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Lansdale, PA

Pet care in Lansdale, PA.  Certified in Pet First Aid and CPR through the American Red Cross.  Bonded and insured. Discounts for rescue pets!

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Eco-Friendly Pets Blog

Eco-friendly and earth-conscious pet product features and reviews.  Interested in having your product reviewed here?  Please email: ecofriendlypetreviews@gmail.com.

Mealtime at a pleasant pace with this slow feeder bowl

Christina Ottaviano

Do your pets inhale their food? Whether you feed kibble, wet, raw, or a combination of food varieties, some animals just eat way too quickly. I have a cat, Jax, who eats so fast he often throws up.  Dogs gulping food can lead to excess gas, choking, or even bloat.  Eating too quickly results in overeating, as the brain does not have the ability to register a feeling of fullness this quickly.

There are many styles of slow feed bowl, but some alarming issues I have with most of them is that they are plastic. If your dog is a psychopants when it comes to dinner time, how is he not ingesting tiny pieces of plastic while attempting to get to his kibble? And if the food is wet, isn't he licking that plastic a lot? I hate to think of all of that chemical waste going through his body. Additionally, aren't those feeders hard to clean properly?  Plastic is susceptible to abrasions over time which can harbor microscopic bacteria. So many nooks and crannies to get into.  Chin acne, anyone?  I know some folks don't wash their dog dishes every time they feed, but this seems excessive to me. Disgusting, actually...and don't even get me started on the lightweight nature of these feeders. A smart dog will learn to flip it. You know your dogs. If they are that excited to eat, this plastic type of feeder will not hold them back.

Stainless steel is my first choice for a slow feeder bowl. It's easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and won't leach nasty chemicals.  Wiser Pet is a brand available on Amazon, and if the name sounds familiar, that's because I have written a review of their lovely dog shampoo in the past.  They offer innovative pet products with the holistic health conscious pet owner in mind.  Their slow feeder bowl has a simple shape that's easy to clean. It has a wider base than top, so tipping is not an issue. And it has a rubber gasket on the bottom to keep it in place.  And it's backed by the Wiser Pet Guarantee.  Also great for feeding a dog who eats quickly, then tries to steal food from a sibling! I normally feed my dogs in their crates, but if that's not your thing, a slow feed bowl could help.

 Stanley enjoys a hearty home prepared breakfast from this Wiser Pet slow feeder bowl

Stanley enjoys a hearty home prepared breakfast from this Wiser Pet slow feeder bowl

I decided to try it out with our street dog, Stanley. We adopted him in October 2017 and he definitely still has some food related issues from his time as a stray.  Generally, he tends to snarf his meals down like he will never have another. He seems to love the home prepared raw/cooked diet I provide, but sometimes this can lead to choking. Not with this bowl, though!  His needle nose fit into the groove, but nevertheless, his eating was definitely slowed. He seemed to have to think about the process a bit more.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2018/3/19/slowfeedingbowl

The goal: a Life Without Plastic

Christina Ottaviano

Plastic has invaded daily living in the United States.  Used daily, items like computers, smartphones, and even parts of the cars we drive are derived from plastic components.  And those formulations come mostly from oil.  These items may seem benign, but what about the ones that make it into our bodies?  Toothbrushes, hair brushes, and cleaning supplies: the list is a never ending chaos of everyday items laden with chemicals that have been shown to cause everything from cancer to infertility.  Even more alarming is the fact that none of these products are biodegradable and they wreak havoc on the environment, leaching toxins into the land and ocean.

Numerous documentaries have cited plastic as the earth’s most evil predator, ending up in the stomachs of marine animals.  In the documentary, Plastic Paradise, film writers tell us that “every single piece of plastic that has ever been created since the 19th century is still somewhere on our planet.”  In Addicted to Plastic, the fact is that: “The development of degradable plastics is a good thing, but a lot of what we use – new trash as well as old – has penetrated some very disturbing levels of the food chain and the ecosystem, and the makes the case that all is not well in our world via a simple boat trip to the North Pacific Central Gyre, aka the Eastern Garbage patch, where air pressure and rotating water currents swirl and push all kinds of floating trash to the water’s surface.”

 I keep this travel set in my purse and use it almost daily when I am walking dogs.

I keep this travel set in my purse and use it almost daily when I am walking dogs.

There are some companies devoted to making a change.  But they can’t do it without the help of consumers.  Life Without Plastic is one such business launched by activists Chantal & Jay.  With their hearts full of love after the birth of their son, and their minds disillusioned by the corporate world, they set off to make a difference in the world.  They began with non-plastic food and drink containers and expanded from there, into an ever-growing operation committed to improving the lives of earth’s inhabitants through eliminating the need for plastic products.  And they have done an amazing job. 

In their very well organized online store, consumers will find items like their Stainless Steel Lunch Box  – absolutely perfect for plastic-free traveling with packed lunches or snacks.  Both the lid and the container are made of 18-8 food grade 304 stainless steel. It can save thousands of plastic sandwich bags and wrappers from the landfills.

 This stainless steel flask makes a great gift for your plastic free Valentine.

This stainless steel flask makes a great gift for your plastic free Valentine.

Almost all dust pan and brush sets sold in mass merchandisers are plastic.  What happens when it inevitably breaks, cracks or becomes warped and won’t pick up dirt anymore?  It goes in the trash and consumers purchase a new one.  That broken dust pan sits in a landfill until the end of time and adds to the mountain of garbage Americans produce on a daily basis.  Thinking of everything, the team at Life Without Plastic has provided a strong and gorgeous stainless steel alternative.  Complete with a  handle is made of sustainable, harvested German beechwood treated with protective linseed oil, this dust pan will last as a functional household item to be passed down through generations of families.  It’s heavy duty and made with care by a family in Germany committed to a better environment.  The accompanying Delta dust brush is equally charming and well made, a nod to the way things used to be made at the turn of the century.  With ethically obtained horse hair bristles, and the same beechwood handle as the dust pan, this set provides the cleaning capacity of any plastic rival with the durable longevity of stainless steel and wood.  The perfect alternatives to plastic are here and ready to show the world that it can be done! 

Another brush they sell at Life Without Plastic which features the same, sturdy handle – this time treated with beeswax is the Car Snow Removal Brush.  This generously sized brush is phenomenal for those of shorter stature, to reach all of the way across the windshield and roof of the car.  This coconut fiber bristle brush was put to the test when Philadelphia received over two feet of snow in January, 2016.  It handled the job beautifully while being very gentle on the car.  I am still using mine in 2018 and it is in perfect condition despite the multitude of nuisance storms we have had this winter.

 They even sell plastic rree cloth diapers, covers and inserts!

They even sell plastic rree cloth diapers, covers and inserts!

Covering all of their bases, this company also provides a fabulous Lint Removal Brush made from beechwood and rubber which removes pet hair and lint from fabric and upholstery with lightening speed. Say goodbye to those wasteful roller sticky paper lint removers with their ugly, plastic handles and say hello to this pretty wooden handled beauty.  They have hair and toothbrushes covered as well.  The former has wooden bristles that are gentle on hair and feel good on the scalp, while the latter has pig hair bristles which have been cleaned and sanitized. My hairbrush has lasted for more than two years with very little wear and it gets a workout on my long hair. 

Made with the same beechwood and pig hair; their plastic-free cat brush.  They’ve even thought of your pets!  As with all of these products, they are completely biodegradable when no longer useful (which will be a very long time because they’re so well made!). 

Life Without Plastic has even provided natural deodorant in a glass container.  They have seriously thought of everything.  This Lavender Deodorant smells amazing with the following Ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), castor oil, essential oils (lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, patchouli). It has no preservatives, no unnecessary additives or lab-manufactured chemicals.  And it works like a charm – a little goes a very long way to not only guard from odor but also moisturize and protect.  This small glass jar of deodorant lasted me close to a year.

Even the clothing they offer is made with soft, comfortable organic cotton and proceeds go to Plastic Pollution Coalition - a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, the ocean and the environment.  They have gone as far as to offer a wooden shoehorn, which would be a great gift for just about anyone. As a mom who uses cloth diapers, I am looking forward to trying one of their own cloth diapers and inserts: "The cloth is made from 55% hemp, which is an extremely absorbent fabric that contains natural, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. Hemp does not require herbicides or pesticides to grow, meaning it is safe for your baby and for our planet!  The cloth is also made from 45% certified organic cotton that is grown and milled in the USA. This mix of materials makes for a soft and effective diaper that naturally reduces the likelihood of diaper rash. The thread is 100% unbleached organic cotton and the elastic is latex-free. Although the snaps are plastic, they are non-PVC and hypoallergenic and we are exploring ways to replace these with metal ones - as well, they are not in direct contact with baby's skin."

On the go?  How about a durable, compact stainless steel spork and organic cotton pouch?  Stop using disposable plasticware with this cute, portable set which can be washed and reused – keeping it out of the stomachs of sea animals.  I use my set almost daily while out making dog walking and pet sitting visits, along with my stainless sandwich container and my mason jar travel mug.

Things I saw while browsing that I think just about anyone could use (hint, hint...late Valentine's Day gift shoppers!): plastic free straws, stainless steel ice cube tray, safety razor, stainless ice pop maker, fountain pen and ink, and for the guy who might want to take some booze to the game, this gorgeous flask.

