Thursday, July 17, 2014

Natural teething solutions for your green puppy!

Awww....puppy teeth.

They are cute, but they are sharp. And just like little two leggers, puppies go through teething too!

Dogs have two sets of teeth. The first set are  28 baby teeth, which will eventually be replaced by 42 permanent adult teeth. Baby, or puppy teeth, begin to come in at about 2-3 weeks old. Adult teeth begin replacing the baby teeth at about 12 weeks old and then your dog will most probably have all their adult teeth at 5-6 months.

At the 12 week mark, take this time to be sure and look for puppy teeth around your home and save them like we did with YoYo, when he was a puppy! You'll be glad you did.

A natural reaction to a puppy feeling his/her teeth coming in, and sometimes the pain that comes with it, is to mouth. And that means mouth anything that's around, from toys, to chews, to beds, to crates, to chair legs, to even your arms, hands and fingers.

They can't help it, they really need to alleviate that discomfort and chew.

So how can you help your green puppy through the teething phase? Here are our top three natural remedies that have helped our new addition, Rach (pronounced Rock) feel better and deal more easily with teething pain and discomfort.
  • Find an old clean 100% cotton wash cloth, wet it thoroughly, ring it out lengthwise and put it in the refrigerator in a BPA free container. Give it to your puppy to chew on when chewing becomes an issue.
  • Freeze a small puppy Kong with a finger wipe of organic plain yogurt or organic plain peanut butter and provide your puppy with a cool froze treat to safely chew.
  • And our favorite tip...wet your finger (with water or a little organic plain yogurt) and reach in your dog's mouth to massage his/her gums. This not only alleviates discomfort, but begins the training process for your dog to trust you in caring for their teeth.

Not only will these tips save furniture legs, your arms and fingers, they will help your puppy develop their teeth appropriately, while helping with any discomfort from teething that they may have.

Happy teething! Google

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Welcome Rach to the Raise A Green Dog Pack!

We have a very exciting announcement to make today!

This week we welcome Rach to the Raise A Green Dog pack, and one of our new hosts for Raise A Green Dog.

Rach (named after Sergei Rachmaninoff) is a 11 week old, sheltie/cattle dog mix, adopted from the Eastern Herding Dog Rescue in Richmond VA, and new brother to four-legged RAGD hosts Johann (YoYo) and Gracie.

In the coming days, weeks and months, we will bringing you lots of information on how to not only Raise A Green Dog, but Raise A Green Puppy, too.

We'll cover everything from cleaning, chewing, potty training, positive training methods, teething, yard and lawn care, and keeping your puppy healthy and safe, indoors and out.

So stay tuned, and be sure and leave a comment welcoming Rach!

Google

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How to clean your carpet the healthy way for your dog!

Last week we shared information about how dangerous the toxic chemicals are that some professional carpet cleaning companies use and how they may affect your dog. If you haven't read that post yet, we highly recommend it!

Today we are going to discuss healthy ways you can clean your carpets to keep those nasty toxic chemicals out of your home and away from your dog so they can live a happier, healthier life and help the environment at the same time.

Dirty carpets are a staple at our house. We've got the mud from the yard around our cabin, and we also have the occasional hairball cough up from one of our senior kittie bros, and don't forget the spills, yep Mum spills stuff now and then.

So how do we recommend you keep your carpets cleaner and clean your carpet for the health of your dog? Here are our top ideas to keep your carpet clean, smelling fresh and free from bacteria.
  1. Place doormats at the entrance (outside and inside) to your home and encourage the humans to wipe their feet. You can also purchase wonderful mats that help soak up the muck from dog's paws too or do what we do...place old cotton towels at the door for the dogs to stand on for a few extra seconds! This tactic can reduce the dirt and debris coming into your home by at least one-half!
  2. Have your humans remove their shoes when they come inside. Mum never wears her shoes inside our cabin, she's more of a sock person. And that helps reduce lots of dirt and debris in our cabin.
  3. Vacuum often, at least 2-3 times per week. Keeping up on the vacuuming helps reduce a lot of dirt. We like our Dyson, it sucks up superbly, and has a HEPA filter to reduce the dust coming back into the room.
  4. Clean up spills and oopsies as quickly as posible to prevent staining. Start with just plain water on a white towel and dab, dab, dab. If plain water doesn't do the trick add a little white vinegar 1-3 solution (spot test first) and use that to dab. Never rub as it could damage the carpet fibers. For other stains like red, use club soda; for wax or gum use an ice cub to harden and then scrape off; and for greasy stains use baking soda and let sit overnight then proceed with the vinegar/water solution.
  5. For overall cleaning of carpets you can utilize a steam cleaner (rented or purchased) but remember to only use plain water, never the chemical cleaners that sometime come with the machine. We like the new HAAN MultiforcePlus SS22A that was graciously provided to us free of charge for review from the great folks at HAAN, our newest Raise A Green Dog Partner! Just be sure to do this on a non-humid day when you can have the windows open and let the carpet dry more quickly and naturally, to prevent mold and mildew.
  6. To keep carpets fresh smelling, you can sprinkle baking soda (keep pets in another room while you do this, so they don't breath it in) all over the carpet, leave for about 15 minutes and then vacuum.
  7. Use a green, safe, healthy, eco-friendly carpet cleaning company. If time is an issue you can call on a green, eco-friendly, healthier carpet cleaning company. Just be sure that you know exactly what solutions they may be using on your carpet when evaluating the company. A good quality company will be completely forthright in sharing information about their solutions, and you can then look up each individual ingredient on EWG.org and insert the specific chemical into the search box to receive toxicity or non-toxicity information to that particular product.
Happy cleaning!!!

