By Emily Volman
So you’ve gone green: you recycle, carpool, filter your own water and buy recycled paper. But is your pet green? After all, with our natural resources at stake, it’s important to reduce the carbon paw print, too! Fortunately, it’s easy providing natural and earth-friendly products for your pet pals thanks to the vast variety of eco-friendly beds, toys, leashes, grooming products, litter and more—as well as some wonderful holistic food and treat lines.
In celebration of Earth Day, we’ve asked the owners of our favorite local pet stores to share their top earth-friendly pet picks. We think you and your critter companions will like the results!
Happy Retales Pet Supply (Brentwood)
General Manager, Kimberly Thompson
Purr & Simple Cat Litter
“It has a great odor!” says Thompson. That’s not usually the first statement you expect to hear about cat litter, but this 100% organic, biodegradable, renewable and American-made product leads the pack in odor fighting. It also boasts an extremely low dust residue because it’s made from tree nuts, which reduces the chance of your kitty contracting upper respiratory infections commonly associated with traditional cat clay litters. Purr & Simple is safe for both cats and kittens, typically lasts 2-3 weeks between changes and comes in 8, 20 and 40 pound bags.
Premier’s ECO Gentle Leader Headcollar
More than two million dog guardians have discovered stress-free walks with Premier’s Easy Walk Harnesses and Gentle Leaders—and now Premier has gone green! Their ECO Gentle Leader Headcollar and Leash is made from 100% recycled plastic milk cartons. “Instead of putting it in a landfill, Premier is turning it into good products to help prevent your dog from pulling,” says Thompson. Packaging for the ECO is also 100% recycled and comes with a complimentary six-foot coordinated leash. At this time, the product comes in limited sizes, but Thompson will be more than happy to help you find the right fit.
Dog Gone Smart Green Beds and Crate Pads
Dog Gone Smart lives up to their name. Their “Green” line of rectangular beds and crate pads use 100% organic cotton and bamboo fabric, as well as all natural vegetable dyes. Bamboo naturally changes with the season to keep your pooch warm in winter and cool in the summer, and the bitter kapok filling organically repels bacteria, microbes and dust mites. Even the zippers are biodegradable! “These beds are cool because they’re machine washable and really hold up, but when you’re done with it, it’s completely biodegradable,” says Thompson. If that’s not enough to know they mean green business, the Dog Gone Smart website is even powered by 100% wind energy!
Nashville Holistic Pet (West Nashville)
Owners, Pam & Les Carlson
Van Ness Pureness Eco Bowls
Available in four sizes for every size pet, Eco Bowls are made from a plastic resin substitute made entirely of bamboo grass and rice husks material. Because they are from 100% plant materials (even the coloring is from organic plant dye), the bowls are completely compostable and biodegradable. This means your pet’s food and water supply will never be contaminated with toxic chemicals and/or colorants.
Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Sprays
While traditional flea and tick medicines usually work well, they are also full of chemicals and can cause allergies on your pet’s skin. Vet’s Best Flea and Tick treatments provide an alternative with the same protection and none of the side effects. “I love this product because it is made with peppermint oil and clove extract,” says Pam. “None of the usual pesticides!” Developed by veterinarian Dawn Curie Thomas, the Vet’s Best line of shampoos and flea/tick treatments focuses on the dermatological safety natural ingredients to support your pet’s skin health.
See Spot Eat (Berry Hill)
Owner, Kat Martin
See Spot Eat’s Homemade Baked Goods
If you haven’t yet headed to Berry Hill to treat your dog to some treats from See Spot Eat, both of you are missing out! These all-natural yummy goodies offer high quality ingredients, are freshly baked and won’t pack on the pounds. (We can’t promise as much for you, however, considering the delicious ice cream offered at Pied Piper Creamery right next door!) Not only are these fresh treats all-natural, but their packaging is green. “We use compostable bags made of wood ciders, so you can break them down naturally once the treats are gone,” says Martin.
West Paw Design’s “Huck” Dog Toy
This ball-like durable toy will definitely keep your dog jumping! Fido will love the hefty weight and grooved shape that makes it bounce in all directions, as well as its small size to keep it compatible with his favorite tennis ball throwing toys. Meanwhile, you can love West Paw Design’s commitment to the environment! By minimizing waste in their manufacturing process, re-using and recycling most of their materials and working with eco-friendly components (such as organic cottons, Zogoflex and recycled packaging), it’s no wonder West Paw Design has been approved by multiple “green” organizations. “Not only is this a great product, but it’s also made in America, which I love,” says Martin. As an added bonus, should your dog be the super destructive type, West Paw Design will completely replace your Huck one time, no questions asked. You can’t beat green and guaranteed!
