We love our pets and ought to aim to raise them eco-consciously. 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 eco pet in your life, we’ve searched for and tested the most affordable eco-friendly pet products we could find.
Gear: Bathe your pooch in natural ingredients that help soothe dry skin and relieve itching. We love Fieldworks Moosh Organic Eco-Friendly Dog Shampoo. All natural and organic, it’s the only dog shampoo that features bentonite clay, known for its natural healing abilities that bind with toxins and bacteria to pull gently pull them away from your pup’s skin and fur, leaving behind a healthy, shiny, and itch-free coat.
Got Skunked? Clean+Green Professional Strength Deskunk Coat Relief and Odor Remover is the perfect answer. As part of their entire Clean+Green line, this product features nitrogen, a non-toxic natural repellant that does not deplete the ozone to get the skunk out fast.
Toys: My two dogs instantly fell in love with the flexible, stretchable, floatable Bumi Interactive Dog Play Toy by West Paw Design that makes tug-of-war a real challenge. Although the Zogoflex® material is recyclable, I can’t see the need because this thing is indestructible.
For dogs who prefer their “babies” West Paw Design’s line of fabric “Rowdies” toys made from 85% recycled IntelliLoft fibers, and stuffed with IntelliLoft fill, are a perfect option for eco-friendly play. Soft, cuddly, and non-toxic.
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.
Collars and Leashes: Outfit your eco dog with a soy collar from New Earth. Their line of soy collars are durable and earth-friendly, showing your concern for the planet and your dog’s comfort. New Earth collars also have anti-bacterial properties to control odor. ($20-37)
Harry Barker’s bright leashes and collars are super-cool and made from 100% recycled PET bottles. They also offer a canine for veterans leash, of which a portion of proceeds goes to support the Canines for Veterans program. And, they dry quickly.
Furniture/Beds: New car and hairy pet? (Me, too!) Don’t fret with the Ruff Wear’s Dirtbag Seat Cover 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.
For the best of travel dog beds, turn to West Paw Design’s Organic Montana Nap Lightweight travel bed. Certified safe by the Oko-Tex Standard 100, these beds are made from organic cotton and stuffed with 100% recycled Intelliloft fiber and recycled plastic and come in great colors, including a bright green jewel, a deep saturated wine, and a show-stopping orange pumpkin. They also make an eco-nap pad and a cushy eco slumber bed.
Necessities: You take your omega-3s, and your dogs should too. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Soft Gels 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.
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.
The Honest Kitchen dog treats are made from hormone-free meats and antioxidant-rich fruit. I’m pretty sure the “Joyful Jerky” treats made with chicken and will elevate my pooches in the popularity contest at the dog park.
Toys: 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 your kitty with bestselling Fluffy the Hemp Pillow Catnip Toys. 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)
KONG’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.Try the KONG Cat Wubba Mouse. It’s 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)
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 New Earth Breakaway Adjustable Soy Cat Collars that come in a variety of hand-dyed colors and are so soft, kitty won’t mind wearing one. Washable, durable New Earth collars are sold throughout the US and Canada.
Fashion-forward felines might insist on the Petmate Eco-Friendly Breakaway Circle Cat Collar. Petmate turns out unique cat collars made from 100% recycled soda bottles. The packaging is made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials and features a removable bell so you can either keep track of your cat’s whereabouts or get a break from the sound s/he makes running all over your house.
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 Box Everest offers the best of all worlds for a lazy cat who feels like playing and then resting immediately: Made from 98% post-consumer and diverted materials, this scratcher boasts three layers of Omega’s patented Ripple Board treated with organic catnip oil and pom poms for play. Removable layers make it easy to replace as Felix destroys or exercises his claws on them.
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.
Furniture: 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 ranges in height from 3 to 6 feet. Order from the website; custom orders welcome.
The Baobab Modern Cat Tree In Eco-Friendly White Laminate and Black (Faux) Mohair is stylish, modern, and undeniably green. Each tower is constructed of 100% recycled wood fiber. 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.
By Anne Lanctot and Melissa B. Williams
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With her love of health and writing, Melissa has written for such publications as Shape, Natural Solutions, Yoga Journal, Self and Pilates Style, and has created recipes and food-oriented stories for such publications as Delicious Living and Cooking Light.