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Keeping Your Pet Cool This Summer

It’s June, it is getting hot outside and it is only going to get hotter over the next few months. This is the time of year when people start cranking the A/C, loading up on ice cream, and cooling off in the pool whenever possible; pretty much anything to beat the heat. While these activities may be the answer for many people during the summer months, what can we do to help our furry companions stay cool during this time of year? This article from CBS Denver, may have the answers.

Ask A Denver Expert: How To Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer

(credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)(credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

With summer approaching, your thoughts are likely turning to different ways to keep yourself cool as the thermometer reaches triple digits. It’s just as important to think about your four legged friends and some safe and effective ways to keep them cool. Most importantly, never leave your dog in a hot car. Remember how hot your car can get, even if you are only leaving for a few minutes. Your pet can’t take that kind of heat. You’ll also want to be aware of the signs of heat stroke, which can be a little different for pets. In addition to general safety rules, there are many great ways that you can protect your furry best friend from the soaring temperatures. From cool products to a few inexpensive things you can do at home, here are a few ways to keep your pets cool and refreshed all summer long.


Julie Neva
Chewy’s Bonetique
200 Quebec St. #600
Denver, CO 80230
(303) 344-2663


Julie Neva opened Chewy’s Bonetique in 2004, bringing wonderful specialty pet products, food and grooming supplies to the Lowry neighborhood. It’s a popular spot to find just about anything you could want for a healthy pet, and they offer great service and plenty of experts to offer some friendly advice and tips for any pet need. Chewy’s even offers its own line of cookies for your dog, and features local Colorado brands and products. Neva knows about keeping a pet safe and happy all year long, so she offers up these tips to help your pets beat the heat this summer.

Cool Gear

Many companies make a variety of clothing products designed to keep your pets cool. Neva said she likes the Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest by Ruff Wear, which runs about $60 and comes in a variety of sizes to fit any pooch. “It’s a mesh vest that you soak in water and then when you are out in the heat, the wind evaporates the water and keeps the dog cool,” Neva said. The vest has its own reservoir in which to keep the water, plus a wicking outer layer to help evaporate the moisture away from your pet. It may not be the most fashionable vest on the market but when the heat is soaring, your pet will thank you.

Cooling Pads


Another product that a lot of companies offer is a cooling pad, though Neva recommends the Cooling Gel Pad from The Green Pet Shop. This great pad doesn’t need any water or electricity to work. It’s simply a gel-filled pad that is activated by the weight of your pet. When he lies on the pad the cooling starts and can be effective for up to four hours and recharges automatically. You can even stick it in the refrigerator, which will help make the cooling last longer. These run from $27 to $60 depending on the size of your dog. Plus, while the product is marketed towards dogs, it works on cats as well.


Freeze Food


You can find dog ice cream and frozen yogurt out on the market, but you can also make cold treats for your pets at home. “One of our manufacturers last summer came out with this great idea,” Neva said. “You take a can of food and stick a popsicle stick in it and freeze it.” Then you simply pull the food out and let your dog or cat spend time licking away at the cold food. It’s a very easy way to keep your pet cool, and it won’t cost you much. You can also freeze treats inside toys or layer them in buckets of water for dog-safe popsicle toys. “Just take an ice cream pail, throw in some treats or a Kong with treats in it and freeze it. Of course it all floats to the top, so if you freeze it a little first, then put the treat in and freeze the rest in layers. It will stay in the middle,” Neva said. This is another great tip that can work equally well for dogs and for cats, just be sure to use the right food.



A good grooming is essential in the summer months, however shaving your pet down is not always the answer. “What people tend to do is shave double-coated haired dogs and our research has shown us that the dogs really need their hair for sun protection as well as cold,” Neva said. So what to do with dogs with double coats? “Just remove any dead hair and mats. I don’t think you should shampoo more often, as that can be drying, but keeping the coat in good condition and free of mats and dead hair will help a lot,” she said.




