When it comes to the care of our pets, every decision we make has an impact. As dog groomers and pet owners, the health and well-being of our pets will always take top priority, but that doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice the planet's health in the process. There is a significant potential for positive change through our dog grooming practices. The pet care industry is riddled with unsustainable practices, from products containing toxic ingredients that seep into our waterways to those packaged in plastic that will end up in landfills. But it doesn’t have to be.
In this guide, we will delve into the world of sustainable dog grooming, offering valuable insights and comprehensive tips for a more eco-conscious approach to grooming practices. By embracing and implementing these sustainable dog grooming tips, we cater to our pets' well-being and contribute to the planet's overall health.
Choose Biodegradable, Organic Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
At the core of sustainable dog grooming is the pivotal choice of dog grooming products. The products you choose to use in your grooming salon or on your pets at home can profoundly impact sustainability. There are many factors to consider when choosing a sustainable dog shampoo or conditioner, and the same applies to sprays, creams, and balms.
The first step to ensuring that the products you choose to use on your dogs are also good for the environment is to understand the ingredients labels. Many nasty and toxic chemicals hidden within dog grooming products end up soaking into your dog's skin and coat or washing down the drain. Sustainable dog shampoo and conditioner should contain natural, biodegradable, and organic ingredients that are gentle on your dog’s skin and also have a minimal ecological impact. Unlike conventional grooming products laden with synthetic chemicals, organic alternatives break down naturally, significantly reducing their environmental footprint.
Look for products that provide full INCI lists, not list vague ingredients.
How do you know if the ingredients are natural or organic? Often, reading an ingredients label can be like reading another language, but luckily, there are a few little tricks to ensure you’re choosing only quality natural products.
Each country has different certification boards that will only provide organic certifications to products that meet strict criteria and guidelines. Reputable third-party entities like ECOGEA offer organic certifications and cosmetic safety reports in the EU, while the USDA provides organic certifications in the United States. ECOGEA certifies that all Doglyness products are organic and vegan, ensuring full transparency and that every cosmetic formulation we offer is of the highest standard.
Ingredient transparency is essential when choosing products, so make sure to check the company’s INCI list before purchasing anything. If they don’t provide one - steer clear! INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, and although the INCI names may seem complicated, they showcase the manufacturer’s commitment to transparency and accountability. The INCI list allows you to trace the origin of each ingredient to ensure they are natural, organic, and safe to use on your pet.
Around 380 million tons of plastic is produced yearly, with only 9% of plastic recycled. And unfortunately, the dire plastic waste issue has extended its reach to pet care. Plastic pet grooming tools, plastic packaging for products, plastic toys, disposable gloves, and plastic bags are all used by the grooming industry and contribute to an ever-growing pool of non-biodegradable waste.
Go plastic-free with your dog grooming practices. Switch out plastic pet grooming tools for those made from sustainable materials like bamboo or beechwood. These natural materials are highly sustainable due to their rapid growth and renewability. More importantly, they are durable, sturdy, and long-lasting, so they won’t need to be replaced all the time.
Choose brands that utilize sustainable packaging solutions like our Veganbottle.
When choosing grooming products, look for those packaged without the use of plastic. Choose eco-friendly packaging like paper, aluminum, or glass. Or even better, choose plastic-free, compostable packaging options like Veganbottle made from 100% raw compostable materials like sugar cane, flax, hemp, reed, bagasse, shells, reeds, seeds, kernels, wood fibers. All Doglyness dog shampoos and conditioners come packaged in Veganbottles, where the bottles, caps, and labels can all be industrially composted! We are commited to being plastic-free in all aspects of our operations, from production to packaging, to shipping.
Beware of Greenwashing
In your pursuit of sustainable dog grooming, you will undoubtedly come across many examples of greenwashing. Greenwashing refers to the practice of presenting products as environmentally friendly when they may not be. With the increasing demand for eco-friendly solutions, some companies resort to misleading marketing tactics.
To protect yourself from greenwashing, educate yourself about common misleading tactics and become an informed consumer. We actually have an entire blog post about how to identify greenwashing in the pet care industry. Reading labels thoroughly, researching brands, and seeking certifications from reputable organizations are crucial steps. Certifications from respected entities like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or cruelty-free endorsements from Leaping Bunny can serve as reliable indicators of a product's true sustainability.
Support Small Businesses
Supporting local businesses isn't only an economic consideration, it’s also a huge part of sustainable dog grooming. There is simply more care, consideration, and passion put into small businesses than larger overseas corporations. Small businesses often have smaller-scale operations and supply chains compared to large corporations. This can result in fewer transportation-related emissions, as products may be sourced and produced locally, reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance shipping.
Small businesses also have more control over their packaging choices. They are more likely to use minimal and eco-friendly packaging, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. They often focus on quality and craftsmanship, producing items designed to endure and reduce the need for frequent replacements. This is starkly different from the “disposable” culture that often occurs in larger corporations.
Support small businesses like Lisa Hart Grooming, one of our favs!
Utilize Sustainable Dog Grooming Tools
The tools you select for your dog grooming routine have far-reaching implications for sustainability. We mentioned the importance of avoiding plastic above, but there are other ways to ensure you’re using sustainable dog grooming toils. Opting for energy-efficient trimmers and clippers made from recycled materials supports waste diversion, keeping materials out of landfills while simultaneously decreasing the demand for new resources. The same principles apply to tools like dog rakes, dog shears, nail clippers, pin brushes, and slicker brushes. Materials like Japanese Stainless Steel with Rockwell hardness ratings of 54-56 will maintain their quality even after 100s of grooms!
Investing in quality tools made from sustainable materials may involve a slightly higher upfront cost, but it's an investment in both your pet's well-being and the environment. Higher-quality tools made from durable materials tend to outlast conventional alternatives, which helps reduce the frequency of replacements.
Adopt Sustainable Grooming Practices
Sustainability in dog grooming is not solely about product choices; it encompasses a holistic approach to pet care. Here are some sustainable dog grooming practices you can incorporate into your routine:
Composting Pet Hair: Instead of discarding shed dog hair, consider composting it. Pet hair is rich in nitrogen and can be added to your compost pile to enhance soil health and support plant growth. This practice closes the loop on waste by transforming a potential nuisance into a valuable resource for your garden.
Eco-Friendly Washing: When cleaning grooming tools, towels, bedding, and accessories, opt for natural detergents, free from toxic chemicals. These detergents are formulated to minimize their impact on aquatic ecosystems and water supplies when they’re inevitably rinsed down the drain. Also, opt to air-dry these items outside when possible, helping to reduce energy consumption.
Reusable Wipes: Single-use items contribute significantly to waste. Replace disposable wipes with reusable alternatives made from sustainable materials. These wipes effectively clean your dog's eyes, ears, paws, and other sensitive areas while significantly reducing your ecological footprint.
Implement These Sustainable Dog Grooming Tips
Take the pledge for a greener paw print! Every choice we make shapes the world our furry friends inherit. By embracing sustainable grooming practices, you commit to a brighter, cleaner future for your pets and the planet. Don't just groom—groom with purpose. Join our community of eco-conscious pet lovers today and make every grooming session a step towards a greener world.
Click here to find sustainable grooming products and get started!