Love reading about Life Without Plastic?  Want to see more?  Remove plastic from all aspects of your life and learn more by reading their blog, checking out their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube pages. 

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2018/2/12/the-goal-a-life-without-plastic

The Simple Food Project aims to make raw feeding easy

Christina Ottaviano

Commercial pet food has been the source of dismay for pet owners and more are becoming educated on the topic in recent years. Kibble and canned foods, once thought to be the only choice for feeding pets are now under scrutiny for unsavory practices which have been reported to include everything from 4-D ingredients to faulty ingredient lists, and harmful additives that cause everything from cancer to death in our beloved pets.  At the very least, these foods even at their very best, do not offer the bio-availability that a home prepared diet can offer.  I will be very honest here; I prepare all of my dog food myself from ingredients I buy and put together via a balanced diet I have created.  While I firmly believe this approach to be the absolute best way to feed a dog; it's just not always possible for everyone and that's why I enjoy testing out commercially available raw foods in both freeze dried and frozen formats.  Let's be realistic here: in the event of an emergency, my homemade food that needs to stay cold is going to be the loser in choice over something that is shelf stable.

 Simple Food Project rehydrates easily

Simple Food Project rehydrates easily

The Simple Food Project is a new option that is available for the pet owner who wants to feed an optimally healthy diet without the inconvenience of preparing raw food at home.  Veterinarian created human grade whole food recipes are all sourced in the USA and made in their own facility in Wisconsin.  True to the name, this brand is not only simple in the ingredients listings, but also simple to feed.  Nugget formed meat, organ, and bone are freeze dried and served with ingredients like peas, lentils and apples which assist in the balance of the diet.  What makes this food stand apart from the rest is that it uses no synthetic vitamins or minerals to balance the diet.  This is HUGE and something I have rarely seen on the pet food market, because when we talk about the ability of the body to synthesize nutrition, the most appropriate format for that process is from fresh, whole foods with those nutrients coming from their original form.

 They sent all of their recipes for us to try

They sent all of their recipes for us to try

Ranging from $27.99 for 1.5 lb - $84.99 for 6 lb, these fully grain free recipes include the following choices (and also trial packs):

Duck & Trout: Duck, beef, beef liver, lentils, flaxseed, green beans, trout, apples, whole ground krill, pumpkin seeds, spinach, turmeric, iodized salt, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative)

Beef & Salmon: Beef, salmon, beef liver, flaxseed, peas, beef heart, carrots, cranberries, whole ground krill, pumpkin seeds, ginger, spinach, iodized salt, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative)

Chicken & Turkey: Chicken, turkey, chicken hearts, flaxseed, sweet potato, chicken liver, carrots, whole ground krill, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, cinnamon, spinach, iodized salt, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative)

While peas aren't a favorite ingredient of mine (they can cause gassiness), they're only present in the beef and salmon formula.  My only other complaint is that there is beef in 2 of the 3 formulas.  Beef can be an allergen, but then again so can any other protein source.  I assume it is present due to the amazing nutrient benefits beef liver can provide at a minimal cost.  Realisticlly, this food is a perfect example overall of what you want to see, in which order, in your pet food.

 Lucy kept eating it so fast, I could barely take a picture!

Lucy kept eating it so fast, I could barely take a picture!

My dogs aren't very discerning, so they devoured every recipe choice just like they do anything else.  They're dachshunds and aren't known for being picky! However in my experience as a dog walker and pet sitter, these types of foods are well received even by the pickiest eaters because of the very high level of smelly goodness - meat and organs, which they were built to thrive from.

Overall, we really loved this new freeze dried raw dog food and do recommend it!

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2018/2/8/the-simple-food-project-aims-to-make-raw-feeding-easy

Has your pet turned the water bowl into a swimming pool?

Christina Ottaviano

Not only attractive as a feeding station, versus just having bowls sit on the floor to be pushed across the kitchen when your dog is eating - raised feeders may also have some health benefits for pets with complications. If a dog has a back, neck, or joint problem, a raised dog feeder at the appropriate height will help the dog to eat and drink more comfortably. At a higher position, the dog will not have to bend and stretch downward as far to reach the food or water.  This is especially important for a dog with cervical IVDD, keeping the head as immobile as possible.  When deciding on a feeding system that works for your individual pets, I think it's most important to discuss both pros and cons with your veterinarian. Much like people, dogs and cats are have very specific, personalized needs.

Another benefit of a raised bowl system is the inability of the pet to dig or swim in the water dish due to it's height.  Although I am sure that there are some dogs, and even a few cats (Jack and Jill, I am referring to you, haha!) that might still try to play with the water, most would be deterred by the height.

 Raised pet feeder, size small from Funkeen shop on Amazon

Raised pet feeder, size small from Funkeen shop on Amazon

This raised feeder was provided to me for review recently.  Initially, out of the box it was extremely easy to assemble.  I like the fact that it comes with bumpers which keep the metal, stainless steel bowls from rubbing on the frame.  The feeder is well-constructed, sturdy and I really like the minimalist style design.  It arrived to me in perfect, brand new condition with no dings, dents or bumps in the bowls or frame.  I like the little feet on the bottom, which protect my porcelain tile floor.  And it came with everything I needed to put it together, via an Alan wrench.  The powder coating seems durable, so far.

 Measurements of bowls as well as height of the feeder.

Measurements of bowls as well as height of the feeder.

Upon reading the reviews it already has on Amazon, I have to disagree with the comments about the bowls not being big enough.  I think they are the perfect size, and depth.  I refresh my pet's water several times per day, washing the bowl each time, and feel that the amount of water that the dish holds is plenty in between those times.  I would like to point out that unlike some other feeding stations, this one has bowls that drop down into openings, versus sitting on a flat surface where they have who knows what festering in the wetness underneath. Gak.  Speaking of cleaning, the bowls pop into the dishwasher and come out sparkling clean. The frame is easy enough to wipe down with mild soap and water.

 Height is perfect for my 15 lb, 11 year old "tweenie", Lucy.

Height is perfect for my 15 lb, 11 year old "tweenie", Lucy.

I felt the height worked out well for both food and water for my largest dachshund, Lucy. She is about 15 pounds and considered to be a "tweenie" sized dachshund.  My shorter dachshund, Molly had a hard time reaching the bowls.  My cats also found the height to be perfect. They are both average size.  To figure out which size is best, measure from the floor up to the point where your dog’s front legs meet the chest.  This feeder actually lines up with Lucy's shoulders, but seemed to work out well for her.  It doesn't tip or move while she is eating, though I do have it set up against the refridgerator.

Overall, I found that the customer service with this company to be friendly and upbeat.  At Funkeen, every product includes a 12-Month Warranty, 45-Day Money Back Guarantee and lifetime friendly customer service support.  A minor issue to note, which would not deter me from buying the product was that the sticker inside of one of the bowls was somewhat difficult to remove.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2018/2/6/raised-pet-feeders-can-promote-better-posture

How-to: A video demonstration for homemade dog treats

Christina Ottaviano

My holistic pet treat cookbook contains recipes written and tested by yours truly.  Check out this video I created, which shows you how to make healthy, grain free dog treats in your own kitchen, very inexpensively.

Best wishes for healthy, happy dogs! -Christina

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2017/9/10/how-to-a-video-demonstration-for-homemade-dog-treats

Diabetes in Dogs

Christina Ottaviano

Did you know?  Canine diabetes is still a relatively "new" disease. The metabolic disorder affects at least 1 in 500 dogs (though some estimate it could be as much as 1 in 150), which amounts to 200,000 dogs in the U.S. alone.

Pet Diabetes

This was created by Cash Now Offer

Dogs develop two kinds of diabetes: insulin deficiency diabetes, which is considered to be similar to type 1 diabetes in humans, and insulin resistance diabetes. Both types of diabetes in dogs are treated with insulin, at least initially. Some dogs with insulin resistance diabetes have an underlying cause to the disease, and may go into remission for some time after treatment, but in general this is less common than insulin deficiency diabetes in canines in the United States. O’Kell and her team’s research focuses on insulin deficiency diabetes in canines.

Certain breeds, including the Samoyed, Cairn and Tibetan terriers seem to be predisposed to developing diabetes, whereas others, including the Boxer and German shepherd dog, seem to be less susceptible. Such breed differences suggest that there is a genetic component to disease susceptibility.

Certain veterinary medications for other conditions may seriously affect diabetic patients. This list is provided because some of these medications don't mention their side effects on diabetics in their literature.

Emergencies can happen at any time, so it's best to be prepared and know what to do if an emergency occurs. Talking with your veterinarian is a crucial part of being informed and prepared to handle emergencies.  This article, taken from http://www.mypet.com/pet-diabetes/emergency.aspx provides detailed information about blood sugar emergencies.

LOW BLOOD SUGAR (HYPOGLYCEMIA)

The most common side effect experienced with insulin therapy is hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be caused by:

  • Giving too much insulin.
  • Missing or delaying food.
  • Change in food, diet, or amount fed.
  • Infection or illness.
  • Change in the body's need for insulin.
  • Diseases of the adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid glands, or progression of liver or kidney disease.
  • Interaction with other drugs (such as steroids).
  • Change (increase) in exercise.

