Non-Toxic Product Picks: Non-Toxic Pet Guide: Is your home poisoning your pet?
We spend a lot of time talking about the messes our two-legged cohabitants make, but let’s not forget their four-legged co-conspirators who have been known to strew the contents of a garbage can throughout the house, forget to wipe their muddy paws, and occasionally make a less than optimal location choice for…other messes. Despite this, we find joy in the unconditional love our pets bring and want to keep them safe from harmful toxins and chemicals, too! So, here’s your non-toxic pet guide to keep your home safe for your pets and make sure it doesn’t look – or smell- like your furry angels are anything but!
Sit & Stay Safe! Your Non-Toxic Pet Guide
Pet Toys & Accessories
If you’ve been alarmed to learn about lead and other toxins found in children’s toys, you’ll be sad to know that pet toys are even more poorly regulated. With no oversight from a governing body like the FDA, there are no restrictions in place to help ensure the safety of materials used in pet accessories like toys, beds, crates, grooming aids, cat litter or bedding for small animals like birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters.
Sadly, pet toys have tested positive for higher levels of lead than are allowed in children’s toys. This article goes into some of the discoveries from testing performed by Healthy Stuff, an organization that tests the materials in pet toys and documents the results for consumers, so it’s a great place to check for safe options for your pet. Some less than stellar stats found: 45% had detectable levels of one or more hazardous toxins, including arsenic and bromine, 25% of all the products had detectable levels of lead, but a whopping 7% had lead levels higher than the 300 ppm allowed in children’s toys. Since many of our homes contain both pets and children, avoiding toys that could contain lead is important for everybody’s safety.
Since you can’t rely on federal regulation, the onus falls on the consumer to research brands that hold themselves to high safety standards, like Planet Dog, a brand that makes joyful non-toxic pet accessories and toys. And, as always, avoid plastic and vinyl toys to keep your pet away from endocrine disrupting BPA, PVC and phthalates.
Dog beds have also been found to contain triclosan, a toxic antimicrobial that has been linked to endocrine disruption and impairing brain function as well as potentially creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Give your best friend a safe place to rest their head with dog beds made from natural fibers and that have not been treated with toxic fabric treatments like flame retardants or PFCs (this goes for your human roommates too!). The brand Olive has a huge array of options for non-toxic pet beds – even tents and teepees!
Cleaning Products & Pets
It’s no surprise to see some of the familiar faces you try to avoid in your own cleaning safer regime: bleach, formaldehyde, phenol and isopropyl alcohol can all be harmful to our pets (and ourselves!).
Pets primarily interact with our floors and floor coverings (a problem in and of themselves), so our mopping solution, carpet cleaners and bathroom cleaners matter. Dogs have been known to stop by a toilet bowl, so your bathroom cleaners definitely matter too. Avoid harsh chemicals that are linked to skin and respiratory irritation like bleach or ammonium hydroxide, as well as avoiding all products containing fragrances; because this is a proprietary term, manufacturers don’t have to disclose the exactly contents and even “natural” fragrances are linked to allergies & irritation.
Some signs to look out for in your pet are skin and eye irritation and respiratory distress like asthma and breathing problems. In extreme cases, like poisoning, you may see rashes, burns on the skin as well as a normally energetic pet seeming lethargic or exhibiting symptoms like vomiting or seizures.
Man’s Best Friend’s Best Friend!
We like to think pets would give us two paws up for Force of Nature, our super effective cleaning system that’s safe for your pet (and humans!) and gentle on skin and fur. Here are some of our favorite uses for Force of Nature as a non-toxic pet cleaning buddy.
Pet messes: From digestive upsets to muddy paws, pet messes on rugs and upholstery are part of the adventure of pet ownership! First, test for color-fastness in an inconspicuous spot & wait until the tested area is dry before proceeding. Clean up the soil as much as possible with dry paper towels or cloths. Next, spray the surface until it is soaked with Force of Nature, wait 2 minutes, then use clean paper towels or cloths to wipe up any remaining soil. It’s critical to spray all the layers of the rug that have been soiled. For example you should spray even the underside of the rug if the accident has soaked through. That will stop the odor at its source. Let the surface dry and if any odor remains, go through the process again to ensure all layers of the surface have been saturated with Force of Nature.
Destinking: we love our furry buddies but a wet dog or a musty cat dander smell is doing nobody’s home any favors! Give your pet beds, blankets (or your car upholstery) a solid spray down with Force of Nature, allowing the product to dry completely to allow for maximum odor elimination.
Degunking pet toys: give toys a spray with Force of Nature and wait 30 seconds. Wipe them down and they’re ready to chew!
Food bowls: after washing, give your food and water bowls a quick spray and wipe down with Force of Nature.
Got a use for Force of Nature that we haven’t mentioned? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear!
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