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Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

 Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

Truffles laying in the grass.

I was walking my dog, Truffles, the other day and was stunned to see one of my neighbors fertilizing his lawn while his dog followed right behind him.

Lawn chemicals are toxic:
it says right on the bottle,
“Dangerous for children and pets.”

If you are reading my blog then you know that I am a mom with a mission!  I created Dr. Doormat, the first antimicrobial treated doormat, because I was greatly concerned about protecting children and allergy sufferers from the dangers of tracked-in debris including pesticides and other chemicals.

However, the threat is even greater for our dogs and cats who have much more direct exposure than we do to a range of dangerous chemicals.    They nose around close to the ground, they roll around in the grass, often eat grass and plants and then lick their paws ingesting the chemicals.  Moreover, dogs and cats don’t wear clothes or shoes and the chemicals are more easily absorbed into their fur and through their paw pads.

Dr.  Jeffrey Philibert, a veterinary oncologist in Waltham, Massachusetts, agrees that exposure to pesticides poses a risk to dogs, cats and other pets.  He said that while he was familiar with various studies linking pesticides to lymphoma in dogs, what really brought it home for him was a case in his office.  “We had a client who had four, unrelated dogs, all of whom had contracted lymphoma. The client lived adjacent to a golf course. In a case like this it is likely that there is something in the environment causing this. We urged the client to test their water and sure enough they found high levels of herbicides.”  Dr. Philibert cautions all his clients to be aware that what is in your environment can potentiate cancer.

“Be aware that what is in your environment can potentiate cancer in your pet.”

                 Dr.  Jeffrey Philibert, veterinary oncologist, Waltham, MA

Here is how Beyond Pesticides, a group that advocates eliminating the use of pesticides, describes the risk to pets:

 Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

Punchy loves her Dr. Doormat!

Numerous studies have documented the risk of pesticides to pets over the years. A 1991 National Cancer Institute study, finds that dogs whose owners’ lawns were treated with 2,4-D, four or more times per year, are twice as likely to contract canine malignant lymphoma than dogs whose owners do not use the herbicide. Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer by four to seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by Purdue University veterinary researchers published in the April 15, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Research published in the December 1988 issue of Preventive Veterinary Medicine links hyperthyroidism in cats to flea powders and sprays, lawn pesticides and canned cat food. Allethrin, a common ingredient in home mosquito products (coils, mats, oils and sprays) and other bug sprays, has been linked to liver problems in dogs, according to a 1989 study by the World Health Organization. The 1989 edition W.C. Campbell Toxicology textbook reports that chronic exposure to abamectin, an insecticide often used by homeowners on fire ants can affect the nervous system of dogs and cause symptoms such as pupil dilation, lethargy, and tremors. According to 2004 statistics compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center, 22% of approximately 880 cases of pet birds being exposed to common household items involved pesticides (including rat bait and insecticides….Read More

Dr. Philbert stresses that there are things within our control. He recommends using organic lawn care products, as well as organic cleaning products. Of course, we can’t control the products our neighbors use or how the grass is treated at the local park. Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?

Here are some tips for protecting your pet from lawn chemicals:

  • Use only natural lawn care products in your yard. Examples are using corn gluten meal as a natural weed killer and fertilizer, or diatomaceous earth and boric acid for pest control. Reducing exposure is the best way to prevent potential side effects.
  • Be aware of ALL the environments in which your dog may be exposed to lawn chemicals. Even if you don’t use them in your yard, consider yards you pass when going on walks, the parks where you and your dog play, and other public areas that may be treated.
  • Always wipe your dogs paws off after walks to remove any residue, and wipe down their fur as well if they have been out playing in treated grass.
  • Walk your dog or cat across Dr. Doormat removing all debris from the paws – They don’t wear shoes and chemicals are absorbed through the paw pads.  Also, it will prevent them from tracking the chemicals into your home where they pose a threat to the human members of your family especially toddlers crawling on the floor.

May every step you take be healthy!
signature Are Our Green Lawns Poisoning Our Pets?
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

10 Health and Safety Tips For Summer Camp

 10 Health and Safety Tips For Summer Camp

Catch a Fish, Not a Cold!

 School is out and kids across the country are heading to sleep away and day camps.   This brings me back to my childhood where I couldn’t wait for camp to start.  I grew up with an unusual set of circumstances.  My grandparents ran a camp and my parents, who were both gym teachers, have owned and operated a sleep away and day camp in upstate New York for the past 51 years.

Having grown up at a camp, been a camp counselor for more than 10 years and been a camp director, I can say that “Everything I need to know about life, I learned at camp.”

While some of us are responsible for as many as three or four children, imagine trying to keep 150 children and a staff of 40 healthy and safe for eight weeks.  I would like to share that knowledge with you so you can help your child stay safe and healthy at camp.  After all, there’s no fun in spending the summer in the infirmary.

10 Tips to Make Summer Camp Healthier, Safer, and More Enjoyable

1. Inspection prior to attending camp.  Clip nails and keep hair short if possible.  Check for lice and other conditions.