SIGNS OF HYPOGLYCEMIA MAY OCCUR SUDDENLY AND CAN INCLUDE:

  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Behavioral changes
  • Muscle twitching
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

See below for a list of other side effects.

WHAT TO DO

If your pet is conscious, rub a tablespoon of corn syrup on his or her gums. When your pet is able to swallow, feed him or her a usual meal and contact your veterinarian. If your pet is unconscious or having a seizure, this is a medical emergency. CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN.

In the meantime, you should immediately treat your pet rather than delaying management. Pour a small amount of a sugar solution (eg, corn syrup) onto your finger and then rub the sugar solution onto your pet's gums. The sugar is absorbed very quickly and your pet should respond in 1 to 2 minutes. The sugar solution should never be poured directly into your pet's mouth since there is a risk that the solution will be inhaled into the lungs. Once your pet has responded to the sugar administration and is sitting up, it can be fed a small amount of its regular food. Once the pet has stabilized, it should be transported to your veterinarian for evaluation.

KEEPING YOUR PET'S BLOOD SUGAR STABLE

  • Your pet's diet should be consistent and appropriate. Read about diabetic pet nutrition.
  • A nutritionally complete, dry or canned pet food should be fed in consistent amounts at the same times each day.
  • Treats and changes in diet should generally be avoided unless recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Your veterinarian will advise you on how much and when to feed your pet based on the response to their insulin treatment.
  • Your pet's exercise/level of play should remain consistent.
  • Consult with your veterinarian if you expect a major change in activity.
  • Develop a schedule with your veterinarian for regular evaluations of your pet's diabetes.

OVERDOSAGE OR MISSING AN INJECTION OF INSULIN

If your pet is given too much insulin, life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can result. Contact your veterinarian immediately. If your veterinarian is not available, seek other veterinary advice at once. Your pet may need to be hospitalized for observation or management. If your pet receives less than the prescribed dose, or if you miss an injection, this may cause a temporary recurrence of signs (such as excess thirst and urination), but is not life threatening. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for advice on your pet's next dose. If you cannot reach your veterinarian and your pet is eating and acting normally, give your pet the usual dose at the next regularly scheduled injection time.

OTHER SIDE EFFECTS

Other possible side effects include loss of effectiveness of the insulin and local or systemic allergic reactions. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet shows any of the following:

  • Excessive water consumption for more than 3 days.
  • Excess urination (including dogs urinating at night when they usually sleep through until morning, or inappropriate urination in the house; for cats, urinating outside the litter box).
  • Reduced or complete loss of appetite.
  • Weakness, seizures, or severe mental depression.
  • Behavioral change, muscle twitching, or anxiety.
  • Constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Signs of a bladder infection (small, frequent urinations, straining, blood in the urine).
  • Swelling of the head or neck.
http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2017/7/26/diabetes-in-dogs
http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/bringing-the-heat

Bath your smart dog with Wiser Pet Dog Shampoo

Christina Ottaviano

Not all dog shampoo is created equal.  Some contain harsh, inferior ingredients while others have so much artificial fragrance, they’re offensive to the dog (whose section of the brain devoted to scent is forty times larger than our own).  After playing in the snow this week, and getting their pretty paws all muddy - our girls needed a bath.  And a warm towel!

 Honey loves to dig in the snow.

Honey loves to dig in the snow.

A new, botanically based pet shampoo is available on Amazon, designed to leave the coat soft and silky.  It smells somewhat like citrus, almost lightly grapefruity.  It’s a gentle shampoo that rinses clean easily, and leaves the coat shiny and smooth while only requiring less than a dime sized amount.  Three dachshunds gave this shampoo 12 paws up after coming out of their baths smelling clean, looking shiny and feeling silky and smooth.  I liked using a shampoo that I knew was safe and gentle, even adding a little bit to their bath water to create a relaxing, foaming bubble bath.  Used with a favorite massaging shampoo brush, loose fur was rinsed cleanly away and the dogs received a relaxing massage with a warm water rinse to complete their spa experience. 

Costing $19.95 per bottle, Wiser Pet Dog Shampoo with 5 in 1 action cleans, conditions, freshens, detangles and moisturizes without harsh chemicals or skin irritants.  Sulfate and paraben free, the shampoo is available with free shipping.  It’s cruelty free, guaranteed and made in the USA.  A perfect choice for your eco-friendly dog, the shampoo is biodegradable and the bottle is recyclable as well!

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/wiser-pet-dog-shampoo

Eco-Friendly Pet Black Friday, Small Business Saturday + Cyber Monday Deals

Christina Ottaviano

Looking for deals on pet supplies to save you money this holiday season?  Look no further than my favorite companies!  I've outlined their offers here, all in one spot so it's easy to shop around from the comfort of your own home.

Eco-Bags Products, Inc. is offering 25% off your minimum order of $35 to qualify from 11/24/16-11/30/16 using code 2016ECOPET.  I love their net bags as a lightweight option to carry produce on hot summer days while visiting the farmer's market or walking dogs.  They can even be composted if the bags begin to wear out, as they are made from cotton and veggie dyes.

 Our Honey dog LOVES her Vital Essentials!

Our Honey dog LOVES her Vital Essentials!

Catty Stacks is offering 30% off from 11/25/16 to 11/28/16 on their eco-friendly recycled cardboard designer cat climbers.  These fun, stackable boxes come in a variety of colors and can be built up or across for an endless playground your kitty will love.  With free shipping on purchases over $59, you can build your cat an economically priced condo this holiday season.

 Thermacell rechargable foot warming insoles.

Thermacell rechargable foot warming insoles.

Esse Reusable Bags is offering a doorbuster sale starting Friday, 11/25/16 at 6AM with 60-50% off their entire site!  The company is closing out their inventory, so this will be the last chance to purchase their durable, high quality reusable bags at a fraction of the cost. Their tote bag is on my Christmas list but I am going to order one during this sale!

 This teepee is a great play place + hideout.

This teepee is a great play place + hideout.

Lems Shoes is offering 30% off sitewide (excluding Correct Toes) from 11.25-11.28.  Their ultra-minimalist shoes feature wide toe boxes, mirroring the way feet are shaped.  They're super lightweight, and cute but casual.  All about form and function, the shoes are vegan-friendly as well.

 Eco-Bags net bags: all natural + lightweight.

Eco-Bags net bags: all natural + lightweight.

Chewy.com is offering discounted prices on their entire Vital Essentials line of food and treats, plus free shipping on purchases of $49+.  In some cases, the discount looks to be close to half price, as their rabbit treats are marked down from $12.99 to $6.99.  If you sign up for their auto-ship program, you can save an additional 20% off.  Vital Essentials is one of our favorite brands for freeze dried treats and shelf stable freeze dried raw pet food.  Though I make our own, in an emergency it's important to have a backup plan. Their Black Friday sale goes live at midnight!

 Cats love boxes and Catty Stacks are so fun!

Cats love boxes and Catty Stacks are so fun!

Walking dogs in the ice and snow during the winter in PA can be a freezing cold experience, but our friends at Thermacell have come up with a way to keep toes warm, with heat control settings through a phone app!  These rechargeable insoles give about 8.5 hours of warmth for about a 2 hour charge time.  They retail for $199.99, and there is a rebate available (contact me at ecofriendlypetreviews@gmail.com for a copy to be emailed to you).

 Esse features a tote to organize your bags.

Esse features a tote to organize your bags.

P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You is offering 40% off orders over $75 + Free Shipping over $175 from Nov. 25-28th.  Coupon code: HOWLIDAYS16 (to receive 40% off) as Free Shipping is applied automatically at checkout.  I have written about how much we love their aesthetically pleasing, very high quality and very eco-friendly pet bed in the past.

 Lems are designed for superior comfort.

Lems are designed for superior comfort.

Have you heard of or seen a great deal on holistic pet products, or fun items that pet owners might love for this 2016 shopping season?  Feel free to post on Eco-Friendly Pets on Facebook, @EcoPetReviews on Twitter, or tag me on Instagram @ecofriendlypetproductreviews so I can share!

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/11/24/eco-friendly-pet-black-friday-small-business-saturday-cyber-monday-deals

Whole Foods Nutrition with the convenience of Grandma Lucy's

Christina Ottaviano

If you've read my articles before, you know how I feel about kibble-based diets for dogs, and especially for cats.  Of course, not every animal is the same and they don't all tolerate alternative diets equally.  You can choose to make your own raw or cooked pet food, but if you are pressed for time and want to provide whole-foods nutrition to your pets in a more convenient manner, Grandma Lucy's has a line of foods which are a great place to start.

The food comes in freeze dried mixes already balanced with the vitamins and nutrients your dog or cat needs, however it can also be fed as a topper to boost your kibble diet until you're ready to fully make the switch, or fed as the full time diet, or you can add cooked or raw meat to it if you want to cook or prepare your pet food but don't always reliably have the time.  The company generously sent me tons of samples to try with my dachshunds and cat, and we had fun going through all of the varieties and flavors.  Since I already make our dog and cat food, I used the rehydrated food samples in place of the homemade fruit and veggie mix I would normally add to their meals.  Grandma Lucy's is non-GMO, grain free, contains no preservatives, all natural and made in California.

 Healthier than canned and much cheaper! Infographic used with permission by Grandma Lucy's.

