Did you know that pets have a surprisingly large carbon pawprint? Yep—your pup is unknowingly playing a role in the climate crisis. According to a 2017 study, 64 million tons of carbon dioxide are created just by feeding our cats and dogs. That’s about the same as 13.6 million cars on the road. Or, in an alternate world where our pets had formed their own country (yikes), theirs would be 5th in line for global meat consumption, right behind China, the U.S., Brazil, and Russia.
Any step toward mindfulness and sustainability, even a small one, is a step in the right direction. And guess what—today is Earth Day! Below we’ve compiled a simple guide to help you become a greener dog owner. Keep reading to learn more.
PupGrade’s Guide For The Green Pawrent
You can reduce your dog’s carbon pawprint starting today (what better day to get started going green?). Plus, it’ll make your dog, you, and the planet a whole lot healthier and happier (psst … it’ll be kinder to your wallet, too). Let’s check it out:
- Choose Wisely. Make sure your doggy product packaging and materials are responsibly sourced and consciously crafted. For instance, skip out on plastic bowls that can’t sustain wear and tear, and instead invest in a stainless steel or ceramic dog bowl that is easy to care for, lasts for years to come, and won’t leach BPAs into the environment.
- Stock Up. The next time you go to the store for your furry friend, buy in bulk. This means using fewer plastic bags and other wasteful containers that just end up in landfills. This also means fewer trips in your car (a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year—the earth is saying ouch). Opt for natural, organic dog foods with meat that is barely processed, raised sustainably, and free of added hormones, preservatives, antibiotics, chemicals, artificial ingredients, and pesticides.
PupGrade’s Green Tip:
Take a look at Yak Milk Dog Chews. Sourced, smoked, and hardened in the Himalayas of Nepal, these Yak Chews are crafted to be totally clean, safe, and seriously savory with only four simple ingredients. They’re mindfully sourced, easily digestible, won’t splinter, are stink-free and mess-free, and are a long-lasting, all-natural alternative to rawhide. Plus, these chews come in sustainable and recyclable packaging!
Keep it Green
- Avoid The Nasties. Did you know your basic cleaning supplies contain nasties that aren’t just toxic to you and your pup, but to the environment, too? Many surfactants biodegrade super slow, or they just break down into even more toxic, persistent, and bioaccumulative chemicals. So, the next time your pup has an unfortunate potty accident on the floor, send those nasty chemicals into exile. Use gentle, safer cleaning products, or simply make a formula at home with things like diluted vinegar, baking soda, lemon, cornstarch, or unscented soap. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with a DIY natural all-purpose cleaner recipe below:
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Lemon essential oil
- Spearmint essential oil
- Using a funnel, add water and baking soda to a clean spray bottle.
- Add essential oils to your preference and shake. Shake again before each use.
- Groom Responsibly.
Don’t use human shampoo and conditioner on your poor pup! Your dog’s skin is much more sensitive than a human’s, with only a 3 to 5-cell thick epidermis compared to our 10 to 15-cell thick skin.[5
] Our shampoos are filled with things like synthetic fragrances, sulfates, phthalates, parabens, and so on. Depending on your sweet pooch, an allergic reaction or sensitivity to these chemicals could be a result. Not to mention, these scary-sounding toxins go straight down the drain into the water.
So, use dog-friendly shampoos that are free from chemicals, coloring, preservatives, and toxic ingredients. Colloidal oatmeal, coconut oils, jojoba oils, aloe vera, and hypoallergenic/unscented formulations are just a few environmentally safe (and pup-safe) things to keep an eye out for.
- Always, Always Scoop. Pick up your dog’s poop no matter where or when—it’s the law. Why is this so important, you ask? It’s just dog poo, right? Well, Fidos around the USA make roughly 274 pounds of dog poop a year, and according to recent research, up to 30% of the bacteria in water samples can be traced back to dog waste.[2,6] This means that every scoop counts. It’s time to swap plastic poop bags for biodegradable ones and make sure you’re scooping your pup’s poop every. single. time.
