Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Welcome HAAN as our latest Raise A Green Dog Partner!

Today we welcome HAAN as our newest Raise A Green Dog Partner!

Can you say excited? Yep, I am because now we have a pawsome, healthy way to clean our floors, our rugs and any floor surfaces without the use of any dangerous chemicals or even mixing up our usual cleaning solution of vinegar and water, quickly and easily with our new floor scrubbing steamer from HAAN!

Let me tell you all about it.

The HAAN MultiforcePlus SS22A is a steam cleaner designed for effortless cleaning, scrubbing, and buffing – both indoors and out using CR-motion™ technology. CR-motion™ technology enhances the natural pull-and-push motion of standard steam mops by adding a powerful scrubbing motion.

Variable steam technology allows you to select the perfect setting depending on the mess or surface and kills 99.9% of common household germs, bacteria, and dust mites. A HAAN steamer provides chemical free, natural, safe, and environmentally friendly home cleaning.

So how does it work and what does it do?
  • It can clean indoors and out
  • 2 pads move back and forth at a rate of 850 cycles per minute to scrub, buff, and clean
  • Chemical free – uses 100% steam to safely clean and sanitize around children and pets
  • 20 steam jets provide a wide cleaning path and reduce hot spots while focusing steam where it's needed most
  • Removable water tank can be easily filled at the sink
  • Swivel head for hard-to-reach spaces
  • Includes carpet glide to sanitize and refresh carpet with 2 sets of reusable ultra-microfiber pads for extended cleaning time
We've been using it now for a week or so, along side our spring cleaning routine and all I have to say is WOW!!!

It's so easy to set up by adding the water, then all we have to do is start it, run it across our floors and carpets and voila! Clean as can be.

Thank you to HAAN for sending us this amazing product to try out for free in exchange for sharing our experience with all of you - our readers. We highly recommend this product for any dog love, green, eco-friendly, healthy home! Google

Monday, July 28, 2014

The dangerous health effects of flame retardants in your dog's life.

If your dog is enjoying their time with you right now on the couch, there's a very good chance that you and your dog are being exposed to dangerous chemical flame retardants which have been linked to cancer, reproductive and endocrine system problems and lower IQs in children.

Flame retardants are chemicals meant to save human lives by delaying the combustion of products in a fire. They are widely used in a broad range of products from children's cribs, furniture, electronics and building insulation.

In the 1970's, regulations where set that required home furniture to be injected with chemicals including PBDE's hoping that these chemicals acting as flame retardants would be effective in reducing sofa fires. In reality, in 2012 it was found that these retardants actually didn't provide protection through an investigation by The Chicago Tribune through their series and highlighted in the documentary, 'Toxic Hot Seat.'

PBDE mixtures made up of less-brominated compounds are regarded as more dangerous because they bioaccumulate in animal tissues. These mixtures were banned by the European Union and were voluntarily removed from the U.S. market in 2004, but remain in the environment. Mixtures with more-brominated compounds remain in use in the U.S. but will be phased out by 2013, when new regulations become effective that will bring into play less toxic flame retardants in our home furnishings.

However, while these new standards, instigated by the state of California will create change nationwide, there is evidence that our bodies and those of our dogs will not be free of these chemicals, linked to cancer, reproductive and endocrine system problems and lower IQs in children, any time soon.

In 2011, Indiana University scientists, wrote about their findings, indicating they have found chemical flame retardants in the blood of pet dogs at concentrations five to 10 times higher than in humans.

Their study, "Flame Retardants in the Serum of Pet Dogs and in their Food," appeared in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and was authored by Marta Venier, an assistant research scientist in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and Ronald Hites, a Distinguished Professor in SPEA.

Their study focused on the presence of PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) in the blood of dogs and in commercial dog food. Why test for the presence of PBDEs compounds in dog food?

PBEs can migrate out of their intended products and enter the environment in a variety of ways including;
"...contamination of food during processing or packaging and general contamination of the environment via emissions of PBDEs at various points of the life cycle of consumer products. As PBDE-containing products continue to degrade and enter the waste stream in larger amounts, future exposure to PBDEs may begin to shift more heavily from the indoor environment to the outdoor environment and, consequently, the diet (Harrad and Diamond 2006). This study highlights the need for research into the pathways of PBDEs into the food supply, particularly commercial animal products in the United States,' according to a study by the Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health.
As you can see even though PBDEs have been banned in the US, there is evidence that these dangerous chemicals still permeate our lives and our dog's lives.

In addition, the Indiana University study also detected newer flame retardants that have come onto the market as PBDEs have been removed, including Dechlorane Plus, decabromodiphenylethane, and hexabromocyclododecane. These chemicals are currently and largely unregulated, but pose concerns because they are structurally similar to organic pollutants that have been linked to environmental and human health effects.

