Make a commitment to go green with your pet in 2012! Good for the planet as well as your trusted companion, these eco-fabulous products for pets are at the top of “Mom’s” list this year!

Top Five Earth-Friendly Pet Products

Planet Dog On the Go Food and Water Bowl

For thirsty canines on the go with their owners, whether hiking or just out for some play at the local dog park, the reusable On the Go Food and Water Bowl is a must! It is collapsible, rollable, stuffable, and very packable, and pops right open for easy access when needed. It comes in two sizes depending on your favorite four legged friend’s needs, and is available in seaside blue, sunset pink, harvest orange, forest green.

Planet Dog Biodegradable “Business Bags”

Walking your dog in your neighborhood means that at some point, your furry companion will have to attend to business. Now you can pick up the mess guilt-free, with no harm to the planet with Planet Dog’s Biodegradable “Business Bags!” Made from real corn, the bags biodegrade completely in just 45 days! So stop taking those unsightly plastic bags with you on walks around the block, and tuck a couple of these bad boys in your pocket instead!

Planet Dog EATS

Fido is going to love these new, all-natural treats from Planet Dog! The new EATS are available in dog-pleasing flavors, and made from 100% natural ingredients that aid in tartar control and offer super nutrients in every bite for optimal health and wellness. Made by their new local baking partner, Polka Dog Bakery in Boston, MA, the treats are are wheat, corn and soy-free and contain no wheat gluten. The new EATS line comes in two flavors that are sure to be a hit – Chicken & Pumpkin Pot Pie and PB & J. What’s not to love about the PB & J flavor – it contains barley flour, rye flour, peanut butter, blueberries, cinnamon!

KIDS ‘N’ PETS Instant All Purpose Stain & Odor Remover

This non-toxic, biodegradable and cruelty-free new stain and odor remover will become your best defense against those inevitable accidents that puppies or kittens will have as they navigate their new surroundings, and will keep carpets fresh & clean from the things that are tracked in from outdoors by Rover after a walk! Messes, poop on paws, litter box disasters – you have probably had one of these happen to you, and the new KIDS ‘N’ PETS cleaner is a must for any home with pets (and children!). It will completely eliminate any odors, not just mask them, so it will keep pets from making a certain spot their bathroom, which is wonderful.

Eco-Me Dry Dog Shampoo

Have a pooch who detests the bath? Try this Dry Dog Shampoo from Eco-Me instead! Just shake the powder onto your pet’s fur or onto a cloth, and brush through the fur or rub thoroughly with a cloth – no water is needed! For any excess, wipe away with a dry towel. For older pets or pets with sensitivities, this innovative planet-friendly shampoo will have tails wagging in no time! Eco-Me Dry Dog Shampoo is available in 4 scents in a recyclable container, including Lavender, Lemon Citronella, Grapefruit Sage and Fragrance-Free. It contains absolutely no dyes, parabens, surfactants, detergents, chemical preservatives or artificial fragrances. Both you and your pet will love this new product! Visit Petco.com.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

How to Make Homemade Christmas Dog Treats

Christmas is only for bipedal beings with opposable thumbs, it is for our four-legged, furry friends as well. And nothing is appreciated more by a canine companion than a good, hearty snack. The perfect stocking-stuffer, some homemade Christmas dog treats will be a delightful delicacy.

Before you conjure up images in your head of exploding cooking pots, mixers widely flinging dough about and smoke seeping out of the oven, take a moment to put down your wallet and put your keys away. There’s no need to head off to the pet store.

All you’ll need is some common household cooking ingredients and you’ll be well on your way to making a lip-licking batch of Christmas dog treats.

Ingredients/Cooking Supplies

• Cookie sheet
• Parchment paper
• Grease
• Medium mixing bowl
• Measuring cup
• Measuring spoons
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup brewer’s yeast
• 1/2 cup wheat germ
• 1 tsp. salt
• Small mixing bowl
• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 tbsp. garlic
• 1 cup chicken stock
• Cutting board
• Cookie cutters
• 3 cups vanilla white chocolate chips
• Microwave safe bowl
• 1 tsp. vegetable oil
• 1 tsp. vegetable powder for coloring
• Waxed paper

Preparation

Start by pre-heating your over to 400F. While the oven heats-up, take a moment to break out a cookie sheet and some parchment paper. Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper or you can grease the sheet with a paper towel if you wish.

