We live in a mechanized, throwaway world. Many of the products we and our pets come into contact with are subtle, slow poisons. You’ll probably be shocked and upset to find that there is no regulation at all of the thousands and thousands of chemicals that are used in everyday items like plastics, electronics, furniture, foams, fabrics – essentially everything industry makes that isn’t food.
There’s no oversight and there has been no research done on how harmful most of these compounds are. We’re part of a grand experiment, and we and our pets are the guinea pigs. It’s becoming clear that these chemicals are deeply harmful. The epidemic rates of chronic illness in humans and our pets is a huge red flag. These chemicals upset the healthy body’s functioning in many ways.
Why BPA-Free Actually Isn’t Better
For instance, you might have noticed a move towards BPA-free plastics in the last few years. This is because BPA is a xenoestrogen; it mimics estrogen, one of the primary sexual hormones in both males and females. Exposure to BPA upsets our endocrine system.
This subtly hampers our immune system and can severely affect healthy fertility in males. This is only one of thousands of toxic chemicals that pervade our environment, many of which have had no research done on their harmful effects at all. BPA-free plastics are no healthier so don’t believe the marketing on that one! It’s already becoming obvious that these plastics contain equally harmful compounds.
“It’s already becoming obvious that these plastics contain equally harmful compounds … “
“Studies on umbilical cord blood from human infants at the moment of birth show that they carry a shocking toxic load. Of 287 chemicals detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.”
The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied. If anything, our pets are likely to carry a heavier toxic load than we do because there’s even less regulation or care for the consequences of toxicity from everyday products for our pets than for humans.
I believe so many of the chronic health problems I see in pets in my veterinary practice are related to chronic toxicity from industrial chemicals.
How Pets Absorb Toxins
The skin is a primary route of absorption. Your pet’s skin is the largest organ in her body. It’s like a sponge for any chemicals that are in her environment or in products that are in direct contact with her skin. Pets can also absorb toxins in their food, especially if that food contains carbohydrates sourced from industrial farming. This includes “grain-free” food as well.
Inhalation is another route of toxin absorption – many plastics, paints and other compounds outgas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are extremely toxic. There are other non-physical toxic influences from our dependence on technology. Electromagnetic radiation from things like wi-fi, mobile phones and pet tracking tags have a damaging effect on biology.
Light pollution, and especially blue heavy light from TV, computer and mobile phone screens that are used after sunset can severely upset sleep patterns. And finally, there are all the chemicals we apply to our pets for flea and tick control or by giving them conventional medicines.
All of these cause obvious adverse effects (including death) in a proportion of unlucky pets, and subtle toxic harm in others. Whenever possible, use natural alternatives to these products. If you must use the pharmaceutical versions, be especially cautious of products with a long residual activity, and don’t use new products at all until they’ve been in the marketplace for a year or more.
Search online for adverse reactions before trying them. Do your research, then make an informed choice. This is an extremely important point. When we minimize our own exposure to toxic chemicals, we minimize our pets’ exposure to toxic chemicals. This is because our pets have to live in our environment, it’s not their choice.
6 Ways To Minimize Toxins
It’s practically impossible to completely escape toxic background smog in our environment, but there are many steps you can take to minimize your pet’s exposure.
1. Do Away With Plastics
Get rid of all the plastics that your pet comes into contact with. This may include carpets and your furniture! It also includes all plastic food bowls and toys, and plastic food storage containers. Invest in stainless steel bowls, glass storage containers and natural fiber toys.
2. Eliminate Artificial Products
Remove from your home products that have artificial fragrance or perfume. These compounds are extraordinarily poisonous because most are made from the same family of chemicals as pesticides,and they are readily absorbed through your dog’s skin.
They include, but are not limited to: fragrances in cleaning and personal products such as air fresheners, floor cleaners, cleaning sprays, perfumes (yes,even really expensive ones), laundry liquids, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, soaps, detergents, car fresheners – and the list could go on forever. To deal with this one, you’ll need to become an avid reader of labels, and you will quite likely have to throw out a lot of products.
Don’t worry, we aren’t telling you to never wash your dog! You can safely bath him with this great bath recipe from Dr. Dee …
3. Don’t Use Pesticides
Remove all pesticide or insecticide sprays from your home and stop using them al-together. Use fly paper and sticky traps or bait traps to control insect pests instead. Don’t use herbicide or pesticide sprays in your yard, on your lawn or in your garden. If you live in an area with a lot of spraying of pesticides or herbicides, you might want to consider moving to a new area.
4. Don’t Feed Commercial Pet Foods
Stop feeding your pets commercial pet foods altogether. The carbohydrates are sourced from industrial farms and contain Roundup (glyphosate). Roundup attacks the metabolic pathways in plants that are also in your pet’s good gut bacteria, and poisons them, which leads to all sorts of gut problems and ill health in your dog.
These foods are also packed in plastic, and are often moldy and contain mold toxins (which can cause fatal liver damage), not to mention the artificial flavors and colorings which are also toxic. Feed your dog only organic, whole foods.
5. Cut Back On Electronics
You could consider removing wi-fi from your home entirely and return to hard-wired internet access. There are some good products available to protect against electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs). I’m particularly sensitive to EMFs and I find the Blushield devices to be really effective.
6. Use Natural Bedding
Artificial fibers in fabrics are toxic too. Use natural fibers or products (leather) in your dog’s bedding, collars and clothing. Be sure to wash all bedding and collars or clothing before you put them on your dog, even if they are made of natural fibers.
Help Your Pet … Help Your Family
Now, following some of the above recommendations might seem impossible, but it’s really not. The kicker here is that everything you do to help your dog on this front is helping you and your family to be healthier, too!
Pick one of the points at a time, and then do what is needed to deal with it. It can be a huge help to have a friend buddy up with you for this process. It’s always easier to clean out other people’s stuff, after all.
And if it seems too hard, ask yourself, “Would I rather keep using this thing and continue poisoning myself, my family and my pets, or get rid of it and find something new that’s healthy?”
If you’re going to start anywhere after dealing with your pet’s personal products and food, make it a priority to get rid of all artificial scents from your life. They’re extremely poisonous and they’re everywhere. If I ever have to go to a home visit where they have artificially fragranced air fresheners, I feel really ill for days afterwards.
You’ll notice this too, but not until you’ve been free of these chemicals for a month or two. Our bodies adapt as best they can to the toxic load. It’s like not having a coffee for a month, then having an espresso!
Good luck with detoxing your environment, your life and your pet’s life too!
(We have another great article to help you detox your dog’s world. Read the article now …)[Related: 5 Poisonous Plants For Dogs (& 4 Safe Alternatives)]