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Monday, March 31, 2014

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Teaching Your Kids to Craft Eco-friendly Pet Toys


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It seems like the prices of pet toys goes up by leaps and bounds every time a pet owner walks into the pet supply store. The prices are even higher for pet toys that are eco-friendly. It makes no sense that pet owners who want to give their dogs and cats toys that won’t harm the environment must pay ridiculous prices for them. On the average, pet owners pay around six hundred dollars every year to keep their precious pups or cute cats supplied with a variety of pet toys. In this economy, people are finding it hard to continue to buy new pet toys. Fortunately, you can make your own pet toys with your kids using things found in nature or items that are lying around the house.

By teaching your kids to craft eco-friendly pet toys, you are also teaching them ways to recycle old items and still put them to good use. It’s also a great way to spend time together as a family and encourage your kids to be creative. Making your own eco-friendly pet toys is fun for the whole family and once the toys are completed, they’ll be fun for the pets too!

The Eco-friendly Tug Toy
You’ll need the following items to make the eco-friendly tug toy:

  • Old but durable fabric
  • Eco-friendly fabric paint
  • Natural hair paintbrushes
  • Newspapers

How to make the tug toy:
Spread a thick layer of newspaper on the space where you and your children will be working. This will help to protect the surface from paint.

  • Lay the fabric out flat, and cut three six inch wide and eighteen inch long strips. Save the remaining fabric for other pet toy projects.
  • Paint different things on the fabric strips however; you must be sure that the fabric paint is non-toxic and eco-friendly. This can be found at most craft supply stores. A lot of pet owners paint things like dog bones on the fabric, but any design that pleases you will work. You can paint hearts on it for Valentine’s Day, bunnies or eggs for Easter, or even the name of your favorite team for football season. The options are plentiful so be as creative as you’d like!
  • Let the paint dry completely and flip the fabric over. Now, you and the kids can paint this side with more designs. Be sure to let this side dry thoroughly as well.
  • Tie tight knots at the ends of each strip of fabric. Double knots tend to hold up best.
  • Tie two of the fabric strips in the space between the end knots of the third strip and Voila! You and the kids have created your own eco-friendly pet toy for your pooch!

Now that you’ve created a great new toy for your dog, it’s time to test it out. Bring your precious, eco-friendly pooch outside and toss that tug toy! Of course, don’t do this unless your backyard is secured with a traditional fence, electric dog fence or wireless dog fence. Safety should always come first, when it comes time for playing with your dog.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Olive – a one-stop shop for eco-friendly dogs and cats


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Truth be told, we love Olive. Olive is an online store that provides safe and environmentally friendly goods for both dogs and cats. It first opened in January 2008, and has since been supplying pet owners with top-quality, (often handcrafted) products that are durable and stylish. Olive is located outside of Austin, Texas, and is a proud member of the Organic Trade Association and Green America.

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Olive has just about everything you could ever need for your little pets — from bedding, grooming, flea & tick treatments and collars — to stylish outerwear, accessories, food, toys and training supplies. When it comes to their selection of pet food, they guarantee to provide fresh food with the longest possible expiry, and vow that all products are both toxin and chemical-free. Also, all orders are shipped in low-impact packaging – using recycled boxes and biodegradable packing materials. (more…)

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Aquasprouts: all-in-one sustainable garden and filterless aquarium


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If you’re like me and you love aquarium fish as well as potted plants in your home then you’ll definitely be interested in Aquasprouts. This is a neat gift idea as well as something unique to decorate your home. The aquarium is an educational aquaponic system, sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Austin, Texas-based and made in the USA, Aquasprouts combines both fish and plants into one compact, fun unit.

The aquarium is a closed loop system so that the device is sustainable and efficient for buyers. They are also self-cleaning, self-fertilizing, support fish and also grows plants in a symbiotic relationship. I was amazed that the aquariums are filterless so you don’t have to worry about messy cleanup. The system enables you to grow basil, mint, or other herbs allowing you to always have produce at hand. It can also be implemented in classrooms or for children as a learning experience about ecosystems, earth cycles, aquaculture, and gardening.

The systems are a little pricey and there are only two options of 5.5 gallons and 10 gallons at $250 and $280. However, this includes everything you need and you’ll never have to change the filter or clean it again and you will always have food growing which also saves you a lot of money. I suggest you check out this interesting product and the video under their “About Us” section for yourself at: www.aquasprouts.com

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Deciphering Dog Food Labels – An Owner’s Guide


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When it comes to dog food, the choice is almost baffling. Even when you’ve come to a decision about whether to feed your dog canned or dried food, deciding upon a brand is a tricky. What do the words and phrases on labels actually mean about the food, and how can owners get to the truth? Here are some tips to help you along.

