an environmentalist pet owner is an oxymoron

An environmentalist pet owner is an oxymoron

I am a domestic animal. I sleep in a bed inside a house. I have regulated meal times. I am well trained. I get anxiety. The council knows where I live. There is a system in place if I misbehave. I suppress my instincts. My population growth is out of control. There is a system for where my poo goes. I am not to allowed pee on everything.

I think an environmentalist pet owner is an oxymoron. Domestic animals create a major environmental impact in Australia. We are aware of our dog’s carbon footprint, meat-based dietary requirements, food/medical packaging and the native fauna that he terrorises or deters. We’re equally aware of the fur therapy, companionship, sense of purpose and mental wellbeing he gives us.

Our mental health is paramount. Early on, we assessed what aspects of our lives bring us joy. We decided not to change these things when going zero waste. Our dog, Toki, is here to stay. After this, we’ll probably get another dog. Let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Let’s just improve where we can with patience, forgiveness and mindfulness.

How we apply zero waste principles to our doggo:

  • Second hand / street find bed, toys and accessories.
  • Apply local context to meat consumption ie Kangaroo in Australia (we avoid beef/pig/lamb).
  • Reuse paper bags for poo and put the whole thing in the compost (we call this our ‘yucky’ compost which is not for growing food).
  • Favour toys that are indestructible such as Kong.
  • Put fur in compost after brushing/sweeping/vacuuming.
  • Package free peanut butter in a Kong toy for chew treats. – Use dog food pellets and bananas as training treats.
  • Share leftovers when it’s nutritionally beneficial.
  • Package free vegan ‘pigs ears’ for dental treats.
  • Favour 3 month worming/flea tablets over monthly skin treatment to avoid extra packaging.
  • Use package free dog wash.
  • Respect dog rules when bushwalking. – Manage/prevent breeding.
  • Invest in health / training.
  • Monitor closely or contain to our home.