Healthier than canned and much cheaper! Infographic used with permission by Grandma Lucy's.

The Artisan formulas are the most traditional as far as ingredients are concerned, with just meat, potato, vegetable and fruit mixes in several different protein varieties.  Our dachshunds are not at all picky eaters and loved every option they tried in this option.  I see it as being a good one for multiple source protein allergy issue dogs as it is fairly limited in protein-related ingredients as compared to some other mixes.  Besides chicken and lamb, it also comes in pork, bison and venison - with an additional pre-mix option which allows you to add in your own meat of choice, or even rotate varieties of meat if you desire.  This is definitely something I will order to keep on hand in the event of an emergency when we need to either evacuate or can't open the fridge or freezer due to electricity outage.  There have been instances where I can't get to the store to buy the fresh ingredients that I need, recovering from surgery, too sick with the flu, or now - going to be in the hospital having a baby very soon.  Even though I make our pet food myself, I always have a backup plan so others can feed my dogs in the event that I cannot. 
 
Their Pureformance line is formulated for a low glycemic index diet with the inclusion of chickpeas instead of potatoes, blended with some even unique proteins that help with food sensitives or extra protein for active dogs, remaining single-sourced.  In this line, they carry chicken, rabbit, goat, lamb, fish and the popular pre-mix which gives you the opportunity to add in your own protein.
 
Valor is made with quinoa and lentils instead of potato or chickpeas, and is blended with high-quality meat, fruit and vegetables and comes in chicken, turkey and fish.
 
Macanna is the newest addition to their pet food line. They have blended some of the most innovative ingredients of hemp hearts, kale, coconut, and turmeric to provide the best in pet nutrition.  It comes in beef, salmon and the ever popular pre-mix which you can add your own meat to.

Grandma Lucy's is a fantastic alternative to a kibble-based diet.  They also sell a line of cat food and dog treats that our cat and dogs loved as well.  Do you feed your dog chicken and rice when he's not feeling well?  They also have a shelf stable version of that remedy available to purchase!  If you are already feeding a grain-free kibble with less fillers, you are probably already paying more than $50 for a 30-lb bag of food.  What if I told you that Grandma Lucy's Artisan Chicken freeze dried mix is $68 and makes 50-lbs of food when rehydrated?  AND that you can subscribe to it as often as once a month on Amazon's Subscribe and Save program, and get another 15% off, while having it auto-delivered to your door?  And remember, higher quality food is fed in less volume so that 50-lbs rehydrated amount actually converts to even more food for your pet, less processed and healthier in general.

Learn more, check out current promotions and stay up-to-date with new products on their Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/11/3/whole-foods-nutrition-with-the-convenience-of-grandma-lucys

Nutrition with Honesty: New Treats by The Honest Kitchen

Christina Ottaviano

I've talked about diets lower in processed food before.  You've heard about how eating whole foods is better for you, healthier for weight management, and more nutritionally sound.  the same goes for your pets.  They're carnivorous in nature, dogs being descendant from wolves and cats from their obligate carnivore big cat relatives.  While some folks jump right into raw feeding, others take a more step-by-step approach and opt to ease into a less kibble-based diet through the feeding of whole foods treats and toppers.

The Honest Kitchen is a company whose name truly indicates their mission.  They actually even have permission from the FDA to label their foods as human-grade.  If you know anything about the pet food industry and their collective non-apparent transparency over ingredients and sourcing, this is a very big deal.  From cleanliness to production, the manufacturing facility used by The Honest Kitchen is held to the same strict standards as any human food production facility, because that's exactly what it is.

 The difference between feed grade and human grade food. Source: The Honest Kitchen

The difference between feed grade and human grade food. Source: The Honest Kitchen

I agree with their feeding philosophy, wholeheartedly.  Every living thing is a machine and real, minimally processed whole food is fuel.  What goes in should optimally provide the most bioavailable nutrition possible per calorie and be diverse as to access as many vitamins and minerals as possible.  The company has recently introduced a new treat to their already stellar line of balanced diets: Nice Mussels.  

 New treats by The Honest Kitchen

New treats by The Honest Kitchen

 Photo credit: The Honest Kitchen

Photo credit: The Honest Kitchen

They sent a bag for us to try and the results were as expected...four dachshunds and two cats agreed that they were delicious!  They're simply freeze-dried mussels from New Zealand.  You don't get more whole foods than that - with no fillers or other added ingredients they were the perfect treat for everyone in the house, which is tough to do considering that they all have different food allergy issues.  While we have fed fresh mussels in their homemade diets, having a shelf stable version was extremely convenient.

 Miss Molly

Miss Molly

I used some of them to pose the dogs for this photo shoot in my handmade collars for our Etsy shop and full credit goes to The Honest Kitchen for the great shots I got bribing the dogs with these delicious treats.  Adding a healthy source of Omega-3's like mussels can give your pet a shiny coat just like sweet Molly's.  We are giving away a bag of these healthy treats to one lucky person on Facebook and Instagram.  Go to either (or both!) to enter and win Nice Mussels, worth $12.99!  Giveaway ends Saturday, 11/5/16 at 11:59pm.

This is a great company who cares about pets, and you can stay in the loop by following their social media: Google+PinterestYouTubeInstagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/11/3/thehonestkitchenmussels

All about West Paw Dog toys

Christina Ottaviano

Dog toys are notorious for having unsavory chemical additives and dangerous materials added to them. In recent years, imports from China have unveiled everything from lead to unscrupulous death causing antibiotics and toxins. When a person buys a dog toy, it is because they love their dog, they look forward go interacting and playing together, and there is enjoyment from keeping the human animal bond strong and vibrant.  No one wants to give their pet a toy that might harm them.  Pet toy companies are in business to make money and the reality is that this is often with complete disregard to the health of the pet. Not so, with West Paw Designs. This is a company to support, one that not only cares about the health and well-being of pets, but also runs on an eco-conscious mentality; sourcing materials from recycled plastic bottles, old chew toys, organically grown plants and more. All of their beds and toys are made in the USA, with special attention to durability, strength and resilience.

 Honey often falls asleep on her Tux

Honey often falls asleep on her Tux

West Paw sent several of their new floatable Zogoflex Air toys for honest review last year, and since then we have also purchased a few. These toys were originally tested over eight weeks with four playful and exuberant dachshunds; and most of them have held up to the tenacious and rough nature of our little dogs over the rest of the year. In addition to being made in the USA, West Paw’s non-stuffed toys are recyclable, BPA and phthalate-free, non-toxic, guaranteed against dog damage, and dishwasher safe. The first toy we tested was the Dash Dog Frisbee. This organically shaped toy has an open middle and a ridge around the perimeter on both sides, making it easy for a dog to carry in her mouth. Rated for a level 3 out of 5 chewer, this toy has held up extremely well with the exception of the middle, where the material was thinner which Honey chewed completely out on the first day. Even though it’s meant for a bigger dog, this toy has been a favorite among the mini dachshunds and Honey, who weighs about 8 pounds has no trouble carrying it to request a game of fetch at all. She likes to chase it as it rolls and bounces across the floor. It’s also extremely easy to clean with soap and water.  We still have it a year later and she hasn't been able to chew off any more pieces.  Dachshunds are extreme chewers, so the next toy they tested turned out to be much more durable for them.  With a durability rating of 4 out of 5, the new Boz Dog Ball has been the biggest hit with the resident fetch obsessed Honey dog.  Because the exterior texture is lumpy and somewhat spongy, she is easily able to pick up and carry it even though it's larger than what would normally fit in her mouth.  This 2.5” small ball is great because it fits in a standard ball thrower and it works size-wise for an entire range of dogs, and I like it because it's bigger and less of a choke hazard.  About the size of a tennis ball but heavier, this engineered toy gives the dog the satisfaction of the squish, yet it’s durable enough that it still looks brand new.  It bounces and floats, and comes with the same guarantee and reassurances that all of West Paw’s other toys do.  Impressed by the durability of the Toppl Treat Toy, I find it surprising that it only received a 3 out of 5 rating for durability.  This toy, like the ball has been played with quite a lot and still looks brand new.  Honey has quickly decided that it can be used for fetch and often brings half of this toy for a game together.  The way it works is that the owner purchases different pieces of this toy which pop together to create a treat chamber inside, making it a challenging puzzle toy of various skill levels.  A different use for it: put other, smaller toys inside of this one.  Smart dogs love the challenge of removing the toy inside, and the fighting over treats with multiple dogs is avoided.  We really can't do treat dispensing toys - tenacious dogs are not very nice to one another when they are all trying to retrieve treats from the same toy.  It’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe.  Another durable dachshund favorite: the Tux and the Hurley Dog Bone.  Over two years old and played with daily, this toy still looks new, with no dings or missing chunks.  It bounces across the floor when thrown for fetch and is easily washable.  Over the summer, I put the toys in the freezer for a cold, way to play on hot days.