2.  It’s not always nice to share!  Teach your child to not share straws or drink from the same glass as their friends.    Don’t fall for the line, “I don’t have anything.” Or “I’m so thirty, I just want one sip.” This lesson alone will spare you the unnecessary strep throat, summer cold or even herpes virus.

Also don’t share personal items including bathing suit bottoms and hair brushes.

3. Wash hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom and before eating.  This may be obvious, but remind your kids anyway.

4. The camp mattress: Camp facilities are often rented out in the off-season to other groups.  The mattresses can be tired and not so desirable.  Pack a dust mite cover for the mattress to create a barrier between the mattress and your child’s bedding.  Bed bug covers are not adequate since bed bugs are much larger than dust mites.

I recommend a cover for the pillow too.  Even though you are bringing the pillow from home, the pillows end up on the floor and even on the ground outside.

5. Bathroom hygiene: Pack an extra pair of flip-flops to be used for the bunk shower only.   This will help keep the bathroom clean.   Always instruct your child to wear some kind of shoes on their feet walking around the camp property.   Sharp articles can pop up in the grass.  Any construction on the grounds could turn up nails or broken glass not to mention buzzing bees.

6. Walking around in a wet suit for hours is not recommended for girls.  To avoid infections, remind your daughter get out of the wet suit and change into cotton underwear.

7. Attracting insects: When packing shampoo and other hair products, it is recommended to select products that are fragrance free.  Perfumes attract all kinds of bugs including, mosquitoes and deer flies.  Care packages with food attract pests and bugs in the bunk, not to mention bellyaches.  Ask the camp director if and where things may be stored.

8. Hair Advice: Suggest to your daughter’s counselors that hairbrushes be cleaned and washed once a week–remove the hair and soak the brush in a diluted mix of water with bleach for about 15 minutes.  For young girls with long hair, counselors should braid the hair and allow the young lady to sleep in the braid.  Before going to bed, divide the hair into three sections and brush each section free of tangles.   In the morning, take the braid out so brushing will be made easy. I know firsthand as a camp counselor and a mom that this works and saves a lot of time in the morning.  No more screaming over tangled hair.

9. Laundry bag etiquette: Never put anything wet in the laundry bag.  Always dry articles thoroughly before placing in bag.  Day campers need to pack a plastic bag for wet swim gear.

10.  Pack hats, protective clothing and sunscreen.  Hats will not only protect against sunburn but also deer ticks while taking hikes in the woods.  Remind your child to reapply sunscreen every couple hours and be sure to pack enough.  However, if you suspect your child may not be so thorough, pack long sleeve rash guard shirts (swimming shirts) to reduce the amount of sunscreen needed.   Long pants are a good idea when hiking in the woods and at sunset when the mosquitoes are the worst.

If you have any questions, please email me at debbie@drdoormat.com I couldn’t possibly include all of the things I learned in one post.

I hope your children have a wonderful camp experience this summer and you get to enjoy the break.  One more thing, don’t forget to have them pack a happy disposition.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

5 Summer Travel Tips from Dr. Doormat

 5 Summer Travel Tips from Dr. Doormat

Dig a Well Before You’re Thirsty!

Summer is a time for travel–from weekend get-aways to long road trips.  And whether you’re staying in 5-star hotels, roughing it in a national park, or off to sleep away camp, there are some easy things you can do while on the go to help keep your car, belongings and surroundings cleaner and healthier for you and your family.

As a kid I remember too well those long rides where all six of us piled into the family station wagon and drove from upstate New York to Miami.  My parents still joke that I would rather hold it in for two days then use a public bathroom (here are some tips!).  I never made it into the book of Guinness World Records but I have learned a few tricks along the way.

Follow these 5 tips, and your vacation is sure to be safer, cleaner, and more fun!

  1. Prepare the car:  Filling up with gas, having a good GPS or map and a clean car are essential.  To clean your car, you’ll need a garbage can, vacuum cleaner, paper towels and non-toxic, odor free, cleaning spray.   Pull all the car mats out of the car and shake them out really well, vacuum and then believe it or not you should be able to wash those mats in your washing machine and hang to dry.  I do!  One major helpful tip: Before and After you vacuum, clean the head of the vacuum cleaner with a sanitizing spray or solution.  This prevents the transfer of viruses and other nasty germs from being spread around
  2. Traveling and potty training:  I recommend taking a small portable potty in the car.  Bring extra baggies.  Double bag check for holes and line the potty with the bags.  It’s as simple as that. Takes the stress right out of the drive.  Just use a wipe for your child’s bottom, Tie a knot in the bag when they’re done and dispose in the nearest trash. Replace the bag for the next round.
  3. Packing:  Put your shoes in disposable plastic shopping bags before putting them in your suitcase
  4. Packing for sleep away camp: Remember an extra pair of flip flops used just for the bunk shower.  Mark them SHOWER ONLY.  Also, pack dust mite covers for both the pillow and the mattress.  My kids will also go with a Dr. Doormat for the entrance of the bunk.
  5. Sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen:  My BFF of sunscreens is the Walgreen’s brand for sensitive skin, SPF 70.  My daughter’s skin is like milk and this one works. Don’t forget hats, sunglasses and rash guard shirts for swimming.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.