Dogs make the world a better place. As dog owners, we want the best for them, and for our planet too. That’s why we’ve looked into the different facets of dog ownership and how we can reduce our carbon paw print. Keep reading to learn how you and your dog can have more wags and less impact.
1. Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Dog’s Food
Feeding Gut Flora
When you fill the food bowl, you’re technically not feeding your dog, but the bacteria and other microorganisms that live in their gut. These bacteria play many important roles in your dog’s health by breaking down food into nutrients your dog’s cells need. Just like their distant cousins, wolves, dogs are omnivores. This means that while they prefer meat, they can also eat plant-based foods. From a gut microbiome perspective, the best diets for your dog’s gut microbes are high in protein and fiber, and low in carbohydrates. Keep reading to learn how to give your dog the diet they need while treading lighter on the planet.
The Protein Source
The meat industry uses valuable resources and can be quite destructive to our planet. Meat production requires a significant amount of water and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the land needed for livestock contributes to deforestation and subsequent biodiversity loss. Once processing, shipping, and packaging are factored in, the meat in dog food can take a hefty toll on our environment.
Luckily, not all meat is the same. Poultry, like chicken and turkey, is more sustainable than other types of meat because it requires less land, water, and feed. An even better eco-friendly option to consider is protein from cricket and other insect sources, which scientific research finds to be a great option for your dog’s gut flora.
Homemade Pet Food
Homemade pet food means less processing, less packaging, and more say in what your dog eats. Buying ingredients from organic and local sources can drastically reduce the environmental impact of your dog’s food. It’s often better for your dog’s health and your wallet too.
Dog treats are especially easy to make at home. They are a great way to add plant-based fiber that your dog’s beneficial gut bacteria will devour.
Many dog parents opt for a hybrid model, where they buy commercial pet foods as well as prepare their own. And if preparing your dog’s food at home isn’t a viable option for you, consider buying their food in bulk to reduce packaging waste.
2. Dispose of Waste Sustainably
Poop! It’s our favorite thing to talk about at AnimalBiome and we know a lot about it. You will pick up thousands of doo-doo deposits in your dog’s life and there are ways to do it that are greener than others.
For starters, pick it up. Dog poop can be detrimental to local habitats and expose wildlife to harmful pathogens. Studies show that many veterinary medications can contaminate the environment too.
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed pet waste as a nonpoint pollutant along with herbicides, insecticides, and toxic chemicals. It can end up in our lakes, rivers, streams, and the ocean which harms flora and fauna and even pose a safety risk.
After picking up the waste, tie the bag securely and dispose of it in a garbage bin. Remember that dog poop cannot be composted or placed in yard waste bins, even if you are using compostable bags.
Can You Compost Poop?
So you pick up after your dog with a sturdy, biodegradable poop bag – then what? You may think that composting dog waste is the most eco-friendly option. It won’t contribute to the landfill and will provide lots of organic matter for future compost, right?
Yes, that’s true, but there’s more to consider. Dog feces contains many bacteria that can survive in soil and make us sick. For biosafety reasons, most cities prohibit pet waste in municipal composting. And if you’re home-composting your pet waste, it is not safe to use it on or around any edible plants.
The Scoop on Poop
- In the United States, there are approximately 89.7 million dogs.
- On average, our dogs produce between 0.5 and 0.75 pounds of waste per day (182.5 and 273.75 pounds of dog poop each per year!)
- Each gram of dog waste contains about 23 million coliform bacteria, which is nearly twice the amount found in the equivalent amount of human waste.
- Unfortunately, 60% of dog owners consistently pick up their pet’s poop, leaving a significant amount of waste and harmful pathogens on the ground thus polluting our waterways.
3. Clean With The Environment In Mind
Dogs are just like children, it can seem like a full-time job to clean up after them. Making sure you have an energy-efficient vacuum – which you use a lot with a dog! – is kinder to the planet and your wallet. If you’re able to, choose sustainable and renewable power sources for your home.
The soaps and detergents you use to clean your dog and your home make their way into our environment. Choosing earth-friendly options reduces the impact on the planet as well as the toll on your dog’s skin.
And it doesn’t stop there! We all know having dogs means a lot more laundry, especially on rainy days. Adding a filter to your washing machine’s drainage catches small fibers and drastically reduces microplastic pollution.
4. Choose Eco-Friendly Pet Supplies
Dog toys, dog beds, food & water dog bowls, dog leashes, coat and tooth brushes, dog treats, a doggy door, dog collars, and maybe even a few outfits – you need a lot of supplies. Minimize your environmental impact by making sustainable choices for items your dog needs. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Opt for pet products packaged in plastic-free or recycled materials
- Buy and give secondhand – and save money too!
- Choose plastic-free materials like bamboo, wool, hemp, and organic cotton
- Replace fewer toys by picking high-quality ones that your dog will love
- Find sustainably-sourced rubber pet toys for your super chewer
- Purchase eco-friendly pet products from local companies
- Follow zero-waste strategies, like DIY and upcycling what you have
- Find machine-washable dog products, like plush toys and pet beds
Animal shelters are happy to accept donations. So if your dog doesn’t like the new kibble you bought or they’ve outgrown their crate, contact your local rescue to organize a drop-off.
5. Stay Active
Think of the things your dog loves to do. Chances are, you don’t have to travel far at all to spend quality time with your pooch. And when you do travel with them, consider walking or biking to your destination instead of driving. It’s better for your carbon footprint, your health, and your dog’s health.
And speaking of health, preventing chronic health conditions with an active lifestyle and balanced diet is a great way to be green too. Learn how DoggyBiome’s products (which are all in recycled packaging!) can help you assess, restore, and maintain your dog’s optimal gut health.
Reduce Fossil Fuels
Whether it’s a trip to the veterinarian, or a trip to the dog park across town, getting in the car to cruise with the dogs uses vital resources that produce carbon emissions. Instead, try a bicycle trailer and hop on your two-wheeled friend to get some more exercise. Or, join a meetup group for pet owners and carpool to your doggy destinations. You can also aim to choose local options for your dogs’ health checkups.
More and more, pet owners are reducing their commuting footprint by bringing the power of the veterinarian practice into their own homes. For example, Gut Health Test assessments allow you to keep regular stats on the health of your dog’s gut microbiome. By taking the guesswork out of how to support gut-related issues, like loose stools, itchy skin, and allergies, gut health tests will save you (and the planet!) a lot of hassle.
Something is Better Than Nothing
We know how busy life as a pet parent can get. And as much as we want to be kind to our earth, convenience is often not the greenest option. Do the best you can – something is better than nothing.
DoggyBiome™ S. boulardii + FOS Powder
DoggyBiome™ Gut Health Test
DoggyBiome™ Gut Restore Supplement
From $ 125.00