If a dog has a preference for a toy that’s a bit softer, this adorable fuzzy Tango Tug is cute and fun but quickly destroyed.  A little more traditional, Teddy was also quickly gutted but they continue to play with the emptied pelt, and Ricky loved the small size.  The dachshunds completely destroyed them both in less than an hour, but they had fun doing it.  More durable and surprisingly still mostly intact is the Wacky Worm.  It’s made with eco-friendly fabric left over from their Big Sky Blanket manufacturing process, and is a favorite of our Lucy.  This toy was fetched and tugged for several weeks before it finally wore a hole big enough they could remove the recycled stuffing.  The toys are generously filled with material called Intelliloft that is made from recycled plastic bottles. West Paw mentions that “using IntelliLoft recycled material uses up to 8x less energy than it takes to manufacture the same material new and keeps plastic bottles out of landfills.”  This was a nice compromise between a very durable toy and one that was still soft and cuddly.

Learn more about this earth conscious, pet loving company through their social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google + and YouTube.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/9/5/all-about-west-paw-dog-toys

My Mason Jar Lunchbox + Giveaway

Christina Ottaviano

 Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day!

Mason jars are my favorite containers for packing leftovers, brewing tea, cold brewed coffee, and lots more.  They’re easily portable, reusable, non-toxic and come in a variety of sizes to create perfect portions.  Normally, I would pack one full of strawberries, salad or gluten free pretzels or crackers, and then another smaller one for dips, salad dressing or more snacks.  This can become cumbersome, carrying two jars, plus my drink which is almost always in a jar.  As a dog walker, I drive all day, traveling and make constant stops so there are two things I need: A lid for my jar so it doesn’t spill in my car, and healthy snacks that I can easily eat while I am driving.  If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your green-minded friend or family member, read on!

Cuppow has produced a creative solution that is simple and straightforward, allowing the transformation of a mason jar into a lunchbox.  A simple cup, BNTO, that is made to fit into the top of a wide mouth mason jar, it offers the opportunity to combine more than one item in a jar.  I’ve used them with everything from yogurt and granola, to cereal and coconut milk.  I’ve packed strawberries and coconut milk whipped cream, hummus and carrots or pretzels, salad and dressing, soup and gluten free crackers and even cookies and coconut milk.  I love that I can just drop the cup back into the mason jar when I have to pause when I make a stop, and then easily start again when I get back in the car.  The cups are made from recycled plastic and they are BPA free.  The packaging they come in is made of recycled paper and is also recyclable.   They’re made in the USA and definitely something everyone needs.  Check out their gift section for your holiday shopping.

What better compliment is there to a functional condiment cup than a Mason jar lid?  I cannot live without them.  I pack everything from hot liquids such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate to cold iced tea, juice, water, breakfast smoothies and my personal favorite: lemonade.  Drop these cute lids right onto a mason jar and screw the band on, and you’ve transformed your jar into a travel cup.  I love that they have an opening either for sipping or putting a straw through; and my metal reusable straws fit into it perfectly.  They come in a variety of colors and are made with the same standards as the BNTO cups, recycled plastic and packaging and made in the USA.  I’ve run both my lids and cups through the dishwasher many times since I received them, and they always come out looking great.

Cuppow didn’t stop there, though. In their quest to provide products that do not create waste, they’ve produced USA made, reusable coffee filters made with organic cotton for drip machines, pour over devices and cold brewing coffee.  I’ve been using mine for over two years now, and it’s still in perfect condition.  I just rinse it and allow it to air dry after every use.  And, they've created the Mason Tap, a game changer in making my own homemade salad dressings for dipping which I take with raw veg in my BNTO cups quite often.  I've also used it to dispense bone broth when raw feeding my dogs and cats, create infused oils, marinades, and lots more.  Cuppow was generous enough to give me two, one to try and one to give away!  All you need to do is like my Facebook page, Eco-Friendly Pet Product Reviews, like Cuppow on Facebook, and share this post to enter.  A winner will be chosen by 5pm 9/6/16.  Or, order yours on Amazon today!

Here’s something else that makes this company even more special: They donate a portion of their profits to Team Rubicon, a nonprofit which supports our veterans.  This is a company that proudly manufactures their products within our country, gives back to our war heroes, and has phenomenal customer service as well.

Connect with them as well on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest sales, contests, new products and giveaways.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/9/5/my-mason-jar-lunchbox-giveaway

Pet safe cleaning products that work

Christina Ottaviano

I am extremely sensitive to scented items.  Certain perfumes, air fresheners, plug-ins and other deodorizers give me an instant headache, nausea and sometimes migraines.  I don’t have this problem with Method products to the rescue!  Their air freshener is environmentally friendly without propellants that are harmful to your family.  Did you know those petroleum based propellants are mixed with the product to make it spray continuously?  No wonder they make me feel so sick, and I don't want those chemicals around my pets, nor my pregnant self.

Enter to win the Eco-Friendly Pets Facebook giveaway here!

I love all Method products I’ve ever used because they do what they say they will.  I was lucky enough to try (and share!) their air fresheners a couple of years ago and loved them.  On their website, they talk about why these new innovative products are so...refreshing. “Our range of planet-friendly air refreshers is designed with revolutionary pressurized air technology. Unlike many traditional aerosol sprays that are powered by petroleum-based propellant mixed in with the product, method continuous spray air refreshers are packed in an airtight chamber powered by compressed air. So when you spray, you fill your room with one of our nature-inspired scents. There’s nothing dirty about that.”  When I opened the box, and saw that there was a Fresh Clover scent I was ecstatic.  It smells exactly like fresh cut grass and if you know me, you know that this is my favorite scent in the whole world and not many companies have been able to replicate it.  I liked the way the bottle continuously sprayed with no constant squeezing of a trigger even though I didn't need very much at all to freshen the room.  Did I mention it smells just like fresh cut grass (I just can’t get over it)?!  I tried the Sweet Tangerine, and the French Lavender, and loved them too!  But my absolute favorite was the Fresh Clover so I decided to keep one other and donate one to a very good cause. My good friend and fellow animal lover and rescue advocate, Marcy’s Grey Muzzle Manor fundraising event.

They also sent me their limited edition Kelly Moss liquid gel hand soap, which I love.  It smells like a cross between greenery and lavender, and their sweeter scented foaming hand soap in Rice Milk and Mallow, which smells a little bit like marshmallows.  I love all Method products for the way they smell, how they perform and how they rinse clean without leaving my skin feeling itchy, dry and irritated. Method was kind enough to send me additional gel hand soaps for the rescue mission in Rice Milk and Mallow and White Cranberry which I in turn also donated to the above fundraiser.  This season's new scents feature a Rebecca Atwood design and include Pink Persimmon, Pumpkin Clove, Wild Violet and Blue Sage fragrances.

Method also makes body wash and my long-time favorite is Olive Leaf.  Tony and I both like it a lot and as with everything else Method, a tiny little bit goes a very long way.

I get my Method supplies on either Grove Collaborative, or on Amazon for the best selection of products and available fragrances, and usually free shipping.  Sometimes Amazon carries fragrances that were limited edition from seasons before, like the Honeycrisp Apple - which I ended up LOVING and wanting more of last year.  It's actually back, permanently in their hand soap collection...after many requests from adoring groupies like myself.

You can sign up for their newsletter on their website - they give their fans the first peek into all their latest products, updates, exclusive deals and promotions.  Check them out on PinterestInstagramFacebook and Twitter as well.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/methodcleaningproducts

Feeding kibble? Don't assume an expensive brand is healthy for your dog

Christina Ottaviano

It says "dog" on it, so it must be what I need to buy to feed my dog, right?  Not necessarily...

Historically, kibble based diets for dogs developed because pet owners began to regard dogs as luxury items, and less often the working animals they started out as; they believed that dogs needed to be "civilized," and since wild dogs and wolves ate raw meat, domesticated dogs should not be so "untamed".

Biscuits for dogs did not come about as an idea for a healthy treat - they were marketed as inexpensively as possible to sell to pet owners.  The pet food industry was not born of necessity for canine health; but in fact a way for entrepreneurs to cheaply manufacture a product in which there would be and inexpensive way to do do, with a very a long shelf life.   

"In the late 1850s, a young electrician from Cincinnati named James Spratt went to London to sell lightning rods. When his ship arrived, crew members threw the leftover "ship's biscuits" onto the dock, where they were devoured by hordes of waiting dogs. That gave Spratt an idea. "Ship's biscuits," or hard tack, were the standard fare for sailors for centuries. Flour, water, and salt were mixed into a stiff dough, baked, and left to harden and dry. The biscuits were easily stored and had an extremely long shelf life, which was important in the days before refrigeration. And they looked a lot like today's dog biscuits. Spratt had the idea that he could make cheap, easy-to-serve biscuits and then sell them to the growing number of urban dog owners. His recipe: a baked mixture of wheat, beet root, and vegetables bound together with beef blood. When Spratt's Patent Meal Fibrine Dog Cakes came on the market in 1860, the pet food industry was born. Spratt's Dog Cakes were a hit in England, so in 1870 he took the business to New York …and began the American pet food industry."

