kin + kind brand logo in yellow with illustration of dog and cat under brand name

Good for your pet and good for the planet: Why natural pet care is better.

Last Updated: April 22, 2021

kin+kind’s Thomas Ling tells Grove how his love of animals and sustainability led him to the pet care industry; the importance of choosing natural, organic, and safe ingredients; and three easy ways to pamper your pet that won’t break the bank.

All images courtesy of kin+kind.

The pet care pro

kin+kind's founder Thomas Ling and his dog Burke

Thomas Ling, principal of the natural pet care line kin+kind, has always had a love for animals — he grew up with 21 pet rabbits and a menagerie of other furry friends after all — but he never thought he’d have a career in the pet care industry, let alone be a leader in the natural and organic product space. In fact, Ling attended Harvard Law School and was a practicing attorney for over a decade before his childhood love for animals and interest in sustainability came knocking again on his door.

“This started as a side project,” Ling said of kin+kind’s beginnings. “At the time I was working full time as a lawyer, but I really wanted to explore some of my passions for sustainable products and pets.”

What started out as a small passion project in the basement of a pet store turned into an entire line of pet grooming and wellness products ranging from dietary supplements to flea and tick prevention to coat and skin care.

How are kin+kind's pet products natural?

Image of 5 containers of pet supplements with ingredients and powder spilling out

But kin+kind isn’t just any ol’ dog shampoo. Every product in the kin+kind lineup uses natural, vegan (certified cruelty-free!) ingredients that are not only good for your pet but easy on the planet too — a purposeful and conscientious choice Ling and the rest of the team committed to from the very start.

“When we say natural, we mean things that are as [minimally] processed as possible, with ingredients that are as close to nature as possible,” Ling said, adding that the team feels strongly that natural isn’t just simply better but that it works better and is safer for pups and humans alike. Plus, according to Ling, using natural ingredients has environmental benefits and “minimizes our impact on the earth.”

As kin+kind continues to be a leader in the natural pet care industry, the brand is excited for the journey ahead, including releasing a few new products, and it is on its way to becoming a Certified B Corporation.

“This has just been a really exciting journey for us to learn more about what pet needs were,” said Ling. “As we grew our team, we brought in our own vet, we brought in our own chemist, and we continue to really innovate.”

3 must-have kin+kind products

While kin+kind offers an impressive array of dog and cat grooming and dietary products, Ling highlighted his three surprising best sellers that are great for any pet owner.

Image of corgi in grass getting sprayed with flea & tick spray

Bye-bye bugs

Plant power comes to the rescue in kin+kind’s Flea+Tick Prevent spray in lavender. The vet-formulated spray uses plant-based ingredients to repel nasty fleas and ticks, protecting pets from itchy bites and unwanted disease, without the use of harmful chemicals. Plus, it smells great!

Image of container of kin+kind's healthy poops supplement

Healthy gut

Sometimes we all need a little help when it comes to, you know, doing your duty. And the same goes for your pet. Luckily the USDA-certified organic Healthy Poops digestion supplement keeps things regular for dogs and cats with a well-balanced formula of soluble and prebiotic fiber, protease and digestive enzymes. And it tastes so good you may want some for yourself.

Image of chihuahua getting ear drops put in ear

Stink be gone

If your pup suffers from stinky, itchy ears, it could mean there’s nasty bacteria and yeast setting up shop in those adorably floppy ears. The organic Dog Ear Cleaner safely and naturally gets rid of waxy build up and odors. It’s free of alcohol (no stinging!) and water, which means no water will be left behind for stinky bacteria to come back.

What are good ways to pamper your pet?

We love our animals (they are our fur babies after all) and it’s nice to show them a little TLC. Luckily, you don’t have to book your dog a spa day or buy your cat a fancy new scratching post to show them you care.

Grove asked Ling how he says “I love you” to his pooch, and designated office dog, Burke — and it’s full of warm fuzzies.

Just me and my dog

“There's a million ways to pamper your pack, but the thing that they want the most is engagement,” said Ling. “They really want you to play with them. The things that I like to do the most with Burke is going for runs and going outside. Absolutely what your pet wants more than anything else is you.”

Positive reinforcement

“I'm a huge advocate of positive reinforcement for everything,” Ling said. “Dogs, in particular, they don't take well to negative reinforcement. It can momentarily stop a bad behavior, but they won't really absorb it.”

Make grooming fun

At the grooming level, things that you want to do and engage in with a pet (like paw care and brushing teeth) can be a real joy for them, especially if you introduce it to them early,” said Ling. “They like it, and it becomes fun. It's not a chore.”

kin+kind quick facts

Who founded kin+kind?

kin+kind was cofounded by Thomas and Janine Ling in 2015. The brother-sister team have always had a love of animals and wanted to make a safe, sustainable, natural alternative to pet grooming products that are accessible to all pet owners.

Where is kin+kind made?

The company is based in New York where every product is formulated, designed, mixed and shipped by employees paid a responsible, living wage.

Are kin+kind products safe?

All of kin+kind’s products are made with a “pets-first principle” in mind. That means only the highest-quality and safest ingredients are used, with no unnecessary or synthetic chemicals added ever, and dietary supplements are certified USDA organic. Plus, all products are either vet-formulated or recommended.

Does kin+kind give back?

Besides formulating products of the highest efficacy, kin+kind also works with and donates to local and national pet adoption agencies, and they are currently working on a program that follows adoption stories.

What is Grove Collaborative?

From natural household to personal care, everything at Grove is healthier for you and the planet — and works! We recommend monthly shipments and product refills that you can edit or move at any time. No monthly fees or commitments required.

Read more from Grove