Images:
Christopher Woo
Sarah McKagen Google

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Welcome Wondercide as our newest Raise A Green Dog Partner!

Oh the ticks are really bad up here on our mountain this year! So we were ever so happy that the nice folks at Wondercide decided they wanted to join us and be our latest Raise A Green Dog partner!

Wondercide is a great company that provides chemical free, natural solutions for pets, people & property.

Stephanie Boone founded Wondercide in 2008 when her dog, Luna (an Akita- Husky mix), became deathly ill from pesticide poisoning.

Like millions of other dogs and cats, Luna was treated monthly with a traditional, vet prescribed flea & tick treatment. The product, with the active ingredient fipronil, was prescribed by various veterinarians over the course of Luna’s life. At age 10, Luna developed pesticide poisoning, with side effects ranging from seizures and chronic skin issues to liver and kidney failure.

She began researching pesticide formulations, the impact of traditional pesticides on human and animal health, regulatory laws, and federal environmental policies. The shocking truths she discovered lit a fire in her so intense, she left her career and Wondercide was born. Luna is now healthy, happy, and just celebrated her 15th birthday!

When we talked with the nice folks at Wondercide we told them that one of the most frequently asked questions we receive is how to deal with fleas and ticks. Being in the mountains here in North Georgia we know a lot about ticks.

Wondercide sent us several products to try to combat the nasties here on our mountain one of them is EcoTreat, a solution that you spray using a hose end sprayer on your yard or in our case our fenced in property. The other product we are trying is EVOLV, a cedarwood and lemongrass based natural repellent you spray on your dog.

After finding six ticks on the three of us in one day, (they came on quickly and unexpectedly early) we immediately went out and started treating, and Mum also sprayed the EVOLV on me, Gracie and her clothing. Over the next days the ticks diminished and we are hoping we've begun to lick our problem. We'll be treating with EcoTreat again in about two weeks or after a heavy rain.


Wondercide also has many other useful and helpful products, from organic lawn fertilizers, to dog shampoo bars, to ear cleaners, to a highly rated hip and joint supplement called FidoPlex, and yummy treats made with USA sourced rabbit, oh my, and more!!!

So take a little time and check out our new RAGD partner - Wondercide. If you need solutions, they've got great recommendations! Google

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Is professional carpet cleaning toxic to your dog?

Ahhhh, carpet. It's soft, it's cushiony, it's very comfortable.

I don't know about you, but I love lying around on the carpet. Especially on a cold winter day, when the sun is streaming in.

Back when we lived in Indiana in our house in the suburbs, our neighbors had a yellow lab. Got the little one as a puppy. A few months after he moved in, we started seeing a very well known name brand carpet cleaning company show up nearly every week.

Mum would watch as they would haul a big tube into the house, and begin the process of cleaning their carpets. Not only was it very loud, but Mum knew that they were spreading very harmful chemicals on that carpet, which could be very dangerous, not only for their dog, but the environment as well.

Professional carpet cleaning companies, especially the large chains, are very good at marketing. You'll find TV, newspaper ads touting five rooms for under $100. You sometimes even get great coupons delivered right to your mailbox on a weekly basis.

But what some don't know and don't realize is that the chemicals that the majority of these companies are using to get that wonderful, long lasting clean and fresh smell are utilizing very dangerous chemicals that linger for hours and days.

