6 Ways to Raise an Eco-Friendly Dog.

Take a look at this knucklehead: 

And this brute: 

I’ve said it a million times, our lives would be very lonely without Manny and Bruce. Our dogs mean everything to us. {Read about them HERE!} Many of you have pets, and understand how special life is with an animal.

 Like those of you with children, who find excitement in the new things your toddler says or the accomplishment of your middle schooler, we are proud of our dogs. Also, when you discipline your child, or take time out of your day for those ‘teachable moments’, we want our dogs to be well-behaved. Like your children, our dogs are a reflection of us as pet owners.

In our lives, specifically, we take great pride in being earth-conscious and self-reliant. Knowing that we are going above and beyond (in comparison to the typical American couple) to reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact is important to us. As pet owners, this is also true.

There are so many ways you can keep and raise a dog in an eco-friendly manner, but here are just six small steps you can start today:

1. Dogs need to eat, so look for dog food companies that pledge to manufacture their goods in an ethical, sustainable manner. A quick search will yield several companies that might meet your needs, like this company.

If you want to take it a step further, make your own dog food. My sweetie pie friend, Diana, makes food for her rat terrier, Spotty. Granted, she started making food for Spotty when he was a puppy and needed soft food. Then, he became accustomed to the home-cooked dog food and refused to eat dry kibble. Diana also researched the best foods for dogs so it wouldn’t cause Spotty any health concerns.

If making your own dog food isn’t for you, try making some dog treats instead. I make treats for Manny and Bruce about once every two or three months. I make a big batch of this recipe, and it uses ingredients we always have in our pantry. Plus, the dogs love it.

2. Poo is a fact of life with two dogs. Don’t buy those little plastic poo bags, if you can help it. Use plastic shopping bags. I always bring my own reusable shopping bags while shopping, but those disposable bags always make their way into my home anyway. Instead of tossing them, put a few in your glove compartment or tie to your dog leash for a poo bag. If you are hooked on those pre-packaged poo bags made especially for dogs, try a brand that will decompose faster, or is made from recycled plastic. Here is the type of bag that we started using when we adopted Bruce.

3. Don’t drive to the dog park! If you’re a city dweller, like us, you know how awesome it is to have a dog park for your pets to run sans leash. But we live in the second-largest city in Iowa and only have two dog parks at our disposal. Fortunately, a new dog park opened up a few mies from us, but before that it was a 20 minute drive across town. Save gas and time by going to the dog park a few times a week, rather than every day. If your dogs are anything like ours, a super long walk around the neighborhood is equally as awesome as the dog park. When Bruce was a pup, we also used these walks to practice leash skills and basic commands, something that wasn’t great for the dog park because of all the human and canine traffic.

4. Rescue your next dog from a shelter, humane society, or rescue group.

5. If you travel, only board your pet if you are super confident in the facility. Consider a pet sitter instead. Usually, pet sitters are more cost effective. While it may seem like a less eco-friendly way to ensure the care of your pet (since the pet sitter has to drive to your home multiple times a day), there are some cost effective options. Our pet sitter is very organized about the way she schedules her stops, sometimes spending half a day in a single neighborhood without driving much at all.

By not using a facility, you are also reducing the amount of utilities that are required to keep your pet comfortable and safe at the boarding facility. You’re going to control the temperature of your home and keep a light on for security anyway, so it’s not like you’re going out of the way for your pet or using any extra energy.

You can also ask a neighbor or friend who lives within walking distance to pet sit. This is also a great way to get to know your neighbors better.

6. Think long and hard before becoming a pet owner. It might not be for you. Responsible pet owners keep a dog for the duration of the animal's life, which can be 10 years or more. Cat owners have that responsibility for longer. If you get an animal before thinking over the responsibility, you are not only doing a disservice to the animal, but are using up valuable resources that are better spent elsewhere. The cost of operating shelters or rescue groups are high, and by contributing to that population, you're adding to the cost. It takes energy - not just human energy, either - to get your former pet into a good forever home.

What are some other ways that you raise an eco-friendly pet? How do you ensure you're an environmentally-friendly pet owner? Leave a comment, please!


  1. Great list. Our dog is definitely like our child, too.
    Found you from Homestead Farm Hop.
    Lea @ www.adropofthis.com

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lea! I'll be checking out your site later today :)

  2. Great ideas! We have 4 rescued pups -15, 7, 6, and 4 yrs. Occupational hazard, well my husband's occupation, he runs our city shelter. I became the hazard by visiting him at work and adding 2 more kiddos to our bunch. Great message about adopting and the commitment it takes to be a pet parent. Daily we see animals purebred, mix breed, cat, dog, livestock dropped off when the novelty has worn off. His job makes me thankful daily that our pups have a home!

    1. You are so right. And man, I couldn't ever visit John is he worked there. We'd be coming home with animals all the time!

  3. Our pets are family so it's important that they have first aid kit on standy in case of emergencies. Recently, I came across a bug-out bag for dogs - the ultimate survival kit! Wow, I never thought there could be a lot of things that need to be included in my pet's survival kit! I'm building the bug-out bag since there are a lot of flooding in our areas. These days the weather really goes berzerk! Here's the link to a doggie bug out bag, simply perfect for the responsible pet owner. Hop on to this link http://dogsaholic.com/care/dog-survival-kit.html

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