The Low Down On Green Living
December 3rd, 2007
If you’re like me and my husband, you’re completely nuts about your pets. We have a cat named Paco and a Shih Tzu named Chewie, and we pretty much get twitchy when we are away from them for more than a day. So I am very concerned not only about th environmental impact of our pet care, but also what is best for our pets. Thus the theme of this How To Tuesday.
I’m sure if you’ve been to your local pet care shop recently you have been overwhelmed by the stunning array of natural, organic, and gourmet cat and dog foods on the market now. It’s amazing– in those stores I feel like pets have more food options than us humans!
But if you dig deeper into the pet food market you’ll find some disturbing facts– many, many ingredients that go into standard pet foods are truly unhealthy for our pets, being made from meat by-products that are unfit for human consumption. We have to choose our brands very carefully. Here is a great report on the status of hundreds of ingredients in pet food brands– it will help you do your own research.
At our house we feed our dog Merrick’s dog food. Chewie is a particularly big fan of their Cowboy Cookout dinner. You know it’s good when mom (me) can recognize every ingredient on the list! They also make cat food. I know another family that loves Newman’s Own Organic Pet Food.Our cat eats Evo made by the Natura Pet Products Company. They make a number of natural brands. Their Karma brand uses 95% organic ingredients. They also make the Mother Nature brand of pet treats.
Which brands have you tried and like? Please let us know in the comments section.
Pet Shampoos and Other Care Products
If you read the labels of most dog and cat shampoo and other products, you’ll find that they are full of the same unhealthy chemicals from which human shampoos and conditioners are made. I use Aubrey Organics shampoo for my dog and their human line for myself and we are both good and clean. Vermont Soap Organics makes a good dog shampoo, too. There are also very good non-toxic sprays and lotions to help keep your pets free of fleas and other critters. There are even non-toxic sprays you can use to keep your pets off of your furniture. You can find a number of brands of healthy pet potions in our pet care section.
There’s no nice way to put it– our pets generate a lot of waste. A lot of people pick up their pet’s poo-poo with plastic bags and then toss them into the trash. This is a land-fill nightmare– just think how many hundreds of thousands of pounds of poo and plastic end up in our landfills each year. It makes me a little queasy just thinking about it.
If you have a dog, I highly recommend getting yourself a supply of biodegradable poo-poo bags from BioBag. They are easy to use, aren’t made from oil like plastic, and at least have a chance of degrading when they end up in the landfill. While the bags say they are compostable (which is true), you should not deposit animal waste in most home compost bins. There are special kinds of composters that can take animal wastes and food scraps as well.
Many conventional kitty litter brands on the market are full of unpleasant chemicals that you (and your cat!) can breathe in when you disturb the litter. I have recently tried a couple of brands of natural kitty litters — Swheat Scoop and Green Tea Clumping Cat Litter. The Swheat Scoop doesn’t clump quite as well as I’d hoped, so you end up throwing out a lot of unused litter with the used litter. But it didn’t stink and so I was marginally happy with it. I was more pleased with the Green Tea version, which clumped quite well and was even less smelly than the Shweat Scoop. With either of these brands you don’t have to put it in a plastic bag to throw it out– just put the litter right into the trash. It will begin to biodegrade from there. Have any of you had success with other brands/types you’d like to share?
Clothes, Gear & Furniture
You wouldn’t wear an uncomfortable synthetic band around your neck, so why should your dog or cat? Please allow me to suggest the stylish hemp collars, beds, blanket and toys from Earth Dog. Spend a few minutes on their site and you won’t be able to stop yourself. We also love the organic kimonos (at left) and t-shirts from Skoon. Your pup will be so happy he’ll never stop licking you.
And how cool is that kitty chaise pictured at the top of the blog!?? It’s called the Purrrounge and it’s made from recycled corrugated cardboard. It is loungey enough for your kitty and strong enough for people. The corrugated texture provides a surface that is soft, breathable and durable for scratching. Even a persnickety kitty like our Paco would be prrrrrr-etty happy.
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