A St. Bernard and his kitten friends lounge on the grass.

Green Pet Products for Earth Day

The concept of “going green” has gone mainstream in recent years. People everywhere have updated their daily lives to reduce their environmental impact. We consider keeping the planet clean and habitable to be a collective mission. On Earth Day and every day, we all play a role.

Do our pets have carbon footprints? Are some pet products more earth-friendly than others? We reached out to pet lovers, vets, and green pet care companies to get their take on sustainable pet ownership. Here are just a few ways for you and your pet to go “green.”

Eco-Friendly Cat Litter

Many clay and crystal cat litters are produced through destructive strip mining. What’s more, these products often contain silica dusts and clumping agents that can lead to health problems for cats and cat owners alike. Some greener, healthier alternatives are produced from materials like wood shavings, sawdust, and wheat. Scientific American suggests that budget-conscious pet parents can even make their own biodegradable litter from old newspapers.

Claudie Sievert, a veterinarian, content creator, and cat mom, suggests CatSpot litter as a green alternative to many mass-produced cat litters. “I love it,” she says, “because it’s 100% organic coconut and I can dispose of it in my garden.” She also chooses it because it’s more lightweight and absorbent than traditional options.

Recycled Dog and Cat Toys

We’ve all heard about the scourge of plastic on the environment. That’s why many pet owners are opting for toys made from recycled materials. Since these don’t require manufacturers to produce new plastic, they’re not introducing nearly as many new pollutants during the production process. Jeff Carbridge, a U.K-based pet parent and consultant for Dog Owner, names Beco as an especially great option for green pet toys.

“We love them so much,” he says, “that my dogs have nearly every single one of their toys.” Beco’s “tough and durable” toys are made from recycled bottles. Carbridge especially likes the double-stitching, which helps Beco toys withstand lots of wear and tear.

West Paw’s dog toys also stand out for their durability and earth-friendly materials. Pet blogger Jen Sotolongo loves the company’s Zogoflex toys, as well as their commitment to sustainability. They’re a registered B Corp that strives to create as little waste as possible. Jen says, “My favorite product is the Toppl, a food stuffing toy with a wide mouth that makes it easy to insert treats and makes cleaning a breeze.”

Dr. Lynn Barr, a veterinarian and CEO of Dezi & Roo, encourages cat lovers to try her company’s Hide and Sneak paper tunnel. Each one is “handmade from eco-friendly, biodegradable paper.” Cats will love the crinkling sound and earth-conscious pet parents will love the minimal environmental impact.

Biodegradable Poop Bags

Taking the dog for a walk doesn’t have to mean adding more plastic bags to landfills. Brands like Earth Rated and Doggy Do Good create bags from all-natural materials to reduce dog walking’s carbon footprint.

PetPedia co-founder Boriana Slabakova recommends AlphaPet’s 100% compostable bags. Produced from cornstarch and other “biomatter,” these extra-large bags are guaranteed to naturally decompose in just three months. A plastic bag, on the other hand, will outlive you in your local landfill.

Green Dog and Cat Mats

The PetPlace team celebrated National Pet Day earlier this month and so did Corc Yoga. Though the company is mostly known for their plastic and chemical-free yoga mats, they’re now offering mats for pets as well. These eco-friendly mats are made from renewable cork, a material that’s not just green, but naturally antimicrobial as well. The company writes, “the mats stay germ-free (for real) no matter how many spills or muddy paw prints” come their way. This should be especially appealing to pet lovers during the high-alert COVID-19 crisis.

Reclaimed Leashes

Maine-based company Wharf Warp takes advantage of its state’s famous lobstering industry to create eco-friendly products. So far, they’ve “reclaimed 12 tons of lobster rope to make 100% upcycled pet leashes” and home decor products. Since these ropes are designed to withstand ocean waves, the leashes are especially long-lasting.

Upcycling refers to a specific kind of recycling where discarded objects are repurposed into more valuable products. What household objects can you upcycle into dog or cat toys?

Happy Earth Day

You don’t have to overhaul your life to approach pet ownership more sustainably. Why not start small with greener food or greener toys? Online marketplaces like Chewy feature page after page of planet-friendly products. Living green all the time is hard work, but it’s never been easier to start.

Chewy is an affiliate of PetPlace, but is not a sponsor of nor a contributor to this content.