Category Archives: cleaning

Household Cleaners That Aren’t Pet Friendly


By Linda Cole

Some days, it’s a constant battle trying to keep up with muddy footprints, nose smudges or footprints on the windows, and pet hair on our furniture. However, the household cleaners we use may impact the health of our pets. If you follow the instructions on containers, most pets can tolerate them. Pets with upper respiratory conditions, allergies or those sensitive to a product can have problems though, because many traditional household cleaners are not pet friendly.

I have a cat who loves to slide on a freshly mopped floor. He runs as hard as he can, hits the floor and slides across to the other side of the room. Kids! But he has a sensitivity to certain cleaners, so I have to make sure what he’s sliding on is pet friendly.

Pine oil products. Any household cleaner containing phenol is not pet friendly. Phenol is found in pine oil products, and cats are especially sensitive to it. Phenol has been linked to liver damage. You will also find phenol in some air fresheners, so be sure to read all labels carefully and keep pets away from these products. They pick up cleaner on their paws when they walk over a wet floor or freshly dusted coffee table. When they lick their paws, some of the cleaner is ingested. Keep pets away from wet floors or tables.

Ammonia. Household cleaners with ammonia are not a good choice if you own pets. Spot removal cleaners want you to think they’re pet friendly, but in reality, ammonia draws pets to a spot faster than a bee to honey. Using ammonia to mop your floor or clean a spot on the carpet actually encourages your pet to go where they smell the ammonia. Avoid ammonia to clean up a pet stains. It acts like a flashing red sign that says, “Go Here.”

Dishwasher detergents. Residue on dishes will build up over time. Most of them use a highly concentrated form of chlorine which can become toxic over time. All dishwasher detergents are harmful if swallowed.

Laundry detergents work using enzymes, phosphorus and phenol, as well as other ingredients. Some residue is left on what was washed. Pets can be sensitive to certain kinds of detergents just like some people are.

Oven cleaner is not pet friendly. This household cleaner is probably one of the most toxic products we use in the home. It contains lye and ammonia which produce fumes that can linger in the air.

Toilet bowl cleaners contain hydrochloric acid, and many have bleach in them. Solid tablets placed on the inside of toilets designed to clean with each flush, or anything that’s dropped into the tank can be harmful to pets who drink out of the toilet. Do not allow a pet to drink water from the toilet bowl if you use any product like this.

Furniture polish contains petroleum distillates (a concentration of vapors through a distillation process) making this product highly flammable. They also contain nitrobenzene which is quite toxic.

Carpet fresheners or cleaners, bleach, drain cleaners, liquid potpourri and window cleaners all contain toxic chemicals that are not pet friendly. Many cleaners can cause pets gastrointestinal problems and irritations to their respiratory tract.

So what’s a responsible pet owner supposed to do when they want to clean their house? Thankfully, there are some commercial and natural household cleaners that are pet friendly. These “green” products typically use vegetable-based cleaning agents that are safe for pets and people. You can find all purpose cleaners, detergents, toilet bowl cleaners and floor cleaners, to name just a few.

Baking soda can be used to scrub your tub and sink, or mop your floor. Sprinkle some into the carpet to freshen it. Use it to clean out the litter pan and sprinkle into the litter in between changes as a deodorizer.

Borax can be added to your regular laundry detergent to help remove pet odors from bedding and clothes. You can also use it as a tub cleaner, or sprinkle some into carpets to help control fleas. Rub it in with a broom and then vacuum; it acts like tiny knives to a flea population. You will find this in the laundry detergent aisle.

White vinegar works great as a deodorizer and degreaser, and helps remove stains. I mix half vinegar, half water and use it to clean up pet “accidents” (although I’m pretty sure some were on purpose). Vinegar also works great on windows and floors, in the kitchen and in the bathroom.

For more information on how to help your four-legged friend stay safe, read Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy.

