Dogs and Sustainability

In these planet-conscious days of recycling/reuse, sustainability is the watchword. Sustainability crosses all parts of our lives, and we should each do those small things where we can. However, how does sustainability work with dogs?   

Here are our top tips:

  1. Unused Stuff – Have a root through the amassed ‘dog stuff’ accumulated and taking up storage.  Anything not used/too small/hated/didn’t work/the wrong colour (sadly, we colour-code our dogs!).  Clean it up and take it to your local rehoming/rescue centre.  This goes for food they didn’t like.  Rehoming centres have bigger demand than ever through lockdowns and the financial crisis. They need all the help they can get.
  2. Old Toys – Next stop, look at the toy box – probably full of unstuffed furries and balls with holes in.  Fertile ground for a new game.  Tie up a single piece of kibble or treat in each destroyed item and then tip the toy box upside down for a hide-and-seek game – a good 15/20 minutes p&q out of this one.  Either train your dog to put their toys back in the box or split them in half and swap them occasionally so they think they’re getting something new.  Sometimes, I wrap them in packing paper if it’s to hand – Christmas!!
  3. Recycled Games – Dogs don’t actually care if it looks gorgeous, but they do care about attention and fun. The next stop is the recycling box – loo roll inners – squish the ends in and put a few pieces of kibble inside. Upturned yoghurt pots – play hunt the treat.

Tim’s Best Ever was a long cardboard package with lots of indentations.  Tear up the packing paper, shove a treat in the middle and screw it up, park it in the box – it took me 10 minutes to make, 1 minute to clear up and took Tim 1hr 15 mins to satisfy himself that he had every treat. He was so exhausted, he slept for 3 hours. A real lockdown bonus. I kept it in the garage, complete with torn-up paper, and it probably had six outings over time before it actually made it to the recycling bin.

4. Shop Sustainably – whether it is eco-conscious food, grooming products, or those must have bits of bling (guilty!), try to be conscious of the content, packaging, source and durability.  Beco is a planet-conscious brand focused on reducing the impact of the carbon footprint of pets – for more information click HERE.

5. Dog Poo – Beco bags are my go-to of choice.  Recyclable and packaged in reused cardboard.  Each to their own but in my book, if you can see through it, can it do the job?!  Please be diligent about poo pickup.  It contaminates soil, grazing and waterways, harming all sorts in the food chain.  This is a real thing.  Friends lost a prize-winning rare breed cow and calf, which became ill from grazing where dog poo had been left on the footpath.  They can’t use the field and are devastated by the loss of mum and baby.  It’s not about aeons of seepage – it is a direct result of someone not picking up their dog’s poo within the last few months.

6. Walk to your walk – do you really need to drive to walk your dog?  If you can walk to the area, both of you will benefit from the extra paw steps? However, if time is tight, tag it on to other errands needing the car – school run, supermarket etc.  If you are bored with the same old walk, try to find new dog walks on your doorstep.

For more info on local dog walks:

7. Double bubble – how about doubling your sustainability contributions with a litter pick en route, removing potentially toxic items from harming the environment – even just once a week?

8. Healthy Dogs – think about keeping your dog healthy.  Dog obesity is as prevalent and growing as much as that in humans.  Check what your dogs’ real nutritional requirements are, and make sure you take kibble out of the daily allowance and/or account for treats.  Vet treatment adds carbon points, plus the expense and shortens your companion’s life.  A slim dog will have less trouble with ageing than a fat one. 

9. Finally, if you are looking for a dog, please at least try the rehoming centres.  Fostering is often an option if you are not sure.  The ultimate in sustainability has to be to extend a caring home to a creature lingering on the scrap heap of human vagaries.  Besides, puppies are a real pain in the ….!

Did you read our recent article, Dogs, or Woman’s Best Friend?