Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Detox Your Petcare (How To)

Detox Your Life was so well-liked that I'm going to do some more posts based off the same idea. Today's post is about detoxing your petcare - because most of us feel like our pets are our babies and anyway, their care can also affect your health. Before we officially get started, I'd like to introduce you to my inspiration for this post, my cat Frederick:

According to last year's National Pet Ownership Survey, Americans own approximately 73 million dogs and 90 million cats! That's a lot of animals probably being exposed to dangerous chemicals & toxins and sharing them with us. Yikes! So how can we be sure Fido, Fluffy and Frederick are safe?

1. Detox your pet food. The guide below, which I borrowed from Naturapet.com, lays out the basic guidelines of what you want for your pet's food:
Just reading the ingredients on the bag will let you know if your food is really good for your pet, or just filling them up. Like people, pets are sensitive to the hormones and toxins present in most factory farmed foods. So be sure what's going in them is good for them if you want your pet to have optimum health.

I feed my Frederick Avoderm Natural and not only does he love it, but his coat has also gotten glossier since he's been eating it.

2. Detox your pet's excrement area. This should be simple enough for dog owners - all you have to do is throw the poo in a plastic bag and then into the trash and you're all set. As long as your dog's not living in his own crap, you should be fine.

For cat owners, this is a little more tricky, because litter can be bad for your cat and for you. Clumping litters are often made from sodium bentonite, a natural swelling clay that can absorb many times its weight in liquid. While this makes it convenient for absorbing and disposing of urine, it acts the same way inside your cat's intestines. If your cat eats or accidentally ingests clumping litter, it may cause gastrointestinal problems, possibly even death. Clay dust also contains crystalline silica, which is registered as a carcinogen by OSHA, and may cause respiratory illnesses.

There are lots of alternatives to clay kitty litter. Some materials are recycled newspapers, cedar- or wood-based litters, wheat, alfalfa, oat hulls, peanut hulls and corn cobs. Here are a few of your options:

3. Detox your pet's cleaning system. There are lots of things we want to clean off of our pets: pests, dirt and more. But a lot of the harsh chemicals used in most cleansers are highly toxic to animals and some can even affect your pet's immune system!

AllTheBestPetcare.com has a great article about getting rid of fleas without harsh chemicals that get on your furniture, clothes and skin. You can click through to read the entire article which covers removing fleas from your home as well as from your pet. Here's what they have to say about keeping fleas off of your pet:
Erigeron is a rare herb that contains limonene, a natural botanical insecticide that dissolves the shell of the flea without harming skin cells. You can find erigeron in our FleaBane Spray, Shampoo and Intensive Treatment. Two other flea remedies from nature include pyrethrum, powdered chrysanthemum petals, and citrus oils and extracts, another source of limonene.

While you are waiting for your preventive methods to kick in, here are some things you can do about the fleas you see crawling and jumping. Combing is the best first step for cats and dogs. It removes live fleas, dirt, and eggs, and lets you know how bad the problem is. Shampooing drowns fleas, and washes away the skin flakes that attract more fleas. You may shampoo up to once a week if necessary, but be careful to choose a non-drying shampoo to protect the beneficial oils building up on the skin. If your pet’s skin is very damaged, dilute the shampoo with an equal amount of aloe vera. A sulfur-containing shampoo will also help repel fleas and sooth itchy skin. Thorough vacuuming will pick up fleas and eggs, and washing bedding in a hot washer or dryer will kill any eggs that might otherwise hatch. (read the rest here)
Now, while we're talking about shampooing, let's talk about natural products for that. I use the simple dilution of Dr. Bronner's Hemp Almond Castile soap, which is 100% natural and not really made for pets, but Frederick jumped into the bath one day when that was in it and it cleaned him so well and he liked it so much that we haven't tried anything yet. Now if you want something specifically for your pet, there are lots of options. For dog owners, the Green Daily suggests these five shampoos, and for everyone Pet Comfort Products offers a step-by-step guide to choosing the best shampoo for your pet.

And that about covers the basics. I hope you find this even a little bit helpful and your pets stay happy and healthy for a long, long time!

Related posts:
Detox Your Life (How To)
Beaks, Wings and Shrieks
Alien v. Moray Eels

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Anonymous said...

hehe, you said poop.

wait, no you didn't.

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for posting this!!! My mom and I were just talking about most of what you covered the other day, and we decided we were going to do some research on options for keeping our pets healthy! You couldn't have had better timing!

I'm going to have to try the Feline Pine litter ... I used Yesterday's News for awhile, but I couldn't stand the smell and it was super hard to clean out.

May said...

Yeah, I really recommend the Pine litter! It smells great, clumps perfectly and scoops easier than clay litter.

Glad you liked the post :)

Anonymous said...

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Gary White said...
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