You probably associate boots with only freezing temperatures, but you may not realize how tough hot pavement can be on your pet’s soft pads. “The hot pavement that people take their dogs on long walks is no different than the ice in the winter time,” Neva said. “A good pair of boots is very helpful, especially if they are hiking a lot, which is hard on the dog’s pads.” There are great lines of pet boots to try, so find your favorite and protect your best friend’s paws from the soaring heat.


Safely and Naturally De-Ice Your Walkway

ICY STUFFIt is now the middle of January, two weeks into the new year and all across the country many people have been, and will continue to, deal with bitter cold weather and snowy/icy conditions. It’s the time of year when many of us get a chance to burn off those holiday pounds by shoveling or pushing a snow-blower. And, while shoveling and snow-blowing may get rid of the bulk of the snow in your driveway or on your walkways, they won’t take care of the ice which can be a slipping hazard. The answer to that problem is deicers. Unfortunately, the most common deicer (salt) can be hazardous to your pets, plants, and driveway/walkway.

Luckily, there are several safe and natural deicers that can handle the job of making your driveway/walkways slip-free. Listed below are a few examples of alternatives to salt which are safe, natural and effective.


“Kitty Litter”- If you happen to own a cat, or know someone who does, this is an effective way of keeping your footing on those icy surfaces. While kitty litter won’t actually melt the ice, it does create traction for a far less slippery surface.

“Coffee Grinds”- This effective no-slip solution can be found in just about any kitchen in the country. The dark colors of the coffee will also help absorb more heat and therefore help with the melting of the ice.

“Organic Salt-free Deicers”- If you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, salt-free organic deicers, work just as well as salt but won’t harm your pets or plants.

“Alfalfa Meal”- This may actually be the most effective all natural deicing solution. Not only will it create great traction and assist in melting the ice, it is also often used as a fertilizer, so no worries about it coming in contact with your plants.


While some of these may not work as quickly or effectively as salt, they are a safe and natural alternative.


Pthalates, An Ingredient to Avoid

While many people are aware that traditional cleaners may contain some ingredients that may be toxic or harmful, they may not know exactly what those ingredients are or how they can negatively effect humans or pets. This article from Green Cleaning Magazine, discusses one very common and potentially harmful ingredient found in many everyday products; pthalates. The article not only informs you on where phalates may be found, it also discusses the harm they may cause; while also giving tips on how you can avoid them.


Ingredient Intel: Phthalates

Ingredient Intel

This is the fifth installment of our ongoing series aimed to help you better understand the ingredients—both desirable and undesirable—in your home cleaning and personal care products. We arm you with information and provide a solid assessment of each ingredient so you can make educated decisions for yourself and your family.

Ingredient: Phthalates, pronounced “tha-lates.”

What It Is: A family of synthetic chemicals primarily used to soften plastic, but also used to lubricate other substances, help lotions penetrate and soften the skin, and extend the life of fragrance.

Where It’s Found: Phthalates are a widespread contaminant in America’s buildings and waterways.

  • As a plasticizer, they can be found in food packaging, beverage bottles, soft toys, vinyl floor tile, vinyl seating in cars, diaper changing and yoga mats, polymer clays, furniture, water pipes, building materials, and electronics. Most products containing PVC (polyvinyl chloride or vinyl, recycling code #3) contain phthalates.
  • In household products they’re found in detergents, soaps, laundry supplies, and home decorating materials.
  • Cosmetics and personal care products contain a host of phthalates. You’ll find them in deodorants, shampoos, nail polish (where they prevent chipping), hair spray (where they prevent stiffness), perfumes, lotions, creams, and powders.
  • Phthalates are found in medical and dental devices, such as catheters, IV bags and tubes, and orthodontia supplies.

What’s the Problem?: Phthalates belong to a set of toxic chemicals called endocrine disruptors, meaning they attack the hormone system. They’ve been linked to breast cancer, abnormal development of the male reproductive system, insulin resistance, thyroid problems, infertility, reduced testosterone, asthma and allergies.

How Are You Exposed?: Because phthalates are not chemically bound to the products they’re added to, they’re continuously released into the air or food or liquid. Humans are exposed by ingestion, absorption, and inhalation. Children are especially vulnerable. Phthalates cross the placenta, so they can be passed from mother to infant in utero.


