Friday, May 23, 2008

Keeping it clean, this Spring!

It's Spring here where we live, and it's a great time to get outside and have some fun!

Sometimes all that doggie fun, means mud, dirt and other yucky stuff gets tracked inside the house. I admit I'm guilty. I love running in the rain, digging in the dirt, and rolling in yucky stuff.

So what's a dog lover to do? How can you keep your house clean and still let your pup have his fun in the great outdoors? And how can you do it safely, for you, your pup and the environment?

We've got some ideas we'd like to share. And feel free to post some of your own and share away!

Idea #1 - My Mum keeps old torn up towels at the back door at all times. There are some towels we can walk on to soak up the unwanted wet, mud and mulch. And some of those towels she'll use to quickly wipe us down if we're really yucky.

Idea #2 - We heard that Martha Stewart keeps a pan of water and towels at her back door, so when her pups come in from outside she can quickly clean up their paws.

Idea #3 - Keep the fur between your pup's paw pads trimmed and they will attract less dirt to bring into the house.

Idea #4 - Some very innovative folks have come up with some cool new products that help clean up your pups after some fun romping outside. One is the Paw Plunger. We've never tried it, and being the sensitive paw pup that I am, I'm not sure I would like this, but Gracie would probably go for it just fine!

Idea #5 - No matter how hard you try, you're still going to get dirt from your pups inside your house, on your carpet, and on your hard flooring materials. Here's what we do to keep it as clean as possible. We vacuum often, with our Dyson. Often after mud dries on your carpet it can just be vacuumed up, and it's great for getting those little pieces of mulch up, and of course all the fur.

We use environmentally and pup safe products to clean our hard floors and carpet. Mum has a steam cleaning machine that she uses with an all natural, safe cleaner from Earth Friendly. It works great for spot cleaning and for an overall, twice a year cleaning. She just puts up the pet gates until the carpet dries and makes sure she does it on a very low humidity day.

We would never use traditional carpet cleaning services, or some of the strong, chemical laden carpet cleaners in our home - they just aren't safe for us, the kitties or our humans. You can read a little about the dangers of chemical cleaners here, courtesy of ABCNews.com. Cropping up all over the country are green carpet cleaning services that are a wonderful idea if you need some extra help to tackle a big job.

And for the hard flooring in our home, we use an all purpose cleaner from Mrs. Meyers, because it smells so good!

Idea #6 - There are some great recipes for homemade and safe cleaning solutions for your carpet. Here's one we found recently: Mix 1/3 cup vinegar with 2/3 cup warm water and apply to the stain. Then blot with a clean white towel and repeat until the stain comes clean. We think it's always best to start with nice cool water first and see if that cleans up the stain. If not, then we move on to a natural cleaning solution.

Idea #7 - You can also use a vinegar and water solution to clean just about everything in your home - your hard floors, counters, and more.

So those are our ideas for keeping your carpet and floors clean. What ideas do you have to share?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gotta an old towel, you've got a dog toy!

The other day we received our daily email from Ideal Bite - their philosophy is simple: If we all knew what we could do day to day to impact the planet and our communities in a positive way, we’d do it. So they have great tips everyday to help you learn more about what you can do for the environment.

What was their tip the other day? An old towel can be a great tug toy! We thought it was a great idea and coincidently one that we use fairly regularly.

Ideal Bite

Eddie tries to meet with the FDA!

Last week, our friend Eddie at Pets for the Environment, attended the FDA's public meeting on pet food standards in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It sure didn't turn out well! Watch his vid and learn more!

Alltop rocks!

Check it out, there is a new directory on the Internet from Will Mayall, Kathryn Henkens, and Guy Kawasaki, call Alltop.com.

You can think of an Alltop site as a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. Alltop sites are starting points, to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. All categorized and organized.

They are beginning to build a nice little pet section. So if you have a cool site that you think fits in, let them know about it!

Friday, May 9, 2008

News: High Levels of Toxic Industrial Chemicals Contaminate Cats And Dogs!

From the Environmental Working Group comes this report:

High Levels of Toxic Industrial Chemicals Contaminate Cats And Dogs - Summary and Findings

They are trying their best to warn us.

In the first study of its kind, Environmental Working Group found that American pets are polluted with even higher levels of many of the same synthetic industrial chemicals that researchers have recently found in people, including newborns.

The results show that America’s pets are serving as involuntary sentinels of the widespread chemical contamination that scientists increasingly link to a growing array of health problems across a wide range of animals—wild, domesticated and human.

Just as children ingest pollutants in tap water, play on lawns with pesticide residues, or breathe in an array of indoor air contaminants, so do their pets. But with their compressed lifespans, developing and aging seven or more times faster than children, pets also develop health problems from exposures much more rapidly. The National Research Council has found that sickness and disease in pets can inform our understanding of our own health risks (NRC 1991). And for anyone who has lost a pet to cancer or another disease potentially linked to chemical exposures, this sentinel role played by pets becomes a devastating personal loss.

In recognition of the unique roles that pets play in our lives, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) undertook a study to investigate the extent of exposures pets face to contaminants in our homes and outdoor environments. In a novel study representing the broadest biomonitoring investigation yet conducted in pets, what we found was surprising.

Dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people, according to our study of plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 37 cats collected at a Virginia veterinary clinic.

Average levels of many chemicals were substantially higher in pets than is typical for people, with 2.4 times higher levels of stain- and grease-proof coatings (perfluorochemicals) in dogs, 23 times more fire retardants (PBDEs) in cats, and more than 5 times the amounts of mercury, compared to average levels in people found in national studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EWG (Figure).

Read more... about this important topic. And be sure and stay on top of these and more important environmental topics relating to pet at Pets for the Environment and Eddie's Blog!

Chart Source: Analysis of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 37 cats in study conducted by EWG. Laboratory analyses by AXYS Analytical, Sidney, BC.

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