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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!

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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: ecofriendlypetreviews@gmail.com.

Filtering by Category: Pet Safe Home

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. 

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2018/2/12/the-goal-a-life-without-plastic
https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/bringing-the-heat

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.

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/methodcleaningproducts

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.

 

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2016/8/17/thermacell

We use cedar oil as an effective and pleasant flea treatment

Christina Ottaviano

As a person who always strives for a more natural route to daily living, I refrain from using chemicals in my home.  In the past, I have used diatomaceous earth in my home and yard with some success for flea and tick prevention, however it’s dusty and makes a mess, and washes away when it rains.  I'm asked, fairly often what we use.

Upon researching flea and tick prevention options for the 2013 season, cedar oil repeatedly appeared as a viable option.  Further reading indicated that it not only kills the adult insects but their eggs and larvae as well.  Interestingly, it works by assaulting their breathing system (through their bodies); yet it is safe for humans, pets and beneficial insects such as butterflies, bees and ladybugs.  This great video explains how the cedar is effective and why. Research has shown that by using a carrier molecule derived from quartz, the delivery system is greatly improved. “The cedar oil aroma triggers the insect’s danger response that results in the closure of its breathing pores. This in turn drops the insect’s organ temperature and causes instant death to the arthropod. The formula also dissolves the exoskeleton of the eggs and larvae preventing the next cycle of pests”, says Buzz4Bugs.  Cedar oil application stops the life cycle of fleas, ticks and other pests.

I have been purchasing my Organic Cedar Oil products from Dr. Ben’s Cedar Oil Store for the past three years now.  Gary, the owner put together a custom package of cedar oil and granules to accommodate my small home and yard.  This includes: 1/2 Gallon Dr. Ben's Evictor for indoor use, 16oz Paws & Claws Spray For Pets, 32oz Ready to use Lawn & Kennel Spray, and 10lb Cedar Granules for lawn.

I sprinkle the cedar granules over my lawn in May and June, and at the same time spray my lawn and porch with the lawn and kennel spray.  It is easy to apply and smells nice.  It has even rained very heavily a couple of times and is still effective.  I have not even used any of the indoor product supplied to me during my first purchase, as treating the yard has been effective enough, except to occasionally spritz the dog beds in between washing.  I love that it is safe to use around my flower and vegetable gardens, repelling and killing grubs, fleas, ticks, army worms, mole crickets and mosquitoes – and also bacteria and fungus.

Although I haven’t needed it for such issues, the Paws & Claws spray will successfully control fleas, ear mites, mange mites, burrowing mange mites, head and goat lice.  I recommend getting the gallon size, that way you have it for whenever you need it.  As long as it has been stored in a cool, dark place I have been able to use it from season to season.  Amazon sells it for about $100 in the gallon, or about $30 in the 32 ounce.  This is not as pricey as it seems when you have considered the high concentration of cedar oil in these containers, and how little needs to be used when applying.  If you decide to purchase, please consider using my affiliate link.

It also repels rats and mice.  I have noticed a decrease in the amount of mice and moles my cat has been catching since the cedar oil products were applied to my lawn and can tell when it wears off because the moles begin to pile up again...and the mosquitoes return.  Overall, I am very impressed at both the efficacy and safety of these products.  It’s now early August and once again, my home and pets are flea-free and as long as I remember to lightly apply more often, my mosquito issue is diminished.  I would absolutely recommend this option as a natural preventative for fleas and ticks.  I do still have a few mosquitoes in my yard, but there is a definite decrease in the frequency of their appearance as long as I keep up with the cedar application.  Dr. Ben’s is on Facebook, has a newsletter, and a great website where you can read more.

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2016/8/25/we-use-cedar-oil-as-an-effective-and-pleasant-flea-treatment

Homemade pet safe cleaners + my favorite essential oil supplier

Christina Ottaviano

One day a short time ago, an article was posted to NPR’s Facebook page with a caption that stated: “More than 1,000 sick and dying sea lion pups have been found stranded since the beginning of the year, from Santa Barbara to San Diego. As scientists try to figure out why, one animal rescue worker says that in nearly three decades on the job, he's never seen anything like it.”  The question central to the investigation asks why these adorable little sea mammals are seemingly starving.  The answer seems to be that there are not enough fish for them to eat.  But why is the fish population decreasing so alarmingly?

