Ever thought about how your pet affects the environment? Sian Kendall has. She set up The Green Dog Company so we thought we’d have a chat.
Let’s start with your background and how you came to set up The Green Dog Company?
We try to live a green lifestyle ourselves, for example, we try to buy organic products that are produced locally wherever possible. We found that although there were products natural and eco friendly pet products available they were difficult to find and there was no ‘one stop shop’. After talking to other dog owners we discovered that we weren’t the only ones who would like these products to be easily available and all in one place. So after a lot of research to find manufacturers and products we would be happy to sell The Green Dog Company was born!
Well, simply because dogs are what we know best. As dog owners ourselves we understand the sort of products that are actually going to be practical and helpful to other dog owners. I wouldn’t sell any product on the site that I wouldn’t be 100 per cent happy to use myself on my own dogs.
Are dogs different to other pets in terms of greening up?
I don’t think dogs are particularly any more or less green than other pets but there are lots of opportunities to be greener. There’s the food and treats they eat, the collars and leads they wear, the beds they sleep on and the shampoos they are bathed with to name a few.
Are people educated about pets and the environment?
Because eco pet products haven’t been widely available many people aren’t aware of the options out there and haven’t considered the ways that they can minimize the impact of their pets on the environment. We hope that The Green Dog Company will also help to educate people about ways to be a greener pet owner. We will be publishing a series of articles on the website very soon on a range of green topics to help people make informed choices as dog owners.
Is having a pet bad for the environment?
Definitely not! Infact, in many pets can be good for the environment. Chickens for example are great ‘green’ pets. They can be kept organically, their waste can be used as a natural fertiliser and of course they produce lots of lovely eggs to eat which don’t require any packaging! Most pets have a very minimal impact on the environment, it is as owners that we often increase that impact through the products we choose to buy for our pets. Dogs encourage a very green past time which is of course lots of walking!! A great opportunity to enjoy the natural environment around us.
If I was buying a dog, is there any type, breed or place to buy from that’s green?
Well I’m not sure there is a greener type or breed of dog but i would highly recommend considering rehoming a dog from a rescue centre before looking anywhere else and then I guess you could say you would have a recycled dog!
What’s been the toughest area of pet ownership to ‘green up’?
I guess the toughest area to green up is probably the rather unpleasant matter of dog waste. There’s no getting away from it, but there are several ways of disposing of it and it can be quite confusing. Probably the most eco-friendly options are either to bag it in biodegradable poo bags and bin it in designated bins or your household waste bin where it will be taken to landfill and biodegrade naturally or using a specially designed wormery to produce compost for shrubs and trees or, if you have a large enough garden, you can bag it and bury it. Either way you really must collect it carefully as dog feaces can cause some very nasty illnesses in humans. We stock Onya Dump It Bags which are handy little bags to clip on your lead and come with 100 biodegradable poo bags to fill them with. Alternatively you can fill them with treats, either way you will always have them Onya.
I notice you also have slippers on the site – presumably for owners. Is going through their pets a way to reach owners about the environmental message?
The slippers are actually for dogs – not to wear though! We hope that the dogs will prefer this loofah version to chew rather than their owners favorite pair! Most owners care so much about their pets that by getting them to first consider the immediate impact of some less ‘green’ products on their dogs it could help them to see the wider picture and consider the impact of not only their pets but themselves on the environment as a whole.
What’s your most popular product?
Our hemp collars and leads have been our best selling product to date. They are made of natural hemp and dyed with natural vegetable based dyes. Hemp is naturally hypo allergenic so great for dogs with more sensitive skins and actually gets softer the more it is worn so is really comfortable for the dogs. The leads are also lightweight and comfortable to hold. We will soon be launching a new, wider range of colours in the collars and leads.
Are there any benefits for the dog?
Eco friendly products are particularly good for more sensitive dogs or those with allergies. Hemp for example is naturally hypo allergenic, our range of shampoos contain no Sodium Lauryl Sulphate which can irritate the skin of humans and dogs and our range of organic pet food and treats contain no artificial colours or flavorings and are easily digestible.
What pets do you have?
We have two dogs, a five year old Springer Spaniel called Rosie and a four month old Cocker Spaniel called Bracken. They both enjoy testing all of our products! We also have two Haflinger ponies and two Lincolnshire Buff chickens.
What’s next for The Green Dog Company? Green cats?
We would very much like to develop The Green Dog Company to include green cats and perhaps other green animals too. We are very keen to hear from anyone who has suggestions of particular products they would like us to sell.
I will be attending dog shows and other events across the East Midlands so if you see us at an event near you please come and say hi, have a browse of our products and treat you four legged friend to an organic dog treat on us!