To fend off the wintertime blues, sometimes all we need is a good companion. For many Americans, pets fit the bill perfectly. Here are some tips to keep your furry friends (and you) healthy.
Like shampoo for people, pet shampoos may contain synthetic ingredients linked to cancer. Brands such as Earthbath and Vermont Soap Organics depend on ingredients like olive oil, essential oils, enzymes, and aloe vera to break down dirt, relieve odors, soothe your pet’s skin, and shine its coat. For a quick clean keep natural pet wipes and sprays or spritzes by Earth Friendly and Earthbath handy.
Some houseplants, including: caladium, dumb cane (leopard lilly), English ivy, lilies, mistletoe, oleander, philodendron are poisonous to pets when eaten.
Clay litters contain crystalline silica, a known human carcinogen according to the National Toxicology Program’s 11th Report on Carcinogens. The silica dust may also irritate lungs. Refer to our Resource List, which follows, for numerous non-clay options.
Absorb, rather than mask odors. Popular air “fresheners” can contain harmful ingredients that pollute indoor air. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda on carpet, furniture, or pet beds. Leave for 15 minutes and vacuum. Use in and around litter box also. Leave vented boxes near problem areas. Earth Friendly’s Kitty Litter Treatment contains baking soda and enzymes to boost its effectiveness. Zeolite is a mineral that absorbs odor even more efficiently than baking soda. Use powder form (such as Odorzout) as you would baking soda. Zeolite pebbles or stones can be placed in problems areas and recharged in sunlight. A cup of vinegar near litter boxes and pet cages will absorb odors.
Seventh Generation’s Carpet Cleaner or Earth Friendly’s Everyday Stain & Odor Remover are very effective on pet stains and odors on furniture and carpets. Or apply a 1:3 solution of vinegar and warm water, dab with a clean towel and repeat until clean. These may also be used for non-toxic steam cleaning.
With a high quality air filter (non-ozonating), remove odors and fine particles, such as dust and dander from the air. Do not use air filters that produce ozone, which at ground level is a pollutant. Find one that is AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) certified.
Vacuum at least twice a week. A HEPA filter on a vacuum captures 95% of all particles and prevents them from being blown back out through the exhaust.
Earth Friendly (www.ecos.com): natural food stores and Farmer Jack
Vermont Soap Organics (1-866- SOAP-4U2)
Odorzout: PetSmart, True Value
Seventh Generation: natural food stores and Kroger
Swheat Scoop - clumping flakes of wheat: Kroger, Meijer, Target, Lowe’s, PetCo, PetSmart
Feline Pine - clumping and non- clumping, also for pet cages: pet food stores, K-Mart, Meijer, Kroger
Silica crystals or pebbles (various brands-no dust): pet food stores, Target, Meijer
World’s Best Cat Litter - corn cobs: Pet Supplies Plus, Pointe Pet Supply
Yesterday’s News - recycled newspaper, also for pet cages: pet food stores, Meijer
Published on January 7, 2006