This means I continually strive to reduce my use of man-made and natural resources and produce more recycling material than trash. This habit started back when I was in school and learned of the toxic effects humans have on our world and wanted to make a difference by leading a more eco-friendly life.
As a practicing veterinarian, I get to my housecalls in Los Angeles in a Toyota Prius, which has been my car of choice since 2005 (I’m on my second Prius). Additionally, I strive to use products and work with companies that are environmentally conscious and follow earth-friendly practices. Such is just one of the many reasons I highly recommend and work with the Honest Kitchen as a veterinary consultant.
The means by which your pet’s food and treats are produced or sourced can have a negative impact on our environment, so I’m impressed by Honest Kitchen’s commitment to reducing their "environmental paw-print.” Check out their eco-friendly pet food practices here.
In addition to pet food, I have to source other products to wash my patients’ skin and coat, clean their homes’ interiors, reduce the potential for parasites in their indoor and outdoor environments, and more. Therefore, I've come to know and trust a variety of widely-available products and services that are friendly to our pets and the earth.
Skin and Coat Cleansing
Earthbath makes products having ecological and pet-friendly standards that align with my principles and is my shampoo and conditioner of choice for my dog, Cardiff. As Cardiff has a history of immune-mediated disease and cancer, I’m extra vigilant about making sure that I’m minimizing his exposure to toxins that could absorb into his body through his skin or orally that can be found in shampoo, conditioners, wipes, and sprays.
Cardiff also has sensitive skin and is prone to environmental and flea allergies, so I’m a big fan of their HYPO-ALLERGENIC SHAMPOO to safely keep his coat clean and skin fresh. For additional moisturizing, I choose Earthbath’s CREME RINSE & CONDITIONER. Fortunately, the ingredients that are excluded in this shampoo and conditioner combination are “anything that would harm you, your pet, or the planet.” Additionally, both products contain “no parabens, phosphates, pthalates, DEA, synthetic dyes or perfumes. The sudsy runoff is completely safe and will not harm kids, lawns or other living things. Our products are made in the USA with human-grade ingredients and pure essential oils, with none of the artificial colors and fragrances present in some other brands.”
Environmental and Fabric Cleaning
Our cats, dogs, and other companion animals live in a shared environment with humans and are potentially exposed to the same toxic substances in our homes. Plus, pets groom themselves using their mouths, therefore residues from cleaning products and other environmental toxins end up in their skin, coat, eyes, nose, and throat. Single or repeat exposures may have short and long term negative health implications.
Polluted Pets Report was published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), April 17, 2008 and found that “dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at higher levels 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.
Sydney Yu, founder of SeaYu, which makes Clean + Green says “more studies are confirming that our pets are at a higher health risk than even people from the negative effects of chemicals and fragrances in our home. With the availability of non-toxic and fragrance-free cleaners on the market today, pet parents have safer alternatives to traditional products.”
According to Yu, “Clean+Green is a non-toxic, plant-based, biodegradable and fragrance-free cleaner, stain remover and odor eliminator that works on contact, permanently eliminates the stain or odor, and is easy to use. Our package is made with recycled materials and are themselves, recyclable. So you have a product that works and is safe for pets, people and the planet.”
Homes and Yards Ectoparasite Prevention
Fleas, flies, mites, and other insects are all collectively considered ectoparasites, which means they take up residence on you pet’s skin and coat. Ectoparasites bite, chew, or sting the skin surface and cause irritation to your canine or feline companion. They also spread disease (bacteria, parasites, etc.), which can even spread to people from contact with our pets or their secretions.
I recently encountered a challenging situation on an extended housesitting assignment for one of my clients in densely-verdant Santa Monica, CA. My Golden Retriever puppy patient who freely goes indoors and outdoors was brining in fleas that also sought blood meals from the household cat. Despite keeping the home fastidiously clean and appropriately using veterinary-prescribed parasite treatments (oral and topical), the flea problem remained.
To rid the home and yard of fleas in a pet, person, and environmentally-friendly manner, we contacted FleaBusters.
The interior was treated with:
Fleabusters Rx for Fleas Plus- a finely-ground Boric Acid powder applied to baseboards and edges where fleas may hide. Boric Acid dries out flea eggs and larvae so they don’t develop into adult fleas.
Liquified Sodium Chloride (“salt”) and Boric Acid solution- this pet and person-safe liquid was applied to all upholstery and carpets and was then vacuumed away a few hours late
The yard was treated with:
Fleabusters Nematodes- Nematodes are “harmless, naturally occurring, worms” which “prey on the larvae of damaging insects, such as fleas. They will not harm people, pets, plants, or earthworms.”
Fleabusters' combination quickly resolved the flea problem and did so in an earth-friendly manner.
Hopefully, you’ll make every day Earth Day in your home. Your pets and the family members with whom the pets share household space will benefit from your efforts to be green.
Dr. Patrick Mahaney
Dr. Patrick Mahaney VMD, CVA, CVJ is a veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist providing services to Los Angeles-based clients both on a house call and in-clinic basis. Dr. Mahaney’s unique approach integrating eastern and western medical perspectives has evolved into a concierge house call practice, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW), Inc. Additionally, Dr. Mahaney offers holistic treatment for canine and feline cancer patients at the Veterinary Cancer Group (Culver City, CA).