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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Power of the poo, dog poo that is!

Gary Downie, a 42-year-old Scotsman living in Cheshire (UK) and former Manhattan banker who spent a decade in New York working in the the global oil and gas markets for asset management giant Investec, has turned his knowledge to designing a system of putting the power of dog doo to work.

After three years in development, Britain’s first commercial venture to convert dog waste into a source of free heat and renewable electricity is set be unveiled.

Plans are for Downie's Streetkleen Bio system to divert some of Britain’s annual 700,000 tons of canine poop into digesters capable of turning the waste into methane, CO2 and fertilizer  The converted bio-gas will then be used to power a turbine generating electricity to be sold back to Britain's National Grid.

Sources say the system can operate on as little as 500kg of waste a day and take up to three tons per day, generating 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year; enough to power 60 homes.

Learn more about Downie's efforts in 'Fido strikes gold with Britain’s most noxious biofuel: dog excrement.'


Other companies in the US working to put the power of dog waste to good use include:

Green Pet Compost Company, which launched in October 2009 in the Portland OR area, will take your pet’s waste and turn it into compost. They supply the collection container and a compostable liner, as well as compostable cat box liners and litter. After exposure to high heat temperatures for several days the resulting nutrient-rich compost is donated to local churches and other organizations to be used for landscaping.

EnviroWagg, LLC of Aurora, CO, turns dog waste into DOGGONE GOOD COMPOST®, a safe and nutrient-rich soil amendment that greens up gardens that they sell through their website and various local retail outlets. EnviroWagg collects dog poop from various collection sites including local dog parks and dog waste companies, heats and composts with high heat to destroy all the pathogens, and turns it into usable compost available for purchase.

Green Scoop, located in Columbus, OH, is a removal and composting company. They remove the dog waste from contracted clients either through scooping or pickup, compost the dog and cat waste, and then make available the ability to purchase bulk compost for yard and garden.

Way to go green guys!!!

Photo credit: The Independent

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Welcome DERMagic to the Raise A Green Dog Partner Pack!

DERMagic Skin Care for Animals, Inc., began in 2006, by Dr. Adelia Ritchie. As a dog mom to two Shih Tzus, she found that she was in need of help with a wide variety of issues including insect bites, dermal issues and occasional rashes.

Dr. Ritchie initially developed a product prototype when she was teaching organic chemistry at a community college in Florida, as she found that many of the products on the market were loaded with cortisone, steroids, antibiotics or strong chemicals, that just weren't helping her pup. That's when Dr. Ritchie formulated her first product DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion and after six months her formulation was helping her dog tremendously.

Now DERMagic has a full line of products available with all natural and organic ingredients that help dogs with a wide variety of issues including skin problems, fleas and ticks, hot spots, and basic grooming. They only use the finest ingredients in all of their products including organic certified aloe, vitamin E and therapeutic essential oils and soothing plant oils.

All DERMagic products are made in the USA with domestic ingredients, and are completely non-toxic to pets and people.

Here is just a few of the amazingly, green, eco-friendly and healthy products DERMagic offers:

If you are looking for an all natural, very healthy way to help with any flea issues you may encounter, we love the Flea Shampoo Bar and Flea Dust combo from DERMagic. No toxic chemicals, and made with food grade diatomaceous earth and other green and healthy ingredients, it's a great combo to combat those prolific biters.

Shampoo bars are a very cost effective and easy way to shampoo your pup! The DERMagic bars are  handmade in the Pacific Northwest from from certified organic ingredients, and for every 10 shampoo bars purchased, DERMagic plants a tree!

Looking for a great shampoo/condition combo for your green dog? Look no further than DERMagic's Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil Conditioner. They contain no SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) and are specially formulated to soothe and condition the skin, eliminate odor and stimulate the healing process.

DERMagic has a wide range of products to help your pup love the skin they're in! Check out all the products from DERMagic, we're sure you be delighted!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Beneficial insects for a pesticide, insecticide free garden!

One of the best and most organic way to control pests in your organic vegetable or flower garden is with beneficial insects!

Beneficial insects are natural predators of some of the most damaging insects to invade your garden.

What are the most common beneficial insects?

Ladybugs - The familiar round, spotted red ladybug is one of the most popular beneficial insect, feeding on destructive aphids and other soft bodied insects. If you find one of these, leave it and let it go to work for your garden.

