Sunday, January 24, 2010

Protect Pets From Pollutants

by Susan Thixton

A recent study proves our pets are exposed to chemicals and toxins in far greater amounts than people. In a ground breaking study, Environmental Working Group found dogs and cats to be contaminated with 48 different chemicals – 43 of which were at higher levels typically found in people. Most people try their best to protect the four legged loves of their lives. Yet thanks to lax or non-existent regulations, a new study has proven that our pets are becoming polluted with chemicals. EWG released a unique study earlier this year finding 48 different chemicals in the blood and urine of dogs and cats.

Briefly the EWG report ( tested 20 dogs and 37 cats. In dogs, seven chemicals tested at least five times higher than typical human levels and another seven chemicals showed levels up to five times the amounts in people. In cats, 25 chemicals averaged at least five times higher than human levels and another 18 averaged up to five times the typical level found in humans.

EWG contributes these startling findings to sources including contaminated pet food bags, pet food cans, toys, house dust, stain-proofed furniture, pet beds, and more. It´s frightening to consider the toll these contaminants are taking on our pets, and overwhelming to know what to do about it.

Here are some suggestions that I follow for my own household – home to two dogs, one cat, and two birds. First and foremost, feed your pet the absolute best food you can. Proper nutrition empowers your pet´s body to fend off toxins. Dogs and cats alike need a pet food made from a human grade/quality meat (not by-products; by-products are not meat), no added chemical preservatives or dyes, and no Chinese imports. Many of the better pet food lines also provide pets with antioxidant supplements and added probiotics. Antioxidants have been proven to fend off the damages from ´free radicals´ in humans and pets alike.

A highly tested antioxidant supplement to look for in your pet´s food ingredient list is ´grape seed extract´ (grapes are toxic to pets – grape seed extract is not toxic). I store my pet´s food in an air tight, pet safe container; placing the container in a dark, dry pantry. Exposure to air, light, and heat can cause a naturally preserved pet food to lose its nutritional value quicker. I also feed my pets twice per day; two meals a day for adult dogs and cats is optimal. Only feeding once per day is challenging for the pet to properly utilize the nutrition over a 24 hour period.

Next, make sure your pet stays active. Daily exercise plays an important role in keeping our pets healthy. For dog owners a daily walk around the block or tossing the toy in the yard each day; for cats-a daily workout with a toy of choice provides necessary physical and mental stimulation. Provide your pet with only natural materials for their toys and bedding. And for cats, try to use natural cat litters.

Limit the amount of flea treatments to your pet and to your lawn. For my own pets, a daily once-over with a flea comb is the flea ´treatment´ that I prefer for my group. If you must treat the lawn with fertilizers and pest control, make sure the products are pet-safe and completely dry before your pet goes onto the lawn. Supervise your dog or cat in the yard to prevent eating chemically-treated grass. All household cleaning products should be ´green´ – pet friendly – and limit your pet´s exposure to them.

When you consider the short lifespan of our pets, the effects of exposure to toxic chemicals are magnified when compared to that of human exposure. Natural pet foods with health promoting ingredients, toys and bedding made from 100% natural materials, and limiting exposure to cleaners, pesticides and fertilizers will help to protect your pet from toxins and hopefully add years to their life.

Susan Thixton is internationally recognized as the pet food expert helping humans understand how to find the safest and healthiest dog and cat foods and treats. Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life.

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