But...what about "people food"?  This term was coined by advertising in 1964 and has relatively no basis for truth whatsoever.  In fact, the lobbyist division who promoted bagged-only dry food for dogs was also fear mongering table scraps at the time as dangerous.  While some of this may be true (cooked turkey skin, for example in large amounts can cause pancreatitis), it was overwhelmingly blown out of proportion to include any fresh food at all.  Leading pet owners to believe that they were, and still are quite unable to feed their own pets a diet of anything except processed food that is supposedly balanced for their dog.  Even going far enough to specify different foods for different breeds.  In the grand scheme of rationalization, science prevails and numerous studies have proven that dogs not only live longer on a diet made of more fresh food and less processed food - they're healthier for it.  Not just healthier in general - they lacked the cancer rates, skin and ear infection issues, autoimmune diseases, anemia, liver and kidney malfunctions that kibble-fed dogs endured.  Suspected reasoning for this lies in the fact that kibble is often comprised of inferior ingredients, carcinogens and toxins.  Vitamins and minerals must be added in due to high-heat processing which makes the food shelf stable.  It must contain a certain percentage of carbohydrate in order to hold together in kibble form; both difficult for your dog to digest properly (hence, the gigantic poops and gastrointestinal discomfort associated with having no beneficial bacteria and live enzymes running through the tract), and also creating an environment for molds to grow and feed on when stored in an open container, such as the bag or in a moist environment such as a basement or other high humidity zone.  Additionally, heterocyclic amines have been proven to arise in meats subjected to high heat methods of processing due to the reaction between amino acids, sugars, and creatine.  These same substances are also found in car exhaust and cigarette smoke.  In rodent studies, these compounds fed in high amounts led to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, leukemia and lung cancer.  Other research linked these compounds to different types of cancers in addition to the ones listed above.  How does a 100% kibble based, no "people food" diet sound now?

 In addition to commercially purchased treats I also buy dried anchovies at my local Asian market

In addition to commercially purchased treats I also buy dried anchovies at my local Asian market

So, what's the answer?  Well, my degrees are in psychology, not nutrition.  However, I consider myself to be a person who relies on science and has a solid foundation of nutritional science backed by peer reviewed research through reading and understanding physiological processes.  And, I believe strongly that I can feed myself, so feeding my animals by the same less processed, more fresh food principles will lead to healthier lives for us all, less visits to the doctor and vet and less incidence of environmentally and nutritionally caused disease.  Are there some genetic factors that cannot be solved with nutrition?  Sure, my Ricky has IVDD, and there's nothing I can do about it except be sure he doesn't launch off of furniture (we have ramps), keep his nails trimmed to keep his posture healthy (I do nails every 1 to 2 weeks), feed him a diet rich in back-healthy minerals and vitamins and understanding how they work together in synergistic terms (like B vitamins, vitamin E, wild salmon oil, HA and MSM, for example).  Promoting healthy muscle mass in a dog predisposed to disc issues, along with ensuring less inflammation due to lower carbohydrates, omega-3's and antioxidants will not cure him, but it will vastly improve his chances of having another disc-related issue.

 Clients, Sophie and Hershey LOVE Vital Essentials dried Minnows

Clients, Sophie and Hershey LOVE Vital Essentials dried Minnows

Let's put it this way: if I ate cereal for my entire life, two times per day and for every meal, I would probably merely survive if I was lucky and had pretty good genetics to back me up, and if I did not develop cancer, I might still have kidney disease, gastrointestinal issues, or liver problems.  But would I thrive?  Probably not...especially not with the higher incidence of disease linked to such a highly processed diet.  Remember, bodies whether human or canine are machines.  Living machines need fuel from food.  Real food!  Not processed garbage...that's technically not food at all - it's marketing.  Is there a place for it here and there?  Sometimes, it's not easily avoidable, especially in today's busy schedules.  But can an effort be made to improve nutrition every single day?  There is realistically no valid reason it cannot.  And this goes for your pets as well.  Even those with time limitations can just as easily feed their pets a healthy, less processed diet now that there are several really great companies who offer healthier options.  A switch to high-quality, grain free canned food exclusively is a step up from a kibble-only diet, however because it is still highly heat processed in order for the meat to be shelf stable in the cans, it is not the best choice.  Better!  But not best.  I make my own raw pet food and treats, but commercial options are also available and when I am busy, I utilize them for convenience and sometimes more concentrated format.  I also keep bags of freeze dried raw dog and cat food on hand, in the event of an emergency where either we need to evacuate, cannot open the freezer, or if something were to happen to me and someone else needs to feed my pets with little to no instruction.

But my dog has a "sensitive stomach" and these foods are too "rich"!  Actually, your dog most likely has a very depleted level of beneficial bacteria in his gut due to having such highly processed kibble and biscuits passing through it for so long and can't easily digest food in general.  Probiotics specifically for dogs (not people - they won't hurt a dog but they won't be nearly as effective due to the differences in bacterial strain requirements), packed with live cultures that dogs need added in while making the switch will help him not only digest the new, enzyme-filled food better but also make him healthier and more resilient in the long run.  Maintenance with tripe, a natural probiotic-rich source will decrease the incidence of gas, bloating, diarrhea and vomiting.

But it costs too much!  Actually, it doesn't - when you factor in the thousands of dollars you'll save in vet bills, and the trade for a pet who has a longer life and is healthier...the cost is negligible.  In reality, with kibble you're paying for fillers that your dog poops out (uncomfortably), anyway.  Why bother feeding him anything that will literally weigh him down?  Buy less Starbucks, take one less trip to the beach, downgrade your cable from the channels you don't even watch (or ditch it completely and get Netflix like we did) and you'll find the money to accommodate this way of feeding.  Remember this: high-quality raw food is fed in much less volume than kibble or canned food due to having no fillers, and pets stay full longer due to higher protein content coming from fresh, raw meat.

 My at-home raw food prep

My at-home raw food prep

But it's dangerous! Pathogens and scary bacteria!  Actually, this is not specifically true for dogs.  It's an issue for people.  Without going into a ton of detail, cleaning practices that normally apply to your kitchen still apply no matter who in your home is eating what.  Duh.  I am 6 months pregnant and haven't managed to kill myself, my baby boy, my dogs, cats, husband or anyone else...and the "but it's gross" debate is not arguable either.  Yes, it's kind of gross.  Commercial food is all ground up and doesn't even look like organs and bones.  And by the way - commercially prepared raw food is not only often subjected to high-pressure processing, but also tested before it's sold which eliminates this debate altogether.  One company even has a place on their website where you can see test results published for your batch.  What I prepare myself is pretty gross and I hate liver with a passion that probably most people can identify with.  But...it's not about me and what I like.  I barely eat meat or dairy when I am not pregnant.  I don't care for it, but my animals need it.  Why would I feed them something I am more comfortable with feeding them because of the way it looks?  That's ridiculous and selfish...and archaic.  Tip: freeze dried food is more expensive per pound than frozen.  Freeze drying is an extra step to shelf stability and therefore costs more to produce.  Dehydrated falls somewhere in between.

But...kibble cleans his teeth!  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Wrong!

Commercial brands I love and trust for my guys:

  • Vital Essentials. They offer full, balanced diets for dogs, and the same for cats coming out next year.  Sourcing is transparent and at it's finest - our favorites among the huge selection are wild salmon, beef tripe and turkey.  Their range of treats in freeze dried form is one of the most diverse you'll find - they have  something for any pet, picky or not.  (Tip: picky often is never an issue with raw food. Picky often happens when pets are attempting to tell owners that either their food makes them feel very sick, they're allergic to something in it, which has caused an adverse issue such as vomiting or gastric discomfort in the past, or worse and often in kibble...it has either grown toxic mold you can't see or smell, or the fat it has been sprayed with to make it palatable has gone rancid.)  They've been in business longer than any other raw company out there, as far as I know.
  • Primal.  When I worked for Pet Valu, I was given the opportunity to take a full day class which was presented by Primal and talked all about raw food, why it's beneficial to pets, and specifically why Primal is a good choice: the company commits to USDA human grade meats which means no steroids, hormones or antibiotics, zero fillers and zero ingredients from China.  The vendors they source for protein also do not import the feed which their animals eat.  Additionally, their produce is all organic.  They offer a full line of food for dogs and cats as well as healthy treats.  Our dogs are infatuated with the turkey liver treats.
  • Stella and Chewy's.  I worked for this company for a few years, demoing their food in pet food supply stores so I have an inside view of their philosophy.  I really loved them both as a company and as a supplier for fresh, raw pet food for their commitment to providing grass fed meat, cage free poultry and wild caught fish.  They sell both freeze dried and frozen forms, in cat and dog food and also mixers treats.
  • K9 Natural.  Makes a nice line of balanced foods for dogs and cats, as well as treats like freeze dried mussels and our favorite lamb tripe.
  • Nature's Variety.  I use this company mostly for treats; however some might find that their pets like the mixers which are available as a way to get some raw food into your dog's diet without making a complete switch to full-time raw food. Also has a line of frozen raw foods in a large variety of proteins.
  • ZiwiPeak.  Offers air-dried raw foods that look a little more like flakes of traditional kibble.  They don't process with heat, so the food is still considered to be raw.  They were a pioneer in a raw-type diet long before other companies began to offer raw foods and still continue to be a trustworthy source for commercial, healthy food now.
  • Grandma Lucy's.  Freeze dried, and in a flake-type form.  100% human-grade.  The company began with freeze-dried meatballs and eventually expanded to include freeze dried complete meals.  This isn't a food I've fed, but having the option as a healthy choice for pets is always nice!
  • Honest Kitchen: Dehydrated, and in a flaky form as well. 100% human-grade, and their facility only makes human-grade food.  No kibble manufacturing goes on there at all.  Because it's a human-food facility, it is inspected as such. (Processing plants are another topic, but are actually a pretty big deal when it comes to where your pet food is made.)  Their quality control is pretty impressive.  This was actually the food I fed over 8 years ago when I made the switch off of kibble and canned foods.  I liked that I could re-hydrate it, and add in my own fresh additions.  At the time, I cooked chicken, beef, turkey and fish to add into their mixes.
  • Darwin's.  I've never used this brand, but they offer some mixers in addition to raw diets, if you're not ready to commit to fully switching over to raw just yet.  Available are both raw dog and cat food: their meals are made of free range, grass fed beef; cage free poultry; and organic produce. All meats are hormone, antibiotic, and steroid free as well - and they ensure that the farms they source from treat their animals humanely, too.
  • Bravo.  Another one I haven't tried, but offers great options as well including frozen meals, freeze dried, treats and chews.
 K9 Natural lamb tripe is my favorite way to feed tripe...raw tripe is stinky!

K9 Natural lamb tripe is my favorite way to feed tripe...raw tripe is stinky!

Crucial resources on my list of go-to people in designing a raw diet for my pets:

 I store our dried anchovies in mason jars, with a simple hand pump vacuum sealer

I store our dried anchovies in mason jars, with a simple hand pump vacuum sealer

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/8/31/feeding-kibble-dont-assume-an-expensive-brand-is-healthy-for-your-dog

Cats are obligate carnivores

Christina Ottaviano

Our furry little felines, descendant from wild ancestors, are equipped with the necessary teeth and claws to capture small prey.  Why?  Even though they appear to lazily nap away most of the day, they're obligate carnivores - meaning it is an obligation to their health to eat the flesh and organs of other animals.  This diet provides them with specific essential nutrients that they need to survive, which their own bodies do not synthesize themselves and cannot be absorbed in any other way.

Kibble is the single most detrimental way to feed a cat.  As with all living species, a whole foods, fresh diet is best - due to the very minimal processing and the bioavailability of amino acids and vitamins in raw meat.  Has your cat experienced urinary tract issues?  Vomiting?  Gastrointestinal illness?  Cancer?  Kidney disease?  These health problems can be traced back to a severely deficient diet.  Forced digestion for an animal that is meant to process whole meats and organs - not dried, highly heated and processed bits.  I'm not just a crazy, raw-feeding fanatic.  These claims are based in scientific fact, and I firmly believe that nutrition is an important preventative measure to not only see an animal merely survive...that animal should, theoretically thrive.  Dry food needs a carbohydrate base in order to hold together in dry kibble form; cats have no need whatsoever for carbohydrates in their diet and food that dry does not provide the 70% or higher level of moisture that a cat needs in order to retain the appropriate amount of water.  I make my own cat food.  It's not difficult and one of my cats loves it.  The other gets a mixture of grain-free kibble and freeze dried raw commercial cat food.  I have tried over 6 of his 13 years to get him onto a fully raw diet, but he refuses to eat enough of the different meats and organs to provide a balanced nutritional long-term intake.  I supplement as much fresh food as possible, but he just does not tolerate a fully raw diet.  You have to compromise at some point with what your cat can tolerate, and what works for you as well, however I will continue trying to get him to eat fresh foods until he's no longer living on this earthly planet...though it pains me to buy kibble at all, in any form.

 Our cat sitting client, Maynard waits for his freeze dried rabbit treat. He LOVES his raw diet!

Our cat sitting client, Maynard waits for his freeze dried rabbit treat. He LOVES his raw diet!

The real solution to the major health issues in cats is raw feeding, and I am thankful our other cat has no issue with it.  He's stunning, handsome and absolutely gorgeous with very soft, blindingly white fur and no real health issues.  Sound gross?  Remember, it's not about you, the owner and what you need.  It's about your pet, the commitment you have taken on by agreeing to care for the animal, and their species specific nutritional needs.  Ready to start a diet to give your cat the energy and vitality he needs, but can't deal with the idea of raw food, either homemade or commercially purchased?  A canned diet with no kibble, grain or carbohydrates is a great place to begin, and many cat owners move on to raw diets after seeing the change in the health of their cats on a canned food only diet.  Canned food with a raw topper is also a great option when transitioning.

 Our handsome white devil, Archer loves Wild Alaskan Salmon freeze dried treats.

Our handsome white devil, Archer loves Wild Alaskan Salmon freeze dried treats.

Do you like to give your cat treats?  Who doesn't want to spoil our handsome, furry tigers?  One way you can work fresh foods into a diet is to use them as treats.  In freeze dried or dehydrated form, treats marketed to pet owners can be difficult to navigate.  So, here's a great way to differentiate the bad from the good.  Most commercial raw food companies also sell a line of treats and theirs are the best place to begin.  One of my favorite businesses for a huge variety of treats is Vital Essentials.  From rabbit to whole fish, their selection of fresh-food treats is a great way to add in vital nutrients and give your cat the prey-driven enrichment he needs as well.  What's the difference between 15 different types of treats, all labeled "salmon", for example?  The ingredients list and the country of origin.  For example, compare these two treats, both marketed for cats:

1. "Single source protein, USDA certified facility, gluten and grain free, sourced, made, and packaged in USA. Ingredients: Salmon."

2. "Made with the finest ingredients available, [these treats] do not contain any chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat or soy. Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Maple Syrup, Vegetable Glycerin, Potatoes, Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Salt, Fish Oil, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Taurine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols,Phosphoric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Ascorbic Acid and Citric Acid, Oil of Rosemary."

...Which one sounds more appropriate for a whole food, healthy diet - now that you know what it means to be an obligate carnivore?  It's not enough to just look at the advertising on the front of the package.  Read the ingredients and you'll know exactly what's in food and treats you're feeding your cat.  Questions?  I can be reached for help with improving pet nutrition at any time via any of my social media or email. The websites linked in this article are extremely valuable and full of important information as well.

More on sourcing treats and food toppers in my next article...raw food for dogs!

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/8/29/cats-are-obligate-carnivores

Thermacell makes a mosquito barrier that really works

Christina Ottaviano

Six months pregnant, and trying to garden during the height of a Zika virus mosquito infestation has been a fearful challenge.  Now, add in being a dog walker and constantly outside, sweaty in 117F heat indexes with high humidity and bitten all day repeatedly by mosquitoes and I would almost rather stay inside.  Did you know? Just the fact that a person or animal is breathing makes them attractive to mosquitoes.  Warm weather that causes perspiration and elevated body heat in addition to activities that sometimes include drinking alcohol outside create the perfect storm for these flying invaders.  Left with at the very least an itchy red bump; and at worst a blood-borne disease like malaria, or Zika virus which causes birth defects... there is nothing pleasant about this experience.  The fate for your dog is much worse: heart worms are transmitted through mosquito bites.

In the past, there have been solutions that include applications of product to the skin for both people and pets, or burning candles to deter mosquitoes.  Ones that use harsh chemicals are not only unhealthy for humans and pets but also dangerous for our environment.  I personally do not like to apply anything to my skin when I am already sweaty and hot.  And the smell of citronella oil in the air or on my skin makes me nauseous...pregnant or not.

When I found Thermacell, I was excited to try a repellent that did not smell like citronella or other chemicals, didn’t have an open flame which required less attention be paid while trying to do other things, and wasn’t in a form that I had to apply it to my skin.  It's kind of a tall order...I'm picky and even more picky since becoming pregnant.  Citronella makes me even more nauseous than usual now, and has been especially irritating as far as headaches are concerned during pregnancy.  BUT: I am sadly one of the people who are more attractive to mosquitoes due to certain factors.  I typically work in my garden almost every day (though I have been slacking due to tiredness and this horrible heat), and if I do not do some type of parasite damage control I am covered in mosquito bites. Within minutes they are landing on me.  Not with my Thermacell lantern - once it's been on, and given about 10 minutes to create the magical force field of protection I am invisible to these predators.

Like the way this sounds so far?  Thermacell is offering my readers 25% off purchases through their website with the code WoofsandWhiskers, now through 9/30/2016!

At a very reasonable $29.99, the Lantern is my favorite mosquito repellent tool and I picked it up at my local Home Depot mostly because it's portable.  After breaking out the Lantern while watering my garden, weeding, pruning and continuing to do more yard work, I was only bitten once and that was right after I turned it on.  It’s effective in a 15’ x 15’ area so as long as I stay within that zone, I am safe!  Moving around outside of that area definitely proves the effectiveness of the product.  It’s pretty, with settings for a flickering candle or a light bulb look as far as illumination is concerned, and looks cute wherever I set it down in the garden.  It can be used as a lantern without turning on the mosquito repellent as well.  I have two so far, one for my front porch and one for my back yard.  I now also own a Torch, which is even more convenient because it both mounts on a stationary 6-foot pole, or can be removed and used as a tabletop lantern as well. This way my dogs won’t wander out of the covered zone, no matter which version I am using.  Operating on a single butane cartridge and batteries, the lantern warms a little pad which is infused with allethrin.   “Allethrin is a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in pyrethrum flowers, a member of the chrysanthemum family.”  It barely smells like much of anything and is definitely effective.

Thermacell also sent me their Mosquito Repellent Appliance to try.  It covers the same area as the Lantern but has the capability of being attached to the person using it via a belt clip and costs a few dollars less than the lantern.  This allows for hands-free protection without having to carry the Lantern around as you move.  I found it to be helpful when walking dogs, especially near fields and wet zones, but I really love the look of the Lantern in the yard so I use it much more often.  Because I am often bending and squatting when gardening, the appliance is a bit bulky for me.  It still works the same as the Lantern, with the same amazing effectiveness but is just a little too big for a person who is 6 months pregnant.  I took both to picnics and barbecues and wasn’t bitten by a single mosquito.  My friends were amazed!   They are sold at your local Home Depot, Lowes, sporting goods stores, and Walmart. Refills are available on their website and also on Amazon.  I am so happy with this product, and I know you will be too!  I could see this product as a vital item to pack when camping or fishing as well.  I can say for sure that I will not be gardening or walking dogs without it.  Thermacell is on InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and YouTube – follow and subscribe for coupons and specials.

 

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/8/17/thermacell

No more sweaty foot odor with Cedar Soles

Christina Ottaviano

Foot powders, sprays and antibacterial insoles have flooded the market as most people attempt to battle embarrassing foot odor and wetness.  Feet sweat, and those who generate a lot of movement each day; dog walkers, delivery and mail carriers, contractors, exercise instructors, restaurant employees, and those working in the veterinary and medial industries are constantly on the move.  Cotton socks, breathable sneakers and washing feet correctly and daily are all helpful.  But now, there’s another option on the market that really does work.

ZEDERNA Cedar Soles Original are thin, flexible 100% natural cedarwood lined with a very thin layer of cotton.  The natural antibacterial, anti-fungicidal properties of the cedar oil within the wood absorb moisture, keeping feet dry and healthy.  It goes on to prevent athlete’s foot and cure nail fungus as well.  Upon the first wear, the insoles absorb wetness and conform to the foot of the wearer, pretty much disappearing into the shoe as far as the feel is concerned. They can be used with any shoe, any additional prescribed orthotic insole, and in any special, supportive running shoe.  They can be worn with socks or tights, boots, and even those who often have cold feet, as the insole provides an additional insulating layer.  They can be cleaned and reused by washing by hand in warm, soapy water, dried thoroughly before reinserting into shoes.  They last for about 3-6 months and they are incredibly effective!  Tested on some pretty stinky man feet, these insoles not only took away the odor that was already in the shoes, but battled the additional daily odor and wetness with grace and elegance.  The shoes smell like cedar and the wearer is happy.  Overall, the impression is that these insoles are much more effective than grainy powders and chemical-laden sprays, and much more comfortable than drug store odor fighting insoles.  Not only did these insoles battle the stinky shoe of the construction boot wearer, and sneaker wearing dog walker/runner, but also maintain them from creating new odor.  The feet stayed fresh and dry, smelling only slightly and pleasantly of cedar upon removal of the shoe.  With a 110% guarantee, and immediate improvement of foot odor, and rewards for telling friends about your newly lovely scented toes, there’s nothing to lose.

Also recommended: making a little spritz to boost the Cedar Soles when they begin to lose their efficacy with recipes that combine cedar with citruscedar with peppermint, or the ever-soothing cedar and lavender oil.  These mixtures can additionally be used as linen sprays, countertop cleaners (when diluted with distilled water) and floor cleaner (when added to castile soap).  I love multitasking products!  Try this Grove Collaborative beautiful glass spray bottle to house your new deodorizer - it's my favorite.  Cedar Soles is a small family-run business headquartered in Germany, and all of their insoles are handcrafted with only the highest quality materials.  They are on Facebook and Twitter but the best way to get in touch is to send an email.  They’re very friendly and customer service oriented, and they’ll respond very quickly!  This is a product to never go without again; and during checkout you can opt to have them remind you to reorder so you don't forget.  It’s that easy and that eco-friendly to have feet that don’t smell and soles that won’t hurt the environment.  Just compost the old ones and replace with new!  They're also available on Amazon.com, in individual pairs, or packs of 3.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/8/17/no-more-sweaty-foot-odor-with-cedarsoles

Kitty lounger our cats love

Christina Ottaviano

"Purring would seem to be, in her case, an automatic safety-valve device for dealing with happiness overflow."   -Monica Edwards

Cats like to lounge. Some can sleep for up to 20 hours per day. So why not give them an eco-friendly, comfortable and safe place to recharge?  At 25" long x 21" wide x 12" high, Peach Pet Provisions Kitty Lounger is the perfect size for any nap-loving cat or dog, and any size home. The design has changed slightly in the past few years to become even more attractive and streamlined.

What we love about it: It's 100% made in the USA.  There are no tools needed for assembly.  The attractive wood base is made from VOC-free, sustainable Pure-bond plywood. It’s sturdy and unlikely to tip over (unless there are zoomies going on…see below).  The foam-padded feet do not mark the floor.  We’ve had ours for over 3 years now and it still looks new.  I can see this hammock lasting us a very long time and it is used all day, every day.  But, the company does offer replacement fabric hammocks for the bed, if necessary!  Less than 5 minutes went by after assembly before the cat was in It happily sleeping.  It’s attractive; it looks like a piece of furniture rather than a pet bed.  The available fabric choices are modern and varying to match any décor.

The lounger covers are extremely well made and highly durable. The stitching is very high quality and strong.  They are machine washable and made from 100% USA grown cotton.  The fabric is heavy-weight upholstery quality ; thick, durable and non-fading.  I sew, and I can say that the cover is beautifully well made with confidence! It’s cooler in warm weather to lay on than a traditional stuffed bed due to the increase air flow and elevated height.  Another bonus: due to the fact that this bed has no stuffing in it, Honey was originally unable to destroy it and disinterested in trying.

The hammock is rated for pets under 20 pounds, however we have consistently seen at least two cats, a dachshund and a cat or just one rather large cat successfully use the hammock with no problem.  Our dachshunds have been caught snoozing in the hammock as well.  Looking for something more traditional?  They also sell gorgeous stuffed pillow beds: made & sourced in the USA with removable, machine washable cotton covers and stuffed with eco-friendly fiberfill made from recycled plastic bottles.  They feature channeled inserts keep fill more evenly distributed, 14 stylish colors/prints and they come in four sizes.  The company even sells bandannas to match!

We don’t travel much, but when we do our pets come too.  One of the things I really love about this hammock is that it folds up in minutes to pack away and set up quickly and easily in a new temporary location.  And, because it is so lightweight, it’s easy to move around when vacuuming (I just slide it with my foot).

Bonus: when taking a running start and launching onto the hammock, it can occasionally tip over.  In this position, the cats used it as a spot to hide behind and ambush the dachshunds.  Because it is lightweight, this provided a safe, fun place for the animals to play with little danger of injury.  Even with the launching and the stalking, the hammock has stayed in like-new condition and still continues to be a favorite resting spot for our two cats and our four small dogs.

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/8/26/kitty-lounger-our-cats-love

We tried this Eco-Friendly litterbox, and it was quite convenient

Christina Ottaviano

Cleaning cat litter is a chore that no one wants to do, but every cat owner is responsible for.  Scooping the box every day is not a pleasant task. 

The environmental impact of cat litter on our environment is more than one might expect.  According to Pet Product News, clay litter (while most popular) is not the best choice.  “The environmental impact of clay litter production, in addition to the mining itself, includes the transportation of the clay to the drying facility as well as the use of petroleum products to generate sufficient heat needed to dry the clay…Clay cat litter is sent to landfills where its sits for an eternity. Since one assumes all cat clay litter purchased and used eventually gets thrown out, we are talking about a huge amount of cat litter ending up in landfills every year. The net result is that clay-based cat litter has a sizable environmental impact in both its manufacture and disposal.”

Naturally sourced litter can be an eco-friendly choice for you and your cat.  Litter One offers a complete system that is recyclable and a better choice for the environment.  It comes with 100% post waste pine pellets which are biodegradable and disintegrate into sawdust when they come into contact with cat urine.  Their patented sifting litter box floor allows you to sift that dust into the bottom of the pan while leaving clean pellets behind.  Just scoop the poop into the biodegradable poop bags daily and you have a clean, fresh litter box for 4 to 6 weeks.  It's even available on Amazon which is nice because you can have it delivered to your door, let the cat use it, and then throw it away - having a new one delivered again.  I like the option, though my favorite litter is, and always will be World's Best.

Initially, my cat refused to use this box.  I had it set up for over 5 weeks and he did not step foot in it.  Following the suggestion from the Litter One website, I sprinkled the old litter over the pellets in a thin layer and then he was immediately interested.  The system works nicely for him, as he is a cat that will not use the litter box if there is anything in it and we clean it several times per day.  The pine absorbed the smells fairly well, and urine did not leak through the cardboard bottom.  I like the idea of a new, clean box every month and the constant removal of poop keeps everything very sanitary.  The only downfall was that he was not able to cover his poop effectively with the pellets and this seemed to frustrate him.  I really liked that the pine was very low tracking coming out of the litter box, and that the initial setup was quick and easy.  The cardboard is thick and sturdy, and comes with no extra packaging – the box it arrives in is literally the litter box containing the pine pellets.

Want to learn more about Litter One?  Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.  Rescues and shelters – be sure to check out their partner program!

http://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-pets/2016/8/26/we-tried-this-eco-friendly-litterbox-and-it-was-quite-convenient