Simply Fido Toys and Ropes
Humans and pets alike love soft, fluffy friends to cuddle with, and Simply Fido toys are the perfect companions. “These are really, really cute,” says Martin. Made with certified organic fabrics and a low eco-impact dye process, these toys are chemical free and non-toxic. And, did we mention, adorable? You may not want to share.
Wags And Whiskers (East Nashville)
Owner, Amanda Beatty
The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Raw Food
“There’s an endless list of reasons to love The Honest Kitchen,” says Beatty, “including their packaging, their ingredient sourcing, their manufacturing practices and the fact that they always choose sustainability over costs.” And that doesn’t even include their tastiness! These gently dehydrated, human-grade whole foods are made with love and the highest quality standards from handpicked farmers, all details of which can viewed on their website. Use them as a complete meal or whole food topper to your ‘regular’ pet food.
Bite O’ Blue Blueberry Dog Treats
The VanWart’s never intended to be dog treat makers, but their Border Collie, Preshus, had other plans. When they began harvesting Lowbush Wild Blueberries at their little Maine Peaked Mountain Farm, Preshus (as well as all the other local wildlife) enjoyed them before anyone else could. Many local farmer’s markets later, the VanWart’s now offer their antioxidant-rich Bite O’ Blue Blueberry Treats to everyone, four-legged included. Minimally processed with no added flavors, colors or preservatives, these pet snacks are mixed with apples and potatoes for added chew and crunch, respectively. “They’re made with organic blueberries, baked with wind power and packaged in compostable materials,” says Beatty. “And if you put some dirt and a treat in the small container the treats come in, you can even grow your own blueberries!” Tasty for your pup and fun for you… how cool is that?
Molly Mutt’s Dog Bed Duvets
If you’ve ever had an unsightly couch yet no money to buy a new one, a slipcover may have come to your rescue. Well, Molly Mutt thinks your pup’s bed should have a similar option. “They come in great patterns, made of tough materials and stitched well, but you can stuff them with whatever—old clothes, pillows, blankets or even an old dog bed—to keep those things out of a landfill,” says Beatty. “Molly Mutt claims to have saved over 100 pounds of textiles out of landfills.” Your old clothes and a soft bed! Now that’s doggy heaven.
Come Sit Stay (Belle Meade)
Owner, Robin Cohn
West Paw’s Organic Bumper Bed
Participating in global responsibility is great, but having your pet’s furniture match your own is pretty awesome, too! West Paw’s popular Organic Bumper Bed is made in Montana and the interiors are constructed from 100% recycled plastic bottles. “Each bed tells you how many bottles were saved from being dumped in a landfill,” says Cohn. And if style is a priority, you can design your Bumper Bed using a mix-and-match of 60 different color combinations. “They also offer the Huck [mentioned previously], Hurley, Zisc and Tux, all of which are best sellers at my store.”
Planet Dog Recycled Bones and Balls
Since 1997, Planet Dog has been the pet industry’s leading socially responsible, value-based company, so it’s impossible to leave them off this list. Their mission is to “romp the romp” in creating environmentally friendly resources, education and products, and their bones and balls prove it. They are made from ‘regrind’ (first grade quality plastic scraps that would otherwise be discarded) and are non-toxic. “I love this company for their ‘less waste means a healthier planet’ philosophy,” says Cohn. The company’s Planet Dog Foundation has also donated more than $500,000 in cash and products to various nonprofit organizations.
“Many people don’t think about the bowls their dogs eat and drink out of each day,” says Cohn. “I do, so I have my bowls handmade in America!” PetWare Pottery is based in Colorado and use only lead-free slips and glazes. “Stores often sell pet bowls made in China,” she says. “They are much less expensive, but you often don’t know what you’re getting. I don’t want anything that might harm our precious pets!” All PetWare Pottery is dishwasher and microwave safe.
Dizzy’s Dog Wash (Berry Hill)
Owner, Lynn Higgins
Farm Dog Salves & Cleaner
Made locally in Elmwood, TN, Farm Dog Naturals treads lightly on the earth any way they can, including their full recycling program and all-natural, vegan products. Their amazing skin salves are biodegradable and safe for your pet, even if licked off. “They are began and effective in helping to heal cuts, yeast and general skin irritations,” says Higgins. Also made by Farm Dog, Relief Pet Urine & Eco Cleaner comes in a recycled sprayer with solution you add water to. Says Higgins, “It’s great because it can be used on any household surface and does a good job of eliminating urine odor. My customers are raving about it!”
Emily Volman is a comedian and writer. She lives in Franklin with her husband, Mark, and rescue dogs, Josie, Jasper and Ellie. She has been a feature writer for Nashville Paw since our debut issue in 2006.