With dogs very close to the ground, lying on the carpet with their noses within fractions of an inch, they are inhaling and being exposed to these dangerous chemicals, carpet cleaning chemicals that may contain Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, which may cause reproductive issues and cancer; Petroleum Distillates, which may cause impairment to the central nervous system, reproductive disorders, kidney disorders and potentially cancer; d-limonene, which is banned by the European Union as a skin allergen; and the list goes on and on.

The mixture of these chemicals used to clean carpets is a toxic soup that leaves behind dangerous fumes and residue that can seriously affect the health of your dog, your family and your environment.

Watch out for green washing!

But what about those natural carpet cleaning companies....they are the 'in' thing now. Many of these so-called natural carpet cleaning companies including the three we visited on the Internet today list themselves as 'green,' 'natural,' 'safe,' and even 'organic.'

However, what many of these companies don't list is the ingredients of their cleaners on their website, so you can safely and thoroughly evaluate the actual safety for your dog, you, your home and your environment.

Don't be fooled, if the company you are evaluating to clean your carpet won't disclose the ingredients of the products they use, run away and find another that will.

If you would like to analyze the specific ingredients in your or your professional cleaning companies carpet cleaners, visit EWG.org and insert the specific chemical into the search box to receive toxicity or non-toxicity information to that particular product.

Watch for our next post about how to safely and healthily clean your carpets for the health of your dog, you and the environment!

Images credit:
Sara Kolb-Williams
Elisa Self Google

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Is GMO grass seed coming to your dog's lawn?

As a dog, I like to eat grass on occasion. Grass in our protected fenced in and organic yard is healthy for me, consumed in moderation of course. And Mum let's me eat as much as I want. A little green can do a dog good!

But when we are out and about, attending dog events, or agility trials, Mum doesn't let me eat the grass.

Do you know why?

It's because she doesn't know or believes that the grass/lawn may have been treated with chemicals that can be harmful to me, including herbicides, pesticides, in-organic fertilizers and insecticides.

So, I wait until I get home to graze a little.

What you may not know is that these chemicals can be dangerous to dogs. We've written a lot about the importance of growing an organic lawn for the health of your dog; and why commercial chemicals are harmful to dogs with studies showing


Now there is another threat to dogs on the horizon and it could end up right in your back yard.

What is it? Genetically modified grass seed.

Why is that a threat? Let's explore....

Back in July 2011, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) announced that it 'does not consider a lawn grass genetically engineered to resist a weedkiller within its regulatory domain, ratifying a pathway for certain classes of bioengineered plants to bypass federal regulation,' shared the New York Times.

But how is that possible? One of the USDA's main missions is to regulate 'U.S. agricultural products and ensure(s) the health and care of animals and plants.' This time...
...'unlike these predecessors, the herbicide-tolerant (genetically modified) Kentucky bluegrass, developed by Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., contains no microbial material. The grass's tolerance to glyphosate, a common weedkiller, stems from the genetic material of corn, rice and Arabidopsis plants, and Scotts spliced the bluegrass's DNA with a gene gun, a common lab technique that shuttles DNA on high-velocity heavy metals. 
Given these specifics, and its determination that modified bluegrass should not be controlled as a weed at the federal level, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will allow Scotts to proceed with commercializing its (genetically modified) bluegrass product, the agency said in a statement.' (Source: New York Times)
Fast forward to this year...

In January 2014, a little article appeared in The Columbus Dispatch that shared this:
'Scotts Miracle-Gro in Marysville is preparing to test a genetically modified grass seed (the very one mentioned above) in the family lawns of a small number of employees this growing season. 
The employees will test Kentucky bluegrass that has been modified to protect it from being killed by Roundup, the weedkiller produced by agricultural giant Monsanto.'
The article also went on to share a quote from Jim Hagedorn, Scotts CEO, at their annual shareholders meeting in January of this year:
'The employee testing “is a major step forward. I think we will see limited commercial activity the following year (2015), and I think, if all goes well, much more (activity) in the consumer market in 2016.”
So what does this all mean?

It means that genetically modified and untested grass seed may be coming to a store (and subsequently, lawn, park, playground, school yard, common area....) near you in 2015, and more broadly in 2016, and you won't even know it.

Scotts says that their GMO grass seed will grow more slowly (requiring less mowing), have less weeds and require less water; all good things that appear appealing on the surface. But it's what's lying under the surface that concerns us.

We've written before about the potential dangers of genetically modified organisms including findings that indicate "animals fed on three strains of genetically modified maize created by the U.S. biotech firm Monsanto suffered signs of organ damage after just three months."

