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How to be a more planet-friendly pet parent!

Transitioning towards an eco-friendly lifestyle should touch all aspects of your life. You may cycle instead of drive, or opt for wood over plastic, but what about your pets? According to one study, “owning a medium-size dog can have a similar carbon footprint to a large SUV”, due to the resources needed to grow meat-based pet foods. That’s a whole lot of negative impact from one little best friend. 

But if you’re a pet lover like us, you’ll want to keep your pals healthy, happy and close by. So is it possible to be more eco-conscious with your choices? 

 

The short answer: yes!


Sustainable pet parenting may seem like a mountainous task, after all, our furred, feathered and scaled friends need a lot of care and attention, as well as plenty of stuff to keep them happy.


While we’re not suggesting you should ditch the dog food (although there are newer products on the market that have significantly less impactful ingredients), we are able to share our simple switches that you can use every day to reduce your environmental paw print.

Use biodegradable poop bags and biodegradable cat litter 


Ah, poop.


It’s inevitable, right? This may be one of the least enjoyable aspects of pet-owner life, but it’s a regular occurrence that can be addressed in a more eco-conscious way.


We regularly opt for non-plastic bags when it comes to our human habits (shopping, we mean), so why do we ignore the plastic problem when it comes to pet poop disposal? 


Biodegradable options are now widely available, are a much better alternative when your pooch needs to go (why always in the middle of the pavement?!), and are made from plant-based cornstarch that completely biodegrade into the natural environment. Although higher in price point, it’s a small price to pay to avoid long-term stink for the planet. Beco have some great ones, here.


Remember though, whilst the bags will biodegrade in your home compost or if buried, they will not be able to properly break down if left at the side of the road. Or hanging from a tree branch!


Got a cat? Biodegradable cat litter may be your (and your feline’s) new best friend. This particular one from Natusan is 100% natural, super absorbent (up to 7 times its own weight!) and odour trapping, meaning you can reduce the amount of litter you need by a whopping 65%.


Invest in eco-friendly treats

We love giving our pet treats as much as they love getting them! But did you know that many can be filled with unnecessary nasties for your pet and the planet? 


Here at Eco Ness, we stock a range of tasty goodies for anyone with a pooch from WowDog Bakery, and with flavours like Cheese & Oregano, Honey Oat and Mint Carob, you wouldn’t be judged if you thought you were reading a menu for a (human) picnic. 


Natural and handbaked, these bites are packed with goodness to keep your pawed-pal happy, and their Beer Bones even use spent grain from BrewDog to reduce waste. Each bag of treats has been sourced locally to cut down on their carbon footprint, uses eco-friendly packaging, and even renewable energy at WowDog’s HQ - a real winner in sustainability!


Not to mention each one has been taste-tested by our very own Quality Control Inspectors, Frankie and Coco. 

Invest in plastic-free toys


As we mentioned before, we all know the impact plastic can have on our environment, but did you know that plastic in dog toys can pass on harmful toxins like BPA, that can be detrimental to their health?


Our range of dog and cat toys are different, thanks to non-plastic materials like natural jute stuffing, recycled cotton and upcycled suede, and no unwanted chemicals. 

Recycle household items into pet toys


Not all of you will have cats and dogs, but toys are a great way to keep your pet’s little mind active and support their development. 


If you look around your home, you’ll be surprised at what you can find to reuse to make toys that will keep them happy. 


For hamsters, a simple toilet roll tube can provide hours of fun, and is completely biodegradable once they’ve chewed it up (or peed on it!).


Got a bunny? They LOVE boxes! Chances are you’ll have plenty of these to make use of. Just make sure they’re uncoated, ink-free and don’t have any tape attached. Simply cut two circular holes on either side and pop in the hutch to make a hideaway or fun place to run through. Better yet, attach multiple boxes for the ultimate obstacle course.


For rats and small reptiles, cleaned and dried glass jars, plant pots and coconut shells make great hiding spots, too!

Make DIY treats


Oftentimes, the most sustainable thing you can do is to use what you already have. It’s cost-effective, and you know exactly what’s inside so you never have to worry about what your pet is ingesting.


If you’ve got a dog, Good Housekeeping has some great recipes like these Peanut Butter Frozen Treats - we know how much dogs love PB! And the chilled texture will help on hot summer days, too.


For your reptiles, treat them to a Green Bean Casserole for a luxury meal packed with nutrition. Made from simple ingredients you’ll likely already have, mixed with some natural reptile pellets, this easy-to-whip-up treat will keep you in the good books.

Adding more pets to the family? Adopt, don’t shop


As pet lovers, it’s important to understand the process behind bringing a new animal into your home. The most ethical way to introduce a new pal is to adopt, rather than shop. 


It’s vital for the wellbeing of every animal that you fully understand the commitment required to care for them, and when you’ve made the decision, adopting can help save a wonderful animal’s life and help put an end to unethical breeding practices. 


A quick Google search will bring up shelters and rescue centres in your area, and if you pop down and spend some time there, you may even fall in love with a breed that you might not have thought of, while allowing a beautiful cat or dog a new lease of life.


We’d love to hear all about the pets you have at home! Have you considered eco-alternatives for the everyday essentials, or will this be something you incorporate more of now you have these tips? Tag us in your pet snaps on Instagram, at @shop.econess!

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