Place a medium mixing bowl on the counter, along with a measuring cup and spoons. Mix together 2 cups flower, 1/2 cup brewer’s yeast, 1/2 cup wheat germ and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a small mixing bowl, combine 3 tablespoons vegetable oil along with 1 tablespoon of garlic. Now pour in 1 cup chicken stock, then add just 1 cup of the flower mixture from the medium mixing bowl.

Blend the ingredients well-together.

Flour the surface of a counter or cutting board. Place the mixture onto the floured surfaced and knead for 2 minutes. Then, flatten the dough, making it a 1/2 inch thick. Cut up the dough with cookie cutters to form festive holiday shapes.

Place your shaped cookies on the cookie sheet and baked in the 400 degree pre-heated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the frosting, simply melt 3 cups vanilla white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the white chocolate chips, then add in 1 teaspoon of vegetable powder for coloring, along with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Mix together, and then decorate the baked dog treats as desired.

Place the finished dog treats on waxed paper and allow cooling. You can then wrap them, if so desired or place in a decorative Christmas tin. Anyway you present these scrumptious canine morsels will be welcomed with a twitching nose and wagging tail.

To get the most out of baking the Christmas doggy treats, let your kids lend a helping hand. It will not only be fun, but teach them that buying expensive gifts is not what the season is all about.

About the Author

Kelly blogs for OMDS, the leader in everything that are dog goods.

Who says superfoods are only for humans? Let your beloved family pet reap the benefits of antioxidants, greens, and Omega-3’s with Zuke’s Superfood Organic Dog Biscuits! Available in 3 nutrient-dense varieties, Zuke’s offers your pet the following tasty, healthy options: Mean Greenz™, Health Nutz™, and Very Berryz™. The entire line of all-natural, healthy treats are made in the USA and do not contain fillers, additives, corn, soy or wheat.

Very Berryz™: exploding with the free-radical scavenging powers of antioxidant-rich buleberries, cranberries and raspberries.

Mean Greenz™: a mighty mix of healthy, vitamin-packed greens like spinach, green beans and broccoli. Gives dogs all the benefits of a balanced, whole-food diet … easier than getting your kids to eat their veggies.

Health Nutz™: loaded with protein-packed peanuts to support strong muscles and omega-3-rich almonds to support strong joints and a healthy coat.

Now, “Mom” did not actually put these nutritious treats to the taste test herself, but her cocker spaniel adores the Health Nutz™ variety, which is packed with peanuts and Omega-3 rich almonds.

In addition, each package of Zuke’s Superfood Organic Dog Biscuits are packaged in 100% recycled paperboard and are manufactured by 100% wind energy. For more information about Zuke’s entire line of pet products, visit www.zukes.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Going Green With Your Pet

The world is becoming a much greener place these days! And as we make more eco-friendly choices in our lives, we can absolutely extend these to involve our pet’s daily care. There are various ways in which we can reduce how the environment negatively affects our pet, and additionally how our pet can affect the environment.

5 Areas To Help Your Pet Go Green

Diet

• Organic Diets – Owners are increasingly feeding their pets, as well as themselves, with organic food, especially after the recalls of contaminated pet food recalls of recent years. FDA-approved organic pet foods are available that meet rigid standards to be certified in this way. In addition to being nutritionally balanced, these give peace of mind that your pet’s food is free of artificial ingredients, chemicals and genetically-modified compounds.

• Home-Made Diets – Some owners even take the extra step and feed their pet a home-made diet. While this can also help you rest assured that you know exactly what your pet is eating, it is important to ensure that you provide a completely balanced diet in order to prevent nutritional deficiencies. It is therefore always wise to seek veterinary assistance before implementing this – ideally from a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition.

Treatments

Some owners avoid using harsh chemicals on their pets wherever possible. Flea prevention is a good example of an area where more natural methods are being increasingly used. Remember that much of the flea’s life cycle is spent away from your pet, so in addition to treating him, his home environment must be treated too.

• Environmental Control
• Wash bedding
• Vacuum regularly
• Natural products sometimes used to help combat fleas: Borate crystals sprinkled on the carpet or Cedar wood chips sprinkled around his bed.

