Keeping Toxins Out Of Our Dog's Lives

Keeping Toxins Out of Our Dog’s Lives

Did you know that both May and November are designated as Pet Cancer Awareness Month? This is likely a result of two different organizations creating their own month to raise awareness of this important topic. But quite honestly, with pet cancer affecting 1 in 4 pets, and 50% of pets over the age of 10, we think that this important topic certainly justifies two separate months of awareness.  In this blog post we will share how something as simple as choosing eco-friendly toys and treats is good for the planet as well as reducing your dog’s exposure to cancer causing chemicals. 

Eco-friendly Pet Foods and Treats 

The Melamine Food Recall of 2007 was the catalyst for a dramatic change in the way pet owners shopped for food. Prior to the recalls, most pet owners trusted the big box retailers and major pet food companies. Not as many owners reviewed food labels or performed their own research when choosing products for their cats and dogs. 

However, after several mainstream brands of pet foods were recalled because they were contaminated with melamine, pet owners began to carefully research the foods that they were feeding. In addition to researching the ingredients in their pet’s food, they researched the manufacturing process, the source of the ingredients, and whether the companies had a history of recalls. 

Since then, the organic and natural pet food category of the pet industry has grown substantially. There are far more options for pet owners who insist on foods made with organic, safely sourced ingredients. This is a good thing for both the planet and our pets. However, not all pet food and treat manufacturers have changed their formulas. 

Many mainstream brands of pet foods and treats still include chemicals and toxins. Earth 911 has written that pets encounter a variety of toxic substances in mainstream pet foods and treats, including, “chemical additives and preservatives, rendered animal by-products, growth hormones, antibiotic-fed protein, dyes, and allergens on a daily basis.”

The recipes of many mainstream pet foods rely heavily on beef, wheat, and corn. These ingredients can be tough on our natural resources. Beef requires substantial amounts of water, feed, and land to raise. Both corn and wheat require a large amount of chemicals like herbicides and fertilizers to grow in commercial quantities. 

Pet food manufacturers in the organic and natural food category have identified novel proteins that have both health benefits for pets and can be raised more sustainably than the mainstream ingredients. In fact, according to Pet Industry Magazine, “Originally, novel proteins mostly served as tools to help veterinarians and pet owners find foods that would not trigger allergic reactions in dogs, cats and other pets. Now, novel proteins also provide a means for pet food manufacturers to meet consumer demands for sustainable products with nutritional benefits. The growing range of novel pet food proteins now includes everything from bugs to bison.”

You can see these ingredients in pet treats as well as in pet food. If you browse through our selection of treats, you see ingredients like crickets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and flaxseed, all of which are very sustainable and easy on our environment. 

Safely Made All-Natural Pet Toys 

Two years after the melamine pet food recalls in 2007, an organization called the Ecology Center in Michigan tested pet toys in 2009. They tested 400 pet toys and found that, “45 percent had detectable levels of one or more hazardous toxins, including arsenic, chlorine and bromine.” These chemicals are linked to multiple health issues including cancer. 

Lacking thumbs, pets play with their toys with their mouths. Whether they are fetching the toy, chewing the toy, playing tug with the toy, or just carrying it around the house, the toy and those carcinogens are directly in the pet’s mouth. 

The most iconic of all dog toys, the tennis ball, was the worst offender of all. The Ecology Center’s tests revealed, “Of the tennis balls tested, 48 percent contained detectable levels of lead. Researchers discovered that tennis balls made specifically for pets were more likely to contain lead than “sports” tennis balls. The lettering on one “pet” tennis ball, for example, contained 2,696 ppm of lead and 262 ppm of arsenic, a known human carcinogen.”

Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-conscious manufacturers of safe pet toys that you can purchase to avoid giving a toxic toy to your pet. Just like with food and treats, the eco-friendly options are good for your pets and the planet. 

Consider the Himalayan Loom Dino and Himalayan Loom Whale that we featured in a recent blog. The fabric is from the eco-friendly nettle plant, dyed with all-natural dyes from teas, berries, and minerals. The Beco Natural Rubber Hoop is made from the trunk of rubber trees instead of from a chemically laden synthetic material. The Naturals Jute Puzzle Rope is made from jute, a natural fiber, rather than a synthetic material like nylon like so many rope toys for dogs. These options are proof that pet toys do not need to be created from toxic, artificial materials to please our cats and dogs. 

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