Photo courtesy of Claudio Matsuoka.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How to Remove Pet Odors in Your Home


By Suzanne Alicie

We all love our pets, we love the joy they bring us, the entertainment and companionship they provide, and just the fact that they are part of our lives. However, we don’t always love the smells they bring into our homes. Litter boxes, wet dog smells and pet “accidents” all contribute to the pet odors in our homes.

When it comes to removing pet odors we have hundreds of options. There are sprays and cleansers, candles, oils and many other options to cover up pet odors. The problem is that many of these products aren’t healthy for our pets. This leaves us, as responsible pet owners, searching for safe non toxic and natural pet odor removal methods.

The search is over. There are three basic items that you probably have in your home that will take care of all your pet odor problems. Not only will these three products remove the odors, they are all natural and completely safe for your pets and children.

These mystical, magical, all natural products that remove pet odors are baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. You thought I was going to give you a list of some products you’d never heard of, right? Nope. These three simple products can be used in many ways, alone and together, to remove pet smells from your home.

Vinegar

Vinegar neutralizes odors. Spray your pet’s bedding and your pet himself with basic household vinegar to remove the musky dog smell from your home. Vinegar is also a great rinse after you bathe your dog to keep him from smelling like wet fur. Place a small bowl of vinegar near the litter box to clear the air. While vinegar has a strong smell initially, it dissipates quickly leaving a fresh clean scent. You can use vinegar to clean up accidents on floors and carpeting. Vinegar will clean up pet stains and odors quickly and easily.

Baking Soda

Baking soda absorbs odors. You can sprinkle it on carpets, add it to the litter box and sprinkle it on pet bedding and into your pet’s fur. To remove pet odors overnight, simply sprinkle baking soda around pet areas and on your carpet before bed. When you get up in the morning vacuum up the baking soda and revel in the fresh smell of your home.

Lemon Juice

All natural lemon juice eliminates pet odors in the air and leaves behind a fresh citrusy scent. Place a small bowl of lemon juice near areas where your pet tends to leave smells. If you have a puppy that is being crate or paper trained, a bowl of lemon juice will help with the odor. Of course you don’t want to leave bowls of vinegar or lemon juice where your pet might drink it; place them in higher areas where the air will circulate and be freshened.

See? All natural and non toxic pet odor removal doesn’t require a trip to the pet supply store, or bottles of expensive sprays. You just need to know what the products you already have in your home can do to eliminate and prevent pet odors.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Cleaning Your Pet’s Dishes and Food Storage Containers

It is important for your pet’s health that you keep their food and water dishes clean. You should also periodically clean the container that their food is kept in. Food and water dishes should be cleaned daily and the water should be fresh every day to promote adequate water consumption. If something fouls your pet’s water they are less likely to drink water. While a pet can go several weeks without food, they will die after a few days without proper water intake. The food dishes can harbor fat particles that in time can become rancid if the dishes are not cleaned regularly.
While you or I may not be able to smell anything funny in their dishes, your pet will and may refuse to eat if their dishes aren’t clean enough for them. I wash my pets’ dishes everyday as well a making sure that they have clean water every day. I wash my pet food storage container once a week. I use stainless steel dishes, which are pretty easy to keep clean; but how do you clean some of the other surfaces like ceramic or plastic?
On ceramic dishes you can use a sponge with a scrubber side, but I would not recommend it for your plastic dishes, as the scrubbers on some of those sponges are strong enough to leave grooves in some plastic dishes, which in turn can harbor bacteria. So for the plastic, just use a regular sponge and elbow grease to get the dishes squeaky clean. Use a detergent that will take grease off dishes and make sure to check the dishes with your fingers after scrubbing. You would be amazed what you can find with your fingers, especially if you have a dish that is a color that hides dirt or grime.
You can probably wash some of your dishes in the dishwasher, but if you are using a plastic bowl with a weighted bottom, the heat and water in the dishwasher might soften the glue and make the bottom of the dish fall out of the base. I would check with your pet shop to make sure the bowls you are purchasing are dishwasher safe; if that is the way you choose to go. I like washing dishes the old-fashioned way, because I can feel any grease or grunge left on the dishes, even if I can’t see it.
As to washing the storage container, using a good sponge and elbow grease is my best advice. Here again you want to use a de-greasing detergent to get any old fat off the container’s sides, if you are just dumping the food from the bag directly into the storage container. After cleaning and rinsing, air dry if possible. If that isn’t an option, get an old towel and make sure that you dry your container (including the lid) thoroughly before you put the pet food back in.
If my container still has a bit of odor in it after I clean it, I use a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with about a cup of water and wipe the sides and top of the container with this mix. Then I rinse it very well and let it sit for a few hours to dry it out. Something I have been doing recently is leaving the food in the bags they came in and put them in the container.
I started doing this a while ago after a friend ended up with a storage container full of grain beetles (due to not cleaning regularly enough). Grain beetles will not hurt your pets, they are protein after all; but they will eat the food and lay eggs and you can end up with an infestation in your kitchen cabinets if you aren’t careful. I still completely wash the container after the food has been fed and the bag is discarded. There can still be fat in the container from food spillage or from handling that you may not be able to see.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Spring Cleaning Your Dog Run

