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Natural & Eco-Friendly Pet Supplies

by Jason Kessler

Favorite natural and organic pet finds

My best friend’s name is Cleopatra Bagels. She weighs roughly 20 pounds, has constant bad breath and I love her dearly. As you may have already surmised, she also happens to be of the canine persuasion, and that means it’s my job to keep her happy and, most importantly, alive. To do that, I swap out the low-cost food and toys for pet gear that’s been made with her best interest in mind. Luckily, pet owners today have more choices than ever when it comes to treating their fur-babies like actual babies.

Gone are the days of feeding Fluffy whatever kibble doesn’t break the bank. Natural and organic pet food is a whole new segment of the industry and it’s growing at a rapid rate. When it comes to feeding Cleo Bagels, I’ve always gone for brands that eschew cheap fillers and promise real ingredients instead of junk and scraps. Natural Balance offers a “Limited Ingredient Diet” product line (naturalbalanceinc.com) and while it’s not as limited as I’d like it to be, it’s still way better than the mainstream brands. Cleo absolutely loves their lamb and brown rice formula, and some of the combinations sound downright delicious (sweet potato and chicken, I’m looking at you). Other brands like Taste of the Wild, Blue Buffalo and Canidae all offer great alternatives to the who-knows-what’s-in-there options that the major pet food companies offer.

Food is just the beginning, though. When making the switch to natural and organic, you have to consider just about every part of your pet’s life, and toys are at the top of that list. I mean, to dogs, toys are basically just inedible food, right? If Cleo’s going to be chomping on something for a while, I want to make sure it’s safe. That’s why I’m glad I discovered West Paw Design’s Zogoflex dog toys (westpawdesign.com). I love that the company is a certified B-corp, but I really love that their U.S.-made toys can actually stand up to Cleo’s relentless chewing. In fact, they stand by their Zogoflex toys so much that if your dog manages to destroy one of them, they’ll replace it for free. The toys are BPA-free, phthalate-free, non-toxic and FDA-compliant, which means Cleo can play to her heart’s content and I don’t have to worry one bit.

Now, if you’re a dog owner, you know that good food and lots of playtime leads to one thing: poop. It’s one of Cleo’s favorite activities and on a single walk, she may make two to three, er, deposits. I try to reuse the same bag several times on a walk, but all that plastic really starts to add up. Earth Rated takes this very seriously and they’ve transformed the cleanup bag game by offering vegetable-based bags that are entirely plastic-free and compostable (earthrated.com). They can degrade in just 45 days! Even if I end up having to use several bags on a single walk, I can still feel good about composting them or tossing them in the trash when I’m back home.

I love Cleo more than anything and since the day I rescued her, I love knowing that I’m giving her a better life thanks to the ever-growing natural and organic pet care industry. Sure, it may cost a few extra bucks to fill her bowl with better ingredients, but it’s the same decision parents make for their actual children every single day. If I’m going to let Cleo sleep in bed every night (and I do, for better or worse), I might as well do whatever I can to make sure she’s sleeping in that bed for as long as she can—bad breath and all.

Photo credit : Courtesy of earth rated / Studio Wulf / Jaret Eden

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