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Healthy Pets, Green Pets

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Planet Friendly Ways to Keep Pups and People Healthy and Happy

One of the things I have been researching lately is green puppy care. We don’t actually have a puppy yet but hope to get one someday soon. I grew up with dogs but I never much considered green issues and I pretty much let them play with or eat what you could buy at big box stores. Now of course I know from having children that much of what mainstream America is peddling is unsafe and it is also true of products for pets. When you have pets you want to avoid harsh chemicals in your home, unhealthy “junk” dog food, and puppy toys with chemical nasties. The planet friendly pet offerings these days have increased greatly. You just have to wade through it all…

Cleaning Up After Your Pet

This is my big issue with pets and the reason why we have not had one in a very long time. I cannot stand dog hair and pet messes. So I decided that when we do get a dog it will have to be one with short hair and no undercoat. I am also putting this off until my kids are older and able to help with care and cleanup. We are getting there but at least we have the safe, green cleaning part covered. We use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for most cleaning, including cleaning our carpets. We use that and vinegar for our hard floors in the kitchen, along with a spray mop. When we have puppy messes using these methods will get the job done just fine without toxic cleaning products and we can sprinkle baking soda over spots so that they won’t smell.

Avoid Conventional Pet Food

This is a billion dollar industry and if we are to believe the deceptive advertising and photos on pet food bags then we might think our dogs are getting choices cuts of meat and other nutrient dense foods with every meal. In actuality the pet food industry is just an extension of the people food industry and pets get the “waste” that is unfit for human consumption. Many people are now trying to avoid anything produced within our nasty factory farming industry and yet this is what many choose to feed their pets. If we are eating that stuff we are eating the worst the industry has to offer, and our pets are eating the worst of the worst. Is it any wonder that many of the dominant pet food companies have been involved in pet food recalls that sickened and/or killed many pets? I think not.

Healthy, organic, raw pet food will help your dog with skin ailments, allergies, immunity issues, digestive disorders, and better overall health. Some good brands include Paw Naturaw, Primal Pet Foods, and the pastured raw pet foods from Tropical Traditions. Those options are all pricey but I am not sweating this because dogs do best on a primal diet like what we eat in this house already so we will likely make our own dog food. Dogs should NOT be eating dog food with grains, corn, wheat, and rice. They are carnivores, not vegetarians.

Natural Flea Control

If this becomes an issue make sure to look for a natural flea control option. Conventional flea collars and products have lots of chemical nasties in them. They are not safe for animals and not for the humans exposed to them either. Instead try cleaning and vacuuming often and launder pet bedding weekly. Use a flea comb daily and bathe them often with a natural shampoo like Cloud Star’s Buddy Wash. It has coconut oil and essential oils. You can also make your own flea collar by applying a carrier oil (like almond oil or neem) mixed with some essentials oils (cinnamon, rosemary, clove, peppermint) to their existing collar. You can make a spray by mixing some neem oil with some castile soap and spray it on their coat when fleas rear their ugly little heads. A DIY flea powder can be made using crushed herbs like rosemary, fennel, and eucalyptus. What you can make at home will likely be safer and more cost effective too. Other ideas include keeping grass cut short and buying nematodes at a pet store or garden store to reduce the flea population. There are plenty of natural options beyond the chemical ones you find at your vet’s office.

Planet Friendly Dog Toys

Just as with kids toys, lots of pet toys have BPA, PVC, lead, dyes, and other nasties. Instead of those buy toys made of natural rubber, rope, hemp, and organic cotton. The Simply Fido Bamboo Plush Rope Dog Toy is adorable and comes in many designs and colors. Also West Paw Design has many eco toys for dogs that use their Zogoflex material. It is plastic but it is also fully recyclable and built to last for as long as it is serving as a dog toy. These toys do not contain any known sources of lead, cadmium, mercury, latex, phthalates, hormones, Bisphenol A, or asbestos.

Reader Lysa submittedd this tip in regards to greener shew toys/food:

We give our dog naturally fallen deer antlers as chew toys. We’re lucky to have them available naturally but know that they can be purchased at reputable animal supply shops (feed type shops, not pet stores.) They are very nutritious and last a long time.

These are some important issues to consider when you have a family dog or plan to get one. For more ideas check out my article on Green Pet Products and Supplies. It has ideas for green bedding, bamboo collars, and eco cat condos. Enjoy and hug those puppies!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

9 Comments on Healthy Pets, Green Pets

  • Papilion CPST

    I alternate feeding our two Beagles homemade food with organic-free range meet and veggies as well as with the dry food Orijen. I did a lot of research before deciding on a food and it kills me to feed them “dog food”, however as a full time student (plus Mom, wife and general CEO of this house) I couldn’t keep up with their appetites (twice a day, times two dogs and each recipe made about 9 portions total)…

  • Anonymous

    What do you recommend for cleaning up after the dog outside (i.e. poop bags) for those of us in urban areas?

    • There are little bio bags you can buy for parks and such. We will likely use these.

    • There are little bio bags you can buy for parks and such. We will likely use these.

  • Karen

    What about tick control?  We are considering getting a dog in the next year or so.  One of my main concerns is Lyme Disease.  We live in New England, and deer ticks are around.  My biggest concern is the dog bringing live ticks into the house and then the ticks crawling onto the kids.  We do daily checks during tick season, but I am still really nervous — I know several people who have had Lymes.  I would probably have a garlic spray done on the yard, but would love ideas on how to keep ticks off the dog in general.  Any thoughts from anyone with experience would be much appreciated. 


    • Karen, we went through this many years ago. We got rid of the problem by scouring our dogs each night for ticks (picking them off) and vacuuming several times a day. We also made sure they stayed in our yard area (where there was little vegetation) and did not allow them to go out into the brush anymore (we lived on a mountain). It was labor intensive and inconvenient but it got rid of them. Also Rose Geranium essential oil repels ticks so put some of that in a carrier oil and treat them accordingly. Hope that helps.

      • Karen

        Can you use Rose Geranium on your kids as well?  Haven’t been able to find any natural remedies for mosquitos/ticks.  It is so scarey!

        • Not sure. We have never protected the humans in the family against ticks. Whenever we got one, which was rare, we just pulled it off and went about our business. 

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