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Smarter Choices for Your Dog and You

GLOSSARY
FSC Certified
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international organization whose certification process provides consumers with assurance that wood was harvested from well-managed forests and plantations. Be sure to look for the FSC label when purchasing wood. fscus.org

LEED Green Building Rating System

A national standard established by members of the US Green Building Council, it provides a framework for assessing building performance and sustainability. It is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. usgbc.org

Offgas
The release of vapors from a material; many materials in the home offgas formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). TIP: Interior plywood emits urea formaldehyde (a carcinogen)—use exterior-grade plywood instead.

Rapidly Renewable Resources

Don’t contribute to deforestation; instead, use products made from rapidly renewable resources that regenerate quicker than the demand for the products—bamboo and cork for example.

VOCs
Volatile organic compounds are a range of chemical substances that become airborne, or volatile, at room temperature. They are found in paint, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, glues, cleansers and disinfectants, moth repellents, dry-cleaned clothing, and even air fresheners. VOCs are a major source of indoor air pollution, exposure can cause symptoms ranging from nausea, eye irritation and headaches—just think of how your dog will feel being that much “nearer” to the source TIP: by choosing a zero to low-VOC water-based paint, you can really reduce, or even eliminate, this concern.

Safer Paint
Here’s a quick chemistry lesson. Not everything with “organic” in its name is actually good for us. When we walk into a newly painted room, the first thing we notice—besides the lovely color—is the smell, which comes largely from VOCs, chemicals added to paint to speed up drying time. Choose low- or zero-VOC paints; interior flat paint with VOC level of 50 grams per liter or less, and interior non-flat pain with 150 grams per liter or less. VOC content should be labeled on the packaging. Note: that low odor does not mean low VOC, some manufacturers use fragrance to mask the paint odor.

The Bark is the award-winning magazine of modern dog culture—it speaks to the committed dog enthusiast—and is the indispensable guide to life with dogs, showing readers how to live smartly and rewardingly with their canine companions. Bark is the recognized expert on the social/cultural world of dogs in America, and what they mean to us. Click here for your FREE issue.

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12 comments

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7:45PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

noted

3:09PM PST on Dec 14, 2010

I have always had pets and have always tried to keep the house clean for them, as well as myself. I have a rule in my home - NO SHOES ON IN THE HOUSE. ESPECIALLY, in the winter!

We never know what we're bringing in on our shoes. And in the winter with all the snow melt, rock salt and the sand everyone puts on their sidewalks. We have no idea whats in our food never mind whats in that stuff. Did you ever look at your floors and see how white they are after you come in after walking through the snow melt?? So think what that does to your feet if you walk barefoot like we do??? IT'S SCAREY!!!!!

4:53PM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

I feel it is important to make sure when you're cleaning your house you use safe cleaners. Your dog does lick the floor, drink out of the toilet - you get the picture.

I use Parsley Plus Multi-Surface Cleaner for cleaning counters, walls and my bathroom.

I use Toilet Kleener.

All the cleaning products I use are all natural and safe for the environment.

10:37PM PST on Jan 2, 2010

very good article thankyou

7:23PM PDT on Sep 6, 2009

Gewoon een Ibroptruven nemen half pilletje en alles is oke

4:58PM PDT on Aug 14, 2009

If you're going this far to protect your dog, then you have to go all the way. Inspect and research all questionable ingredients in your dog's food, the bizarre chemicals in whatever flea/tick formula you're using, and whatever bizarre drugs/vaccines pushed by the vet. Go ALL the way and give your dog healthy live foods, nutritional supplements, and homeopathic remedies to prevent sickness to REALLY help protect him. Greening your home is only half the battle.

9:11AM PDT on Aug 14, 2009

I have the same lie-on-the-floor philosophy to keep my house clean for my two-year-old.

8:44AM PDT on Aug 14, 2009

Be careful when choosing something based solely on one aspect, such as a material that is rapidly renewable. For example most bamboo used for cabinets and flooring comes from China and with that comes a huge CO2 foot print. So it may be better for the environment to use some local soft or hardwood and is manufactured in your area. These days it is easy to get swept up in new green materials, but if they are a world away are they really that green in the end?

8:40AM PDT on Aug 14, 2009

Remember: you don't have to build new to build green. The greenest house is often one already built. By installing storms--which is now also eligible for tax credits--instead of new vinyl-based windows (which only have a life expectancy of around 10 years), installing a dual-flush retrofit (or just using the ancient "brick in the tank" or "let it mellow" tricks), and others, you can save a HUGE amount of embedded/embodied energy already in the building. It takes energy to saw wood/bamboo, make bricks, glass for windows, etc., whether old or new. And people don't always think of the money and energy involved in demolition--buildings don't disappear by themselves.

8:23AM PDT on Aug 14, 2009

My son-in-law is a house painter who uses only low VOC paints. This has resulted in a great business because he is also one of the few sober painters around. After a little research I found the theory that so many painters drink because that keeps them from having to come down off the high they get from the paint fumes. Makes sense to me.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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