There isn’t just one answer, but a complex web of cause and effect that has rendered our oceans incapable of sustaining life to its fullest capability.  In previous articles, there has been discussion about plastic bags, chemicals in household cleaners (and alternative products to use instead), and recycling of plastics into new items such as colanders, park benches and dog beds.  None of these things will happen though, if the plastics don’t get to the proper venue for recycling or consumers do not use environmentally friendly cleaning products.  All of this leaches back into the water supply and eventually, the ocean.  If everyone does their part by making the effort to be sure the plastic gets to its proper destination for recycling, or uses plastic alternatives, the oceans may suffer less. In the meantime, I am very careful about what cleaning products I use, especially on the floors where my animals lay and walk, and then clean themselves.  Homemade is the best because I get to customize it.

These recipes are borrowed from Mountain Rose Herbs (and you can purchase all of the ingredients needed on their website):

Super Surface Spray

• 16 oz. spray bottle

• 14 oz. – 1:1 solution of distilled white vinegar and water

• 7 drops of tea tree essential oil

• 7 drops of lavender essential oil

• 7 drops of lemon essential oil

Use this aromatic and disinfecting solution for cleaning kitchen counters, cabinets, refrigerator shelves, blinds, painted wood surfaces, painted walls, molding, fan blades, and more.

Herby Soft Scrub

• 12 oz glass jar with lid

• 1/2 cup baking soda

• 1/2 cup castille soap

• 15 drops of antimicrobial essential oils like rosemary and sage

Mix well until you have a nice consistency like cake frosting. If you have leftovers, add 1 tsp vegetable glycerin to keep the blend nice and moist.

Antibacterial Soap Spray

• 16 oz spray bottle

• 14 oz. water or rosemary hydrosol

• 3 tbsp castille soap

• 15 drops of tea tree essential oil

• 15 drops of oregano essential oil

Use this cleaning spray to disinfect your bathroom surfaces. You can use the Super Surface Spray to rinse away any residue left behind by the castille soap.

Refreshing Linen Spray

• 16 oz. spray bottle

• 3 oz. unflavored vodka

• 12 drops lavender, ylang ylang, peppermint, orange or your favorite smelling essential oil

• 12 oz. organic hydrosol of your choice

Spray to refresh your mattress, pillows, bed linens, couches, and fabric covered chairs, or spritz clean winter blankets before storing for the year. Also makes a wonderful ironing spray.  I've also ordered this set from Amazon.com: Calily Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils Kit, and have been extremely happy with the quality of the oils.

I highly recommend reading their blog and signing up for their newsletter; it is packed with recipes, tips and tricks as well as sustainable and green news.  They’re also on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2016/8/23/homemade-pet-safe-cleaners-my-favorite-essential-oil-supplier

Cleaning supplies that rock my pet-safe home

Christina Ottaviano

Leading a greener lifestyle starts with the actions we take daily.  The first step in reducing chemicals in your home is to choose cleaning products that are both safe for your family and the environment.

Mrs. Meyer’s products are not only environmentally friendly and safe for people and pets - they’ll also give you your daily dose of aromatherapy.  The lavender line is soothing, lemon verbena is energizing, basil is uplifting, honeysuckle is calming and geranium is refreshing.  Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products are available in surface scrubs, surface wipes, countertop cleaners, liquid hand and dish soap, automatic dishwasher packs, glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner and all-purpose cleaner.  The liquid products are biodegradable.  Deliciously scented soy-based candles come in reusable glass jelly jars, to help organize your home.  The plastic packaging on their other products is not only recyclable, it is also comprised of 25% post-consumer recycled content.  Mrs. Meyer’s does not include animal ingredients in any product, nor does the company test on animals.  And without ammonia, phosphates or chlorine you can breathe easily during and after cleaning.  The company sources as many ingredients as possible from renewable resources, such as soy, coconut, olive or corn, and the products proudly state “Made in the USA” on their labels.  Learn more about this super company, and meet the very sweet and sensible Mrs. Meyer here!

There are even seasonal additions to the product line.  Orange clove, Iowa pine, gingerbread and cranberry give your cleaning a festive spark.  This year, Apple Cider, and Mum are in the fall scents and I just cannot make up my mind over which one I would like best!  I am leaning toward ordering the Mum fragrance.  Some time ago,  Mrs. Meyer’s sent me one of their holiday soy candles to try, in the Iowa pine scent.  Before it was even lit, I could smell the fresh, clean scent of pine and notes of cedar and clove.  It burned cleanly and evenly, filling the entire first floor of my home with the nostalgic reminder of a freshly cut Christmas tree.  Soy is a renewable resource, naturally grown and non-toxic.   The reusable jelly jar it came in was handy to store odds and ends such as safety pins, nails or screws.  Overall, I loved this candle and I would bet that the fragrance lineup for Christmas 2016 will be just as brilliant.

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2016/8/20/cleaning-supplies-that-rock-my-pet-safe-home