We love our pets. They link us every day to the natural world and impart insight beyond our human scope. We hike with our dogs in the early morning light and marvel at what draws their attention. We meditate with our cats as the day draws to a close and learn what it is to be simultaneously alert and at peace. The animals in our lives give us companionship, heart-healthy interaction, and entertainment (can anything on TV top the sight of a puppy tumbling for a tennis ball or a kitten flying after a shoelace?). How can we reciprocate? We can provide them with earth-loving beds, toys, habitats, and collars. To help you green up the essentials for the pet in your life, we’ve searched for and tested the most affordable eco-friendly pet products we could find.
DogsGear: Bathe your pooch in natural ingredients that help soothe dry skin and relieve itching. We love Happy Tails—a canine spa line that offers an array of natural products, including Colloidal Oatmeal shampoo and Fur Butter made with shea butter, calendula, aloe, and oatmeal. ($14/$19)
For those dogs (and owners, too) that need to show-off their personality, Keeka’s cute line of 100% organic tanktops is a great option. Featuring the same designs as their baby line, including cupcake, princess, and peanut, you’re sure to find one that fits your dog’s style. ($15)
Got Skunked? NuHemp Botanicals Omega Zapp Skunk Odour Conditioning Shampoo is the perfect answer. As part of their entire Omega Therapy line, utilizing hemp oil and oatmeal, the skunk shampoo also features apple cider vinegar and other emollients to get the skunk out—fast. ($14.99)
Toys: My two dogs instantly fell in love with the flexible, stretchable, floatable Bumi by West Paw Design that makes tug-of-war a real challenge. Although the Zogoflex® material is recyclable, I can’t see the need—this thing is indestructible. ($13.50)
For dogs who prefer their “babies” West Paw Design’s line of Dodo toys made from 85% recycled IntelliLoft fibers, and stuffed with IntelliLoft fill, are a perfect option. Soft, cuddly, and non-toxic. ($13)
The toys from A Cheerful Pet are made from 100% wool and are hand-crafted by artisans in Nepal, helping support the local economy and various charity groups. The colorful wool is woven into everything from sea creatures to their cute Headzees line and Woolzees balls. A definite fave. (contact for pricing)
The Orbee-Tuff RecycleBONE from Planet Dog is made from recycled “regrind” Orbee-Tuff material and is the ultimate toy for those chewers who just can’t seem to get enough. ($11.95)
Collars/Leashes: Outfit your eco dog with a hemp collar, leash, or harness from Earth Dog. Their line of hemp products is anything but boring, with designs including the Om symbol, bold stars, the royal crown, and daisies. ($20-37)
Harry Barker's bright leashes and collars are super-cool and made from 100% recycled PET bottles. And, they dry quickly.
Furniture/Beds: For a modern—and versatile take on the dog bed, check out Eazy Bean’s collection of bean bag seats, loungers, and cushions designed for everyone in the family. The suede covers are all made from 100% post-consumer product, and the filling can be recycled. The question is, when your bag arrives will you really give it to your pooch?! (prices vary)
New car and hairy pet? (Me, too!) Don’t fret with the Harvey Barker Quilted Car Seat Cover. Made from 100% organic cotton, this comfy pad will protect your vehicle’s interior and is non-toxic and machine-washable. ($68)
Ruff Wear’s Mt. Bachelor Pad is the perfect bed for the back of your car, and your home, too. Made from recycled fleece, the cover is made from PVC-free polycloth that keeps moisture away—perfect for after-the-lake jaunts or snowy days. ($59.95-$74.95)
For the crème de la crème of dog beds, turn to West Paw Design’s new Organic Build-a-Bumper Bed. Certified safe by the Oko-Tex Standard 100, these beds are made from organic cotton and stuffed with 100% recycled Intelliloft fiber and come in great colors, including a bright green basil, a deep purple huckleberry, and a show-stopping orange ember. They also make an eco-nap pad and a cushy eco slumber bed. ($68+)
Necessities: You take your omega-3s, and your dogs should too. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Capsules deliver the same health benefits, assisting and supporting healthy skin/coat and joints, reducing inflammation, and supporting the development and maintenance of the brain and eyes. ($19.95/90 capsules)
You think your food is full of fillers? Wait until you look more closely at the ingredients listed in most conventional dog food. If you really want to feed your pet well, feed them natural food. We love Holistic Select’s dog food, which comes in a variety of simple formulas, featuring simple proteins and grains (no corn) as well as probiotics, digestive enzymes, and antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies.