The resulting use of this type of GMO grass seed will surely lead to a dramatic increase in the use of Roundup, (aka glyphosate) already the most widely used and one of the most harmful herbicide in the world, according to trusted sources; and because of wind drift this grass (produced by seed) may end up in places that didn't even plant it originally.

Add to that research that indicates...
'Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide has recently been described by researchers as, “the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.” It’s been linked to a litany of health disorders and diseases including Parkinson’s, cancer and autism
Studies have revealed a connection between the use of glyphosate and birth defects in frog and chicken embryos. A more recent study shows that the toxic herbicide was found in the breast milk of American women.'
What's important to know is that if Scotts proceeds in selling the GMO grass seed they are currently testing, you won't even know it as the packaging of the grass seed will not require it to be labeled as a GMO product; and locations where it's planted will not be 'labeled' either.

And GMO grass seed and the long and short term effects of this modified seed on people, animals and the environment has not been tested.

What can you do? Voice your concerns. Write, email, and share that you are against Scotts proceeding in marketing and selling their GMO grass seed, and that you will boycott any and all of their products until the plans are tabled for this new product, including their organic lawn care products and services.

Just say no.

Sources: 
United States Department of Agriculture
New York Times
The Columbus Dispatch
Safelawns.org
EcoWatch Google

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What non-organic fruits and vegetables are safer for your dog?

If you feed your dog some yummy, healthy, safe fruits and vegetables like carrots, bananas, green beans, apples and more; feeding organic is the way to go. But sometimes you just can't find organic. So what's a dog to do?

In that case it's helpful to know which non-organic produce is the most dangerous when it comes to the levels of pesticide residue left on your produce when it reaches the grocery shelves.

The Environmental Working Group released recently their 'EWG's 2014 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, to help you make more informed decisions when selecting produce for you and your dog.

Some of the most pesticide laden non-organic produce included on their list are apples, carrots, blueberries and more. And the non-organic produce that has the least amount of pesticide residue include melons, green beans, watermelon and more.

You can see the full report on the Environmental Working Group website.

Remember: Safe fruits and vegetables are a great addition to your dog's diet, just be certain that the produce you feed them is not only safe, but free of pesticides that can be harmful to your dog's health. Google

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Welcome Rainbow Light GreenDog Naturals to the RAGD Partner Pack!

We are very pleased to welcome Rainbow Light GreenDog Naturals to the RAGD Partner Pack!

Whether I'm barn hunting, running agility, herding birds in the yard, herding a few sheepies, or wrestling with my sis Gracie; staying in shape is imperative to my healthy, happy life, especially at my age of nearly 10 years old!

When the nice folks at GreenDog Naturals talked with us about becoming a new Raise A Green Dog Partner, we spun at the chance (because that's what shelties do when they get all excited, they spin!).

GreenDog Naturals supplements deliver pure and organic ingredients in optimal, therapeutic potencies and combinations, addressing common issues such as digestion, coat, and nervous system support.

They have an amazing line of healthy supplements for dogs of all ages - from their Whole Dog Daily to help boost natural defenses and support healthy digestion to their Healthy Motion that supports healthy joint function and mobility to their Complete Calm® Chewable tablets that can help maintain calm and relaxation during times of stress like separation, car rides, visits to the vet and groomer, and transition to a new home, and more!


All of the GreenDog Naturals products are 100% natural and contain no wheat, soy, corn, artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, fillers, binders, excipients, added salt or refined sugar. And they are Made in the USA and Certified Organic by QAI. You can't get much healthier than that!

In addition, as part of Rainbow Light, they offer a full line of human organic supplements as well including Multivitamins, Plant Based Iron, Organic Immuno-Build Greens and Certified Organics® Mushroom Therapy™ to help support your two-legger's body’s well being and immunity.

To help my sis Gracie build her immune system further after her bout with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, she's been religiously taking the Immuno-Build Greens and the Whole Dog Daily. Not only does she love the taste even all by itself on raw food day, we are seeing a distinct difference in her energy level and stamina at agility; and (knock wood) she has had a reoccurring bout of RMSF in about two months!

If you are looking for a great line of healthy, organic supplements for your dog check out the GreenDog Naturals website, and while you're there, don't forget to have your two-legger check out some super healthy supplements for themselves. We need our two-leggers to keep up with us, don't we?

Google

Monday, May 19, 2014

Make a homemade heating and cooling pad for your dog!

Whether you are an agility and hiking dog like me, or just enjoy walks with your Mum or Dad, there may be times where you strain or pull a muscle, or have a few aches and pains that would be helped by a little home treatment.

