Planet Ark News

Reduce Your Pet's Paw Print

Date: 19-Aug-15
Author: Emily Donnelly

A poo culprit © Planet Ark

Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, it doesn’t matter. Pets can have a significant paw print and here are a few ideas that can help reduce it.

Alternative Toys

Take my fat cat for example, like many cats her needs cannot be satisfied by her humble human’s (that is I) attempt at entertaining her. Like a queen, she will not be told what to do and what to play with. What I have learnt from owning a cat is not to waste money on buying plastic toys that squeak and look amazing. Because:

  1. She would rather play with the cap from that bottle of wine you opened the night before and
  2. if the toy is lucky enough to be played with, it is destroyed in a mere matter of minutes.

But seriously, the caps or cork from nearly any kind of bottle will suffice as a toy. I kid you not, it provides hours of entertainment.

Dogs, like cats (even if they won’t admit it), are just as easily entertained. I asked the office dog owners what they do for toys for their pooches, and a barrage of creative alternatives came streaming into my inbox.

An old, smelly shoe (and I mean old and smelly), is a great option for a teething puppy who eyes off your new shoes with lust and longing. The old shoe can also be used as a chew/ treat dispenser if you hang it off something (like a car port), just high enough so the dog has to manipulate it with their mouth and paws to get a reward for not ruining your good shoes.

Putting a scoop of peanut butter or vegemite in a few toilet paper rolls is a great way to keep a dog busy, because they will do anything to get it out and is a great way to sharpen your dog’s concentration. I’ve recently witnessed my friend’s dachshund shove her long nose into a toilet paper roll in her attempt to lick the spread from the inside. Alas, her mission was unsuccessful as the toilet paper roll became stuck on her nose (the silly old sausage). Moments later she had it off her nose again and had managed to get to the tasty treat inside. She loved it!


Choosing eco-friendly bedding doesn’t have to be expensive. Especially when pets prefer to sleep on your bed, it’s practically free! Just kidding… Growing up my family dog (Waffles her name was), slept on an old coat that my sister and I found in our dress up box (mum’s closet). Mum wasn’t too thrilled at the discovery of the resident cocker spaniel sleeping on her coat and it was swiftly replaced with an old pillow case, which was “just as comfortable”.

Pet Poo - What To Do?

I will mainly refer to dogs for this conundrum, because cats are #BOSS at looking after themselves in that department. Our fellow furry, four-legged friends however… not so much.

Rather than using new plastic bags for cleaning up after your pup, give bread, cereal and old shopping bags a go instead. Another alternative for when you go on your walks (because that’s always the time they decide to do their business), is a bio-degradable and flushable PVA bag. They are made from material that the dissolvable dishwashing tablets come in. 

Another cool thing I stumbled upon was the Pet Poo Composter by Tumbleweed. The PPC composts pet poo fast and gives you a really rich, organic fertiliser for soil. It’s non-invasive, promises no mess or odour and the final product helps plant growth. A really cool concept actually, and if you have a dog that poos a lot (yes labrador, I’m looking at you), then this is probably something worth looking in to. 

I hope this story provides you with a few ideas on how to reduce your pet’s paw print or pass them on to a friend who has a pet. We all love our animals, they are family. It’s really worth looking at the impact they can have because we are the only ones who can help reduce it! 

And with that, I leave you with a guilty dogs compilation:  

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Emily                                             Donnelly

Author: Emily Donnelly

Emily worked in Planet Ark's media team from 2014 to 2015 after working in technology, business and corporate communications for Ogilvy PR and Howoth Communications in Sydney. As someone who is passionate about the environment, politics, traveling and food, Emily loves helping to engage Australian media in Planet Ark's essential campaigns.

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