Advice & Tips
seven ways to reduce your dogs environmental impact

Seven Ways to Reduce Your Dog’s Environmental Impact

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


Explore 7 sustainable practices and eco-friendly choices to reduce your dog's environmental impact for a greener, healthier planet.
A brown spaniel on a lead walking in the rain with their owner.


It’s hard to ignore environmental concerns in this modern age. As a responsible dog owner, you may well be considering the ecological footprint of your furry friend. To ensure that you're taking beneficial steps towards the planet and your pet, we’re on hand with seven simple ways that help you make your dog’s life a little more sustainable.

Key steps

  • Go chemical-free with your pet products.

  • Buy dog food from a brand that supports environmental action.

  • Choose dog toys and equipment made from recycled or natural materials.

  • Be cautious with dog poo and the way it is disposed.

  • Walk more instead of using your car to transport your pet.

  • Make homemade dog treats from natural, locally sourced ingredients.

  • Give a dog a second chance at happiness by adopting.

A greyhound getting his ears cleaned with a chemical-free wipe.

How to reduce environmental impact

More than half of the global population are pet owners, and the most popular choice is a dog, the added consumption by our pets comes with an increased environmental impact. As a dog owner, it is important to consider pet sustainability and how you can limit the impact of your dog on the environment. Here are seven easy tips you can use:

1. Go chemical-free

Opting for natural, plastic-free shampoos and grooming products is a significant step towards a more sustainable pet lifestyle. Choosing products free from synthetic fragrances and harmful chemicals benefits both the environment and your pet by reducing the number of pollutants entering water systems and minimising exposure to potentially irritating substances.

These grooming choices support a healthier ecosystem and promote the well-being of our pets. Here are just a few other benefits chemical-free brands tend to carry:

  • Hypoallergenic (but worth checking first)
    Often natural products decrease the risk of skin irritations and allergies, ensuring a happier, healthier pet.

  • Less chemical runoff
    Avoiding synthetic chemicals in products lessens the burden on water treatment facilities and natural habitats.

  • Circular packaging
    Chemical-free brands often use recycled and recyclable, or compostable packaging, helping to contribute to the circular economy.

  • Ethical practices
    Producers of natural pet care items often adhere to high ethical standards, including organic sourcing and cruelty-free testing but make sure you check the packaging.

A greyhound sniffing a pink bag of Beco dog food.

2. Buy dog food from brands that support environmental action

Pet food brands that use their business for good will often prioritise the planet through ingredient sourcing and manufacturing practices. Beyond making reductions in their supply chain, some brands take a proactive role in supporting projects working for positive change. Where possible, look for verified commitments such as the '1% for The Planet' badge.

3. Choose responsible dog toys and equipment

Incorporating recycled, natural, or renewable materials into our choices of dog toys and equipment helps to reduce the amount of finite virgin materials in our daily lives. Instead, using what’s already here (recycled plastic), or using materials that naturally replenish (bamboo).

Common materials with less environmental risk that are used to make dog toys and equipment include:

  • Post-consumer recycled plastic

  • Recycled cotton

  • Bamboo

  • Hemp

  • Natural plant fibres

As well as thinking about the new products that you purchase, consider how you can extend the life of your existing pet products. You can donate or repurpose toys that you no longer need. Some toys and equipment can also be recycled.

A dog owner picking up poop with a Beco biodegradable poo bag.

4. Be cautious with dog poo

Proper management of pet waste is crucial in preserving local habitats, preventing the spread of parasites, and protecting waterways from contamination. Here's a closer look at responsible disposal methods and their benefits:

  • Compostable bags
    Compostable bags are great for those who have the capacity to compost their dog’s waste at home and use that compost to feed non-edible plants (no fruit or veg, please). Each compostable bag that is successfully home-composted avoids it ending up in a landfill. Instead, it breaks down to add nutrients to the soil. However, they need to be
    composted in the right environment.

  • Recycled plastic bags
    Opting for poop bags made from
    recycled materials helps reduce the demand for new plastic production, contributing to a circular economy where materials are reused and recycled, rather than discarded.

  • Burying dog waste
    In rural areas or your own back garden, burying dog waste at least 15 cm deep can be an effective way to dispose of it naturally, ensuring it breaks down without harming the environment, however, it's important to choose locations away from water sources and edible gardens to avoid contamination.

  • Public health
    Proper disposal of dog waste also protects community health by reducing the risk of diseases transmitted through faecal matter.

A dog jumping into the air on a field for his orange ball.

5. Walk more

Choosing to walk rather than drive for short trips with your dog is a powerful step towards a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle. This simple change has lots of benefits.

Walking instead of driving reduces your carbon footprint. This will contribute to cleaner air and a reduction in your and your pet’s contribution to climate change.

Beyond the environmental advantages, it will also maintain your and your dog’s health, and reduce costs such as fuel and parking. You may even make a friend or two as you meet fellow dog walkers along the way.

6. Make homemade dog treats

Enhance your dog’s diet by creating your own dog treats. Doing this can help you monitor what your dog is consuming, whilst keeping them free from unwanted ingredients.

Making homemade dog treats has other benefits too, including:

  • Going local
    Purchasing ingredients from local markets or farms bolsters the local economy and reduces carbon emissions associated with transporting goods over long distances.

  • Reduce packaging waste
    Homemade treats significantly cut down on the plastic and packaging waste associated with commercial pet products. Just try to track down ingredients without too much packaging either.

  • Making it personal
    Of course, as well as being a way to support the health of our planet, it's also a great way to add a personal touch to your dog’s diet and enhance your bond. You can find plenty of recipes online for homemade dog treats, including on the
    RSPCA website.

Biscuits falling out of a dog treat jar.

7. Adopt a pet

If you are yet to bring a dog home, we would strongly recommend looking into adoption. It’s an act of kindness that gives a dog a second chance at happiness.

Shelters are often overwhelmed with dogs in need of a home. Adoption will help to alleviate this issue, as well as reduce the number of animals facing euthanasia due to space constraints.

The journey towards being a sustainable dog owner is filled with simple, actionable steps that not only reduce our impact on the planet but also enhance the health and happiness of our beloved dogs.

A spaniel laying next to some dog toys.

Frequently asked questions

How can I reduce my pet’s carbon footprint during walks?

Minimise your dog's carbon footprint during walks with the equipment you use. Consider using a biodegradable leash and a collar made from responsibly sourced or recycled materials. Also, use waste bags that are made from recycled materials. Stay on designated trails, wherever possible, to protect local wildlife and habitats.

How do I find pet brands committed to sustainability?

Research is key to finding pet brands that are committed to sustainability. Look for companies that transparently share their practices. You'll want to look at factors such as sourcing, manufacturing, and corporate practices.

What should I consider when buying pet toys that support sustainability?

When buying pet toys that support sustainability, consider the materials used (for example hemp or recycled plastics), the manufacturing process (is it low-impact?), and the company's commitment to sustainability (do they support environmental action?).

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

Want more like this?

Get updates from us with helpful info, advice, answers to frequently asked questions and much more.

By joining, you agree to marketing emails. Unsubscribe anytime. See our privacy policy.

Share this post