Lacewings - Green and brown lacewings feed on aphids, scales, moth eggs, small caterpillars and mites, making them a welcome addition to your garden.

Parasitic Wasps - These mini-wasps are great for attacking the eggs of pests, and are one of the most important insect groups to provide insect control. Photo credit: Gilles Gonthier

Spiders - Spiders may be scary and there are some 'dangerous' ones, but overall spiders are amazing beneficial insects feeding on a very wide range of damaging insects and eggs.

Tachinid Flies - Even though they look like a common house fly, tachinid flies are very important enemies of cutworms, armyworms, tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers, gypsy moths, sawflies, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and sowbugs.

Many of these beneficial insects are attracted to pollen and nectar plants, so be sure and plant keep some of these wonderful plants in your yard including, clover, dandelions, goldenrod and more.

Learn more about beneficial insects!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Evidence is mounting of the dangers of lawn chemical for dogs.

A new study, released yesterday and scheduled to be published in the July issue of Science of the Total Environment, indicates that exposure to herbicide treated lawns has been associated with significantly higher bladder cancer risk in dogs.

This study is just one of many published studies contributing mounting evidence of the dangers of lawn chemicals for dogs.

  • In January of last year a published study was released (Abstract of Environmental Health 112(1): 171-6 (Jan. 2012), that shows a link between chemical exposures (including lawn chemicals) and the risk of canine malignant lymphoma.
  • A respected report and DVD "The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals," funded by the Newman’s Own Foundation, contains a lot of information for you to learn about the dangers and effects of lawn chemicals on your pets, including the use of herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals, and the resulting effects of seizures, tremors, vomiting, respiratory failure and more for dogs.
  • studies have found that dogs "exposed to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma. And these dangerous chemicals may also increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times."
  • You can read more about the dangers of lawn chemicals in our 2012 post, 'Is Your Lawn Killing Your Dog.'

Yesterdays released report indicates, "this work was performed to further characterize lawn chemical exposures in dogs, and to determine environmental factors associated with chemical residence time on grass. In addition to concern for canine health, a strong justification for the work was that dogs may serve as sentinels for potentially harmful environmental exposures in humans.'

According to lead author Deborah Knapp of Purdue University's Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, "(dogs) “could directly ingest the chemicals from the plant, or they could lick their paws or fur and ingest chemicals that have been picked up on their feet, legs or body."

In the first experiment herbicides ([2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP), dicamba) were applied to grass plots under a variety of conditions including green, dry brown, wet and recently mowed grass. They found the herbicides remained on dry brown grass much longer than to green grass.

In addition, chemicals were commonly detected in grass residues from treated lawns, and from untreated lawns suggesting chemical drift from nearby treated areas.

In a separate study, herbicide levels were measure in the urine of dogs and in grass residues from households with chemically treated lawns and those with untreated lawns in the proceeding 0-48 hours.

The study indicates, "chemicals were detected in the urine of dogs in 14 of 25 households before lawn treatment, in 19 of 25 households after lawn treatment, and in 4 of 8 untreated households," extrapolating that dogs could be exposed to chemicals through contact with their own lawn (treated or contaminated through drift) or through contact with other grassy areas they walk that may be treated, such as parks, golf courses, and neighboring lawn areas.

You can read more about the study thanks to For the full study visit PubMed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to clean your home the safe, healthy, green way for the health of your dog!

It's spring, finally! The sun is streaming through the windows, you're ready to open them up and get the fresh air in the house so you can hear the birds singing their spring songs, and take in the all the wonderful smells that nature has to offer.

You know what else this time of year brings? It brings on spring cleaning!

How do you clean your home safely and with the health of your dog in mind? 

We're here to help.

First and foremost ditch (and safely dispose of) all those chemical cleaners and go natural for the health of your dog!

Many of the chemical based cleaners on the market can have dangerous consequences for you, your dog and the environment. The chemical based drain, window, furniture, floor, carpet, laundry, dish washing products and more are reeking havoc on our health, not only from the exposure to the air our dog's breath when we use them, but the poisonous residue that they leave that may potentially be ingested by our dogs as they lick and are exposed to surfaces.

According to the Organic Consumers Association, 'cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer.' Read more...

Why not turn to 'green' cleaning for your health, the health of your dog and the environment?

