Photo: What's your dog's eco-paw print?

Lindsay and Harper (named after the musician) at China Beach (Credit: Lindsay Coulter).

A family member of mine once called her Doberman a Doberperson. I guess that means dogs can have eco-paw prints too.

Modern Dog Magazine recently featured my story about "greening up" a dog lover's life. Ever thought of making your own dog shampoo? It's a simple way to reduce your pet's exposure to harmful chemicals (e.g. parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrance and dyes). And there's more you can do...

Using a safer dog shampoo with essential oils (like tea tree and citronella) can be part of your flea prevention program. It allows you to use the more potent stuff prescribed by your vet sparingly. It's also saved me money! Depending on the stink factor, I finish off my dog's bath routine with an apple cider vinegar rinse. Add 1 part apple cider vinegar to 5 parts water. Poor the solution over your dog after you shampoo and rinse. Be prepared for comments at the local dog park like "what do you feed him?". My local herbalist also makes an anti-flea essential oil blend, safe for both dogs and cats.

My dog is not a vegetarian. But there are smart ways to feed the canine in your life without making it a total meat-guzzler diet. Whether you're feeding raw food or dry kibble try to source organic, sustainable, hormone-free and locally raised ingredients. Organically grown food can be expensive but the beauty is you can grow some of it yourself. This year I grew my own kale and parsley to make my own dog veggie mix. Sourcing your dog food close to home is a great way to support your local economy and keep the food miles in check. If you're not sure where something is made or how they source their ingredients, don't be afraid to ask. Then vote with your dollar.

It wouldn't be an honest article about dogs if you didn't talk about poop. I purchase biodegradable dog poop bags. You can check with your town or city to see what they recommend. Some people even compost dog doo in their backyard — apart from the kitchen scraps, of course. I also say that dog lovers know every garbage bin location within a couple kilometers of their home. So, since you're on your way to the garbage anyways, grab other litter on your next walk!

Read the full article in Modern Dog Magazine.

Lindsay Coulter
Queen of Green

November 26, 2009

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Feb 01, 2015
7:24 PM

Given the population pressure exerted on the environment, why are dog ownership rates increasing? It is one of the most environmentally irresponsible things that people can do, given dogs do indeed have a significant negative eco-footprint, and unlike humans, there’s no possibility of one day contributing to the advancement of society via scientific/ medical/ environmental discoveries. Once dog ownership was concentrated amongst those with big yards/farms, now dog owners are pervasive in densely populated urban areas. This is regardless of environmental implications, or the quality of the life of the pet (apartment owners???). How about taxing dog owners to pay for the negative environmental consequences (anyone seen the state of dog-parks??) and encouraging people to contribute to charity to improve the living conditions of humans living in poverty instead of buying expensive dog food/ vets/ grooming etc?

Dec 02, 2009
9:52 AM

Love this kind of sensible suggestions with a bit of humor…keep ‘em coming!

Nov 30, 2009
11:52 AM

Great tips Lindsay! A good way to introduce people to the concept of their pet’s eco-pawprint.

People can also help salmon (or other fish) when they walk their dogs:

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