Originally published September 3 2008
Study Finds Pets Suffer From Household Pollutants
by Susan Thixton
(NaturalNews) A recent study performed by Environmental Working Group (EWG) proves our pets are exposed to chemicals and toxins in far greater amounts than people. In a ground breaking study, EWG found dogs and cats to be contaminated with 48 different chemicals –- 43 of which were at higher levels typically found in people.
Pet owners 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. Environmental Working Group released a unique study earlier this year finding 48 different chemicals in the blood and urine of dogs and cats.
Briefly the EWG report (www.ewg.org/reports/pets) 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. I wish I could provide you with the perfect answer to prevent your pet from becoming polluted with toxic chemicals, I can't do that. But I can offer you 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). Probiotics are live bacteria that work to keep the intestinal system in proper working order. Considering that 90% of a pet's immune system is located in the intestinal system, keeping this area of the body healthy supports your pet's fight fending off toxins and disease.
To determine if your pet's food contains probiotics, look in the ingredient listing for scientific sounding ingredients like Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum Fermentation Product, and/or Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product. There is controversy that probiotics are destroyed in the cooking process of pet food, however some manufacturers guarantee the food contains live bacteria promoting good health for your pet. Or you have the option of probiotic supplements to choose from as well.
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 cat owners 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 cat owners should try to use natural cat litters. Several years ago it was a challenge to find these types of products; today pet owners are afforded with many more options. They might take a little more effort to find them, but the health benefit to your pet is well worth the work.
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' 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 the eating of chemically treated grass. All household cleaning products should be 'green' –- pet friendly –- and limit your pet's exposure to them (I consider this a great excuse to avoid cleaning!).
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.
About the authorSusan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com
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