Going green is all the rage these days, so why not consider getting - or making - your dog some eco-friendly accessories? Collars and leashes, in particular, are easy to find or put together yourself.
Eco-friendly does not have to mean ugly or simple.
On the contrary, it means that your dog's collar or leash is made from materials that are not harmful to the environment.
This ranges from recycled plastic to old sails or parachutes to hemp to too many things to list.
You have enough options to determine your own style and that of your pet.
If you are into DIY or arts and crafts, you can sew a collar out of just about anything.
For the really daring, you can add some needlework or embroidery of your choice.
Beads, old blue jeans, or any other accessories can be added to the design to really embellish it.
Before you get started, you should test a strip of the fabric or other material that you plan to use against your dog.
The color is important, but so is the width.
Feel free to take breaks as you go along to check out the gradual results of your efforts.
It is better to catch a mistake partway through instead of after you have finished the whole project.
Once you have settled on a style for a collar, you can craft a leash to mix or match.
You could even make holiday-themed collars and leashes, or different versions for different seasons, if you really want to spend some time at it.
It might take some work, but I guarantee that you will end up with something that no other dog or owner has, something that truly expresses you and your pet's unique relationship, or just something quirky and fun.
Another benefit of using alternative materials for a collar is that they present some favorable qualities when compared to the traditional nylon variety.
The main difference is comfort.
Organically grown materials like hemp and bamboo tend to adapt to the wearer, meaning that your dog will have a collar that fits just right, with a little stretch to it, but not enough to be able to get it off.
Of course, you also get to feel good about your earth-friendly choices.
But your dog can feel good too.
Many non-natural products contain chemicals that can irritate any allergies or sensitivities that your dog might have, or even cause health problems for you.
In most cases, this will not be an issue, but sometimes you can kill two birds with one stone by going for the eco-friendly collar or leash.
As an example, bamboo webbing is naturally anti-bacterial.
It also absorbs odors better than some other fabrics, but even if you prefer to recycle previously used materials, you will be reducing your carbon pawprint, as it were.
Designing and making a homemade dog collar is a great project to get the family involved in taking care of your dog as well, especially if you have kids around.
It is also a fun way to welcome a new pet into the group, and if each of your kids is responsible for one animal, then they can show it with a unique design that they can be proud of because they made it and because it is healthy.
Nylon and other types of dog collars are a valid choice.
But having the option of an eco-friendly collar for your dog that also offers entertainment and bonding is an idea worth considering.