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5 Eco-Friendly Essentials Every Dog Owner Needs

I love dogs so much that I have three of them. While I wouldn't recommend making your pack as big as mine, I've gotten a crash course in ALL of the dog things over the years. Here are my recommendations alongside the rest of the Brightly team's.

Written by
Laura Wittig

At last count, over 500 million dogs were counted as canine companions across the world – so odds are, if you aren't a pet parent yourself, you know someone who is.

For those who have made the choice to welcome a pup into their homes, owning a dog is a big commitment. One of the most surprising things new owners face is the amount of stuff you can accumulate in order to care for your dog, and even more shocking is the sheer amount of waste generated by your pup and his toys. You can cut back on your environmental impact while providing for your dog, so here are a few items to watch for.

Easy to Care For, Long-Lasting Pet Beds

Where your dog lays his or her head every night is important – dogs typically sleep 12-14 hours every day! It can be tempting to treat pet beds as temporary or throwaway items, but investing in a bed that's made to last will save you money in the long run. Look for beds with a washable, removable cover, water-repellant features like a barrier between the cover and bed, and eco-friendly filling. We're partial to Brentwood Home's orthopedic version (our dogs love it!)

Biodegradable Dog Waste Bags

Over 11 million tons of dog waste are generated in the U.S. every year, and most of that is trashed and sent to landfills in plastic bags. The rest usually becomes a likely pollutant in urban areas – the situation isn't great. To lessen the impact, flush dog waste down the toilet or use a truly biodegradable dog waste bag that will break down more easily once it's in a waste facility. While lots of bags claim to be "eco-friendly," we've tried Public Goods' new dog waste bags which are truly, actually compostable and biodegradable (just check out their certifications!)

Durable, Recycled Dog Leashes + Collars

Dog leashes and collars are typically made out of nylon or other types of long-lasting plastic. While this is good news in terms of longevity and cost per wear, why not source an option that's using recycled plastic? United By Blue's (R)evolution collars and leashes are made with recycled plastic bottles and they're stylish, too. We've tested them out with our dog pack and they've held up for over a year with little to no wear and tear.

(Almost) Zero Waste Toys

Ever given a dog a stuffed toy? How long did it last? We'll bet the answer to that question is "about a day." Most popular dog toys are designed to be shredded and thrown away quickly, causing lots of waste and additional spending on your part. Look for toys made of durable rubber or performance-grade textiles so they'll last longer. We love filling up a Kong toy with a locally made treat for our dogs!

Eco-Friendly Dog Food

After consulting with your vet to determine the best diet for your pup, choose daily meals that are crafted with high quality ingredients. We've heard great things about Sundays and have tried grain-free options out from Blue Buffalo and Costco's internal brand as well. Purchasing locally made dog treats are a great way to support your community while keeping your pup happy – your farmers' market most likely has a plethora of options to choose from!