Eco-friendly pet products at The Happy Beast

Our Favorite Eco-friendly Pet Products

As part of our ongoing efforts toward greater sustainability, we’re always searching for the best environmentally-friendly pet products. After rigorous product testing (thanks Loki!) and careful consideration, we’re super excited to be expanding our selection of eco-friendly products, including toys made from natural and renewable materials, durable bowls that can be composted, and collars made from recycled water bottles. Read more about some of our favorite brands or stop by the store to check them out for yourself. We’re sure that your pet (and the planet) will thank you.

Throughout August, you can also save 10% off Planet Dog, EarthDog, Aussie Naturals, Lupine and CycleDog!


  • Beco Pets
    • These guys use natural, recyclable or renewable materials whenever possible. Their rubber toys are biodegradable and made from material that contains rice husks, which is a by-product of rice farming. Beco plush toys are also stuffed with material made from recycled plastic bottles.
  • Planet Dog
    • Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff toys are 100% recyclable and made in the USA from 20-100% recycled material. The company uses minimal packaging to reduce waste and emissions from shipping. Since their toys are so durable, they also rarely need to be replaced, which means less waste in landfills.
  • Aussie Naturals
    • This great company reduces their carbon “pawprint” by using natural materials like jute, wool, cotton, coconut fiber, natural gum rubber and leather.
  • CycleDog
    • Another favorite, CycleDog collects used bicycle tires from around the country and re-purposes them into super tough toys that squeak and float. That’s some amazing up-cycling!


  • LupinePet Eco Collars
    • These stylish collars are made from recycled plastic bottles and are amazingly soft! The collars are machine-washable and durable, but if anything happens to yours, Lupine will replace it for free – no questions asked!
  • Earthdog Hemp Collars
    • Earthdog chose hemp because it requires less water than any other fiber crop and the plants improve soil health and absorb CO2 during photosynthesis. That’s some powerful stuff – kinda like these collars!


  • BecoBowl
    • The biodegradable BecoBowl is made from natural bamboo resin, which means that these bowls will stand up to dogs and the dishwasher for years to come. When it comes time to replace your bowl, just toss it in the compost bin instead of the landfill.

Poo Bags

  • Earthrated Poo Bags
    • Dog waste is an environmental hazard, so it’s important for us to clean up after our dogs. This almost always requires plastic bags, so we searched for the most responsible ones. We like Earthrated’s Poo Bags because they contain EPI, a chemical that breaks down plastic in the landfill. If you live in a city that accepts pet waste for compost, try their vegetable starch-based biodegradable bags.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats: Benefits & Risks | The Happy Beast

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats: Benefits and Risks

Keeping cats indoors has become our cultural norm only in the last 20 years, and as a result of this, cats are living longer. However, it is not always the easiest decision, nor the right decision for every cat. The question that has always been in the back of my mind regarding outdoor cats is, “Does a longer life mean a fuller life?”  I think the answer to that question likely depends on the cat and the living circumstances.

Benefits of the Indoors:

  • Safety from cars, fights and injury from wildlife or dogs
  • Longer life expectancy
  • More domesticated- Many say that cats become more “domesticated” when kept indoors
  • Protect wild birds
  • Avoid risks from poisons and toxins

Benefits of the Outdoors:

  • Reduced behavioral issues like unwanted scratching and urination
  • Reduced aggression towards humans and other household pets
  • Reduced emotional stress due to environmental stimuli
  • “Barn” and “working” cats help keep rodent populations down

Keeping cats indoors is by far the most common sentiment regarding the responsibilities of cat guardianship. Life expectancies have greatly increased because of the reduced risks of traffic accidents, fighting, injury, and infection. A major consideration for keeping cats indoors is safety.

Attitudes about “outdoor vs. indoor” cats is influenced by our culture, both macro and micro. For instance our “national” attitude towards cats is to keep them indoors, whereas our “neighborhood” culture may be to allow them outdoors.

Confining a cat to the indoors can guarantee their safety, but it also restricts their natural instincts to hunt, mark their territory, and explore. As a result of this confinement we see more behavioral problems with indoor cats than with outdoor cats.

It is my personal opinion that not all cats are well suited for indoor life. Those cats that are not well suited for the indoors will find other undesirable ways to express their biological needs, such as aggression towards others, spraying, scratching, and inappropriate urination/defecation.

We all know that an indoor cat will likely have a longer life, but I don’t believe this necessarily means a fuller life. We tend to project our own desires on to our animals, and I am no different. I look at my cats and when I think about that choice they would make for themselves, I feel that they would take the risk because I can’t imagine living my life solely indoors. I crave the outdoors and it’s an essential part of living a balanced life.

