Today is Mr. Doodles, our adorable Mini Schnauzer, 13th Birthday, so this morning I wrote a quick summation of 13 years of being a dog owner coupled with zerowaste. I only have experience with having a dog, so I will find someone to pay to write a cat specific one for Refill.
Here are some slick tips that are just from years of questions, research, figuring it out, and just having a pet while being a minimalist.
Tip #1 – You
Your dog isn’t the problem, you are, so stop buying shit for them.
LOL, this comes from a place of love.
Tip #2 – Poo
You definitely could stop buying poop bags, compostable or not, and go with reused plastic bags and the like from around your house. I also find them on the sidewalk when picking up litter or just walking home.
I have not bought any bags in a couple years because we accidentally bought a HUGE amount, but if I was going to make an informed buying decision now I would look for bags made of at least some recycled content.
Compostable ones are taking resources and going to the landfill where they will not decompose properly and new plastics are just that, new plastics. The best of both worlds, using up old plastics to make new bags that are just going to the landfill.
The point here is: resource intense compostable bags are dumb as fuck if they are going to the landfill. I love you, I have done it too, but let us spread the good word.
Another option: a pooper scooper that you bring on walks with you and we have been know to have a collection bucket with a plastic bag liner, that we then tie and toss when full. Our pooper scooper has gone missing and I am rather peeved.
Another option: DIY yourself a dog poop composter. It’s basically a hole you dig and it slowly fills and then you cover it and move on to another hole you dig. We have one but was improperly used by our neighbours so we have little control over it now not functioning as well. There are various versions, so maybe I will round those up for another post if people are interested.
Here is a link to a hilarious set of stories in my highlights on my personal IG.
Another option: Flush it. I have done this, it’s as weird as it sounds, but we all gotta do what we gotta do on an individual level.
Tip #3 – Food
Buy your dog the food that keeps it the healthiest and forget about the packaging.
Mini Schnauzers have a high probability of stones and unhealthy weight gain, so we did our homework. We have used the same brand of dog food his entire life and he has had no major health issues. If anything, Vets are always surprised at how healthy and trim he is for his age. He gets that from Cody’s genes. 😀
Full Disclosure: He did have nearly all his teeth removed two-ish years ago, but he bounced back like a puppy after surgery. It’s common for small dogs, especially those that hate toothbrushing, to have shit teeth as they age. He gets that from my genes. 😀
Fun Reuse: we use our dog food bags as our trash can and liner. We produce little trash but it is nice to have a bag big enough in case something large is trash bound.
Tip #4 – Leash
Buy one nice collar / harness and leash.
Give yourself the first year or so to decide what works best for you & your dog and then buy a nice one in a color you will like for years. Dood has had his red harness and leash for over 11 years, it does everything we need it to and is in a favourite color of mine. That being said, I have over the years been one button away from buying the trendy new leash, but I refer myself to Tip #1.
If you are still recovering from the shock of Tip #1, here is a Winnipeg, MB based dog-themed online thrift option. Dog Gone Thrifted also repurposes goods into adorable bandanas too.
A thing to point out: does your dog really need all those clothes? Keep what’s worn and necessary otherwise refer to, yep, Tip #1.
Tip #5 – Treats
Treats, so much plastic, I know. We buy his favourite kind in the plastic re-sealable bag every few months. I also buy treats from local makers that don’t wrap them in plastic or once a year I will make a shit tonne of them myself.
The Dood has a fine balance to walk for things he can and cannot eat, so I usually just buy the damn treats. He is a small dog so the plastic waste is minimal, if you have a larger dog maybe dig into their favourite and see if you can find it in a larger size.
Also, how many treats does your dog need? I know I could use a few less. 😀
For Dood’s bday we got a rainbow box of treats from Bark and Honey, based here in Winnipeg, MB.
Tip #6 – Toys
Toys, lets just stop the production, dear Lordy the shit out there these days.
Doodles Top 3 toys:
- On sale, after easter, baby bunny stuffed toy $0.25
- Stuffed rat toy we found in the corner at the laundromat 10 years ago
- Single leather glove that was found in the gutter after the spring melt 13 years ago
I have sewn little holes back together and keep them sort of clean, and we always taught him which toys are the ones we play with aggressively, the leather glove, as it is made to last.
Tip #7 – Don’t listen to me
Don’t listen to anything I have said above if you just got a puppy and/or an older rescue. Give yourself time to adjust, try new things, before you tell yourself you need to commit to one thing. There are lots of things to learn and only so many answers can be found through online research.
Okay. That’s it for now, I probably missed some things but published is better than not!