In 2002, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) tested 72 name-brand cosmetics, and found phthalates in three-quarters of them. Testing humans in 2008, CDC found the highest levels in women of childbearing age, presumably because of their use of cosmetics.

How Can You Avoid Phthalates?

  • Look for products marketed as phthalate-free.
  • Check ingredient labels. It may be listed as DBP (dibutyl phthalate), DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate), DINP (disononyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate), DEHP (di 2-ethylhexl phthalate), DIDP (diisodecyl phthalate), DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate), DMP (dimethyl phthalate), and DnOP (di-n-octylphthalate).
  • Avoid cooking or microwaving in plastic.
  • Don’t give soft plastic toys to children or pets.
  • Choose personal care products, detergents, and cleansers that don’t have the word “fragrance” on the ingredients list. Even if the label says “fragrance free” the product may still contain phthalates.
  • Paints and other hobby products may contain phthalates as a solvent, so provide plenty of ventilation when using them.
  • Vinyl shows up in a variety of products—lawn furniture, garden hoses, even raincoats.
  • Switch to a non-vinyl shower curtain.
  • Avoid most commercial air fresheners.
  • Check out the database of safe household and personal care products at, site of the Environmental Working Group.

Even Pets Can Go Green

As humans, we are making strides to be more aware of how we treat the environment, and are trying to reduce our carbon footprints. If you happen to be a pet owner, there are steps you can take to reduce your pets carbon footprint (or paw-print) as well. Here are a few tips from our friends at Seventh Generation, on how to “green” your pet.

Green Your Pet’s Routine


Let’s face it, pets are family. And as responsible pet parents, it only makes sense that we do everything we can to help reduce their carbon “paw” print. The next time you’re faced with choices for your pet, rely on these tips to help you make the sustainable one:

1. Chow Down Just like mass-market human food, much pet food is highly processed and less than nutritionally ideal. Make your own pet food or opt for certified-organic pet foods with all the nutrition information on the label. These products should meet FDA standards for meat grading and strict USDA standards (look for the green seal) that ensure no antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, or artificial preservatives are part of what’s being served up at meal time.

2. Pick It Up Depending on what they eat, your pet’s waste isn’t necessarily terrible for the Earth. But the way you choose to dispose of it can be. Grab a bunch of biodegradable waste-disposal bags for your dog so their poo bag isn’t sitting in a landfill for a century. For cats, stay away from clay clumping litters, as the clay is strip-mined and can contain potentially carcinogenic silica dust. Instead, go for biodegradable litters made from pine pellets or recycled newspaper.

3. Find Friendly Fibers The fibers in collars, scratching posts, toys, leashes and bedding are all areas to check twice when greening your pet’s lifestyle. Choose fibers like organic cotton and biodegradable hemp for collars, leashes and bedding. It’s worth doing the same for toys: many plastic ones can contain lead. You can even find habitats and scratching posts made from bamboo or recycled cardboard (

4. Wash It Out How many times have you picked up a product at the store or vet only to find that you had to use gloves to apply it? Shampoo and flea treatments are often packed full of chemicals of concern. If it can’t touch our skin, it probably shouldn’t touch theirs. For a simple way to determine what you don’t want in your pet’s shampoo, consider what you wouldn’t want in yours. If you avoid 1,4-dioxane contamination, your pet should too. If you would never consider lathering up with phthalates and parabens, don’t do it to your pet either!

Flea treatment, though traditionally as chemically harsh as possible, can also be natural and sustainable. In fact, prevention can be the best solution. Bathe your pet regularly with natural cleaners. Vacuum your home at least once a week and dispose of the bag or its contents. Wash pet bedding in hot, soapy water at least once a week and use a fine-toothed comb on your pet.

5. Adopt In the United States, approximately 70,000 kittens and puppies are born every day. By adopting an animal from a rescue shelter, you can give a home to one of the 6 – 8 million dogs or cats that enter a shelter every year. Aside from the obvious benefits, adopting an animal can save shelters precious resources. What’s more, you can help control the pet population explosion by having your pet spayed or neutered.

