The Trupanion blog
Eco-Friendly Pet Products You Need to Know
By: Alyssa Little
Love your furry family member but worried about wasteful pet products? You’re not alone—recent studies have revealed sustainability to be of increasing importance to pet owners, driven largely by concerns over processed ingredients and wasteful packaging.
As modern pet parents, we want to know what our pet's toys and products are made of. We also want to avoid anything unsafe for pets and the environment.
Fortunately, there are many pet product companies taking notice and actively working to reduce waste while improving the lives of dogs and cats. With eco-friendly pet products increasingly available in everything from toys to collars, it’s possible to find sustainable and recyclable materials repurposed into useful pet goods.
8 eco-friendly pet products to try
Check out this rundown of our favorite kinds of eco-conscious products for dogs and cats, curated by the pet experts at Trupanion:
1. Eco-filled dog beds
Every pet deserves a comfy spot to curl up in at night. Trouble is, that comfy spot can come with a negative impact on the environment. This is because pet beds often come filled with polyester, foam, or even plastic beads—none of which is biodegradable.
For a more sustainable dog bed (or cat bed, for that matter), look for material that is either recycled or biodegradable, or both! For example, Harry Barker uses an eco-fiberfill for its dog beds made out of recycled plastic bottles.
Another eco-friendly pet bedding brand is is P.L.A.Y., a Green American Certified business. In addition to also providing dog beds made out of recycled bottles, P.L.A.Y. gives back to numerous animal welfare organizations every year.
2. Earth friendly pet shampoo
All dogs and cats need a bath sometimes. But while pet shampoo may seem harmless, they can pose various environmental risks. The chemicals in the soap can seep into local water supplies, while plastic bottles and other packaging are wasteful in general. To keep your pal’s bath time safe for the planet, look for eco-friendly pet shampoos that use natural ingredients and recycled packing. As a bonus, versions like ECOS for pets are also hypoallergenic.
3. Green collars and leashes
Whether you’re on a casual walk with your new puppy or on an adventure with your old friend, the right leash and collar choices can make all the difference. While there are a lot of sustainable dog leashes and eco-friendly collars (like vegan leather!) to choose from these days, brands like EcoBark focus just as much on giving back as they do on using sustainable materials. Every year, the Florida-based company donates pet products to animal shelters and participates in local beach cleanups.
4. Biodegradable dog poop bags
Your pal’s bathroom breaks don’t have to mean throwing away lots of wasteful plastic. Biodegradable dog poop bags allow you to clean up after your pup while reducing buildup in landfills. Many of these options are made from recycled or plant-based materials, which further helps the environment.
5. ‘Upcycled’ cat toys
“Upcycling” is the process of turning an old item into a new, useful product of better quality. While you can do this yourself if you’re crafty, Etsy regularly has over 1,000 upcycled cat toys to try out. Cleverly created from things like old denim, wool, discarded plastic, and scrunchies, a lot of these toys look as new and fresh as the ones in the pet store. Many of them come pre-filled with catnip too!
6. Natural pet food
Since the introduction of canned dog food in the 1920s, the pet food industry has exploded in size and economic impact. One 2017 study found that dog and cat pet food consumption is responsible for the annual release of up to 64 million tons of CO2-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gasses.
Want to help reduce that? A good place to start is talking to your pet’s veterinarian about switching your pal to foods with simple ingredients with minimal processing (you should always consult with your veterinarian anyway before switching up your pet’s diet). Look for pet food brands like Earth Animal, which fully discloses its ingredients and where they come from.
Don’t forget treat time either—natural pet chews for both dogs and cats are readily available these days, and many brands even use recycled packing. Just be sure to read the fine print, as some products marketed as “natural” pet chews may only contain minimal percentages of unprocessed, sustainable ingredients.
7. Sustainable cat litter
Cat litter is a necessity, but traditional varieties take up a lot of unnecessary landfill space. Look for eco-friendly cat litter materials that are biodegradable. Examples include walnut shells, wood chips (pine and cedar in particular), paper shreds, corn, and wheat.
Hesitant because of the benefits traditional cat litters have to offer? Pine, walnut, and cedar are exceptionally good at masking odors. Additionally, most natural cat litter ingredients are also dust-free, which is great for both you and kitty.
8. DIY pet products
Sometimes the most sustainable pet products are ones you can make yourself! Instead of constantly buying new toys and other items for your four-legged friend, you may already have everything you need at home. From homemade cat toys to quick doggy thundershirts, the Trupanion Barks & Mewsings team is your DIY pet products guide.
Going green helps animals and people
Whether you’re looking to spoil your best canine friend with a new toy or gift a scratching post to your feline companion, sticking to eco-friendly pet products are a great way to help reduce your impact on the environment. Seeing as pet ownership is up across the world, every effort counts.
So, consider going green and looking for quality, natural items for your next pet product find. In addition to helping the Earth, bringing joy to your furry friend is always worthwhile.
*Trupanion does not receive compensation for any products that are mentioned in this article. Linked products are for informative purposes only.
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While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.