“Green” Pet Ownership

happy family playing with dog on beachAu Naturel

Written by Nicole Bruder, Originally Published 08/11
There is so much information out today about being “ecofriendly”, 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 pet 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 little to no difference from one toy to the next other than the price tag. 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 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 purchase a plush toy for your beloved pup. You hand it off, and the first thing your dog 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. You could purchase plush toys but there is a plethora of other organic options. Try this site to get started: www.organicpetboutique.com. 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: Leashes, collars, clothing and other accessories do as well. For more shopping fun, visit www.Globaldognaturalpetproducts.com.

“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, www.careykindly. com. 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.

However, while there are many other alternatives on the market today, there is no need to rush out and buy anything if you would like to try the DIY method. Many of these products are easy enough to make using ingredients you may 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. (With tea tree oil, do not put directly on any surface; it must be diluted. Be sure floors are dry before allowing 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! You can read about Shark cleaning products, the brand I use, at www.Sharkclean.com.

We all want the best for our pets, and by making decisions like the ones listed above, you can get started creating a healthier environment for both you and your pet. 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.”
To learn more about environmentally friendly ideas, visit: www.amazon.com/ Pets-Gone-Green-Live-Eco-Concious/ dp/1593786468.

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