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Archive for Green Pets

April 4th, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Now and Then

Chocolate lab black and white

It’s Wednesday and all over the internet you will find photos with no words of explanation. Why? Because pictures say a thousand words.

She was my first baby. Guess how old she is now?

Chocolate lab puppy

 

She loves the snow

 

Loving the snow

 

Mico in non-toxic pesticide free green grass

Linked up with: I Thought I Knew Mama, My Organized Chaos, Searching for Simplicity,

October 13th, 2011

Groovy Green Odds and Ends

Fall Leaves

This week I have been traveling- visiting J.R. Watkins Naturals in beautiful Winona, Minnesota. The leaves are flaunting some beautiful colors and the weather has been uncharacteristically warm. Rumor has it there is at least an inch of snow coming by Halloween, which is hard to imagine. There’s more to come on my trip, but for now there are a few things I wanted to share with you before the weekend kicks in.

Green Pet Care

Lisa over at Condo Blues is hosting this month’s Green Moms Carnival: Green Pet edition. October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month as well as National Pet Wellness Month so it’s the perfect time to talk about green care for our pets. You will find pet adoptions stories, green pet care tips, stories about green pet life, info on food and treats and a little green pet philosophy.  My posts, 8 Tips for Choosing Healthy Dog Food and Natural Flea and Tick Prevention for Pets, are included.

Green Your Apple Picking

It is the perfect time of year for apple picking. I have to admit that we haven’t gone on our annual trek to the local apple orchard yet, but I’m hopeful it will happen. Over at Momtastic this week I shared 8 Ways to Green Your Apple Picking. Check it out!

Project Green Challenge

This amazing mom and daughter team started Teens Turning Green and Project Green Challenge. Read their inspirational story over at Healthy Child Healthy World and enter Project Green Challenge-I did!

Patagonia and Onlineshoes.com Giveaway

Reminder-entries for the giveaway end tonight (October 13, 2011) at midnight (EST). A big thank you to all of you who have entered. The winner will be announced tomorrow….so stay tuned!

What groovy green things are on tap for this weekend?  Whatever you do, ENJOY!

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Diane Turner/Flickr]

October 4th, 2011

8 Tips for Choosing Healthy Dog Food

Green Dog Food Choices

This post is part of this months Green Moms Carnival -green pets edition- hosted by Lisa over at Condo Blues. The carnival goes live Wednesday, October 12, 2011.  Be sure to stop by for lots of great, green tips and  suggestions for your pets. This post was also cross-posted at Healthy Child Healthy World as the Blog of the Week.

October is my favorite time of the year. The disappointing performance by the Red Sox put a big damper on my usual October obsession with baseball playoffs,  but there are still plenty of October highlights to look forward to. The leaves are beginning to change colors (they never disappoint), Halloween is on the horizon, routine is back on track and the dry weather brings on plenty of “good hair” days. October is also National Pet Wellness month, an annual event that encourages year-round pet wellness and owner education.

We have a 12 year old chocolate lab that rules the roost. She has free rein to climb on furniture, track in mud and sleep in our bed. She’s been through it all with us and still manages to provide us with that unconditional love that dogs are so wonderful at giving.

Over the years we’ve searched high and low for a dog food that’s full healthy ingredients, but free of toxins and harmful chemicals. The number of choices are overwhelming, each claiming to be the best.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the best commercially packaged dog food for your pet:

  1. Carefully read the ingredient label on the package.
  2. Look to see where the meat (i.e. chicken) is listed on the label. The closer it is to the beginning of the list the more actual meat used in the product. Protein is the most vital substance in a dog’s diet.  You want a quality meat product.
  3. The type of meat should be specified. If the label says “meat” without specifying the type, don’t buy the product.
  4. Avoid any products that list a “by-product” of any kind.
  5. Avoid products that list “meal” instead of an actual meat. I have read some conflicting information on this and thedogfoodscoop.com says that meal isn’t necessarily inferior to fresh meat.
  6. Check where the fat is coming from. The dog food should specify the source of the fat-which meat or oil it’s coming from.
  7. Avoid dog food with grains as a top ingredient. Most commercial dog foods contain grains-and lots of them. There’s a lot of debate as to whether grains should be part of a dogs diet. Some claim that dogs do not have the digestive system to cope with grains and grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs.
  8. Don’t buy dog foods with added chemicals, food preservatives and synthetic colors.

