5 tips to help become a more eco-conscious pet owner

Amelia Fairgrieve 

December 11, 2023

When it comes to our furry friends, we all want to provide the best possible care. But how can we factor into our responsibilities environmentally friendly decisions? By making mindful choices for our pets, we can contribute positively to the environment. Whether that is through their food consumption, their day to day needs, or the wildlife they interact with. From dogs to donkeys, there are lots of ways to become more aware about the sustainability of pet care.

Sustainable bites - feeding your pets

The food we feed our pets and how it is packaged is the best place to start when trying to reduce your environmental impact as a pet owner. Sales of eco-friendly pet food are on the rise, but the options for these products are also increasing, meaning you can find the right fit for even the fussiest pet. Buying locally produced and responsibility packaged food helps to both reduce emissions and increase recycling. You could even try your hand at creating homemade treats, cutting out wasteful packaging and reducing the use of unsustainable ingredients, such as palm oil. While it is important to talk to your vet before changing your animal’s diet, the tastier it is and its suitability ultimately means less waste!  As with any shopping decision, it is important to research the businesses you are supporting to make sure they have the planet and your pets’ interests at heart. 

Eco-friendly choices for sustainable pet toys

With Christmas fast approaching, you may be considering purchasing new toys for your pets, but this is another area where making informed decisions can lessen your environmental footprint. For example, did you know that rotating your dogs’ toys can increase their novelty, reducing boredom? This means you may not have to buy new toys as frequently, meaning less waste! The material that pets’ toys are made from is an important consideration, as choosing natural materials, such as hemp, organic cotton, bamboo and even recycled polyester over plastic is more sustainable.

Reusing / repurposing toys is a fantastic way to entertain your pet in a more eco conscious way. Just ensure that is the toys are suitable for your pet and they are always supervised.

Navigating your pet adventures

Every pet's needs are different. While some like to sleep all day, many have lots of energy and want to be out exploring. Walking your dog close to home, rather than driving them for their regular walks, is a positive choice. And while most animals’ natural survival instincts are to hunt, it is important to keep your dog under close control and out of restricted areas, so they don’t disturb wildlife, such as nesting birds. 

Pet clean up and eco-friendly disposal

Having pets isn’t always glamorous and it’s important to consider how best to clean up after them. It is important to always pick up your dog's poop and correctly dispose of it, whether at home or while out and about. Leaving it where it is for the rain to wash it away isn't environmentally friendly, as the bacteria from dog waste can enter drains, ponds, streams, and rivers, harming marine wildlife. Research alternative ways to dispose of animal waste other than landfill, as it may be compostable.

Always check if your animal’s food packaging can be recycled and use the correct household bin. Food pouches can be tricky to recycle, as they are often made from flexible plastics, but recycling drop-off points are becoming increasing accessible. Pets at Home will recycle any plastic packaging which “can be bent, squeezed or scrunched.” Simply clean the packaging and check if your local store is accepting it for recycling, then drop it off! Small pet owners may also be able to compost used bedding but only if the animal has a plant-based diet.

Donations - transforming unwanted pet items 

Donating to animal charities like the Dogs Trust or RSPCA is a great way to repurpose your usable but unwanted pet items and accessories  You may have bought a collar which doesn’t fit your pet, you might have blankets you no longer need or puppy items your dog has outgrown. These items all make excellent donations! Each charity will have their own specific needs; therefore, it is important to check their respective lists before donating. Some required items may surprise you. For example, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home request unused Astro turf. Other potential charity donation items include wool, plants, stamps, cleaning supplies, towels, paddling pools and clothing. Just make sure they are clean, safe and of a quality you would expect for your own pet.

Pet owners have a duty of care to ensure the decisions they make aren’t causing unnecessary harm to the Earth. There are many ways you can become more eco conscious while benefitting from the companionship of your furry friend. Be responsible, be smart, be creative, be proactive and be green!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog represent those of the author, Amelia Fairgrieve, and are not those of recycle-more, Valpak Limited or any other organisation.