog and cat treats from unused, human-grade foods that would otherwise go to waste. She got the idea for her business about 8 years ago when she saw barrels full of salmon skins at a fish cleaning shop and found out they just throw them away. She knew there had to be a better solution!
Now she rescues salmon skins, chicken feet, pumpkins, apple pulp, liver and so much more. She uses these rescued ingredients to make 50 varieties of sustainable dog treats.
Piggyback Treats Company believes our pets deserve to be spoiled while being conscious of our effect on the environment. Jen and her co-founder/boyfriend Chris hope to encourage as many people as possible to think sustainably while spoiling their pets!
>> Learn more about Jen and Piggyback Treats Company on podcast episode 140!
Look for Recyclable and Compostable Pet Food and Toy Packaging
Leanne Pinard Baum’s passion for helping the planet evolved when she recognized how hard it was to find sustainable toys for her dog, Dover. She made it her mission to find them and bring them to the doors of dog owners around the country. That lead her to create an eco-friendly subscription box and her brand Pure Earth Pets.
Over 300 million pounds of plastic pet food and treats bags are being thrown away in the US each year!
Leanne always looks for products with packaging that is recyclable or compostable. She also encourages pet parents to upcycle things that might be thrown away to make DIY toys for their dogs. She told me about how she uses strips of a cut-up t-shirt to tie around an old ball and make it more exciting for her dog, Dover.
All of the boxes Pure Earth Pets ships out are bio-degradable, compostable and printed with soy-based ink. And unlike other subscription boxes, Leanne leaves out paper flyers. Instead, she takes a more eco-friendly approach and emails customers about the contents of their subscription box.
>> Learn more about Leanne and Pure Earth Pets in podcast episode 139!
Recycle Trash into Dog Toys with a DIY Busy Box
Want to do more something to make a difference for the planet TODAY? Instead of throwing away cardboard boxes or plastic food containers, you can hold onto them to make a DIY busy box enrichment puzzle for your dog.
This is one of my most popular blog posts! Dogs love dismantling the boxes and finding treats or kibble inside. And I feel great knowing my boxes and containers have been used well before heading to curbside recycling.
Some of the containers I re-use for DIY dog puzzles include:
- Berry containers
- Large and medium yogurt containers
- Egg cartons
- Cardboard boxes
- Shoe boxes
- Cardboard from toilet paper and paper towel rolls
- Oatmeal containers
- Packing paper
The guys who pick up my recycling must wonder what goes on here because I don’t put anything out until the dogs have totally destroyed it!
>> Learn how to make your own DIY Busy Box!
Raising an Eco-Friendly Dog is Possible!
As we’ve learned from these sustainable pet brands, it is possible to raise an eco-friendly dog by making small changes that have a big impact. By repurposing dog toys, buying sustainable treats, opting for recyclable and compostable packaging, and considering alternative protein sources, we can help reduce our pets’ carbon paw prints.
By following the advice of these experts and trying out some of the tips and DIY ideas mentioned, you’ll be well on your way to raising a more eco-friendly dog. Remember, every little change you make can contribute to a healthier planet for all its inhabitants, including our beloved pets.
Find all of these great eco-friendly posts:
Podcast Episode 132 with Veronica Guzik of Yay Hound
Podcast Episode 140 with Jen Kirby of Piggyback Treat Company
Podcast Episode 139 with Leanne Pinard Baum of Pure Earth Pets
Podcast Episode 48 with Anne Carlson of Jiminy’s
DIY Busy Box Recycles Packaging into an Eco-Friendly Dog Puzzle
This post may contain affiliate links. I only link to products and brands I trust. Shopping with my links helps support the work that I do. Thank you in advance for taking my product recommendations!