Happy National Pet Month! If you're a proud pet parent, you're in good company, considering 66% of U.S. households have at least one loyal and lovable pet pal.
Naturally, you want to take the best care possible of your little (or big!) buddy – they rely on you, after all – and one facet of providing great care is considering your home environment. Your home is their home. If your furnishings and household products contain toxic chemicals, it’s unhealthy for you and your pets.
The best way to avoid toxins in the home and in your pet’s environment? Organic living, of course! Here’s our guide to protecting your pets – and by extension, you and the planet, too! – from harmful chemicals.
Benefits of Organic Living
Organic living means making more informed choices concerning your health and that of the environment – and doing your best to take care of both! In agriculture, it involves reducing the use of pesticides that pollute our air, soil and waterways and promoting sustainable, regenerative farming methods. In manufacturing, it involves limiting energy consumption, pollution output and the harmful chemicals often used in consumer products.
And in the home, it involves researching and choosing healthier products that improve indoor air quality and don’t off-gas harmful VOCs – for a healthier planet, a healthier you and, of course, healthier pets, too.
1. Household Cleaners
We want our homes to be clean, hygienic environments. But many household cleaning products can put pets at risk for cancer, anemia, and liver and kidney damage – and can put humans at risk, too! Common cleaners can contain some pretty nasty ingredients, including:
- Glycol ethers
And the risks don’t disappear when the products are put away. They emit vapors into your home air that remain long after you’re done cleaning! The good news is that there are many non-toxic cleaners appearing on the market – just make sure you do your research and always read ingredient labels before purchasing any “natural” product.
While we’re on the subject of cleaning products, toilet tank drop-in cleaners contain corrosive cleaning agents that can be toxic for those pets with a proclivity for drinking from the toilet. If your furry friend falls into this category, keep the lid shut – or avoid these cleaners altogether!
2. Your Mattress
It’s true – if you’re sleeping on a conventional mattress, it may be toxic to your pets. This is because non-organic mattresses (and even some organic ones) contain formaldehyde, a preservative that is used in glues and adhesives. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in pets, who inhale it as it off-gasses from furnishings such as new fabrics, wood-veneer and laminate flooring, and, again, mattresses. Oh, and it’s not great for humans either – it can cause health complications such as:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Skin rashes
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in lung function
- Increased risk of cancer
Naturepedic’s certified organic mattresses don’t contain materials and chemicals known to cause harm to human health like formaldehyde. If you want to avoid exposure, go organic.
3. Landscaping Materials
If you’re a dog owner, your yard is likely your pet’s favorite playground. But beware: many materials we use in landscaping and yard maintenance can be toxic for man’s best friend. Let’s start with your lawn.
Many homeowners treat their grass with “weed and feed,” an effective fertilizer and herbicide combination. Unfortunately, these chemical fertilizers often contain the herbicide 2,4-D, which has been shown to cause malignant lymphoma in dogs and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people. Opt for a non-toxic option like corn gluten instead, which is safer for people and pets.
If you live in a colder climate, ice melts and de-icing salts are essential for outdoor home maintenance. These are fine for humans with protected feet, but our pets don’t wear shoes like we do! Pups can get quite sick when licking paws that have walked on surfaces treated with salts. Symptoms can range from mild to moderate, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and lethargy
- Burns, cracks and skin irritation on paws
Don’t fret – there are pet-safe alternatives including ecoTraction, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and even materials to increase traction such as sand, crushed cinder and cat litter.
4. Nicotine Products
If you need one more reason to give up smoking, consider your pet! We all know that tobacco products are terrible for our health and that secondhand smoke can cause a lot of harm. However, for your furry friend, there’s also the added risk of ingesting nicotine.
Even if you’re currently trying to quit, be aware that nicotine patches, nicotine gum and vape fluid contain high levels of nicotine that can hurt and even kill your pet if ingested. Nicotine poisoning symptoms – fast breathing, hypersalivation, vomiting – can develop in just 15 minutes and can escalate to seizures, coma and death quickly.
Ingesting even small amounts of seemingly innocuous over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen and some NSAIDs can be lethal to your pets, and some common prescription drugs such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, sleep aids and more are severely toxic to pets. Are you a cat person? These medications are even more toxic for cats since they lack an enzyme needed to digest these substances.
Keep your medications in a closed container or cabinet that’s far out of reach. Check out the Pet Poison Helpline’s list of medications that are poisonous to pets for more information.
Speaking of things that are safe for humans but not for pets, many foods that seem harmless can make your pet sick, such as chocolate, raisins and peanut butter containing xylitol. So do your research before offering table scraps!
Treat Your Pet to an Organic Pet Bed!
Pampering your pet with a Naturepedic Organic Pet Bed is an easy and effective first step in creating a safer, healthier home for your best friend. You can rest easier knowing that when your pet curls up to rest, they are on a supportive bed made with organic cotton and latex – and without toxic, off-gassing chemicals! Our pet bed is:
- GOTS certified organic
- MADE SAFE® certified non-toxic
- GREENGUARD® Gold certified for low chemical emissions
- UL Formaldehyde Free validated
- PETA-Approved Vegan
Oh, and did we mention it includes a machine-washable, waterproof cover? Protecting your pet is a full-time job, but we can help. And they are so, so worth it, aren’t they?