Eco-friendly Dog Ownership
Let's Talk About Your Dog
That's probably my favorite phrase in the English language.
I have entire friendships founded around drinking wine and talking about dogs (Hollyann, Amy, Nicole, Mallory... I'm looking at y'all).
In fact, if we are friends and you have a dog, there's a decent chance I'm simply using you to get to your dog.
I mean, have you MET your dog?
Given how much time I spend talking about my and/or your dog, it's a natural that my journey to a greener life also include my Floof Troop. (I'm still picking up litter on our morning walks.)
My dog is a hot mess, and frankly also an ass. He's really cute, which is how he made it to adulthood, but he destroys everything he comes in contact with, so there's a moratorium on any toy that can be crushed, shredded, popped, unstuffed, or cracked in half, so there is no way I'm spending money on expensive, eco-friendly dog toys. They won't last 5 minutes in Moore Manor.
The lady Nahla, judging Gatsby's poor life choices.
Which brings me to my next attempt to green up my pup.
Bathing Gatsby is basically me doing a one person re-enactment of The Perfect Storm. (See below.) And given his inexplicable and ongoing desire to dive into the putrid ditch in my side yard, we're basically doing bi-weekly performances at this point.
There is inevitably water everywhere and dog shampoo all over the grass, a lot of swearing, and then we give each other the silent treatment for an hour. It's healthy to have a routine, with dogs.
Gatz with his new bar shampoo.
(And look how excited he is about it!)
Here's the thing about liquid dog shampoos: THEY ARE FULL OF TOXIC CRAP. Click on that link, there is a ton of stuff in there that I don't want anywhere near my beloved muppet.
As mentioned in SoapGate 2017, you also use 7 times more product in liquid form, which is pouring money and literally chemicals down the drain.
If you're me, you're using way more than that while holding onto your demonic wet dog and trying to somehow get soap on him at the same time without one of you knocking the container over. Finally, liquid dog shampoos also come in plastic bottles.
Moore Manor has made the switch from whatever was at the local Petco to Chagrin Valley dog shampoo, and here's what to love about it:
No spillage / wasted product
Simple, paper packaging
Made in the USA
I love that I can't spill this product while wrestling my sudsy pup to the ground, and that it still lathers up super quickly. Gatsby didn't even seem to mind the smell as much, he used to shake off that green apple Petco stuff off mid-bath, which meant I smelled more like green apple than he did at the finish line.
And the list of ingredients is easy to pronounce and understand! I felt so much better about what was running off into the grass because of that.
Which brings us to... the Poop Problem.
Let's go ahead and agree this is no one's favorite part of pet ownership, but unless you're a total jerk, you regularly go through plastic bags as you battle the Floof Poop. While I salute you fine people reusing grocery bags, the first time and last time I tried that (and I don't even really have plastic grocery bags floating around the house anymore) there was a hole in the bag. GROSS. Still too soon to talk about it.
Let's start with the scary numbers:
- 11 million tons = estimated dog poop waste per year in US
- 400 + pounds = dog waste per household per year
- 160,000 = plastic bags used PER SECOND worldwide
- 38 million tons = plastic manufactured in US in 2010
- 3.8 million tons = plastic recycled by US in 2010
Bio-degradable plastic bags are not what they seem (click), and developing evidence shows (click here) that they just turn into micro-plastics and harm marine life.
There's a great article on Rover that goes into the issues in more depth, but also goes into your earth-friendly alternatives - some of which are more practical than others. (I am not nearly hippie dippie enough to flush Gatsby's poop down my toilet.)
Green Option: For bags made of 30% recycled plastics versus all new product, click here. This is clearly better than brand new plastic bags, but this isn't my favorite option, partially because of how low the level of recycled material is, but also because they're manufactured and shipped from China.
Greener Option: For bio-plastic bags that are allegedly compostable in home composts (by European standards, whatever that means) click here. This one isn't my favorite because of a seeming lack of transparency. I'm not sure what they're made out of, where it comes from, and I'm suspicious of anything labeled a biodegradable plastic, due to the lack of federal regulations when labeling biodegradable plastic products.
Greenest Option: For plant-based polymer and a bag made from renewable resources, also made entirely in the USA, click here. This is what we've switched to at Moore Manor. I like that I understand more of how it's being regulated, and also that it's not coming from half way across the planet.
Despite his wayward, wallowing ways, this tufty muppet is one of my favorite things on this planet. So it gives me peace of mind to know that now he's impacting our environment less while we enjoy it together. I'm sure there will be more changes and improvements to our routine as I continue along this path, but this is a solid first step forward... assuming I don't kill him for wallowing in mud after almost every bath.