It is almost that time of year again when we all venture outside for the next several months. This weekend in Minnesota we had a thaw, and Skye and I got to go outside and play ball. There is no grass growing yet in Skye’s dog yard though there is old grass from last year, which is about a quarter of an acre. 
While we were playing ball, I got an unpleasant surprise. The snow may have begun to thaw, but the ground has not. So we have frozen ground, with a layer of ice on it in places and standing water on top of that. While Skye does not go potty all over her yard, as she picks the fence perimeter in a few spots, it was still not a very nice sight especially after racing through it while chasing her ball.
I have been picking up dog poop and putting it in a compost bin over the winter, because I can’t use our doggie septic tank. So now I have liquefying dog poop around the yard where it had frozen to the ground before I could get to it. I’m sorry but I’m only human and I refuse to go out at 1:00am in a Minnesota winter if Skye wants to go out; to pick up poop in my nightie, especially when it is 20 degree
s below zero F. There isn’t any smell to speak of yet because it is now mixed with water and draining away, but it made me wonder what the regular dog owner does. What does someone with multiple dogs do? So I thought I would share some of the tools that I use when cleaning my dog yard.

In one of my recent articles I mentioned Odormute™ and how good it is to use on skunk odor. Well that isn’t the only thing it works on. I have used it since the mid 1970’s when I first discovered it; on cat litter boxes when they need to be cleaned, on cement floors that smell musty, to clean garbage cans and in my dog’s yard as well as anywhere else I needed a good deodorizer. It is non-toxic and non-caustic and is made of natural enzymes and salts. You can make three different strengths depending on the strength of the odor you are dealing with. It will not harm plants, pets or humans, and that is why I like it so much. I mix up a bucketful and spread it
 around the dog yard to deal with the odor issue. Odormute™ is now marketed by Hueter Toledo as well as the other product Ryter made called Lim’nate™.

Lim’nate™ is a sanitary digester for using in a doggie septic tank, which you can either make yourself or buy at a pet shop. In the spring after the temperature rises above about 40 degrees F, you put water in the bottom of your doggie septic tank, add Lim’nate™ and add your dog’s poop, and put the lid back on. The Lim’nate™ does the rest, digesting the poop you put in, and there’s no smell because it is underground. Depending on the weather conditions, all you have to do is add more poop, water and Lim’nate™ from time to time. The only thing about Lim’nate™ is that the digesting enzymes don’t work under about 32 degrees F. Other than that it keeps your yard odor free, which is a plus when you are dining al fresco or having a garden party.
All dog owners know how to scoop poop and dispose of it, but with these tools on hand it can make your job easier and you and your pets can celebrate a nicer smelling summer.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.