I have often wondered if being environmentally friendly and owning a dog are concepts that just can’t exist side by side. And I must admit that having had a poorly dog in the past (and being totally in love with him) I would have done anything eco or non-eco to keep him happy (sorry, I’m only human). As a long-standing vegetarian (38 years and counting), I suddenly found myself cooking whole free-range chickens for my old boy when he was ill and also trying to convince him to love insect food. He wasn’t a fan of the latter!
However, starting again with Bernie, a healthy puppy, full of energy, I have embarked on a new journey of lowering our carbon pawprint and thought I could share what I’ve tried out so far:
Treats I’ve tried lots in the puppy training adventure but have realised that most are in non-recyclable plastic packaging and are not really ‘food’ but instead contain lots of additives and chemicals which don’t always suit young dog’s digestive systems. At the moment I’m using Scrumbles – “natural pet food and treats, that’s kind to tummies and to the planet” and Denzel’s – “eco-friendly snacks are the easiest way to treat your pooch without hurting the planet! All of our snacks come in 100% plastic-free packaging that naturally biodegrades in weeks not centuries (like single-use plastic)”. They do not contain palm oil and 1 tree is planted for every online order. Both are available at Tesco and Mole Country Stores too. https://www.scrumbles.co.uk and https://www.denzels.co.uk
Lily’s Kitchen This is Bernie’s everyday dried food. They say “We have a responsibility to our planet and everything in it. So, whatever we do – from eco-packaging to organic ingredients – we try to tread carefully on the planet our pets love so much.” I am happy with this after discovering that they are part of the B Corp assurance. Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Lily’s Kitchen is part of a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. And Bernie likes the crunch! https://www.lilyskitchen.co.uk/
Betty and Butch I’ve been really impressed with this online company. Eco-packaged, air dried meat by-products, happily received by Little Man. They don’t include rawhide which, I discovered recently, is really bad for dogs and the environment. Rawhides are washed and whitened using bleach and hydrogen peroxide, and some countries permit the use of arsenic and formaldehyde. Unfortunately, they’re not classified as food for humans or dogs, so there are little or no regulations enforced in their production. Real meat products are not highly processed, can avoid plastic packaging and are an easily digestible protein for dogs. I must admit the dried trachea was a bit of a thing on my wool rug but Bernie was delighted by it!!! https://www.bettyandbutch.co.uk
Dudley & Sage You can buy products online or from their Winchester market stall run by some lovely ladies who also offer great advice. Bernie enjoyed a disgusting cow hide on fireworks night which kept him truly happy. Their packaging is cardboard and paper. Their meaty, air dried products are by-products of the meat industry and would be going to waste otherwise. I have struggled with this in the past, but now accept dogs are inherent carnivores and this is the best way to avoid waste from the meat industry. https://dudleyandsage.co.uk/
Beco Their dog food is ethically sourced, the seafood in all their recipes has been wild-caught from healthy fish stocks. When Bernie is old enough to swap to adult food we will be using Beco dried food. It comes in paper packaging with no plastic lining which is a big positive for me. Also, their toys are hemp based, recycled plastic or natural rubber and last for ages. Their bowls are made of bamboo and are ultimately compostable. So are their poo bags. After a while I realised degradable and biodegradable are not the same thing. Look for the latter, compostable and biodegradable is the best option for leaving our nature walks poo free!! https://www.becopets.com/
These options, by no means, tick all the boxes, and I imagine there is more that Bernie and I can do but, at least, being a devoted dog owner, I won’t be travelling on a plane to far off holiday destinations. Thanks to Bernie, there will be no air miles for us!! We’ll be keeping our carbon footprint low, in dog-friendly holiday homes and campsites in the UK.
As with all eco things, every little helps. There is no perfect, ‘one collar fits all’, solution but I feel better about some of the choices I can make for Bernie and am grateful that it’s getting easier to make these choices.