As we become more environmentally aware, it’s common for many of us to begin thinking about ways we can reduce our own environmental impacts and ecological footprints. However, there may be one family member we are seriously overlooking while we do this… our dogs! Any pet owner knows that pets are rarely low-maintenance, requiring a whole host of things from basic needs like food to cleaning supplies and toys. With this in mind, have you ever thought about the potential negative environmental impact of the life your dog is currently living? Luckily for us, there are always ways to improve the way we live our lives to be more eco-friendly. Here at vpets, we are determined to help you make the best eco-friendly choices for your pet, so this article will take you through 5 ways you can reduce your dog’s ecological footprint.
Reduce Your Dog’s Ecological Footprint Through What They Eat
Most of us know by now that what we eat and how it is sourced plays a massive role in our ecological footprint and overall environmental impact. Even something as minor as switching out the beef in our diets for chicken can cut our carbon footprints by as much as 50%! Overall, meat and animal products have a much larger ecological footprint than plant-based foods, due to the emissions released in the process of sourcing them. This isn’t only applicable to our diets, but to our dogs’ diets too.
Pet food is estimated to be responsible for a quarter of the environmental impacts of meat production. This has far-reaching impacts on our environment, including climate change, deforestation, and water consumption. With this in mind, a plant-based diet for your dog is undoubtedly the more sustainable choice and will help to reduce your dog’s ecological footprint. Vegan pet food is becoming more and more commonplace as people recognise its benefits. Considering a vegan diet for dogs by switching to or integrating vegan dog food into your dog’s diet can go a long way in minimising the environmental impact of your dog’s life.
Reduce Your Dog’s Ecological Footprint Through How They Poo
One part of your dog’s week that contributes heavily to their ecological footprint is their bathroom schedule. Specifically, what you use to clean up after them. If you use plastic bags to pick up your dog’s poo, over time this can add up to become a significant contributor to our global waste issue. Particularly in plastic which does not biodegrade, these bags will sit in landfills unable to break down.
While some dog poo bags claim to be biodegradable, this is not always accurate and does not mean you can simply throw them into the trash and be done with it. Most of the time, eco-friendly dog poo bags are actually compostable rather than biodegradable, particularly as the compact landfill landscape has limited oxygen access and thus makes it extremely difficult for anything to biodegrade. You thus need to dispose of these compostable dog poop bags in a pet-specific compost to truly reduce your dog’s ecological footprint. vpets stocks compostable dog poo bags for you to make the responsible choice.
Reduce Your Dog’s Ecological Footprint Through Wash Days
While few would deny that keeping your dog clean and hygienic is a priority for most dog owners, the products you choose to do this can have a significant environmental and ecological impact. You may find that the dog shampoo you use might actually be tested on animals, be non-cruelty-free, include very harsh non-natural chemicals, or include non-vegan ingredients you never even considered.
In fact, many dog shampoos contain chemicals that can be poisonous to animals, and the runoff can contribute to chemical pollution in rivers and oceans. To be completely safe, switch to natural, vegan, and cruelty-free alternative dog shampoos to reduce your dog’s ecological footprint.
Reduce Your Dog’s Ecological Footprint Through Spaying or Neutering
If you don’t already have your dog neutered or spayed, you should seriously consider it. While most people don’t consider the environmental impacts as a main contributing reason for getting your dog spayed or neutered, it actually is! Spaying or neutering your dog will help to reduce dog overpopulation in shelters, which reduces animal abuse and euthanisation. A lower dog population also conserves a lot of food, energy, and resources that would go into the dog in a shelter. Spaying or neutering your dog also reduces the chance of more domestic dogs living in the wilderness, which helps to maintain our natural ecosystem and prevent ecosystem imbalances.
Reduce Your Dog’s Ecological Footprint Through Your Purchasing Habits
Finally, one big overarching way you can reduce your dog’s ecological footprint is by reexamining your pet purchases. The pet industry would have you believe that your dog needs every shiny new toy, gadget and outfit, but the plastic and energy as well as the oil, water, and trees that go into manufacturing, packaging, and transporting them definitely adds to your dog’s ecological footprint. Not to mention, the non-biodegradable plastic waste in landfills that the majority of these toys end up contributing to. This is to say that you shouldn’t buy things for your dog, but if you find yourself owning or throwing away a lot of pet products already, maybe you should consider limiting yourself.
In addition to limiting your purchases, it is always good to make sure that the things you do purchase are better for the environment and represent the morals you personally hold yourself to. As already mentioned, switching to purchasing vegan dog food, compostable dog poo bags, and vegan dog shampoo, such as the ones we stock here at vpets, are all great options for reducing your dog’s ecological footprint. Furthermore, prioritising purchasing organic, natural pet products and toys, and avoiding toxic plastics, vinyl, and BPA is a great step forward. At the end of the day, it’s not difficult to make a few smart, eco-friendly choices in your dog’s life, and these few choices will definitely add up.