Thursday, September 11, 2008

Taking Your Dog Green: Thursday's Green Tip Toes

With all the changes going on around my home, my dogs have not been forgotten. It is my intention to protect them from toxins, as well. But how?

My Thursday Green Tip Toes are committed to being 10 minute ideas that help you live a greener life, so pick one. When you have it working, pick another sometime and get it going. Don't stress yourself out, but remember your furry friend and his health.

  1. Switch to new Flushpuppies poop bags. They are made of water soluble PVA film which dissolves in less than a minute in water. Flushing is best, but in the garbage, the bags are biodegradable. As the folks at Flushpuppies would say, "It is your duty to take care of their doodie." You can find them at Amazon or at Flushpuppies. Your second choice, when Flushpuppies are not available is to use biodegradable poop bags, such as the ones made by Bags on Board and Pet Zone; these are available at most pet stores. Leaving poop on the ground allows bacteria to leach into groundwater and run off into lakes and streams. This eventually ends up in our drinking water supply. Finally, if you leave it, you may step in it tomorrow.
  2. Switch to organic dog food. I know it costs more. I have 3 dogs, so believe me, I know. Look at it as an investment in their health and longevity, just like you would your own switch to organics. Finally, buy it on sale and watch for coupons at your local petfood suppliers.
  3. I am trying VERY hard to get away from disposable stuff. It is hard. I'll grant you that, but the landfills are getting scarce and expensive. We need to take action to reduce our garbage. Start a compost pile; you can read up on how on the internet, or wait for my upcoming post on Thursday, September 18. Don't know what composting is? You're not alone. A friend just asked me that the other day. I'll try to answer all your questions in that post, but be sure to send me a COMMENT if you have more. I just started a pile and so far so good. Meanwhile, when you go out, try to remember to take a reusable water bottle and a reusable water bowl for your dog. You're both happy, and there is no trash.
  4. Reuse pet food bags for trash that cannot go in your compost pile. If the pet food bag is totally paper, it can go in the compost pile as "brown matter". We'll talk more about that next Thursday.
  5. Read the Raise a Green Dog blog for lots of tips and ideas.
  6. Grass--the delightful place where your dog plays, and poops. Isn't that enough contamination? Don't add to it with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Popping up all over the country are organic lawn care companies, like Jolly Green Planet, my local provider. They use natural stuff like fish emulsion for fertilizer, diatomaceous earth (DE--ground up seashells) for flea control and corn gluten meal for pre-emergent weed control. There's much more to it, of course, but the point is, you don't need chemicals, and your pet doesn't either. Your pup's feet are in that grass the whole time he is in your yard, and he licks them clean, at least occasionally. You don't want him licking chemicals off his feet.
  7. Flea control is tricky here in Florida where fleas are out of control this summer. We did not have a freeze this past Winter and that always causes a upsurge in fleas for the Spring and Summer. Luckily, I learned from my friends at Jolly Green Planet that I can purchase DE in food grade form for use on my pets. It repels fleas on them, just like it does in the grass. I found a natural pet supply store in my area that carries it, so my dogs will finally be rid of those monthly chemical coctails I've been putting between their shoulder blades.
  8. Now we can move to your carpet, another place your dog probably spends a good deal of time. Does your carpet cleaner use chemicals to remove stains and odors? Just like other providers, carpet cleaners are hearing the call of green consumers. You can find companies who use natural products. My carpet cleaner recommends the most natural stain remover of all--club soda. Its bubbling action brings the spill or stain to the surface where it can be absorbed with a clean towel. Sometimes it takes a few tries, but it does work. On the Raise a Green Dog blog, I found a suggestion for using vinegar and water for the same purpose. Vinegar is a great, all purpose cleaner, which neutralizes odors, thus the suggestion--a good one.

Enough for today. If there is a "green pet" topic you are particularly interested in, please let me know with a COMMENT below the post. Just hit the purple COMMENT link.

I should mention that starting today I am offering a new service. You can now subscribe to my posts, free of charge. They will be sent directly to your e-mail. You can cancel your subscription anytime, so there is no obligation. It's easy to subscribe. Just scroll up to the top right. There is a box under the blog title, to the right, that says Subscribe Via E-Mail. Fill in your e-mail address and hit the Subscribe button. You'll be asked to type a few letters that will appear (to verify that you're human!) and then you're done!

Tomorrow I'll be talking about food additives and the Feingold Program, a non-profit organization whose goal is to support families who need to avoid certain additives. Research has shown that many food additives are responsible for hyperactive and attention deficit behaviors in children. Feingold provides information on acceptable brand name products. If you have a child who is sensitive to any food additives or has ADHD, this will be a good post for you to read. Hope to see you then.

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