Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Earth Friendly Non-toxic Cleaning Products for Homes with Pets

My journey to a more eco-friendly lifestyle started by eliminating commercial, chemical-filled cleaners and making my own cleaners. Not only were homemade cleaners cheaper and better for the environment, they were also safer to use around my children and pets. However, over the last few years, I went back to work full-time, and my kids are busier than ever, so finding time to make all my own cleaners is sometimes difficult. Not to mention, I live in a rural area which requires me to order many of my ingredients through All these things have led me to look into eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products that I can buy and have on hand for when life gets a little too busy. 
When looking for eco-friendly products, I have noticed a lot of misleading information on labels. For example, some products claim to be Earth friendly, but are made plant derived materials, which means harsh man made chemicals may be mixed in with the plant base. Then there are the plastic bottles and labels that are used, some of those are harmful to the environment, if not disposed of properly. Finally, there are the ones that have natural ingredients, but are not specific as to what those natural ingredients are, and contain 99% other ingredients. 
Fortunately, more and more smaller eco-friendly companies are emerging and finally giving us products we can fully rely on. If you are looking for already made eco-friendly non-toxic cleaning solutions to use around your pets, start looking local. Try your local farm markets or indoor flea market/craft fairs. Many times you will get products with clear labels, refillable or reusable bottles, and a real person to talk to about the product they are making. If you do not have places like this near you, the next best thing might be Etsy.  
I recently tried Karmalades cleaning products that are sold through Etsy. One thing I liked about this company is that they are located in Washington, D.C. and I know the products did not have to travel far to get to me. The product I tried was the all purpose lemon lavender spray. It came in a reusable and recyclable glass bottle with a clear label of all the ingredients used. I loved the small bottle because I could leave it in my bathroom for quick, daily, touch up cleaning of the sink, faucet and mirror. The smell was nice but not overwhelming and I knew my pets would be safe if they licked an area I cleaned. The Karmalade company is definitely a good place to start if you want pre-made eco-friendly non-toxic cleaning products. Even if you want to make some of your own cleaners, the all-purpose sprays they sell are great to keep for when you run out of time or materials to make your own products. 

If you know of other great eco-friendly non-toxic cleaners, please leave a comment below for other readers!!!

If you do have the time to make your some of your own cleaners, check out my ebook, Cleaning for a Cause. The book is filled with cleaning recipes and many of the recipes are also available on my Hubpages page.  (Proceeds from the book are donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand and other cancer prevention organizations). 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First Aid For Pets

First Aid for
April is Pet Health and Pet First Aid Awareness Month, so here are some great tips and links to help you keep you pet healthy!

1. For minor cuts, bumps, and insect bites, a simple pet first aid kit is all you need to help your pet. It is a good idea to create a two pet first aid kits and keep one in your home and one in your car. Here is a basic list of what your kit should include. (Check out for other suggested first aid items for your pet).
  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Self-cling bandage
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder, or spray
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution 
  • Tweezers
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet's size.
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Expired credit card to scrape away insect stingers
  • Corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
  • Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
  • Penlight or flashlight
  • Rubbing alcohol (to clean/sterilize thermometer or tweezers)
  • Tongue depressors
  • Towels and/or old t-shirts 
Check out the American Veterinary Medical Association website for tips on how to administer basic first aid to your pet and how to handle pet emergencies.

2. To keep your pet safe and protected at all times, ID your pet. From micro-chipping, to personalized tags and collars, identification for your pet is crucial to keeping them safe. Be sure to keep a current picture of your dog on you at all times as well. If you have a smartphone, you can save a picture of your pet next to your veterinarian's contact information in your phone.

3. In addition to regular vet check ups and shots, take daily steps to protect your pet from fleas and ticks. Both fleas and ticks can cause long term health threats to your dog, so it is important to protect your pet all year long. For all natural ways to deal with fleas and ticks, check out the Pupcycled Recipes link.

It is a good idea to brush and pet your dog every day to keep on top of their health and detect any issues as early as possible. Although the Internet offers a wealth of information, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian whenever you notice something unusual on your pet, or notice a drastic change in your pet's behavior, eating habits, or sleep patterns.

Friday, April 18, 2014

7 Super Dog Toys for Active Dogs

If you are looking for unique dog toys for your active dog, consider ordering from! Not only do they offer a wide variety of eco-friendly toys, but EVERY purchase you make, helps a rescue dog in need. All orders come with a code that allows you to see which dog you have helped. Here is my top seven list of super products to try out. The first two I had the opportunity try out firsthand with my three dogs and they loved them!

