Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, lizards… there is a perfect pet for everyone, and adoption rates have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pets are there for you when no one else is, they (probably) love you, and, in some cases, cuddling happens so often it can almost feel like a chore.

If you’re a new pet owner (or even if you’re not), there are lots of ways to ensure that you’re doing the best things possible for your furry friend and the planet. Incorporating sustainable pet food, toys, and essentials into both of your lives is easier, and more important, than you might think.

Studies show that pets’ diets have a huge environmental footprint, and many other products like toys and lifestyle essentials have different consequences in terms of waste. Alone, meat-based food consumed by American pets is responsible for 64 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. But, luckily, there are some sustainable solutions that can make us better pet owners and better stewards of the planet. 

Pet Food

Sustainable pet food brands like Wild Earth know the costs of animal products in dog food, so plant-based pet foods, treats, and supplements are now on the rise. Before you say, “But dogs need meat,” know that dogs are scavenging omnivores, and what they need is protein — not necessarily meat. With healthy, sustainably-sourced, and vet-developed recipes that feature high-quality, cruelty-free ingredients, Wild Earth’s products might just be the best option for your pet and the planet.

Pet owners who have tried the brand have even reported that the complete protein, superfood ingredients, and “zero meat-junk” gave their dogs more energy, fewer allergies, a shinier coat, and a healthier weight. Wild Earth also has a personalized food delivery program where you can choose the amount of food you get as well as the frequency of your deliveries. Not only is getting this brand super easy — it also helps you reduce food waste, and save both time and money.

cats eat foods

Pet Toys

Plush playthings, ropes, and balls are often made of brand new materials and can still end up in landfills if they don’t sell. But sustainable pet toy brands such as Cycle Dog let planet-friendly playtime become a reality, and it doesn’t even have to hurt your wallet. Unlike traditional pet toys, those from Cycle Dog include recycled inner tube rubber that lasts long — if the lifespan of a toy warrants a repair, the company facilitates it at no extra cost. In addition to top-notch quality upcycled, hand-sewn toys, Cycle Dog has prioritized creating local jobs for over a decade, so your dog and you will feel good about these a-durable purchases.

black and white border collie running on green grass field during daytime

Pet Essentials 

Simple pet lifestyle products such as feeding dishes, apparel, and even toothpaste are available from sustainable pet product brands, too. Eco-friendly and dust-free small-pet bedding, organic CBD oils and treats, and leashes from companies that donate to animal charities are just a few of the mind-blowing products that can improve your pets’ lives while giving back to your home environment and the planet.

woman in black jacket holding white and blue plastic bag

Pet Waste

Finally, just because your pets’ carbon pawprints aren’t as “big” as footprints doesn’t mean that proper disposal of their waste can’t improve the environment. Pet poop piles up (literally), so it’s not able to biodegrade in landfills how it otherwise might naturally. Yes, you should always clean up after your pet, but there are greener ways to do it than by picking up poop with a plastic bag and then throwing that bag into another plastic bag. In addition to using recycled materials for other pet products, companies like beyondGREEN make and distribute compostable poop bags made of innovative technology rooted in vegetation that microorganisms can consume. Say goodbye to single-use plastics and say hello to environmentally-friendly materials. 

With these four cornerstones of sustainable pet products in mind, taking care of the environment while giving your pet the best nutrition, toys, essentials, and poop-pickup will be a breeze. Better health, fewer carbon emissions, and less waste? Spoiling your furry friend during the holiday season has never been so sustainable.