Living an environmentally responsible life is not only good for the planet, but it’s good for us as well. From the food that we eat to the cars that we drive, there are many ways for us to be environmentally friendly. What about your pet’s carbon footprint? Considering the fact that there are 75 million owned dogs and 88 million owned cats in the United States, what we feed our pets and the products that we buy for them can have a big impact on our planet. I’ve gathered some suggestions on ways to help your pet live a more eco-friendly life. The following suggestions deal with environmentally responsible foods, accessories, grooming, and waste products.

Natural food and treats

When it comes to pet food, “natural” means it is made without synthetic additives-no artificial flavors, colors, or chemical preservatives. Not only are these additives bad for your pet, they are also bad for the environment, as each synthetic ingredient is produced with its own carbon footprint. Keeping the ingredient list simple helps keep the environmental cost of producing the food down, for a smaller carbon footprint. Most of these suggestions for natural food and treats can be found at Lemos Pet Supply Store and Healthy Pet Store, both located in Santa Barbara.

Wellness offers natural pet food, treats, and supplements for dogs and cats. They believe that the best formulas for food are those that strive to offer natural ingredients with no by-products, artificial additives, or preservatives. Wellness requires that ingredients be derived from the most wholesome sources and prepared with a process that maintains the complete integrity of the nutritional benefits.

Innova offers true natural and premium holistic pet food for adult dogs and cats, puppies, kittens or special formulas for large breed or overweight pets. All Innova food products include elements from the five food groups-meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit, and grain-plus essential fats and oils to deliver supreme nutrition for the overall health of your pets.

California Natural makes a natural line of pet food for dogs and cats with sensitive digestive systems. They have the shortest ingredient list of any dry pet food. They combine just one protein, one fat, and one carbohydrate to create their food.

Karma makes certified organic dog food and treats. Karma is produced without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, GMO grains, or irradiation, and their packaging is made from recycled materials.

Nature’s Variety offers healthy kibble diets, canned diets, raw frozen diets, raw frozen bones, and all-natural treats. They provide quality nutrition to help your pet maintain proper body weight, reduce the risk of allergies, and enjoy a longer life by maintaining a healthy diet.

Environmentally Friendly Accessories

Green pet companies are not only making or selling healthier products for cats and dogs, but they are making the world a better place, too. By choosing earth-friendly materials and ingredients for their products and lower environmental impact production methods, green pet companies are making a difference.

Eco Pet has a great variety of eco-friendly beds and toys for both dogs and cats. They sell toys made from recycled soda pop bottles and pet beds made of organic cotton with low-impact dyes.

Great Green Pets make their pet beds from recycled imported coffee bags, which give each bed a unique graphic design. The beds are stuffed with cedar fillings, which are odor resistant and are a natural insect repellant. A 10 percent donation of the proceeds goes to the organization Bikes to Rwanda, which is a nonprofit company whose mission is to provide cargo bicycles to cooperative coffee farmers in Rwanda.

Only Natural Pet has a vast array of eco-friendly products, among them hemp collars and leashes – even break-away collars for cats.

Non-Toxic Grooming Products

Choosing non-toxic cleaners and grooming products reduces the risk of damage to our earth’s ecosystems, wildlife, and our pets and families, too. Most of these suggestions for non-toxic grooming products can be found at Lemos Pet Supply Store and Healthy Pet Store, both located in Santa Barbara.

Buddy Wash has been specially formulated using coconut oil, aloe vera, vitamin E, and natural ingredients to provide a soothing and non-irritating bathing experience for your four-legged friend. This gentle shampoo uses herbs and natural oils to freshen and deodorize your pet’s coat without using chemicals or additives.

Hartz Clean Earth Gentle Cleansing Dog Shampoo can be used regularly to clean and condition a dog’s coat with earth friendly, botanical extracts.

Only Natural Herbal Defense Shampoo & Conditioner is made with 70 percent organic ingredients, neem oil, and other natural ingredients to help repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and more.

Environmentally Responsible Pet Waste Products

Products made from recycled materials ease our landfill burden, as do biodegradable products like natural cat litters and cat litter disposal bags. Most of these suggestions for natural pet waste products can be found at Lemos Pet Supply Store and Healthy Pet Store, both located in Santa Barbara.

Feline Fresh Natural Pine Cat Litter is flushable, scoopable, naturally sterile, and biodegradable, and is made from 100 percent pure Southern yellow pine.

World’s Best Cat Litter is an all-natural cat litter made from whole-kernel corn that controls odors, clumps well, and is flushable. No unnatural additives.

BioBag Litter Pan Liners are 100 percent biodegradable, non-allergenic cat pan liners that fit most sizes of cat pans and make good environmental sense. (I couldn’t find these anywhere in Santa Barbara, but you can order them online at

Bags on Board sells a compact, refillable dispenser that attaches to any type of leash. Inside is a roll of bio-degradable doggie clean-up bags.

All this information may seem overwhelming, but even if you change one thing in your pet’s life-natural food for your dog, or natural litter for your cat-you can reduce your pet’s carbon footprint and help to make the world a little bit better not just for your pets, but for all of us.


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