  1. West Paw BumiThe WestPaw Bumi offers a unique design that my medium-sized Lab/Collie mix loves. He has enjoyed hooking his paw into the curve of one end while chewing on the other. After weeks of playing with this toy, he has only managed to chew off a small bit of it. The good news is that if he does ruin the toy, the pieces can be sent back to West Paw, (Montana based eco-friendly dog toy company), and they will recycle the remaining material into new toys! The Bumi is recyclable, dishwasher safe, and floats!
  2. The Hydro Ring is great for small dogs and puppies. It can absorb water and can even be frozen. This is a great toy for dogs that love water play. 
  3. Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff StrawberryFrom Planet Dog, (another Pupcycled favorite), comes a toy that hides treats. Although I have not tried this particular version, my dogs have a ball that hides treats and absolutely love it. Bartleys offers eggplant and artichoke models for larger dogs and a raspberry one for small breeds.
  4. For dogs that love a toy to snuggle with after a hard day of playing, Bartleys has a nice selection of organic and all natural stuffed dog toys.
  5. Jax & Bones SquirrelIf you dog prefers to play with his stuffed animals, consider the rope squirrel that is made with vegetable dyes. Your pup can have fun and you don't have to worry about him chewing on a chemical filled toy.
  6. Tired of the same old Frisbee? Try the Zisc Frisbee; it comes in various sizes and it's perfect for the park or the lake.
  7. CrinkitIf you have a dog that loves to steal empty water bottles and enjoys the crunch sound, consider the Crinkit water bottle toy. Keep your dog safe while enjoying the water bottle crunch with a toy that is recyclable, washable, and BPA-free.
Finally, while shopping at, don' forget to pick up some of their compostable poop bags that are made of corn-based material and use recycled packaging. So, after a long hard day of play at the park with their super toys, you can clean up after them in a more eco-friendly manner.

Before you fill your shopping cart, enter the Pupcycled gift card giveaway for your chance to win a $35 gift card to It can be used on anything in their online store!!! 
Contest runs from April 22, 2014 (Earth Day) and ends on May 11, 2014 (the last day of National Pet Week). 
All you have to do to be entered in the gift card giveaway is either comment below OR leave a comment on the Facebook Pupcycled page about which Bartley product you think your dog would like. The winner will be announced on the Pupcycled Facebook Page on May 12, be sure to like the page and check the "get notifications" so you don't miss out on all the fun!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Where to Find REAL Eco-friendly Products For Your Dog

Recently, I was shopping at TJ Maxx and they had a lot of cute dog stuff, and some of the tags said Eco-friendly and had a picture of the Earth on it. Once I turned the tag over and started reading the label, it was all synthetic materials, made in China, and the only part that was slightly eco-friendly was the eco-filler/stuffing made from recycled soda bottles. I dug through every dog bed and clothing item they had there, and none of them were my idea of eco-friendly. I did however find a ball made of natural rubber and fair trade certified and many organic and all-natural dog treats, so I did not leave empty handed, but I was a little frustrated with the way things are labeled.
When I look for Earth friendly items, I look at the whole process; I consider where it is produced, with what materials, and how it can be disposed of when finished. I live in a rural area and don't have many pet store options and even though I have found many eco-friendly products online, I try to order from places that are fairly close to me to avoid as much pollution as possible as it travels to me. Here are my top ten companies (in no particular order) for REAL eco-friendly pet products. All of these businesses consider the Earth from start to finish. Some of them do have their products for sale in Petco, on, and at other pet stores, but depending on where you live, it may be best to order directly from their site.

  1. Cycle Dog- Dog collars made from used bicycle tubes as well as other earth-friendly products
  2. West Paw Design-Eco-friendly dog bedding
  3. Olive Green Dog-Earth friendly clothing and accessories
  4. Muttropolis- All natural flea and tick products
  5. Barking It Up-Stainless steel dog tags
  6. Eco-Dogs-All-natural dog food and treats
  7. Better Buddies- Organic cotton and hemp dog beds and mats
  8. Hunt Ridge Ranch- Dog crates, gates, and beds
  9. Blue Ridge Dog Chews- All-natural dog chews and hemp rope toys
  10. Planet Dog- Toys, collars, and leashes

