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Going green for healthy pets

by Nicole Bruder on August 31, 2011

in Pet Health, Pets

Many pet toys contain toxic chemicals. Organic toys are much better for their health.There is so much information out today about being “eco-friendly”, that sometimes it may feel overwhelming to think about changing your lifestyle to be green. Baby steps are the way to go, and beginning with your pets is a great way to start.

Organic Pet Toys: Do They Matter?
We’ve all been at the pet store and walked past the organic pet toys, and I’m sure many of us thought surely there’s no difference in one toy to the next except price. So we place that adorable plush toy in our cart, breeze past the organics, and continue to the pet food aisle. If everyone is buying these traditional toys, why do these organics still exist?

Consider that the majority of pet toys are plush items: many are made from cotton. Cotton is a wonderful natural fiber—strong and resilient—but unfortunately its production is not well regulated. This means there are many things in conventionally grown cotton you wouldn’t want near your family.

Let’s say, you have a dog, and that plush toy that you bought earlier is for her. You hand it off, and the first thing your pup does is grab it with her teeth, exposing her to pesticides (used in the cotton’s production) as well as chemical dyes (used in the toy’s coloring process). Additionally, cotton is normally bleached before it is dyed; dioxin is produced during this process. Now, we have another toxin to add to the list, but there’s one more “ingredient” I forgot to mention, and this will shock you: formaldehyde.

Luckily, there are so many organic options available nowadays. And don’t just stop at organic plush: all pets are different when it comes to toys. Try Organic Pet Boutique to get started. While you might have to search multiple websites to find that perfect toy, you and your pet will love the end result! Don’t forget that toys aren’t the only items that come in contact with your pet’s skin and mouth: remember leashes and collars, and check out Global Dog Natural Pet Products.

“Green” Cleaning
Giving your pet organic toys is just one “green” step. Consider using natural cleaning products. Traditional products are filled with dangerous ingredients: neurotoxins, carcinogens, allergens, and other things you wouldn’t want in your home. Not only can these products harm if accidentally ingested or through prolonged skin-contact, they can eventually cause many problems for our environment. Natural products are an environmentally friendly, cost-efficient alternative to those potentially lethal cleaners.

Many of us might think that our pets will never ingest these products because we always store them out of reach. Unfortunately this isn’t the case because how do dogs investigate? They not only sniff, they lick! What happens when our pets lick the floor, or eat food off of it? Those chemicals and toxins go directly into our animals. And the danger doesn’t just lie with direct contact. Bleach is quite dangerous when inhaled and can cause itching, loss of fur, internal damage, and respiratory issues. Incorporating green cleaning products into your household will benefit everyone’s health.

My team at Lucy Goo Pet Sitting (also known as “Team Goo”) likes to use Carey Kindly products.  I discovered them at a local farmer’s market here in Houston (buying local is another way to be green) and they are wonderful, quite effective, and smell great…most of all they aren’t harmful to pets.

Make your own inexpensive cleaning products
While there are many alternatives on the market today, there is no need to rush out and buy anything. Many of these products are easy enough to make using ingredients you either already have around the house, or that you can purchase with ease.

For example, tea tree oil is a strong antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. You can mix one quart of water for every fifteen drops of tea-tree oil in a spray bottle, and have an excellent cleanser to use for general housecleaning. Another great way to clean is to mix a solution of one part water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle, and use it as both a disinfectant and deodorizer. While the water added should dilute the vinegar, keep in mind that you don’t want to use this solution on marble or limestone surfaces just in case there’s still a high acidity. (And with tea tree oil, do not put directly on any surface; it must be diluted. Be sure floors are dry before you let your pets on them.)

I’ve shared two wonderful recipes for small-batch cleaners, but what can we do about cleaning those floors? Consider a steamer mop. You put water into the mop’s cup, heat to steam, and clean the floors with it. I also put in a few drops of organic essential oil to make the floors smell heavenly! Shark cleaning products is the brand I use.

We all want the best for our pets, and by making decisions like the ones listed above, we’ll be headed in the right direction. So when it comes to the health of your pet, feel free to “go green.” Your dog will thank you with a thousand (non-toxic) kisses, and your cat will probably just look at you knowingly. What’s she thinking, you wonder: “it’s about time.”

Photo credit: stock photo

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Beth September 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Great article! To those readers taking the steps to alter their lifestyles to protect their pets, don’t forget to alter your pets’ lifestyles as well. I work with Ark Naturals, which has tons of natural pet wellness products. Flip the bag or bottle over and you’ll actually recognize the ingredients in them!

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