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You all have already met Humphrey.


But before Humphrey, we had this sweet old lady...

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We lost them about a year a part from each other and planned to allow some time before getting a new dog.  And in that time all I could think was, "How do people have children without dogs?!" They do so much of the preliminary clean up that I was astounded! I would take little finger-food eating Fiona out of the highchair and then I had to pick up all that food off the floor and the seat of the highchair?! What an outrage! Because of sheer laziness on my part, and serendipitous timing on Humphrey's, we ended up with another dog sooner that we had originally planned.

But, that leads to the question, "Just what is my dog licking up?" Thinking back on life with my old dogs and the toxic cleaners I used to clean the floors, high chairs, and every other surface in my house, I can only cringe at the amount of residual toxic chemicals they were licking up along with macaroni and cheese that got tossed over the tray. Research has shown us over and over again, that once chemicals have done their job, they don't just disappear. Even though it is now an afterthought, I am so glad that I am not exposing Humphrey to those same toxins.

Per VetInfo.com

Cleaning supplies can be toxic to your dog. Common products such as bleach, detergent and disinfectants can cause dogs gastrointestinal and respiratory irritation.

Read more: Cleaning Supplies That Can Poison Your Dog

But, it's not just chemical residue that we have to worry about. I also have these guys. Now, we are not cat-people and these are our very first cats.  But we happily became cat-people when we were even less mouse-people  We adopted this brother and sister from an alley littler. This is Po-Po:

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Po-Po, as you can see in the picture, is extremely fond of the children. He is sweet and gentle INSIDE. Outside, he becomes crazy ninja-kitty who has fought off 75 lb dogs. I know it is healthier to keep cats inside, but as I said, they are alley cats and he could not be contained. It does however freak me out when he wants to come in because I'll walk by the back door and see this. Makes me jump out of my skin every time.

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He doesn't kill songbirds (I would not allow that) but brings me a fair number of mice and squirrels.Now before you get all sympathetic toward the squirrels, let me explain that we don't have normal squirrels. These are street thug squirrels. Like, if when my kids walked out the front door to go to school and a squirrel pulled a gun on them and demanded their lunchboxes, I would not even think, "Wow. That's weird." When I opened up the back door to scare off a squirrel who was eating a discarded apple core from my daughter, he just stared at me like, "Hey Lady! I'm trying to eat here." So, I'm good with Po-Po eliminating a few of the hordes of schmucks who take one bite out of a perfectly good tomato and throw it on the ground and eat holes through industrial trash bins.

Then there's Crinkle McSunshine:

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I'm going to be honest and just say that she's creepy. and odd. And she follows me around whining at me, but when I bend down to try to give her attention she runs off. She spends most of her time slinking around the ancient basement. Which is fine. That's where the mice are were.

The reason I'm bringing up my cats is that cats are extremely susceptible to respiratory issues. And just like with people, VOCs can be very harmful to them, as well as birds and small rodents. Especially, when VOC containing cleaning products are used to clean out cages and litter boxes. Not to mention all the self-cleaning (aka licking) that these animals do. When you spray that glass cleaner in the room your bird is in, some of that spray lands on his feathers. And the feathers go into the mouth. Ditto bunnies, cats, etc.

I never really thought about the health effects that the conventional cleaners were having on my pets, other than the fish in our fish tank. But, our pets are just as vulnerable, and in some cases more so, to the toxins in our homes. I take the responsibility of pet ownership very seriously, and I'd also  like to avoid high vet bills from chronic conditions caused by the chemicals we humans use.  The Environmental Working Group did some research on our household pets and found

Dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people, according to our study of plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 37 cats collected at a Virginia veterinary clinic.

Among the major chemicals groups found contaminating our pets were phthalates which pose risks for reproductive damage, birth defects, and cancer. Phthalates hide in many cleaners, even "green" cleaners, as synthetic fragrance.  You guys know how much I love this chart. (Not only do I love this chart, I am proud of this chart.)

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Take a look at the row for synthetic fragrance. Look at the row for VOCs. Look at the other chemicals and which "green" cleaners contain them.

Exactly.

Love your pets. Keep them healthy. Keep them safe.

UPDATE:

I'm having a major Monday. So, LET'S GIVEAWAY A STARTER KIT! Make me smile by posting a picture to our Facebook page of your pet that you're keeping healthy using Better Life! I'll pick a winner tomorrow at 10pm CST.

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