Friday, April 4, 2014

5 Reasons Your Dog Should Sleep in Your Bed

It is one of those things all new dog owners struggle about; should I let my dog sleep in my bed? This is definitely a topic that has dog owners, veterinarians, doctors, and trainers on both sides of the fence. According to various research from pet related businesses to mattress companies, anywhere from 35-55% of dog owners say they do allow their dog to sleep in their bed at night. Those owners that don't sleep with their pets often have strong arguments on why they don't. These can include things from allergies to power struggles, or owners just wanting to not have to sleep in weird positions around a large outstretched dog. However, other owners find sleeping with their dog reduces anxiety, gives them a sense of security and improves their overall relationship with their dog. Although there really seems to be no right or wrong answer to this question, there are a few reasons why allowing your dog to sleep in your bed could be beneficial. Here are five reasons why you should CONSIDER allowing your dog to sleep in your bed (or at least right next to it).

  1. Security- If you are a heavy sleeper or live in a place where burglaries are a problem, a dog offers security at night. If a dog hears a noise or senses a fire or other danger, he will quickly alert the person he is sleeping by. Many people have been saved by house fires and other potential tragedies due to a dog being right by them at night and waking them up in time to escape injury or death.
  2. Bonding- Although it may not be a good idea to let your dog sleep with you until she is properly trained, once trained, sleeping with your dog can improve your bond with her. Bonding at bedtime can help reduce anxiety and restlessness for both the dog owner and the dog.
  3. Routine- Dogs love routine and it doesn't take long at all for their biological clocks to know when it is time to eat, sleep, play, and so on. By allowing your dog to sleep with you, you may likely never need an alarm clock again. (Except for maybe when the time change happens). Dogs are great at signally to you when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to wake up!
  4. Medical Conditions- If you have certain medical conditions, sleeping with a trained dog can be a matter or life or death. Trained service dogs are available for people with Sleep Apnea, Alzheimer's, victims of rape, and many other conditions. These dogs are well trained to keep the person and those around them safe. Service dogs are also available for children with various disabilities and conditions, including seizures and hearing impairment. Both parents and children can sleep soundly knowing that their dog is trained to alert them to medical or other related dangers.
  5.  Reduce Stress and Loneliness- For some people that live alone, having a dog to snuggle with at night truly does make sleeping a lot easier. Even some happily married couples feel less stressed when snuggling with their dog (s) at night. I am one of them. My queen size bed sleeps my husband and I with our two Lab/Collie mixes and even though stretching my legs out completely at night only happens once and a while, I wouldn't change what a good thing we have going. We love our dogs and we love having them with us at night. 
Do you let your dogs sleep in your bed? Why or why not? Comment below or converse with Pupcycled on Facebook!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

13 Odd Places to Find a Sleeping Dog

Even if you buy a dog the best (and most eco-friendly) bed in the world, some dogs just love to find their own unique place to sleep. This week Pupcycled takes a look at thirteen odd places to find a sleeping dog.  Has your dog ever slept in one of these places?

Sleep behind the cushions and no one will ever know you were on the sofa....maybe.
(used by permission from Christine Sterling)

Beware the stairs! They offer a firm foundation for napping.
(used by permission from Joanne Bednall)

Some dogs take the Goldilock's approach and need to try all the beds in the house.
(used by permission from Tracey Shontz)

It doesn't get any more earth-friendly than this!
(used by permission from Phyllis Wise)

Sleep anywhere you want, but make sure your tongue is out!
(used by permission from

Flower pots make great beds, just be sure to dig out the flowers first.
(used by permission from Lynda Sokoloski)

Whenever possible, find clean laundry and snuggle in it!
(Kasey- used  by permission from Erick Seager)

Sadie loves her head rest under the dining room table.
(used by permission from Kerri Hanks)

When sleeping with other dogs, always strike the same pose like Ping and Benson.
(used by permission from Brooke Lee)

Harlow has a thing for sleeping against walls (when the sofa is unavailable).
(used by permission from Christine Sterling)

Is this what they mean by Downward Dog?
(used by permission from Garth Riley)
A warm lap is always a good place to sleep.
(Syd-used by permission from Ben Yokitis)

When in full nap mode, do not leave room for anyone else!
(used by permission from Christine Harr)

 Thank you to everyone that submitted photos of their dog sleeping in odd places. Let's keep it going....visit Pupcycled on Facebook to submit your sleeping dog photos.

Note: all photos for this post were used by permission and may not be used on any other websites, in any way, without written permission. Contact Pupcycled at for permission to use photos.