Polluted Pets

EWG logoEnvironmental Working Group (EWG)’s study found that US Pets are polluted with high levels of toxic chemicals. Like children, our pets play on lawns sprayed with pesticides, lounge on floors coated with cleaner and fragrance residues, and breathe in air contaminants. Their smaller size, closer contact with contaminated surfaces, and habits of licking, and putting household objects in their mouths all increases their exposure to chemicals.

The study analyzed both dogs and cats for 70 industrial chemicals and found them contaminated with 48 of them. Furthermore, the pets had levels of 43 of these chemicals higher than the levels typically found in people. The study looked at plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 37 cats collected at a Virginia veterinary clinic.

Dogs tested were contaminated with 11 carcinogens, 24 neurotoxins, and 31 chemicals that are toxic to reproductive systems.  Not surprising then, according to Purdue University Dept of Veterinary Pathothobiology, 20 – 25% of dogs die of cancer.

The study found cats contaminated with even more chemicals, including 40 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, 15 toxic to the endocrine system, 9 carcinogens, and 34 neurotoxins. Endocrine toxins affect the thyroid and thyroid disease is a leading cause of illness in older cats. Other endocrine toxins are found in fire retardants called PBDEs, and in plastics that release BPA. Both of these have been linked to illness in cats.

In addition to residue from cleaning fluids and pesticides, some other sources of chemical exposure include:

  • fire retardants in bedding, foam furniture, house dust, and food
  • teflon-family chemicals (perfluorochemicals) in food from dog & cat food bag coatings, stain-proofed furniture, bedding, and carpets
  • Phthalates from plastic containers, toys, shampoos, and many other consumer products
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate) used in plastics and other consumer products, including insect repellents and flea & tick collars

This was one of the most extensive investigations into chemical exposures for house pets and the findings are in excess of any imagined. The fact that much of this exposure comes from common household objects, cleaners, and pesticides means that our children and ourselves are being exposed to these same toxins as well. reducing our chemical exposure levels – even a little – can improve the lives of our pets and ourselves. polluted pets

 

Pets & Holiday Cleaning

A lot of house cleaning occurs as we approach the holiday season.  (And if we’re honest a lot of cleaning is because of our furry friends.)

PetMD.com reminds us of the dangers to our pets from common cleaning supplies.

Keep pets safe by ensuring pets can’t eat, drink, breathe or come in contact with most common cleaning supplies, which contain harmful chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and chlorine.

The toxins in many products are dangerous – even in small quantities – to pets and children due to their smaller body mass. They can cause severe illness and even death.

Cleaners can be absorbed through pets skin & paws

Many chemicals are absorbed through the skin or paws. If you must use harmful cleaners, keep pets (and children) away until all surfaces are dry. Or use a product like BeLeave which is non-toxic and food safe.

Don’t let a clean house send your furry friend to vet.

Here’s a few tips to reduce the amount of cleaning needed due to pets and to help keep your home from smelling like a kennel.

Regular grooming can reduce smells, loose pet hair and dander. Less dander also means less allergens in the air. Brush your pet outdoors to keep pet hair outside.

Washing pet bedding will also reduce dander and odors. Choose a bed with a removeable cover for easy washing.

Pet toys also benefit from a good washing to remove germs and general stickiness which leaves marks on soft surfaces and which picks up dirt and debris. Most soft toys can be cleaned in the washer on the gentle cycle. Line dry.  Wash hard toys by hand or in the top shelf of the  dishwasher if they are dishwasher safe.

For the pet hair that still is coating your furniture (and your clothes) – lint rollers are your friend. No lint roller – put on a rubber glove and dampen it. Rub across surfaces to collect loose pet hair. Other options are to wrap tape around your hand with the sticky side out for a DIY lint roller. Also try running a squeegee across carpet to easily collect most hair.

Trap kitty litter near the box by putting a welcome mat under the exit from the litter box. Stray granules of litter will come off on the mat and not be tracked throughout the house. kitty on couch BeLeave

If you have more than one cat – be sure to try litter that is formulated for multiple cats to minimize odors.

Regular vacuuming will capture many remaining bits, hair, dander.  The more you can eliminate, the fewer odors will remain.

And of course, spray away with our non-toxic BeLeave cleaner/sanitizer spray. It kills germs and removes odors caused by them and is still safe for use around pets, people, plants, and even food.