Tips for Winter Dog-Walking

All across the country, states are getting hit with winter storms. If you happen to be a dog owner, you don’t really have a choice of just staying inside and waiting the storm out, you have to walk your dog. However, there are a few things you should know before taking the pup out for a winter walk. The good people at Seventh Generation, have a list of do’s and don’ts for walking man’s best friend this winter. So, check out these tips and keep your furry friend safer.

Dos and Don’ts of Winter Dog Walking

A snowy jaunt with your pup is just what the doctor (and vet) ordered for a bout of cabin fever. You don’t have to go out of your way to make it happen—any old yard or street will do—but you should bear in mind that as your needs change with the seasons, so do your dog’s. Here’s how to keep fun and safety top of mind:

Do: Size up your pup. If you have a long-haired breed, or a breed known for cold-weather tolerance (like a Husky or a St. Bernard), you’re probably OK to leave the coat behind. Tiny breeds like Chihuahuas, short-haired breeds (even big ones like Great Danes), and senior pets, though, all need the extra protection a coat offers.

Don’t: Let your dog eat snow or lick the ground. Or his paws, for that matter. Ground chemicals used for ice melting are not only rough on the paws, but also the organs. Another common winter concern: the presence of ethylene glycol (better known as antifreeze). If your dog tries to drink from that sweet, blue-green puddle, lead him quickly away.

Do: Consider boots. Our feet clearly need shoes, but did you know your dog’s feet are fragile, too? Paws are built for insulation, but they’re also super-sensitive—kind of like our fingertips. Good boots will protect your dog from salt, cold and chemicals. Find the right fit by bringing your dog to the store with you, or if you’re buying online, looking for companies that have detailed sizing charts—including nail measurements. And be patient. It takes a while for some dogs to get used to walking in boots.

Don’t: Air dry. If your pup doesn’t don boots, a full foot wash-and-dry after your stroll is a must. This little cleanup helps avoid licking of any chemicals or salt that might have gotten stuck between the pads of the foot while you were out. Go full-on pamper and rub on some organic paw and nose balm or lotion afterward.

Do: Choose your leash wisely. A front clip harness will help minimize strain, and a solid leash (rather than retractable) helps exact control. One important consideration: How good is your traction? If you’re wary of falling and not having free hands to catch yourself, a waist-wrapping leash might be your pick.

Don’t: Neglect grooming.This tip is for the pre-walk more than the walk itself. Matted fur isn’t as good as well-groomed fur at keeping dogs warm; it provides less adequate insulation. Plus, your dog will want to look nice while she celebrates the season.

Do: Be vigilant. Learn the signs of antifreeze poisoning (similar to alcohol poisoning and noticeable quickly), frostbite (pain, brittleness and discoloration), and ice melt poisoning (hypersalivating and vomiting, to start). Keep your eyes on your dog to help avoid these concerns and catch any issues quickly.

Pet-Friendly Green Cleaning Products

After reading an article from ABC news on how some “green” cleaners that are safe for humans may still be harmful to pets , I decided to check out what green cleaning products were the best bet for your pet. In this article from ShopGala, they list some of the best green cleaners when it comes to your pets safety. If you use homemade green cleaners to clean your home, just make sure you research how certain ingredients may affect the animals in your home.BLOG-PETS

 Top Baby-Safe, Pet-Friendly “Green” Cleaning Products

With both a small dog and a new baby in the house, how I clean that house has become an important matter.  Is it safe to use bleach or ammonia?  Are Swiffers really pet friendly?  Can the laundry detergent irritate my daughter’s skin?  Keeping things clean is an area of concern if you’re confused about what’s safe and what could be harmful.


For the most part, organic cleaning products are a safe bet.  Most products labeled as “green,” are cutting out the harmful ingredients that can cause reactions in babies and pets.  A few brand names are front-runners in this category, with extensive lines of products that really work and affordable price points…


Green Works


Created by Clorox, a long-time leader in cleaning products, the Green Works line is powerful and naturally-derived.  No, the two concepts are not mutually exclusive.  Green Works products use “plant-based, biodegradable ingredients to help you clean your home without harsh chemical fumes and residue,” according to their website.  Both the Sierra Club and the EPA have shown support for Clorox’s green products, and they are certified under the Natural Standard for Home Care Products organization.  Even the packaging is biodegradable, so Green Works protects your kids, your pets, and your environment.