Every spring Mum takes a day to do a very thorough cleaning of our cabin. She gets out the vacuum, and our healthy, all natural and safe cleaning kit and goes to work!

What's in our healthy spring cleaning kit?
  • White vinegar
  • Borax
  • Lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • Washing soda
  • Glycerin bar soap
  • Liquid Castile soap
  • Tea tree and Lavender essential oils (only for surfaces not frequented by dogs and kitties)
  • Old towels
  • Swiffer dry mop
  • Squeegee
  • Vacuum
What does she do with all of these? Here are our steps for getting your home super clean this Spring without harmful chemical cleaners.

Vacuum - Get out your vacuum and thoroughly sweep all your floors, rugs, carpets, knickknacks, books and more. Move your couch and bed and sweep underneath, getting all the dust bunnies and fur balls out from under. If you have larger area rugs, take them outside and beat them with a broom, let them hang outside in the fresh air, and spot clean if needed. For smaller rugs wash them in your washer utilizing an environmentally friendly laundry soap.

Carpets - if your carpets are really dirty and need major help, get out your steam cleaner (or rent one from your local store) and go to work utilizing plain tap water or for dirtier carpets utilize a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water in the steam cleaner’s reservoir and go to work!

If you have greasy, spot stains you can pretreat with a good environmentally friendly dish (or castile) soap and water, or utilize a small dab of paste of your laundry detergent. Whatever you do avoid those carpet cleaning service companies that utilize chemicals to clean your carpets!

Floors - We have an old Swiffer Sweeper that we utilize often for our floors. But you don't need to purchase the expensive refill cloths. We just add an old cotton wash cloth dry to the Sweeper to get up the bits of dust, dirt and leaves that the dogs bring in. And we'll use the cotton wash cloth wet to mop our hardwood floors utilizing our hardwood floor cleaner (recipe below).

Windows - Keeping windows clean and free of dog nose art is always a challenge. We utilize our window cleaning recipe in a spray bottle and either squeege if possible or wipe down with an old cotton towel.

Bathrooms - Sinks, counters and toilet bowls always need a good cleaning. We utilize our homemade toilet bowl cleaner with great results, and keep a spray bottle of water and vinegar all purpose cleaner to keep our sinks, counters and bathtubs clean and free of germs.

Kitchen - Wipe down all kitchen surfaces utilizing our all purpose cleaning recipe including counters, appliances, cabinets and more. Utilize a good baking soda paste to scrub down the kitchen sink, then add more baking soda and white vinegar to keep your drain clean and clog free.

Here are our green and healthy cleaning recipes:

Carpet Cleaner - for your steam cleaning machine or for spot cleaning. For your steam cleaner utilize 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar (spot check for color fastness). For heavier, dirtier and greasy spots, dab with a mix of environmentally friendly dish (or castile) soap and water, or a dab of water and your homemade laundry soap.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner - mix together 3/4 cup baking soda, 3/4 cup white vinegar, 10 drops of tea tree oil, 10 drops of lavender essential oils (the essential oils add antibacterial properties). For tougher rings, scrub with baking soda.

Hardwood Floor Cleaner - clean your wood (any type) floors with a solution of one-quarter cup of white vinegar (about 2 liquid ounces) mixed in a recycled spray bottle with about 30 ounces of warm water.

Window Glass Cleaner - 1/2 water and vinegar in a spray bottle cleans mirrors, glass and windows. Tip: spray and use a squeegee for sparkling windows.

Drain Cleaner - Pour 1/2 cup baking soda, then 1/2 cup vinegar into drain, wait five minutes and follow with boiling water. For tougher clogs use a drain snake.

All-purpose Cleaner (spray) - White vinegar, water, biodegradable soap - Add a 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar solution to a spray bottle and add a spoonful of castile soap.

Laundry soap recipe courtesy of My Healthy Green Family - Finely grate 1 bar of pure, unscented glycerine soap, add 1 c. washing soda, 1/2 c. baking soda, 1/2 c. citric acid and 1/4 c. coarse salt, store in an airtight container and add 1-2 tbsp to machine for clean, safe laundry.

With all of these tips you can feel confident that no matter where your dog lies, or wherever they lick, they will stay safe and healthy!

Feel free to add your cleaning routine or recipes in the comments and share with all of our RAGD readers!

Happy Cleaning!

Photo courtesy of Flying Tugboat Studios.
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