So what can you do to avoid PBDEs and other flame retardant chemicals for the health of your dog? The Environmental Working Group has some ideas:

1. Inspect foam items. Replace anything with a ripped cover or foam that is misshapen and breaking down. If you cannot replace these items try to keep the covers intact. Beware of older items like car seats and mattress pads where the foam is not completely encased in a protective fabric.

2. Use a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter. These vaccuums are more efficient at trapping small particles and will likely remove more contaminants and other allergens from your home. HEPA-filter air cleaners may also reduce particle-bound contaminants in your house.

3. Do not reupholster foam furniture. Even those items without PBDEs might contain poorly studied fire retardants with potentially harmful effects.

4. Be careful when removing old carpet. The padding may contain PBDEs. Keep your work area isolated from the rest of your home. Clean up with a HEPA-filter vacuum and mop to pick up as many of the small particles as possible.

5. When purchasing new products ask the manufacturers what type of fire retardants they use. Avoid products with brominated fire retardants, and opt for less flammable fabrics and materials, like leather, wool and cotton. Be aware that "natural" or latex foam and natural cotton are flammable and require a fire retardant method that may contain toxic fire retardants.

Furniture complying with the new regulations beginning in 2014 will bear a tag that reads “TB 117-2013,” but that does not mean that furniture is free of flame retardants. For that information, consumers will have to ask retailers directly, and for retailers to know the answer, they will have had to make inquiries to manufacturers.

And for electronics: According to EWG, 'The form of PBDEs known as Deca is used in computer and television monitors; as well as other electronic products. Deca is not subject to any use restrictions, despite the fact that is has been detected at higher concentrations in children, and is toxic to animals. It has been shown to break down in to more toxic forms once it enters the environment.'

'When purchasing new products look for these brands, which have publicly committed to phasing out all brominated fire retardants: Acer, Apple, Eizo Nanao, LG Electronics, Lenovo, Matsushita, Microsoft, Nokia, Phillips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony-Ericsson, and Toshiba,' and more.

Sources:
School of Environmental and Public Affairs, Indiana University
Environmental Working Group
National Law Review
Chicago Tribune
Scientific American
Environmental Working Group PBDE Free Guide
Environmental Working Group TBBPA
Environmental Health Perspectives
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society Biological Sciences
Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health

Photos courtesy of:
Don DeBold
Stoo Mathiesen
Living in Monrovia Google

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Natural Canine Health Symposium to be held.

The Natural Canine Health Symposium, October 16-19, 2014, presented by Dogs Naturally Magazine, is the largest online event of its kind celebrating your dog and raising him naturally.

At the online symposium you can get access to the best holistic vets and experts in the world.

Registration opens in 40 days. We'll update you with more information as soon as it becomes available.

Click and insert your email, for updates to this event. Google

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Donations sought for rabies vaccine long-term duration immunity study in dogs.


Think about it....when you where young you received vaccines, right? But have you received any vaccines since that time?

Nope, not unless you are visiting a foreign country that may require a vaccine that you may not have had and the US doesn't require.

So why should our dogs get yearly vaccines? We believe they shouldn't. It's not only unnecessary, it's unhealthy and can potentially have very real health consequences for your dog.

If you are like us, you worry about over vaccinating your dog. That's why we follow Dr. Dodds' Vaccine Protocol for all of our dogs, which basically outlines two rounds of puppy shots, titers every three years, and then only following the law as your state requires for rabies vaccinations.

But do our dogs really need to be vaccinated against rabies so often? Does rabies immunity stay in our dog's bodies longer than believed and required by law? That's what the Rabies Challenge Fund, headed by Dr. Dodds, is seeking to discover and prove; so that it may be possible for laws to be changed and our dogs benefit with a healthier, happier life.

The Rabies Challenge Fund has just received the commitment from a USDA-approved facility to perform the first of the challenge phases of  their 5 and 7-year studies. This rabies research was undertaken to determine, by challenge, the vaccine’s long-term duration of immunity in dogs and to establish the world’s first canine rabies titer standard.

Fees for this first challenge, slated to begin later this year, will involve 15 of the study dogs and will cost $100,000. If successful, two subsequent challenges of 15 dogs each will be conducted in order to meet the USDA rabies vaccine licensing requirements.

These results, which will have been obtained using the same federal standard upon which all currently licensed rabies vaccines and rabies laws and regulations are based, should establish the scientific foundation upon which the legally required rabies booster intervals for dogs can be extended to 5 or 7 years.

Further, for the first time, their accumulated rabies titer data should permit incorporating clauses pertaining to rabies titers into the existing laws.

Currently, The Rabies Challenge Fund will need to raise an additional $24,847 to cover the challenge facility fees. They are asking for donors to maintain their generous levels of support through this critical challenge phase, so that the results to benefit all dogs can be available in early 2015.

For more information and to donate visit The Rabies Challenge Fund website.

Photo courtesy of Naval Surface Warriors Google

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
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