The more you learn about sustainability, the more conscious you are of the small changes you can make to benefit the planet. In addition to using eco-friendly products in your own life, you can change your pet’s routine for the better, too.
In the latest Good Together podcast, Laura Wittig, Brightly’s CEO and co-founder, discussed eco-friendly pet parenting with Dr. Rory Cowlam of @RoryTheVet. The UK-based veterinary surgeon has made it his mission to make both his practice and home more sustainable, and he shared plenty of tips that will help you do the same.
Pet products tend to be just as wasteful as those made for their human counterparts, be it plastic shampoo bottles, squeaky toys, or even poop bags. As you’re thinking about swaps to make, Dr. Cowlam says to consider switching to eco-friendly dog products. Here are five easy places to start.
5 Eco-Friendly Dog Products a Vet Recommends
1. Grass Puppy Pad
Product to Try: Fresh Patch, $24 to $34
Instead of traditional puppy pads——which generally use a plastic liner—Dr. Cowlam says to try an eco-friendly grass pad. After researching for an alternative for his new puppy, he discovered the much more sustainable option. “We put a piece of turf in a cardboard box outside the front door,” he says. It’s even better because they don’t get used to peeing on the pad on the carpet, so they don’t get that association. And it’s it’s completely natural.”
2. Bamboo Food Bowl
Product to Try: Beco Pets Classic Bamboo Dog Bowl, $8
Many dog bowls are made from plastic or metal, but Dr. Cowlam recommends going for a bamboo option. Instead of sticking around for years like plastic, bamboo can be composted, as it’s 100 percent biodegradable.
3. Biodegradable Poop Bags
Product to Try: Wild One Biodegradable Poop Bags, $8
Biodegradable or compostable poop bags are great alternatives to the plastic varieties that sit in landfills forever. “They’re so well produced. And once you start using them, you won’t go back—I promise you,” he says. “It’s so much better for the environment. It’s so much less single-use plastic.” You can also find plastic-free poop bag dispensers.
4. Shampoo Bars
Product to Try: Ethique Bow Wow Dog Shampoo Bar, $13
If you love using shampoo bars yourself, there are now options for your pup, too. In fact, it’s the only type of shampoo Dr. Cowlam has in his eco-friendly home. “I started using soap bars and shampoo bars last year, and honestly, I don’t even look back. It’s so easy,” he says. “It’s so nice as well not having all that plastic in the shower.”
5. Eco-Friendly Toys
Product to Try: Beco Pet Blue Ball Dog Toy, $12
Many dog toys aren’t exactly eco-friendly. Luckily, Dr. Cowlam has noticed brands starting to use more renewable and natural materials to make them. “I have a box of toys next to me right now, and if I go through that, it’s all eco-based. There’s a load of bamboo products, such as chew toys,” he says. He also has plenty of dog toys made from natural rubbers. “It’s a really exciting time in that sphere because there’s a real demand for these products, and there are companies really answering this call.”