So here’s how I will break it down: For those who choose to keep their cats indoors I will provide a list of ways to keep your cats well balanced and happy. And for those who choose to let their cats outdoors I will provide a list of ways to keep your cats safe.

Keeping Indoor Cats HAPPY!

  1. PLAY! Play is so important for allowing your cat to express their natural instincts to hunt and explore. Interactive toys such as laser pointers, “chaser” poles, and treat dispensing toys provide both physical and mental stimuli.
  2. Scratching posts allow your cat to “mark their territory.” Provide different types of scratching options, i.e. sisal, corrugated cardboard, and cat trees made from real wood and place them in several different areas of your house.
  3. Provide options to climb, jump, and perch. Cat trees, shelves, and window perches give your cat the ability to exercise and give them a safe zone to observe their environment.
  4. Playmate: Companion animals can provide social interaction that can be beneficial as long as the animals are provided with enough space and resources and their personalities are well suited for one another.
  5. Treasure hunt- When you are at work or gone for extended periods of time, think about hiding treats around the house. This is a fun game that will engage your cat both mentally and physically.

Keeping Outdoor Cats SAFE!

  1. Cat enclosures and cat-proof fencing- enclose a window or porch. Cat proof your yard with angled fence attachments that prevent your cat from jumping out of your yard. Check out and
  2. Take your cat for a walk! Cat harnesses can be a super fun way to spend time with your cat and give your cat a safe way to access the outdoors. Remember the key to success is to let your cat walk you!
  3. Outdoor time should be permitted during daylight hours only, and only when you are home to supervise.
  4. Make sure your cat is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations.
  5. Train your cat to come when you call them…. yes, it’s possible!

In summary, I think it’s important to understand the needs of your cat on an individual level and to provide for those needs accordingly. Not every situation is black and white. Use your own best judgement and make the decision that’s right for your cat.

Our Journey Toward Greater Sustainability (Part 1) - Making a Pawsitive Impact

Our Journey Toward Greater Sustainability (Part 1) – Making a Pawsitive Impact

We’re excited to announce that we’ve started working with Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) to conduct a sustainability audit and provide recommendations to help us measure and improve our use of energy and water resources while reducing our overall waste stream. Like all PACE Partner businesses, at The Happy Beast, we’re committed to supporting a strong local economy, implementing environmentally sustainable practices, and demonstrating leadership in our community. We’re extremely proud to have already achieved our water usage certification, but we’re still working toward our energy reduction and waste diversion goals. We’re including a list of the steps we’re taking below, but please let us know if you have any other ideas or suggestions. We want to share these goals and achievements with our customers at every step and we always welcome your feedback.Partners for a Clean Environment | The Happy Beast

If you’d like to to learn more about what sustainability steps you can take for your business or home (and what rebates may be available) please contact PACE or Eco-Cycle for more information.


The Happy Beast: Steps to PACE Certification
(Audit conducted on May 15, 2015)

  • Water: CERTIFIED
    • Install low-flow faucet and dog wash sprayers: COMPLETE
    • Install additional drain screens for dog washes: COMPLETE
    • Install water efficient toilet: COMPLETE
    • Install dual-flush toilet conversion kit: Pending
  • Energy: Work-in-Progress
    • Update thermostat programming: COMPLETE
    • Use smart power outlet strips: COMPLETE
    • Use sleep mode for all computers: COMPLETE
    • Install Energy Star certified washer and dryer: COMPLETE
    • Upgrade all remaining lighting to LEDs: Pending
    • Install occupancy sensors in bathrooms: Pending
    • Upgrade to energy-efficient water heater: Pending
  • Waste: Work-in-Progress
    • Establish composting and recycling, including packaging film plastics: COMPLETE
    • Provide reusable shopping bags and $.10 bag credits (stop by the store to get yours!): COMPLETE
    • Track monthly waste stream (recycling, compost, plastics, and trash): Pending
Pet Food Safe Handling Tips | The Happy Beast

Pet Food Safe Handling Tips

Amidst the FDA’s testing assignment of raw pet foods, we’ve heard more questions from customers lately who are concerned about pathogens and pet food safe handling tips. Pathogens can show up in all types of food, but by using safe-handling practices when preparing, serving, and storing your animal’s food, you can minimize risk and keep everyone safe!

Note: Your dog may lick his bowl clean. He may even be an expert at cleaning your dishes! Do NOT mistake your dog’s tongue for an appropriate cleaning product! Also, resist the urge to let your dog lick your face and remember to wash your hands after he licks your fingers.