If you only make one change, be sure to switch to compostable “poo” bags. BioBag Dog Waste Bags are available on a roll, making it easy to clean up without creating more garbage. ($5.50 for 40 bags)
The Honest Kitchen dog treats are made from hormone-free meats and antioxidant-rich fruit. I’m pretty sure the “Smooches” treats—made with chicken and cranberries—will elevate my pooches in the popularity contest at the dog park. ($14)
CatsToys: Bring out the tiger in your kitty with organic catnip toys. From the Field, based in Rainier, Washington, produces toys made of 100% organic hemp fabric and locally-grown catnip. Entice Fluff with bestselling Shelby the Mouse or purchase a Purrfect Gift Kit for that hard-to-buy-for feline on your holiday gift list. The hemp fabric stands up to cats that kick toys hard with their back feet, yet it’s soft enough for kitties that cuddle their toys more gently. ($5; the website lists retailers)
The Kong Company’s new line of natural toys consists of mice, crinkle fish, and chase balls made from organic catnip, cotton fabric and thread, buckwheat, and straw. These delights are incredibly lightweight and the perfect size for kitties that like to carry or wash their toys. Challenge your tubbier tabby by making him jump for the feathery straw ball teaser! Available anywhere cat toys are sold. ($5)
Too much of a good thing can lead to ennui: case in point, some kitties overexposed to catnip become resistant to its charms. If your moggie has grown “meh” about catnip, try toys stuffed with cat-attracting honeysuckle wood instead. Kitty Kottage, out of Edmonton, Alberta, features an extensive collection of toys made from locally harvested honeysuckle. The cotton cushion is your best green bet, but don’t overlook the play mats or body pillows (made with kicking kitties in mind). ($3–$12)
Collars: We want our outside cats to wear collars that hold ID tags; kitties want to scratch, bite, and twist out of any collar we put on them. The best solution is Silly Kitty’s breakaway hemp cat collars that come in 7 hand-dyed colors and are so soft, kitty won’t mind wearing one. Washable, durable Silly Kitty collars are sold throughout the US and Canada; check out the website for a list of retailers. ($10)
Fashion-forward felines might insist on the repurposed collars made by Annie’s Sweatshop. Catering primarily to canines, this Waterloo, Ontario, shop run by Ann Marie Matott also turns out cat collars made from recycled fabric, including old curtains and neckties. Buckles on Annie’s collars have been salvaged from discards, and each one is adorned with bright, repurposed buttons. ($15; send in a used collar and get $3 off)
Cardboard Scratchers: Cats need to scratch—it’s their way to shed claws and mark territory through scent organs in their paws. To save the couch and your sanity, invest in any of these scratchers made from recycled and recyclable cardboard.
Omega Paw’s Ripple Board Scratch’n Massage Bed offers the best of all worlds for a lazy cat on a lazy day: Felix won’t even have to get out of bed to sharpen his claws. Made from 98% post-consumer and diverted materials, this bed/scratcher boasts three layers of Omega’s patented Ripple Board treated with organic catnip oil; remove layers as Felix destroys—er—exercises his claws on them. Available at pet-supply stores. ($13)
Smarty Kat’s Complete Needs System offers a variety of scratchers, ranging from simple boxes for kitties that scratch horizontal surfaces to incline scratchers for cats that like to get their backs into the job. Smarty Kat’s most innovative design is the CatChaise, a curved platform of cardboard made for lounging and scratching. Find the CatChaise in supermarkets and discount department stores. ($15)
The Wall Flower Cardboard Scratcher, developed by Marmalade Pet Care, suggests undulating waves in sherbet shades. Although the Wall Flower can be used on the floor, we recommend mounting one to a wall to create a vertical scratching heaven for kitties that love to stretch as they scratch. ($42; wall clips sold separately)
Furniture: The Caboodle Corrugated Habitat solves the problem of costly pet furniture most simply. At first glance, the Caboodle looks like a stack of cardboard boxes, but it’s collapsible, made of reinforced recycled cardboard, and can be recycled once its day has passed. Decorate the unadorned Caboodle yourself, and you’ll have a great-looking, sturdy playhouse for frisky cats or a haven for elderly or convalescing kitties. ($30)
Is your calico a climber? Present her with a handcrafted Mountain Cat Tree, and she’ll never touch the drapes or bookshelves again. Mountain Cat Trees are sculpted from pine, poplar, and birch downed by storms or culled by forest management in the North Quabbin region of Massachusetts. Designer Rebecca Mountain takes 2 to 6 weeks to shape the untreated wood into each unique cat tree, which range in height from 3 to 6 feet. Order from the website; custom orders welcome (from $129).
The Platform C cat tower from DKCat is stylish, modern, and undeniably green. Each tower is constructed of bamboo platforms, reclaimed wood posts, natural sisal rope, and replaceable carpet. The towers are window-height, ideal for perching felines tracking neighborhood birds, and the clean lines will fit in with any Mad Men–inspired decor. Go to designer Dani Kilmer’s website to order and for updates on other products (from $180).