We use Wellness Super5Mix Healthy Weight Recipe for our chocolate lab. She would eat anything-most labs would-but this food keeps her at a good weight and provides her with the nutrition that she needs to stay healthy and energetic.

In addition to her dry dog food we also feed her raw vegetables. Bananas and carrots are her favorites.  There are a few foods that are big no-no’s (don’t ever feed these to your dog):

  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Dairy

I have always been intrigued by raw diets-both for humans and dogs-but have never taken the plunge.

Here are some reasons to go raw:

  • Feeding raw is cheaper than commercial dog foods.
  • It’s what your dog would eat if it lived in the wild.
  • Cleans teeth naturally-by chewing raw, meaty bones.
  • Less visits to the vet because your dog is healthy.

In honor of pet wellness month-this month and every month, take steps to keep your pets healthy.  If you’re looking for natural ways to prevent fleas and ticks click HERE. Also, check in with  Healthy Child Healthy World and their information on pesticides in pet products.

What type of food do you feed your pets? Have you tried a raw diet?

Disclosure: There is an Amazon link in this post. If you purchase the product it will place a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!

April 25th, 2011

Natural Flea and Tick Prevention for Pets

Groovy Green Livin Flea

If you are a dog or cat lover you know that protecting your animals from fleas and ticks is high on the list for responsible pet care. In the northeast and other parts of the country ticks can run rampant, so keeping them off pets is essential.

In August our chocolate lab, Mico, will be 12 years old.  That’s 84 in dog years. She’s no spring chicken, but she can still swim for hours and run a few laps with the young pups in the neighborhood.  During the winter months there’s no need to use flea or tick prevention-the ticks and fleas are hibernating. But now that spring has sprung they are back in action and prevention is key to keep them away from your pets and out of your home.

Toxic chemicals in conventional flea and tick control products

There are many different brands of conventional flea and tick control products on the market. Most contain toxic chemicals that can poison pets and harm people. Some of the chemicals are linked to cancer, allergies and asthma and are suspected endocrine disruptors. Pregnant women and small children are especially at risk.

For all almost 12 years of her life we have doused poor Mico in K-9 Advantix or Frontline (depending upon the vets recommendation). The Natural Defense Resource Council (NRDC) put together a handy list of flea and tick products, listing which chemicals are in each and assessing the chemicals’ toxicity. Take a look at Greenpaws Flea and Tick Product Guide to see if the product you’re using is considered  toxic. K-9 Advantix and Frontline both fell between the “use sparingly” and “avoid use” categories.  Both are pretty toxic and don’t belong on Mico.

The bottom line: Don’t use spot treatments such as K-9 Avantix and Frontline which tend to be very concentrated and, according to new studies, may pose a hazard to pets and humans.

dog in green grassNatural solutions for flea and tick prevention

Regular combing with a flea comb, bathing and vacuuming can reduce and control fleas.

Keep your pets out of areas where ticks are prevalent –long grass and trees.  This is a tough one for us since we are surrounded by woods and we love to walk Mico off road.

There are many natural options to repel ticks. Here are a few to try:

  • Brewers yeast- Brewer’s yeast works by making the dog’s blood too acidic for bugs’ taste.
  • Apple cider vinegar- Add no more than 2 tbsp. into a large bowl of water. Or make a spray of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water and spray onto your dog’s coat. Make sure you don’t spray in his/her eyes.
  • Citrus rub- Cut a lemon into quarters. Put it into a jar and cover with boiling water. Let it steep overnight and put the solution into a spray bottle. Spray on your pet and rub in.
  • Garlic-I’ve ready conflicting studies on the safety of garlic for dogs and cats. It seems clear that when large quantities of garlic are consumed by dogs it could lead to anemia and/or death.  I’m going to stay away from garlic for the time being.
  • There are also many all natural products on the market. When purchasing be careful to read through the ingredient list.  Many of the “natural” products I came across did contain toxic chemicals. One product that looks promising is Ticked Off! ,which contains southern red cedar oil -another chemical-free, safe way to control fleas, ticks and other bugs.

When we buy flea and tick control products we make an assumption that they’re safe. However, the EPA isn’t like the FDA and they don’t require pet products to undergo field trials prior to approval. We need to let the EPA know that we do care what goes onto our pets and these toxic products shouldn’t be on the market.

Do you have any other natural remedies to share for flea and tick prevention?

 

Please consult with your veterinarian before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested in this article. Only your Veterinarian can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your pet’s unique needs or diagnose your pet’s particular medical history.

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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Lori on ABC World News

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