Heating and cooling pads can be a bit cumbersome and sometimes expensive. So we wanted to share one of our favorite DIY ideas for making your own heating and cooling pad from some old socks and plain white rice.

It's super, super easy, and quick.
  • Fill a sock with (uncooked) rice. White rice is the least expensive. Choose a sock size that fits well with your dog and the placement of your heating/cooling pack.
  • Tie the end of the sock off. Or you can finish off the ends with a needle and thread like Crafty Little Gnome did if you have more time.
  • Optionally you may want to add a few drops of safe essential oils or dried plants like lavender or chamomile to the rice. These aromas are both very calming and helpful in times of stress.
Then, put it in the freezer for a nice cold pack to have on hand when needed; or to quickly turn your rice sock into a heating pad, put it in your microwave for only about 30 secs to one minute (depending upon how large the sock is and how much rice you utilized).

Be certain to test first on your skin to be sure it's not too hot for your dog. Your rice sock heating pad should last about 30 minutes to one hour.

 You can use your cold pack sock for:

Recent injuries where swelling is occurring. Ice helps reduce inflammation on recent injuries and also numbs a bit to reduce pain. Utilize for recent pulled muscles, ligament tears, sprains, etc.

You can use heat packs for:

Chronic soreness in joints, and muscle aches and spasms that are ongoing and reoccurring. Only use on ouchs where there is no inflammation. You can also use a little heat before vigorous exercise to increase blood flow and circulation, but not too much to steer your dog to nighty-night.

For example:
  • The first time I pulled my iliopsoas muscle during an agility run, Mum instantly pulled me from the rest of the dog agility trial and took me home to ice up my inflamed and pulled muscle. 
  • However, over the years, I've had a little bit of soreness and tightness in my back-end and top hip area (the cause of the original iliopsoas pull) on occasion, as well as occasional soreness in my shoulder from another long ago injury. To keep me loose, supple and feeling my best to run agility, Mum utilizes a heating pad on these areas between trials and the night before an agility trial. It helps me and my muscles relax, and sets me up to sleep well for a great trial for the weekend.  
See the difference of when you should use ice and when you should use heat? For more information, feel free to visit our friends at Whole Dog Journal and read their interesting article on 'Home Treatments for Injured Dogs.'

Photos courtesy of StuRay_from_LA and Crafty Little Gnome. Google

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today is Earth Day! A great day to help your dog and the environment be more green and healthy.

Today is a very special day for us Green Dogs! It's Earth Day!

What is Earth Day?

"Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year. Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Many communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues." ~ Wikipedia

We want to inspire you to take one Green Dog step toward a healthier, happier dog and environment today!

Here are some great ideas you may want to try in honor of Earth Day. And remember, it only takes one small Green Dog step at a time and before you know it your dog is living the Green Dog life!
  • Take your pup to one of the local Earth Day celebrations being held all over the country today and this week and learn from and meet wonderful, like-minded people that share your passion for keeping our Earth more friendly. And you can get in some fun socialization for your dog at the same time. Just do a quick Google search with Earth Day and your city or town.
  • Plant a tree in honor of your dog in your yard, or at your local dog park, or a place that's near and dear to you and your pup.
  • Visit your local animal shelter, and take a pup for a walk! Many pups in shelters are much more happy, healthy and likely to get adopted if they are properly socialized and exercised. We suggest you call first and arrange how you can help!
  • It's planting season so why not start an organic garden for you and your dog! Check out our recent blog post for lots of ideas to get started.
  • Appreciate our Earth! This may be one of our favorite ideas. Take some time today or over the weekend and get outdoors with your dog! Take a long walk in the park, or a nice hike. And remember after all that exercise, stop, look, listen, smell and take in all that our Earth has to offer. 
  • One of the most important things you can do for your dog and the environment is turn your lawn organic. Your dog spends most of their outdoor time in your yard, so why not make it a safe haven? Learn more.
  • Take the day and make your pup a toy from reused items around your home. You can make a great tug toy from old towels, interactive toys from used BPA free water bottles and much more! Visit the 'Learn to Be Green' section of our website for lots of ideas (scroll to the bottom).
  • Learn how you can reduce your dog's carbon pawprint by recycling their dog food bags, or by composting their doo. Learn how, it's a lot easier than you think.
  • Subscribe to Raise A Green Dog and get updates to help the environment and your pup live a healthier, happier life! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter too!
And remember, if you can't participate today, make your Earth Day one day this weekend. From then on...make Earth Day, every day!
Google
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