Care For Your Pets the Green Way Care For Your Pets the Green Way

Care For Your Pets the Green Way
Alden Smith

People tend to care for their pets in one of two ways -- either they completely neglect health care in their animals, or else they spend more on pet health care than on their own. Just as you wouldn't use harsh chemicals on your children, so should you not use them on pets. The focus of this article is on the many green ways you can treat your pets' symptoms without endangering them.

Controlling Fleas Without Chemicals

Your dogs, playing out in the yard during summer months, contract fleas. Fleas are inevitable, and cause a dog or cat much misery. Most people buy a flea collar and expect the problem to disappear. Here is what really happens: The flea collar emits a constant toxic cloud around your pet's neck. Every time you hug your pet, you are getting a dose of it yourself. Need proof? The Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) lists many brand-name products that contain either carcinogens, neurotoxins, or both.

Avoid products that list the following in their active ingredients:

*chlorpyrifos
*dichlorvos
*phosmet
*naled
*tetrachlorvinphos
*diazinon
*malathion
*carbaryl
*propoxur

Remember, not all flea medications are toxic. Avoid the older over-the-counter products, because these still use a lot of the fobridden chemicals. Be aware that many products do not list some ingredients because of "trade secrets" laws. These are generally the inert ingredients of the product. They make up to 90 percent of the product mix and are often toxic. These chemicals can include:

*xylene
*methyl bromide
*benzene
*asbestos
*DDT (a by-product of the manufacture of certain pesticides)
*toluene.

Bathing Your Pets

Avoid harmful pet shampoos that are guaranteed to kill fleas. They contain harmful chemicals and can cause a lot of misery for your pet. Instead, use an herbal shampoo for animals. Plain soap and water will kill fleas if left on the animal for 5 to 8 minutes.

Natural Flea Treatment
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a formula that works 100% of the time, is environmentally friendly, and does not expose you or your pets to harsh chemicals and carcinogens. Simply slice up two lemons and pour nearly boiling water over them, then soak overnight. The next day, strain the liquid and pour into a spray bottle. Spritz the dogs daily with this solution and rub it into the coat. It is also a good idea to spray their bedding. No more fleas!

What About Cats?

Cats hate any citrus smell, so in place of the lemon solution, use one ounce pennyroyal oil (found at health food stores) with 18 ounces of water. Sponge the cat with this solution -- they hate being sprayed -- and work it gently into his coat. Always be sure to dilute pennyroyal. On its own, it is highly toxic to cats.

Organic Cat Litter

Most cat litter is made from materials that are strip mined. The clumping agent in most cat litter contains sodium bentonite clay. A lot of bentonite is mined in Japan -- think of the carbon footprint transporting it to the United States. When cats began dying from diarrhea-like symptoms, veterinarians and scientists discovered that the bentonite clay causes these symptoms and subsequent death of cats -- especially kittens. This is because cat always cleans itself after using the litter box. When the cat stirs around in the litter box, the bentonite clay produces a dust that is harmful to respiratory systems. The high clumping abilities cause the litter to swell into a cement-like substance in the cat's digestive tract.

An alternative is plant-based litters. Available in many dust-free and clumping varieties, it is the best way to keep cats healthy. Wood-based litters are available. Do not use scented cedar or pine shavings; the scents in these materials cause health issues.

Although the scope of this article cannot begin to touch on the many ways to treat your pets in a safe green manner, these guidelines are helpful. Do yourself, your pets and the environment a favor and take control of the treatment of your pets.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!