12 Tips for Sustainable Pet Ownership
Here at Hiro + Wolf we constantly challenge ourselves to do better on our sustainability journey. As well as thinking about our carbon footprint (all our products are made here in the UK) we also ensure all of our packaging is 100% recycled and plastic free even for online orders.
With Earth Day taking place on April 22nd, we wanted to think about different ways to be more mindful of our environment as pet owners. We also wanted to share some tips that we’ve gathered over time on how we can all change a few things that will help our environment whilst caring for our pets.
Written by Leona Chapman
Estimated Reading Time: 4minutes
Here are some of the ways to make sure we are all having as little impact as possible:
1. Spay or neuter your pet. One un-spayed female cat and her offspring can lead to 370,000 kittens a year! This means more animals born, more products purchased and ultimately more waste.
2. Adopt from a rescue shelter. Pedigrees make up at least 25 percent of the dogs in animal shelters, so even if you have your heart set on a particular breed you don’t have to compromise when adopting. Virtually any breed of dog can be found in a shelter or in a breed-specific rescue group. There are also resources like the Kennel Clubs assured breed rescue groups.
3. Buy eco-friendly pet food and care products for your pets. More and more eco-conscious pet food and care brands are emerging everyday! The best things to look out for are locally made products that use natural ingredients with recyclable and / or recycled packaging. We offer a range of shampoos from great UK based brand WILD WASH made from totally natural ingredients that are much kinder on the environment as well as your dog’s skin.
4. Bulk Buy. To keep your pet’s environmental “pawprint” small, buy pet food in bulk quantities whenever possible. Some pet shops or zero waste shops offer refillable pet food that you can purchase by bringing along your own container to fill up, also avoiding unnecessary packaging. If you can’t find refillable food, buying in bulk is still a great option, just try and find locally made food, preferably in recyclable packaging.
5. Consider trying ‘green’ flea and tick treatments. The most common flea and tick treatments use fairly harsh chemicals and often come in lots of plastic packaging, all of which is damaging to the environment. Instead, you could try a natural flea repellent that can be applied daily and smells great too! Simply mix together 5 drops each of tea tree oil, peppermint oil, citronella oil, rosemary oil and eucalyptus oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Just shake and then spritz your pooch daily. You can also buy 100% natural flea and tick repellents that are better for your pup and better for the planet. As always, be sure to consult your vet before trying any new treatments with your pets.
6. Check the packaging. Make sure to recycle your pet food containers or buy food in biodegradable packaging. Not all pet food packaging is recyclable, so be sure to check before you buy. Edgard & Cooper make great, natural pet food that comes in biodegradable bags made from plants! They are the first pet food brand with a full range of biodegradable bags. Just remember - biodegradable packaging goes into general waste, not recycling. Find their treats online here, we also carry their dog food in store. Metal tins that are often used for pet food should also always be recyclable. Metal is the world's most recycled material, with 75% of all aluminium used since 1888 still in use today!
7. Donate old pet gear. Don’t throw out gently used collars, leashes, beds, clothing, bowls or toys. Give them a second life by donating them to a local animal shelter or rescue organisation. Also, be sure to repair any lightly damaged leads or collars rather than buying brand new replacements. Did you know that we offer various repairs? Just get in touch with us to discuss your options.
8. Try your hand at making your own treats. There’s plenty of recipes online for pet treats, ranging from super simple to totally indulgent. Not only is this a great way to reduce your footprint by avoiding any unnecessary packaging, it also saves money and shows your pet how much you care.
9. Ask, who made my clothes? When purchasing accessories for your pets the same rules apply as when choosing for yourself. Try to buy from brands who manufacture locally and have high ethical standards. All of Hiro + Wolf's collections are made by us in the U.K. our own design fabric is also printed in London like our New York! New York! print which is made using organic cotton.
10. Compost your pet’s waste. Plastic poo bags take anywhere from 10 to 100 years to degrade, with some scientists arguing it’s even longer than that. If you want to start composting your pet’s waste be sure to do your research and compost responsibly! OR use biodegradable poo bags. This is a great option if you are unable to compost your pet’s waste or for picking up messes on the go! Adios Plastic makes amazing, 100% biodegradable and compostable poo bags from plants. Adios Plastic also works with 1% for the planet, donating a percentage of sales to help protect sea life and bring an end to the high levels of plastic in our Oceans. They even come in trendy colours, choose between pink or grey here.
11. Try natural cat litter. Cat litter has a significant environmental impact, with the silica clay commonly used in supermarket brands derived from environmentally-destructive strip mining, in which mining companies bulldoze the surface until finding the desired mineral – a practice that can destroy local environments flora and fauna. These types of cat litter have also been linked to health problems in cats that are exposed to the dust. Alternatives are wood shavings, recycled newspaper, and even fibrous material from annually renewable wheat or maize.
12. Keep electronics and new plastic toys to a minimum. Consider eco-friendly pet toys or DIY your own pet toys! When purchasing toys, look out for natural materials such as hemp. Cotton, rope, rubber, jute and even olive wood. Recycled materials are always best where possible. Try to avoid toys made from synthetic, non-recyclable materials such as plastic (especially in squeakers) and synthetic fabrics. Also try to avoid anything you think your pet will destroy too quickly as this creates more waste. If you’re feeling creative why not try making some simple toys from waste materials you probably have lying around? Try wrapping a bottle in an old T-shirt to create a great crinkly sound that puppy's love. Similarly, try putting some catnip in a sock and tie a knot, your moggie is sure to love it. Another great option is to simply tie an old shirt into lots of knot to create a tug rope! As with all new toys, be sure to supervise your pet whilst they play and regularly check toys for damage.
Do you have your own pet sustainability ideas? Why not share them with us on facebook @hiroandwolf