Treating Your Pet

• Some home-made spray remedies that have been used
• Apple-cider vinegar
• Lemon steeped in water
• Essential oils are also favored by some owners:

Peppermint
Lavender
Cedar wood extract

It is, however, prudent to remember that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “completely safe” – even some natural products can be potentially toxic if used to excess. So follow product administration guidelines carefully, and avoid using excessively.

Sustainable Products

• Bedding – Try a pet bed made from organic cotton
• Toys – Many are now being made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers
• Leash and collar – Opt for a combination made from hemp!

Waste

• Poop-scooping after our dogs is a simple way to help the environment. Going one step further and poop-scooping with biodegradable bags is even better – the waste material and the bag can decompose, therefore reducing problems associated with landfill waste accumulation.
• For cats, there are many varieties of organic or biodegradable litter available now, and these are much more earth-friendly than the regular clay-based form of litter.

Population Control

There are some very easy ways for you to further reduce the effect of our pets on the environment – by making conscious choices that help to control the pet population.

• Adopt your new pet from an animal shelter
• Spay or neuter your new pet

Organic, natural and green practices related to pet care are being practiced more and more these days. While we attempt to reduce the size of our carbon footprint on the planet, it’s also essential to remember that our four-legged friends leave their pawprints too! Thankfully there are numerous ways that we can help with this, and even seemingly small changes can make big differences over time to both our pets and the environment.

About the Author

Dr. Susan Wright, DVM is the author of numerous dog care articles and is the lead expert at Dog Fence DIY the dog containment system experts. Susan has over ten years of experience in veterinary practise and is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America.

*Image courtesy of Mey Lau*

How to Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Paw-Print

You wouldn’t think that a dog or cat could contribute that much to the degradation of the environment, but you might be surprised how much waste and pollution is associated with owning a pet. Certainly they don’t harm the environment to the same degree that humans do, but they eat processed foods (with manufactured packaging), they require heat and air conditioning, and even electric a Petsafe wireless fence in some cases. And then there is the huge number of plastic bags used every year for the disposal of pet waste. So if you’re looking to reduce your pet’s carbon paw-print as you find ways to embrace a greener lifestyle, here are some ways to do it.

The easiest place to start is with food. Most pet food is not actually that good for your pet to begin with. The main ingredient in the majority of dry kibble is corn, which is a filler that is largely devoid of nutritional value to your animal. And since there is as yet no approved organic pet food on the market, you’re better off skipping the manufactured foods and opting to make your own. Your vet can advise you as to what needs to be included in your pet’s diet; it will vary by animal, but it generally includes cooked meats and whole grains mixed with fruits and vegetables. You’ll probably have to give a daily vitamin, as well, to ensure that they’re receiving all the proper nutrients. The only problem here is dental care, since soft foods will become lodged in your pet’s teeth and lead to faster decay.

Another interesting idea is to compost your pet’s waste. This comes with an urgent disclaimer, though: you CANNOT, under any circumstances, use it in your garden! Domesticated animal waste is toxic to humans, so you should keep it far, far away from your fruit, veggies, and other edible plants. However, it’s not so bad if it seeps into the soil near your flower beds. You can safely compost by the following method: dig a hole in the ground that is large enough to place a plastic garbage bin in. Drill several holes in the side of the bin and put it in the ground, then place rocks or gravel in the bottom for drainage. Keep it covered at all times with the lid (it should be slightly above ground level). Place dog, cat, or other waste inside and add some water and septic starter (found at hardware stores). The waste will begin to break down and seep into the soil, greatly reducing not only the amount of waste in the trash, but also the number of plastic bags. You may also be able to train cats to use the toilet.

You can also reduce water waste by using a foaming, waterless shampoo (generally made from natural oils that are non-toxic to your pet), buy eco-friendly pet toys (like hemp rope, toys made from recycled plastic, and balls composed of non-toxic materials), and use ceramic food bowls instead of plastic ones (which may contain harmful BPAs and are almost certainly manufactured in a high-waste, high-pollution facility). In short, there are dozens of ways to reduce your pet’s carbon paw-print, and most of them will also improve the health of your best friend.