Regulation
Pet food labelling is regulated by the FDA, a government body that establishes standards and ensures that certain information is correctly presented. All store-bought dog food should adhere to these rules so read over them to find out what’s guaranteed. The AAFCO, Association of American Feed Control Officials, are another official body. Their regulations are adhered to in a number of US states but not all. If your state complies to AAFCO regulations then it’s worth reading up on what they are.

Natural and Organic
Some owners may confuse the word ‘natural’ as meaning that the food is in some way superior in terms of the quality of ingredients. There is no official rule for when the word ‘natural’ can be used, although the AAFCO have gone some way to defining it. As a rule of thumb it means that there are no artificial colours, flavours and preservatives but it is always worth checking the ingredients to be sure.

Surprisingly, the FDA also states that ‘there are no official rules governing the labelling on organic foods for pets at this time.’  Again, ingredients lists should indicate which plant sources are actually organic, if any.

Gourmet and Premium
When it comes to deciphering words like gourmet and premium, it’s good practice to consult the ingredients list. The FDA website states that products labelled as gourmet and premium are ‘not required to contain any different or higher quality ingredients.’ (FDA.gov September 2013). This comes as a surprise to many dog owners, who assume that higher price means better quality. Some ways to determine actual quality are to look at meat percentages versus the percentage of ‘fillers’ such as corn. A higher meat percentage is recommended by many vets as being healthier for your dog.

As a rule of thumb, the back of a packet will give you more accurate information that the front. Consider the ingredients and breakdowns of nutritional information over the marketing spin.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Melaleuca: The Wellness Company


Welcome our new intern and contributor Hannah Hackbart. Hannah is an environmental studies major at UCSB.

Melaleuca is a company committed to environmental health. From production to packaging to distribution, every step of this business’s products are constructed in an environmentally friendly way. Products range from beauty care to cleaning supplies to pet products to even dental care and laundry supplies. Many of these things in modern society, especially cleaning supplies, have been known to be the antithesis of sustainability, with bleach and other toxins being sprayed into the air and flushed down the drain during a typical cleaning session. However, what makes Melaleuca so special is that every product is safe to use for cleaning and personal wellbeing, promoting environmental and personal health without the use of harmful chemicals and toxins.

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Another perk of the Melaleuca company is that the packaging of products is very minimal. The products come in super concentrated quantities, sometimes as high as 6x concentrated. This allows for much smaller containers to be used to store and transport goods, requiring less energy and resources to do so. Once received at home, the user simply has to dilute the concentration with water and begin use as normal. In comparing the amount of plastic used with standard laundry detergent bottles for a year with the concentrated ones, Melaleuca claims that over 600,000 laundry baskets could be constructed with the wasted plastic from the non-concentrated bottles. That is a pretty astounding number. Imagine if all products were concentrated like that; plastic waste would literally be cut by 80 percent.

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To purchase these products for your home, Melaleuca suggests that buyers become a preferred customer by signing up for a small, one time fee. Becoming a preferred customer allows people to receive orders every month that can be tailored to suit their individual needs. This ensures that you will never run out of your new favorite vitamins or cleaning supplies. Becoming a member also gives people the opportunity to make money through Melaleuca. If a customer promotes the company to a friend who ends up purchasing supplies, they will get a share of the profits made from the company. Sounds too good to be true right?

 

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Organic Dog Treats from Wet Noses


wetnoses dog treats
Walking through the local grocery store at the pet section, I notice that a variety of the dog treats are either full of preservatives (making them have long storage dates) or loaded with carbohydrates from processed wheat and corn (filler mainly). Many dog owners nowadays are looking into organic alternatives for their four legged companions.

dog with treat on noseWet Noses, an organic dog treat company, headquarters located in Monroe, Washington, makes a variety of natural flavored cookies that are sure to satisfy your dog’s palette. There’s a wide array of nutritious and delicious sounding flavors ranging from sweet potato to apples and carrots, as well as peanut butter and molasses. Choose from bite size brownies, birthday cupcakes, nibbles, cookies, stars training treats and lots more. Looking at the company website, customers can view the dietary benefits, ingredient lists, and local vendors throughout the United States. (more…)

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