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 & Treats

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 pet toys. 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!

And it’s not just what your pet interacts with but what they put in their bodies that can be harmful. Don’t be swayed by nice packaging and recognizable brands. Make sure you read treat labels carefully so your little one gets the nutrition he or she needs without any hidden ingredients. Look out for BHA and BHT, ethoxyquin, synthetic food dyes, corn and wheat gluten and other by-products that can be used as meat substitutes but are less nutritionally complete than real meat proteins. We love Fetching Dog Treats, which are not only made with 100% natural, human-grade ingredients (which means you could eat them if you wanted to!) but they donate 20% of all profits to animal rescues.

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. The one word “fragrance” can actually  hide a cocktail of dozens of toxic ingredients, including phthalates, and manufacturers don’t have to disclose the exact ingredients. Plus, 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 wheezing 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 gentle on your pet (and humans!). Here are some of our favorite uses for Force of Nature as a toxic-free pet cleaning and sanitizing 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. Once all the visible soil is gone, spray thoroughly one more time and let dry naturally.

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 air dry (don’t rinse!) to allow for maximum odor elimination.

Degunking pet toys: give toys a thorough spray with Force of Nature and let dry naturally.

Food bowls: after rinsing off any food residue, give your food and water bowls a thorough spray and let dry naturally.

We wish you and your favorite multi-legged friends lots of snuggles, frisky play and furry kisses!

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