Spay & Neuter
- Protect Your Pooch & Your Community. Spaying/neutering your dog may seem like a given but do you know the reasons why it’s so important? Not only is this option beneficial for your wallet and your dog’s health long-term, but it can also help to decrease unplanned puppy births, which reduces puppy overpopulation in shelters. This in turn conserves vital food, energy, and resources for rescues, curbs animal homelessness, and reduces waste that would’ve been produced by those homeless puppies in your local community.[7,8]
- Don’t Toss Right Away. Done with medications, treatments, or other dog care products? Don’t toss them in the garbage. Instead, give your local solid waste agency a call and they’ll tell you what to do next.
- Make Donations Where You Can. Dog clothes, unopened bags, towels, sheets, beds, houses, crates, toys, canned food, and even used newspapers can help out a local animal shelter in more ways than one. Consider donating new or gently used products that could benefit another pup in need.
- Reduce & Reuse. You can reduce and reuse in almost every situation. Need a new dog toy? Don’t buy a fancy plastic one you’ll just have to toss in the same day. Instead, reuse a pair of old socks or several dish rags tied up into a knot as a toy. Sick of single-use plastic bags? We are, too. Next time you hit up the pet store, bring a reusable bag with you and opt for reusable containers to store your dog’s food in instead. What about single-use paper towels? Next time you have to clean up after your pup, use a towel or rag that can be easily washed instead of tossed.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
- Adopt ‘Em. The really horrible news—data from 2019 found that each year, approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized. That means hundreds of shelter rescues are killed daily across the country. The really great news—you can do something to help. If you’re thinking of adding a new family member to your home, go to your local animal shelter. Adopt a pup to help decrease the usage of critical resources and to save a life.
- Tag ‘Em. Yes! Putting a tag that’s clear and visible with your contact info on your dog’s collar is helpful in going green. Why? If your pup were to ever get a little too adventurous on the opposite side of the fence, instead of printing out hundreds of “missing” posters and adding to global paper waste, someone can easily contact you to tell you where your dog is just by reading their tag.
What are your favorite ways to go green with your pup? Let us know!
Worried you'll forget our steps to going green with your best friend? No need to fret. Just save our helpful infographic that summarizes all the key points for you below:
Looking for even more ways to protect and treat your best friend to a happier life with more responsibly sourced and consciously created products? Look no further than right here! PupGrade products are carefully formulated with only the highest quality ingredients so your pup can thrive in a healthy and happy lifestyle.
We've gone ahead and enclosed a 10% OFF Coupon below for you to use in the store - remember, your puppy DESERVES to have the healthiest life! Click here to start shopping!
Okin, G. S. (2017). Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats. PLOS ONE, 12(8), e0181301. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181301
Watson, T. (2002). Dog waste poses threat to water. USA Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/science/2002-06-07-dog-usat.htm
Environmental Protection Agency. (2022). Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle. EPA. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/greenhouse-gas-emissions-typical-passenger-vehicle
Environmental Protection Agency. (2022). Identifying Greener Cleaning Products. EPA. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/identifying-greener-cleaning-products
Skin - the difference between canine and human skin. Vetwest Animal Hospitals. (2020, March 25). Retrieved from https://www.vetwest.com.au/pet-library/skin-the-difference-between-canine-and-human-skin
DC Department of Energy & Environment. (n.d.). Pet waste complaints. DC Gov. Retrieved from https://doee.dc.gov/petwaste
HSUS. (2023). Why you should spay/neuter your pet. The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved from https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/why-you-should-spayneuter-your-pet
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. (2020, August 7). Spay vs neuter: Benefits of spaying and Neutering your pets. Ross Vet. Retrieved from https://veterinary.rossu.edu/about/blog/why-spay-and-neuter-pets
- Pet statistics. ASPCA. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/helping-people-pets/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics