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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. Supporter of local pet rescue!


Ecofriendly Little Home & Pets Blog

Eco-friendly and earth-conscious features and reviews, pet care tips, and feeding education. Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free autoimmune diet musings.  Interested in having your product reviewed here?  Please email:

Chicken and banana dog treats

Christina Ottaviano

I make my own oat milk, and with the residual oatmeal from that process, I like to bake dog treats. With 4 dachshunds, I prefer to give them homemade treats because I know what’s in them, and it’s ridiculously inexpensive to do. I usually use an egg, but we didn’t have any and to my surprise, the mixture held together beautifully.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup of oatmeal (I used the leftovers from my oat milk but you could use cooked, fresh oats)

2 cups brown rice flour (I like Arrowhead Mills)

1 very ripe banana

1 5 oz can of chicken

2 tbsp dried parsley (I used my own home grown and dried, but fresh is fine too.)

Combine all ingredients until dough forms a ball, like this.

Dough should stay together in a ball. It it doesn’t, add more rice flour.

Dough should stay together in a ball. It it doesn’t, add more rice flour.

Roll your dough out on a generously floured baking sheet. I prefer to use a silicone baking mat, so they don’t stick to the sheet when baked. Roll to 1/4” thickness, then score to the size treats you would like. You could alternatively roll out on the counter, and then use cookie cutters, but it takes much longer and the dogs don’t care! Bake on 350 F for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 F and bake for an hour. Let the oven cool down completely, about 2 or 3 hours (or even overnight), then take them out. The extra time in the oven after it’s off allows them to dry further without burning.

These treats also work well in a food dehydrator overnight, on the lowest setting. They probably don’t need to stay refrigerated because they’ll be very dry, but you can freeze them or refrigerate them and take out just what you need it if you won’t use them as quickly.

…more holistic, grain-free treat recipes are available in my hardback cookbook or my digital downloaded version


One roasted pumpkin heeds two great recipes

Christina Ottaviano


I roasted a pie pumpkin while also roasting a spaghetti squash for dinner last week. But why? How? Easy! Cut any type of squash in half and then roast cut side down on a baking pan. I roasted mine for 50 minutes on 425 F.


Yes, it seems time consuming but I also mowed the lawn, did dishes, and finished up some laundry in that time frame…I also made dog treats from the pumpkin guts! So save yours from pumpkin carving or other baking activities, and read about that recipe below.


So, I let the pumpkin cool for about 20 minutes, and then I scraped the soft insides from the skin into my food processor.

You could also use a blender. I pulsed it until smooth, then placed it in a mason jar in the fridge, to be used in a delicious pumpkin apple cake. A small pie pumpkin yielded about 1 2/3 cups of pureed pumpkin.

The cake turned out even better than I could have imagined; I used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour in place of white flour, coconut oil where the butter was supposed to be, and freshly grated ginger as I was out of powdered ginger. The spices are PERFECTLY on point in this recipe for a fall treat you will absolutely love. I also doubled the apples used. Definitely bake this in a bundt pan (I found one for $2.99 at 2nd Avenue Thrift Store), with all of the apples in it, this cake needs the extra air flow while baking to ensure it bakes evenly. Using fresh pumpkin puree makes this recipe even better, but you could also use canned.


What’s better than perfectly seasoned pumpkin apple cake? How about dog treats made from the pumpkin guts and seeds? I took the innards from the pumpkin and pulsed them in my food processor. They didn’t break up easily, so I decided to mix the entire recipe in the food processor. Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants (good for overall healthy skin and fur), and the oils in pumpkin flesh and seeds are believed to support urinary health. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron, and may even reduce the likelihood your pet will develop cancer.


Spinach Pumpkin Seed Dog Treats

Guts and seeds from 1 small pumpkin

1 egg

14 oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted, drained (about 1 cup cooked fresh)

1 cup cooked, plain oatmeal (I used the leftovers from making oat milk!)

2 1/2 cups brown rice flour

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Add more flour if dough is too sticky. Flour your baking sheet well, then turn dough onto sheet, rolling to about 1/4” thickness. A wine bottle works great for this if your rolling pin doesn’t fit on the sheet. Sprinkle with raw oats, score the dough where you would like the treats to break into the appropriate size for your dog, and then bake on 425F for about 45 minutes, leaving the sheet in the oven, with the door closed, after turning it off to allow it to cool and dry further without burning.


Homemade soft dog treats

Christina Ottaviano


I made applesauce the other day. It’s officially Fall in PA, and we even went apple picking to celebrate. Apple cobbler, apple scrap vinegar, apples with caramel - mmm, apples.

Be sure to sprinkle rice flour on your mat.

Be sure to sprinkle rice flour on your mat.

I love all things Fall, but one thing I do without a doubt every year is make applesauce. It’s a tradition, passed down from my grandparents, and my brother demands our family recipe every year for his autumn birthday.

I usually compost the apple skins. They come out of my Kitchen Aid sauce attachment like a tube of poo, falling into a bowl, the sauce falling into a second bowl…much like the falling leaves…but this year I looked at them and thought, “dog treats.” So, into the mixing bowl they went, with some brown rice flour, an egg, and a boiled yam. I added some cinnamon to make the treats more fall-ish. Then rolled them out with a generous sprinkle of brown rice flour to keep them from sticking. Sprinkled with rolled oats, rolled again so they’d stick, and baked them in the oven for an hour on 350F.

They turned out beautifully!

They turned out beautifully!

I let them stay in the oven until it cooled and guess what? They came out soft! I keep them in the fridge but they won’t last long. The weens are going CRAZY for these apple-cinnamon treats.

Apple Cinnamon Soft Dog Treats

Skins from approx. 7lbs apples, cooked

about 1 c brown rice flour

1 egg, 1 boiled medium yam

1 tsp cinnamon

sprinkle of rolled oats

Combine all ingredients and follow the instructions above. Add more brown rice flour if dough is too wet.

I store my treats in glass jars, and keep them refrigerated.

I store my treats in glass jars, and keep them refrigerated.

Apple scrap vinegar, recipe from Zero Waste Chef.

Apple scrap vinegar, recipe from Zero Waste Chef.

Terracycle Free Programs

Christina Ottaviano

Did you know you can print free shipping labels to send items to Terracycle that would normally be thrown in the trash?

From cigarette butts to drink pouches, toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes, even dog food bags, water filtration, Solo cups, personal care, and instrument strings…all FREE to print a label and send in for recycling.

Visit their site for a complete list:

We’re sending toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes.

We’re sending toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes.

Dog friendly places to go in and around Lansdale, PA

Christina Ottaviano

The environmentally friendly choice is always to walk, and in Lansdale Borough you can go to several places within reasonable walking distance, while supporting local small business. But why exclude your furry family member in these family excursions? Featured below are several suggestions I recieved from the Citizens for the Revitalization of Lansdale Facebook group when I asked: “What places in our town and surrounding areas welcome dogs?”

Places to eat and drink

Round Guys Brewery: Grab a locally brewed IPA beer, eat brunch, lunch or dinner with a pub style menu. Open 7 days per week, and with outside seating - your dog is welcome to partake in all that is the heart of Lansdale Borough eating.

Blueprint Brewery: Harleysville’s first brewery, offers gluten free and gluten full beer. Dogs are permitted INSIDE the brewery, so head over to Gehman Road and find them in the industrial complex near Christopher Dock, technically Towamencin area.

Well Crafted Brewery: Located by the Lansdale Train Station, this brewery allows you to sip your locally brewed beer outside at tables with your pup.

Lansdale Tavern: Another restaurant offering food and drinks, with tables outside where your sweet friend is welcome to join you.

Stove and Tap: Also featuring outside, middle-of-town seating, the rustic, american style menu features locally sourced ingredients brunch through dinner. Family friendly, there’s a menu for kids, and one for adulty drinks. Their menu appears to feature simplified, whole food ingredients - perfect for someone like myself who can barely eat out due to autoimmune dietary restrictions…

Main Freeze: This walk-up ice cream shop on Main Street in Lansdale is family owned. A perfect spot to walk to with your dog, they serve real Italian water ice in addition to the regular hard and soft ice creams, sundaes, and shakes.

Iron Hill Brewery: This one is in North Wales, and features plain burgers and water bowls for Fido to enjoy while you enjoy seasonal food and drinks.


The Green Fork: Also located in North Wales, and admittedly my personal favorite restraunt in the area because they cater so willingly to my autoimmune diet restrictions. This place has it all, from locally sourced breakfast to lunch, and on some days, dinner as well. Ingredients are all whole foods based, and they have a huge variety of gluten, dairy, and soy free dishes. I had no idea, before I asked, but they also have a doggie-friendly menu!! Extra bonus: half the proceeds of this menu are donated to local dog rescue. You and your dog can be seated at their outside patio, and eat healthy, meals featuring from-scratch, local ingredients and feel good about helping rescue pets, too!

Boardroom Spirits: This local to Lansdale borough distillery offers vodka, rum, and gin. They even have carrot spirits, and beet spirits. Their tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday, and they welcome you to bring your dog, too. Both indoors and outdoors, year-round, you can sip a fantastic cocktail at a meetup with your local dog club, or just bring your best bud on a date and celebrate all that is booze and dog. (Head on over and see the lit bottles we donated from our Etsy shop when they first moved in!!)

Retail establishments

Comic Zen: Known to have treats for your buddy at the counter! 80’s music helps encourage the vibe, which is a momentary escape from reality.

Scent and Sip: DIY with your dog! Yes, that’s right, dogs are welcome. Scent and Sip offers 25+ items you can custom scent while you BYOB for a fun experience. This would make an awesome fundraising event for a local rescue, too.

Liberty Vapor: Do you vape? Feel like taking a walk to pick up a new flavor? Your furry friend is welcome to join you.

Lori Dudley Wellness, LLC: Need a massage? Head over to relax and unwind with your canine companion. Lori welcomes you to relieve stress and tension, while inviting you to bring your dog with you as well.

Love Obsessed: This gorgeous boutique is coming soon, to Lansdale and will be located on the same block as Stove and Tap. With cute, fashionable clothing, and gifty items like fall scented candles, you can have a lunch date with Poochie, and then go shopping at this dog-friendly shop nearby.

Dog friendly events

Lansdale Farmer’s Market: Super dog friendly, every Saturday from 9-1, May 19-November 17. You can buy produce, dog treats, handmade teas and bakery items, fresh lemonade, dumplings, guacamole and more. Occasionally, local dog and cat rescues attend with adoptable pets. Everyone that’s there will stop you to pet your dog, though. Haha!

First Friday: There are typically some vendor tables, children’s activities, food trucks and sometimes dog treat vendors as well. Family friendly, always fun themed, and happily dog friendly as well…stop at any of the establishments listed above while you’re there. When: Fridays, May 4, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec. 7, 6-9 pm

Lansdale Day: Occurs on Main Street the first Saturday of June, annually. The event is hosted by the local Rotary Club of North Penn as a fundraiser to be able to give all proceeds back to local charitable and non-profit organizations. There’s something for everyone at the tons of vendor tables that line the streets from local honey, to dog treats and home decor. It’s a fun for everyone event, celebrating our town and it’s 100% dog friendly, even featuring a Pet Alley. Many vendors even put out bowls of water for visiting dogs.

Founders Day: There is literally so much to do on Founder’s Day, you have to pick and choose which parts of it to attend. This celebration is dog friendly and lasts the entire day. There are numerous vendors from local businesses including a health and wellness fair, lots of freebies, a festival of the arts, cemetery tour, celebration of our hometown heroes, excursion trains, various historical tours, beer garden, food festival, and the list goes on…ending with a beautiful fireworks display. Almost all of the activities that occur outside are dog friendly.

Events at White’s Road Park: Bring a blanket or canvas chair, kick back on the park lawn, and enjoy the evening air filled with some of the top talent around. Sponsored by the Lansdale Parks and Recreation Department, dogs are always welcome to attend almost any event at the park. When: Tuesday evenings, May 22 through Aug. 21, 7 pm.

The Car Show Must Go On: Benefiting Discover Lansdale's restoration efforts at the historic stone Freight House, the car show welcomes you and your dog to enjoy hundreds of show level vehicles from the vintage classics to the american muscle cars we all know and love.

Lansdale Bike Night: One of the largest one-night bike events in the country, Bike Night is a huge motorcycle show packed with merchandise, music and refreshments alongside some gorgeous machines. Bring your dog, grab a bite to eat, and admire some of the most beautifully maintained motorcycles in the area. Sponsored by the Blue Comet Motorcycle Club.

Cruise Night: Bring your dog along for this fun ride, which is more of a parade of locals, literally cruising a specific route.

Mardi Gras Parade: Lansdale is weird and has it in November. I don’t know why but the parade and floats are fun for all in your family to attend, including your dog. Santa arrives during this annual celebration.

Oatmeal Orange Dog Treats

Christina Ottaviano

These treats are quick and easy!

These treats are quick and easy!

I make my own oat milk, simply by adding 1 cup of oatmeal to 3 cups of filtered water in my food processor. The oats that I strain out are still good for making dog biscuits, so each week, I have been coming up with a new recipe based on what I already have on hand.

Use ingredients you have on hand!

Use ingredients you have on hand!

Leftover Oatmeal Dog Treats

I cup of oatmeal (I used the leftovers from my oat milk but you could use fresh oats)

1 2/3 cups brown rice flour (I like Arrowhead Mills)

Zest and juice from 1/2 orange

1 egg

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Generously flour your baking sheet with rice flour.

Generously flour your baking sheet with rice flour.

Roll your dough to 1/4” thick. I prefer a wine bottle because it rolls over the edges of the sheet.

Roll your dough to 1/4” thick. I prefer a wine bottle because it rolls over the edges of the sheet.

Sprinkle the top of the dough if it sticks too much while rolling. Then, score with a knife. Bake on 350 F for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 F and bake for an hour. Turn off oven, and let the treats stay inside until the oven has cooled. This will help the treats to dry out further without burning. Store any treats that won’t be used immediately in the refrigerator or freezer.

Alternately, these treats work well in a food dehydrator overnight, on the lowest setting. More holistic, grain-free treat recipes are available in my hardback cookbook or the digital downloaded version

Easy, grain-free treats you can make for your dog

Christina Ottaviano


It’s kind of annoying when you look for a recipe, and the blog that features it has this entire diatribe before the recipe is posted. Not so here! Recipe adapted from one posted by Monica Segal.

Easy, 4 Ingredient Dog Treats

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour (I like Arrowhead Mills)

1/4 cup dried basil (I used my own, from my garden. You can also use fresh!)

1/4 cup sauced tomatoes (I used our garden tomatoes but you can use canned)

2 eggs

Just mix everything together. It will be a wet ball of dough when mixed.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Generously flour your baking pan and mat with additional rice flour.

Generously flour your baking pan and mat with additional rice flour.

Roll out dough, using extra rice flour where sticky, to about 1/4” thick, then score with a knife.

Roll out dough, using extra rice flour where sticky, to about 1/4” thick, then score with a knife.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then drop temp to 200F for 60 minutes.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then drop temp to 200F for 60 minutes.

Just leave the pan with the treats on it in the oven until it’s completely cool, when finished. This will help dry them out a little further. Alternately, these treats work well in a food dehydrator overnight, on the lowest setting. I recommend they stay refrigerated because there are no preservatives, though they probably won’t last long enough to grow mold anyway…more holistic, grain-free treat recipes are available in my hardback cookbook or my digital downloaded version

Rainy day activities for your dog

Christina Ottaviano

"Find It!"

This is a game my dachshunds love.  Put your dog in a safe spot out of view from the room you want to play in.  Hide treats around the room to enable the sniffer your dog was born with to be used as a form of enrichment. Your dog will put his nose to work to find the hidden goodies. You can determine how easy or difficult you want the game to be depending on where you decide to hide them, and how many rooms you include.

Treat Dispensing Toys

I like the gold standard Kong toys, which can be stuffed with an array of things and frozen for a more complex interactive activity.  Boiled, mashed yams; plain canned pumpkin or dog food; or even just a smear of peanut butter and banana are all great choices of stuffing.  I also like this toy from West Paw that has an area inside for a smear of peanut butter, and it's a bit easier to clean than the Kong.  There are also wobbler-style dog toys that dispense small treats or kibble while toppling over and then righting themselves to be pushed over again.

Puzzle Toys

These toys are great fun and a little more complicated than your basic treat stuffer toy.  You can always purchase them, like this bone shaped one that I have, from Amazon. My dachshunds love it but it's not particularly suited for a larger dog.  An easy, DIY puzzle is just treats hidden under tennis balls in a muffin baking tin.

Image credit: Big DIY Ideas

Image credit: Big DIY Ideas


Practice obedience! Get out some yummy treats, either purchased from my favorite shop, Gracie's, or make your own with the recipes in my hardback cookbook or my digital downloaded version.  Get out those "sit", "paw" and "down" commands, and maybe learn a new one.  Use these positive principles from Victoria Stillwell. 

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Indoor Agility

Build your own lounge room agility course. Use couch cushions to jump over, or add in a collapsible kids tunnel. Use treats to guide your dog through and see how fast they can get. Grab tips on how to set up your own course here.  (Don't do this one if your dog is prone to spinal problems or has been diagnosed with IVDD.)

Fetch & Tug

As simple as it sounds, play fetch or tug with a favorite toy.  No tug toy?  You can braid strips from an old t-shirt in about 5 minutes for an instant toy that's strong and fun for a game of tug.

Pampering Session

How about a warm, relaxing bath...for your dog!  Massage your favorite dog shampoo deeply into your dog's coat, using your fingers or a shampoo brush.  Not only is this deeply relaxing, it also helps to remove loose fur and promotes healthy circulation.  Make sure to get in between those toes, and for delicate areas like the face, use an old toothbrush.  You can also practice your TTouch techniques, gently massaging away the tension your anxious dog might have.


Set up an area with an attractive background, using a sheet or blanket if necessary, and strike a pose!  Using a high value treat, such as bits of chicken, or slices of apple or banana, have your dog sit in a comfortable position and snap away.  Check out the 5 top ideas for at home pet photography here.

Practice Using Your Dog Carrier or Crate

OK, so this activity may not rate as high on the ‘fun scale’ as all the others but it involves treats, and is a handy one for you, especially in the event of a future emergency  – so essentially it’s win win for both you and your dog! Read tips here on how to introduce your dog to a carrier.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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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 provides detailed information about blood sugar emergencies.


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.


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

See below for a list of other side effects.


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.


  • 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.


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 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.

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!

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. 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 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!

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.