I’ve always loved animals, so after I stopped working in the zoological field, getting a dog was a logical next step. Cooper stole my heart when I met him at the shelter when his name was Pete, they didn’t know his breed, and he was just 13 weeks old.
He was an impeccable puppy and has grown into my very best friend. We call Cooper a rescue x2 because a little over a year after I rescued him from the shelter, I rescued him after he was thrown out of a rollover car accident that I was also in. What I can definitively tell you is, the 36 hours that I didn’t know where he was or if he was alive was awful. But the moment I finally caught him and held onto him was the most raw emotional experience I’ve ever had. Since then, Cooper gets absolutely whatever he wants, within certain limitations.
Unless you’re making your own dog food with organic and sustainable ingredients, finding eco-friendly and/or organic dry dog food is not readily available or cost effective. But they’re tips and tricks to keeping your dog’s routine a little more eco-fab.
Dog Shampoo with Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
If you’ve ever used Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap before then you know the cardinal rule is DILUTE! DILUTE! DILUTE! This stuff is very concentrated and can be a mild skin irritant if not diluted. I mix 1/4 cup of whatever kind I have on hand (tea tree, peppermint, original, etc.) with 2 cups of water, shake it well and then use it like normal shampoo.
It won’t lather as much but that doesn’t mean the skin and fur isn’t getting clean. It means that it is not full of sulfates which a detergent that causes the “lather” effect. Sulfates are bad for hair, human or animal, and can cause hair loss. Cooper has sensitive skin and short hair so he doesn’t require a lot of shampoo in the first place. If your dog has longer fur, you may consider playing with the amount of shampoo and the concentration.
Avoid Beef Products
It wasn’t until I figured out that Cooper was allergic to beef that I realized how much beef is in dog products, from dog foods to rawhide chews. While there’s hot debate over whether the cattle/beef industry is heavily contributing to climate change or not (click here to read more on that), it’s not so uncommon for dogs to be allergic to beef. With all the hoopla over “grain-free” dog foods, it is very often ignored that the protein of the food could be the issue. In Cooper’s case, it was. Once I switched him off the the beef-based food to salmon-based, no more skin rash.
Here’s a few no-beef products that Coop loves:
- Nylabone Bison Chew Bones
- Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Salmon Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Dry Dog Food
- Deer & Elk Antler Chews
Buy Dog Food in Bulk
Buying anything in bulk whether it’s for you or your dog always reduces your fuel emissions from having to make more trips and also reduces the amount of packaging that you’re consuming. Cooper eats 4 cups of food a day while maintaining 60 pounds of lean muscle (he’s basically a bodybuilder). If I buy the largest bag of food at the pet store, it lasts about a month. I also keep it in a sealed container to keep it fresh!
Make Your Own or Buy Locally Made Dog Treats
This is arena I have yet to venture into yet (stay tuned for an organic dog treat recipe), however I do LOVE to buy homemade or organic dog treats. I always grew up with my mom making our childhood yellow lab homemade dog treats (and even a house guest mistaking them for a cookie in a late night snack crave). While I am severely less crafty or bakingly inclined than my mother, I will be trying this soon!
Dogs can join us on this crazy eco-fab journey, we just have to be clever enough to figure out how.
Here are some dogs that have left paw prints on my heart, the captions are worth a peek: