Continuing the pet theme from our last issue, Alix Foster Vander Elst is here to help you discover some eco-friendly items for your furry friends.
If you’re anything like me, your pet is a part of your family. And you want nothing but the best for them. Okay so I’m not the kind of person to be dressing my beagle up in a diamond studded collar (although she would look FAH-bulous in it!), but I do want to make sure that the products I buy for her aren’t going to do her, or the environment, harm. Sookie has been a part of my family for over two years now and in that time, I’ve been able to build up a great stock of tips for environmentally friendly pet products. Here are my favourite…
Obviously this is key. We feed our pets every day so the choices we make on this one have a significant impact on both pet and the environment. I’ve been recommended ‘Snappy Tom’ for cats, and ‘Fish for Dogs’ (both made by SAFCOL) as the number one environmentally friendly pet foods but I’m going to disagree here. While SAFCOL are at the top end of sustainable fishing, the world’s fish stocks are horrifically overfished. If you just can’t live without seafood, there are sustainable options, but feeding this rapidly depleting resource to your pet? Doesn’t sit right with me.
I’d say the best brand is Nature’s Gift. The only controversial thing here is that some of their products contain kangaroo meat and people have mixed opinions on the ethical rating of this meat. What do I feed Sookie? RSPCA approved chicken, a few veggies and my leftovers. (Just make sure your ‘human’ food is safe for your pet – easy to find out with good old Google).
Okay so I’m a self-confessed dog lover but a lot of my friends have cats and I’m jointly amazed and horrified by kitty litter. The standard cheap stuff you get from your local supermarket just looks so… URGH! It’s often a weird neon blue colour (riddled with chemicals) and is definitely not bio-degradable or environmentally friendly. And this is such an easy product to make a switch with. There are eco-friendly, recycled, ‘happy planet happy Cat’ kitty litters all over the place. Breeders Choice Cat Litter is great – it’s made with recycled paper, is biodegradable, and made using a chemical free process, the list goes on! Kitty’s Crumble is another good option.
Now this is a bit more tricky… Most vaccines and medicines given to your pet at the local vet clinic will have been tested on animals. Something I struggle with especially because Sookie is a beagle. The good news is that there are natural alternatives out there, check out Natural Animal Solutions and Natural Dog Health Remedies. If there are natural ways you can cure your pet’s ailments, go for it. But, for me, if push comes to shove and the natural treatment hasn’t worked and Sookie is still unwell, I’m taking her to the vet.
So my first bit of advice here would be to not over wash your pet. The more you bathe your dog, the more you wash away the natural oils in their coat, and the more smellier they get! But yes there are definitely occasions when it’s necessary. Like when your beloved pooch wants to give herself a new aroma and rolls around in a dead fish (a surprisingly common occurrence for Sookie). Essential Dog do the best enviro friendly dog toiletries. They’re a fabulous quality, smell delicious and have a much smaller impact. Bow House has some good products too, but I wouldn’t recommend everything on this site – just make sure you check the ingredients and packaging.
And last, but by no means least, TOYS!! It freaks me out how toxic some pet toys are. Often made from some form of plastic, in unnaturally bright colours, full of nasty chemicals… YIKES! But the great thing here is that there is no shortage of companies making alternatives. Like FitDog. Sookie’s favourite from this site are the ‘Tugzee for two’ and the ‘Ringzee ball’. She also loves the ‘Beco Hoop’ from Beco Pets. They’re a UK based company but I picked up some of their products in my local Pet Barn. All of the above withstand her pretty vigorous chewing, and they’re roughly the same price as the non-eco friendly products. Win win!
So there you have it, a short and sweet guide to some earth friendly pet products! We’d love to hear if you have any tips for environmentally friendly pet ownership – post your experiences/advice in the comment section below!