How to be a zero waste dog owner


This year we made a pledge to reduce the amount of waste we have within the household and reduce our pollution levels. For the humans, it was relatively easy- carry our own carrier bags, don’t use the car, purchase products in no plastic, recycle where ever possible, go paperless, and compost any leftovers. However, after having done this for a few weeks we realized that the dogs and all their necessities were producing a huge amount of waste that we wanted to reduce.

The obvious ways to reduce waste are to recycle dog food tins, buy reduced packaging products, etc so we asked dog owners online for some more creative ways to reduce waste and be an eco friendly dog owner. Here are their top tips

Make extra food for your dog

Such an easy and smart tip. Whenever you are making a meal, add some extra veg or meat to the pot so you can add some to Fido’s meal through out the week. This is a great way of supplementing their daily meals with extra goodness of vegetables, but also a great way of making cheap treats. Dawn Ann Langan cooks 2 packets of sausages for her family of 4 so that she can cut up the left over meat to use as dog treats throughout the week. Genius idea. Dawn isn’t the only person that uses leftovers for her treats, Ursula Wells, also saves extra veggies and leftover roast dinner from the “human food” to give to the dogs.

Michaela Morton a UK based pet nutrition expert makes extra veg so she can add it to her dog’s diet adding variety and extra nutrients.

Use reusable Pee Pads

If your dog is pee pad trained, instead of using disposable pee pads that fill up landfills, make a switch to reusable pads that last for years and just need to be washed to be good as new.

Nat Ralph only uses washable pee pads for her chihuahuas. They reduce waste and are convenient. They also work out cheaper as a long term investment rather than buying disposable ones.

Old Towels and Blankets for beds

Instead of throwing that old towel or ragged blanket out, consider reusing it for your dogs. Old towels are brilliant for using in the car, using for travel and of course brilliant for drying Fido after a muddy walk or a shower.

If the blanket is too big, you can always cut it down to the size needed. I am sure your dog won’t mind that it is faded or the wrong color- he just wants something comfy to lie on.

If you have no use for old blankets and towels, consider donating to local animal shelters. They are always in need

Old Christmas Blanket used as a dog bed

Old Newspaper

Old newspaper can be used to aid toilet training instead of plastic pee pads and for picking up your dogs waste on a walk.

In New York, people often take out their old newspapers out on a dog walk to use to pick up their dogs mess. Lisa Newman told us that in Hong Kong, people walking their dogs use squares of newspaper and put on the pavement as soon as their dog starts to make a mess so the poop doesn’t even touch the floor. What a great idea.

Make Dog Toys

Naomi Yasmin Barnes and Dawn Ann Langan both make their own toys out of left over cardboard. Naomi’s labrador puppy has a huge cardboard box which is used as her activity center. She can destroy it and play with it however she likes (always supervised of course). Dawn uses old cardboard boxes and empty plastic bottles to make fun games for her dogs.

We use empty toilet paper rolls to make interactive treat games for the dogs. Here is a video of Olive the Portuguese Pointer having fun with a folded cardboard toilet paper roll filled with treats.

You can also use old sheets and scraps of material to make fun toys for the dog. All you have to do is cut the pieces of material into strips and braid them together. That’s it. So simple.


Biodegradable Poop Bags

Instead of using plastic bags (which are not recyclable and contribute to landfill waste), make the switch to biodegradable poo bags to pick up your pups waste. Lianne Buttrey only spends 50p ($.65) more buying biodegradable poop bags than the same amount of conventional plastic bags.

If you have a garden, installing a dog waste compost binis a great idea. Annette Plant and Becka Box both throw their dogs waste on the dog compost to be broken down naturally.

(Important safety notice. Care must be taken to ensure that the compost reaches high enough temperatures to kill off roundworm. It is not recommended to apply compost containing dog waste to food crops)

Image: Notes From A Dog Walker


So that’s it. Our top tips on being a responsible dog owner by reducing waste and helping the environment.

What are your top tips to reduce waste as a dog owner?

15 comments so far.

15 responses to “How to be a zero waste dog owner”

  1. Sonja says:

    I did not know they had re-useable pee pads … cool. we use organic disposable pee pads….
    We always use bio poop bags…

  2. Amy Shojai, CABC says:

    Great tips! I need to investigate the reusable pee pads for my elderly cat. She’s decided she likes cloth/towels instead of the litter in one part of the house.

  3. Beth says:

    I am so excited to see these tips! I try hard to reduce waste, but I know there is a lot more that I can do. I love the idea of turning the cardboard rolls into treat puzzles. We use old pillows and pillow cases for dog beds. They fit perfectly in the crates and are easy to clean.

  4. Hindy Pearson says:

    You’ve compiled a great list of very helpful tips. I do like the using leftover food to add to the dog’s food, and I use old comforters and blankets for dog beds and towels for their baths. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Ruth Epstein says:

    Great tips and I try to save the enviroment as much as possible all the time and thank goodness in San Francisco today you can only use brown paper bags or your own bags when shopping which is great as I then use them for recycling items

  6. Tonya Wilhelm says:

    Great tips. I’m a big fan of using my freezer for leftovers and for freezing fruits and veggies that I’m not ready to eat. Great for smoothies or when I cook Dexter’s meals.

  7. Rebecca at MattieDod says:

    I had no idea about the reusable pee pads!! Great content, very smart-and will share with our readers!

  8. Sweet Purrfections says:

    Maybe I should consider buying biodegradable poop bags to clean the litter box when I scoop.

  9. Karen says:

    I didn’t know there were reusable potty pads! Use bio potty bags as much as possible. One easy recycle thing I like is using old t-shirts to make tug toys. Cut shirt into strips, braid strips together, knot the ends.

  10. Tenacious Little Terrier says:

    Our old towels get used for dog chores and then donated to the shelter!

  11. Sadie says:

    I am surprised at the number of places that still haven’t started composting. We try to do our bit. Every Christmas eve I dig out the old, tattered and torn toys and stitch them up.

  12. Pet Comments says:

    Thanks for the great tips. We need to protect the environment, the earth is getting older. Some of them could be useful one day. One of the thing that i like is the reusable pee pads. I think it can be used for cats also. One of my cats is getting older and she is not interested anymore to pee in litter box or maybe that is kind of old cat behavior thing, so this pad could be a real saver and i do not think i can put my older cat outdoor anymore because she like to pee on my carpet.

  13. PertsrPriority says:

    These methods and tips can also be applied to other pets that you have you in your house old e.g. cats that will have the same result

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