7 ways to be a sustainable dog owner

sustainable dog, pet product, ethical shopping


Why should we buy sustainable products for our pets? 

This is a common question among pet owners. In the past two years, there has been exponential  growth in popularity of pet ownership (Business Insider). The pet product industry has also seen significant growth over the years – however, it has been a bit slow in adjusting to the new values-driven approach to consumerism, especially as it relates to sustainability. It’s always sad to see millions of dog products being produced using non-recyclable materials and coming from factories that continuously harm the environment.

Studies show that 81% of pet owners consider environmentally-friendly options when taking care of their pets. There has been an increase in the number of dog brands catering to the increasing needs of environmentally-cautious pet parents. Here's a guide to support sustainability for furbabies and owners alike. 

  • Eco-Friendly Doggy Bags
  • Dog owners know that their pups go for walks multiple times per day. This turns into a lot of poop bags being used – and therefore more plastic being produced and tossed back into our environment. 

    There are some ways in which you can help reduce the impact when your pet goes potty. One way to be sustainable when walking your dog is by using biodegradable or eco-friendly bags. It’s important to note that most bags labeled as “biodegradable” have specific disposal requirements you must follow. that when not followed; you might be throwing around another plastic bag. Always make sure to read the instructions carefully and dispose of them as instructed. 

  • Eco-friendly dog food
  • Organic ingredients are becoming more widely considered as good for the environment. Consider offering your pet a variety of organic pet foods. For this, you can look for pet foods that are labeled “natural,” though they are less regulated than those that are labeled “certified-organic.” 

    A better understanding of what is in the products you’re feeding your pooch will surely help you to make the best decision. 

  • Shop from Local Pet Stores in New York City  
  • Obviously, by shopping from small and family-owned pet stores in New York City, you will be contributing to building a sustainable economy. 

    By buying pet products manufactured in New York City, you will be reducing the distance and time the products would take to get to where you are – therefore, a reduction in the amount of fuel consumed to get to where you are and the amount of packaging to be used on the product. 

    Further, local businesses not only reduce the carbon footprint of shipping, but contribute to the local economy, building a stronger community and employing value-driven businesses.

    Shopping local reduces plastic waste from packaging. In addition, local businesses are more accountable to their local communities while donating time and money to non-profits, like we do!

  • Sustainable Dog Toys
  • Pet toys could be your best opportunity in making a difference towards a sustainable environment. The following are some tips to help you in your good efforts.

    • Avoid plastic products: Get other alternatives to plastic toys such as those made of materials like wool, felt, or rope. Instead of continuously purchasing plastic toys, stick to recycled/reloved materials often made by artisans, which your dog will appreciate, especially as organic materials don’t contain the chemicals that are often seen in plastic or factory-made toys. Check out our sustainably made dog toys, here.
    • DIY dog toys: This is a good and cost-effective way to keep your dog entertained. How does this work? Well, it’s simple – you can make simple toys that your dog will love out of reusing what you already have at home. Old clothes, blankets, and other materials that are no longer being used can be used to make very good toys for your dog.
    • Up the quality: Familiarize yourself with higher quality toy brands to ensure the toys you are getting for your dog are long-lasting and safe. If you need help in identifying the best brands, you can ask for advice from your local pet store. 

  • Use Pet-Safe Cleaning Products  
  • There are a range of cleaning products you can use that are pet-friendly. Most of these products refrain from using bad chemicals that may get washed down the drain and find their way to rivers and oceans. In addition, if your pet is a forager or curious type, it’s always safer to reduce the chemicals you use around the house. You may find that some of the brands that make those products also use packaging that can be recycled. 

    An alternative to cleaning products is mixing baking soda and vinegar, another DIY method if you want to keep it natural while budget-effective. The paste you get from the two is a great non-toxic mixture for scrubbing your surfaces.  

  • Talking to Your Vet about Natural or Alternative Treatments
  • Research shows that one-third of pet parents would consider using natural or alternative therapies as a form of treatment instead of prescription medication. Always consult your vet when your pet has health issues; it’s critical for a veterinarian, especially one who knows your dog, to diagnose the issue. However, a good number of conditions are treatable at home using natural remedies. 

    For problems such as GI/upset stomach, switch your dog to a bland diet, such as chicken and rice. There are also herbs that can be used such as marshmallow root, slippery elm, plantain root and ginger which are also good at soothing the stomach. However, if you will be making the mixture on your own, you will then need to use a recipe from someone who has knowledge of treating animals.  Always consult a professional before drastically changing your pet’s diet or starting them on supplements.       

  • Eco-Friendly Dog Apparel
  • Dog fashion has never been this amazing. Dogs have been domesticated for tens of thousands of years (source), and thanks to the increasing new trends in the pet fashion world, we are accumulating more trends, and many are eco-friendly.

    In the human fashion industry, there is lots of fabric waste - it unfortunately ends up in landfills every year. There is actually no industry method in place to make fabric remnants easily available for reuse. 

    At Gone to the Dogs, we offer eco-friendly dog apparel and accessories, establishing good relationships with a number of companies in the clothing industry is an easy way to acquire leftover fabric. We create luxurious pet clothing using remnants of specialty fabrics; while at the same time helping to reduce the waste from the fashion industry.   

    Questions? Give us a call, check out our website, or come stop by our new storefront: 103 7th Ave. (Cross street Union St.) P.S. We found an absolute gem to call our home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY.