9 Surprising Pet Products that Are Damaging the Planet

surprising pet products damaging the environment

It’s no secret that having a pet is a brilliant investment. They can bring you joy, laughter, and it’s even been scientifically proven that owning a pet releases happy hormones!

However, as many invested in a pet over lockdown, it’s important to know how our furry friends and their products can impact the planet.

With the climate in a worrying state, knowing simple switches that can make a huge difference is a great way to help both your pets’ and your own carbon footprint on the planet.

From the food they eat to their toys, pet products of the past have certainly not been created with the environment in mind. Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly pet product alternatives available on the market today, so you and your companion can be mindful without having to compromise.

Whether you are wanting to make sustainable switches ASAP, looking for Christmas gifts or even aiming to make the swaps as part of your new year’s resolutions, here are a few of the products our pets use everyday that actually have a negative impact on the environment.

There are some eco alternatives that are so similar to the original, you won’t even notice the difference!

Collars and Leads

The majority of pet collars and their accompanying leads are in fact harmful for our planet when disposed of.

Many of these products available on the market today are made from nylon and polyester, inclusive of a plastic fastening. Unfortunately, plastics don’t break down within a lifetime and end up in landfills, polluting the surrounding environment.

When we wash collars and leads after a muddy walk, these nylon and polyester products release millions of tiny plastic microfibres, which consequently end up in our water systems.

Plastic pollution is one of the worst and most pressing issues our environment faces, as so many of our everyday products contain plastic. To help combat this, look to swap to cork or rope alternatives with metal fastenings.

Not only are these eco-friendly alternatives more durable, but their materials are sustainable and less likely to damage the planet and its ecosystems when the time comes to throw them away.


Like human haircare products, pet grooming products also contain various toxic ingredients, such as sulphates and parabens.

Not only are these ingredients harsh on your pets’ skin, but once washed down the drain, they go into the earth’s water systems and eventually rivers and oceans. These toxic ingredients can then poison marine life and toxify the waters.

Eco-friendly alternatives include essential oils, sulphate free formulas and organic plant ingredients, such as shea butter, which will give your pet a lovely silky coat.

Make the conscious effort to read the ingredients list next time you purchase your pet shampoo, as these sneaky ingredients have more of an impact than you think.

Flea and Tick Treatments

It’s been recently reported by a university study that the pesticides used in many common flea and tick treatment for dogs and cats are contaminating our rivers in the UK.

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The study found many pesticides widely spread throughout the natural water sources at a level much higher than deemed safe by environmental standards. They found the pesticide, fipronil, in 98% of freshwater samples, and another called imidacloprid in 66% of samples tested.

Researchers are calling on more regulations regarding the ingredients in parasite treatments, as they are harming our natural water resources and their marine life. The study says these pesticides are actually banned within agriculture due to their effects on the environment, so it is hoped change will come.

Whilst as a pet owner, this is not a change that can be easily made due to the need to protect our pets from nasty parasites, it is something to be aware of when it comes to the wider environment.

Pet Food

Many popular pet food brands contain meats, poultry and fish to provide the correct nutrients for our furry friends.

Whilst these nutrients are vital for pets, there are great concerns over the sourcing of the food and its effects on the environment.

According to European parliament, the livestock industry is responsible for around 14.5 % of global greenhouse gas emissions[1]. This means the food we give our companions is a significant factor to climate change.

In order to remain as eco friendly as possible whilst still ensuring your pet is well nourished, look to buy food that contains sustainably sourced meats and fish. Alternatively, turkey and grains are an even better option as both foods’ farming process has less impact on the environment.

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Poop Bags

These everyday essentials are one of the worst polluters regarding pets due to their inability to be recycled.

Plastic poop bags are in fact undestroyable as the plastic takes years to break down in landfill and their flimsy, thin nature, not to mention the fact they are contaminated once used, means that they are unable to be recycled.

Whilst this is an obviously plastic product, many don’t think about their effects, nor know of the eco-friendly options out there.

Thankfully, there are compostable poo bags that can naturally biodegrade as they don’t contain any microplastics. Instead, they are made from natural materials, such as renewable corn starch and plant oils for a durable, effective and eco-friendly option. 

Pet Toys

Whilst intact, many plastic pet toys can in fact, be recycled. However, when the time comes to discard pet toys, they tend to be in a shredded and torn state.

The flimsy nature of the remaining toy means it can’t be recycled as they run the risk of clogging up recycling machines if not separated in the correct way.

Therefore, many recycling collectors won’t even accept them in the first place.

Scarily, only 9% of plastic is actually recycled, with one reason being that people don’t know how to recycle correctly. So, the next time you want to buy a plastic pet toy, try and swap for an eco-friendlier option.

Sustainable jute, rope and hemp-made products are fantastic sustainable options that are just as enjoyable and durable as plastic alternatives.

Wrapping up

Now you know the common dog products which are harming our planet, try to make the conscious effort to switch to the suggested eco-friendly alternatives to make both your pet and the environment happy.

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