  1. Keep It Clean!
    Use hot, soapy water to clean food preparation surfaces like countertops and cutting boards. Follow up with a cleaning product that contains bleach, or make your own diluted bleach solution. Clean utensils and bowls with hot, soapy water too or run them through a dishwasher. You can also use a similar diluted bleach solution to clean utensils and bowls; we typically do this once a week. Let everything air-dry to reduce contamination.After handling pet food, always remember to wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least thirty seconds. Singing “Happy Birthday” to yourself while you wash is an easy way to make sure you’re being thorough.
  1. Get Those Cats Off the Counter
    Easier said than done, we know, but by trying to limit your cat’s exposure to the counter, you can reduce the chances of spreading bacteria from your kitty’s paws to your food preparation surface. Although it may sound like an impossible task, here are some tips for discouraging your cats from jumping on the counter:

    • Don’t make the counter fun or tasty – never feed your cats on the counter and try to move any objects of interest such as houseplants or flowers.
    • Experiment with placing a sheet or two tinfoil on your counters – many cats seem to hate the sound and texture and will avoid walking on those areas.
    • For hard-to-break counter habits, consider getting a PetSafe Ssscat Cat Spray Control System, which sprays a shot of harmless compressed air whenever a motion sensor is tripped by your cat.
  1. Choose stainless steel bowls
    Feeding your pet from a stainless steel bowl is great since stainless steel is much less likely to trap bacteria than plastic or ceramic and is easier to wash. We always keep a great selection at the store for both dogs and cats.
  1. Store Food Properly
    • Raw food should be kept in the freezer and then defrosted in the refrigerator until meal time. Stainless steel fridge containers are less common, but a plastic storage container will work just fine – it’s really the feeding bowls that should be stainless steel. We recommend designating a container with a lid specifically for defrosting pet food.
    • When finding an ideal container, you should also consider what type of raw food you typically feed. For example, some raw food meat patties can be more than 4 inches in diameter so you’ll want a container that’s wide enough.
    • Kibble, dehydrated, free-dried, and air-dried foods should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Many of these foods already include packaging with a resealable, interior plastic bag. This works fine, but for foods that don’t include resealable packaging, it’s best to transfer the entire contents to another, air-tight container.
    • Canned food should also be also be stored in a cool, dry place.
    • Always pay attention to expiration dates and discard any food that is no longer fresh.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Building and Sign

FDA Testing Safety of Raw Pet Food: What You Need to Know

At The Happy Beast, our focus is on incorporating as much fresh food into your animals’ diets as possible. For our own households, that means feeding primarily raw food. For our customers, it can mean feeding solely raw, dehydrated, or freeze-dried food or combining one of these fresher forms of food with some type of kibble (aka dry food).

Earlier this month (June 2015) the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) began an assignment of collecting and testing samples of raw pet foods for salmonella and listeria. The motivation for this assessment, according to the FDA’s website, is based on this statement: “FDA does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets; however, we understand that some people prefer to feed these types of diets to their pets.” You can read all the full article here:

This is not the first time the safety of raw pet food has been put under a magnifying glass, and surely these types of investigations will continue as the market for minimally-processed pet food expands. As raw pet food feeders ourselves, we actually think these types of assessments are good for the industry. However, rather than focusing on the “fear factor,” we think it’s important to highlight the relevant risk, especially when compared to the human foods that we eat every day.

Safe handling of pet food is important to the health of you and your animals.

The incidences of recalls due to pathogens are no more common in pet foods than in foods intended for humans. In the last year, two dog kibbles and three raw dog food products were recalled for salmonella or listeria contamination. In the same time period in the human food world, there have been at least forty recalls on multiple products for salmonella and at least thirty-five for listeria. Recalled products included nuts, peanut butter, potato salad, ice creams, cheeses, dried oregano, even caramel apples. The fact is, pathogens can appear in lots of food products; not just raw food for pets. The FDA publishes a complete list of recalled products for humans and animals, which you can find on their website:

Here’s the good news: The companies that make raw, dehydrated, and freeze-dried foods for animals intend their products to be fed uncooked. They are committed to quality control, batch testing, and safe handling. Learn more about the safety procedures used by the brands found in our store by visiting their individual websites. Just click on the individual food manufacturer logos under the “Brands We Carry” section on our “Products” page.

You can also stop by the store or read our blog post on “Pet Food Safe Handling Tips” for more information on safely feeding your animal any type of pet food (raw, freeze-dried, canned, kibble, etc.)