The line includes: All-Purpose Cleaner, Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Multi-Surface Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Glass & Surface Cleaner, Glass Cleaner, Dishwashing Liquid, Cleaning Wipes, Laundry Stain Remover, and three varieties of Laundry Detergent.


Seventh Generation


The extensive product line offered by Seventh Generation spans your kitchen, bathroom, and baby’s nursery, and everything in between.  You can select disinfectants, household cleaners, paper and supplies, dishwashing, hand wash, laundry, baby, and even feminine care to get earth-friendly products that are pet and baby safe as well.  I was particularly interested in Seventh Generation’s baby products, which include chlorine-free baby wipes, diapers and training pants, as well as regular and 2x Concentrated Baby Laundry Liquid.  I was not aware that other brands might contain chlorine… so this was news to me.


In terms of household cleaners, the line includes all-purpose, multi-surface, tub and tile, toilet bowl, glass, and shower cleaners.  Seventh Generation’s mission to restore the environment and inspire conscious consumption is evident from their product line, biodegradable packaging, and earth-safe ingredients.


Simple Green


Another great brand with diverse product offerings, Simple Green goes beyond household products to also carry industrial cleaners.  This company supplies products to the GSA and Government, as well as to environmentally-conscious consumers in Canada.  Simple Green’s products are “non-toxic, biodegradable, non-hazardous, non-flammable, non-corrosive” but still guarantee a clean home, office, or industrial area.  Simple Green’s product line includes all the basics, plus pet stain cleaners, deck and fence cleaners, house and siding cleaners, stone polish, motorsports cleaner, concrete and driveway cleaner, heavy duty cleaner, hand gel, car wash, and all-purpose wipes.  Clean inside and out with these specially targeted products. Most importantly, however, pets and babies will be safe no matter what you’re cleaning.  Even Simple Green’s Pet Stain and Odor Remover are okay to use around your pets.


Obviously, all cleaning products should be treated with care and properly stored, even if they’re labeled ‘organic.’  Always keep products out of reach, locked in child-safe cabinets if possible.

Cleaning A Self Cleaning Oven

First of all, what is a self cleaning oven? A self cleaning oven is an oven which essentially cleans itself (to a certain degree), by using a pyrolytic interior coating and extreme heat to burn off any leftover food that may have spilled or sprayed in the oven, without having to use any chemical cleaners.

Although the self cleaning oven does the majority of the cleaning during the 3-5 hour process, you still need to do a little cleaning before and after you start the self cleaning mode yourself. You should start by removing the racks from the oven first and wash them in a sink using a scraper or brush to remove stuck-on food. Then, wipe down the inside of your oven with a hot damp cloth to try to remove any large spills. DO NOT use any rough scouring pads or oven cleaners on the inside of the oven because they may damage the  special pyrolytic coating.

There are a few things you should always remember when you are putting your oven on “self-clean mode”. You should always open a window do to the smell of the fumes that may come when burning off old food. If you happen to have a pet bird, you should remove it from the area because the fumes, which are not harmful to people, may be harmful to birds. And never try to open the oven door during the cleaning process or you risk the possibility of being burned (during the cleaning process the temperature can be as high as 900 Fahrenheit).

Green Cleaning For Your Pets

As an animal lover I know that a pet is like a family member, and like a family member you want to make sure they are as safe as possible. Getting vaccinations, buying certain foods for a healthy diet, or even just taking them for walks so they get exercise, are all ways we try to protect our “other family members”. Another way you can help protect them is by using natural or “green” cleaning items in your house and on your pets.

In previous blogs I’ve mentioned that things like vinegar, baking soda, and lemons can be used to do anything from cleaning an oven, grill, or toilet, to putting the shine back on chrome. These items can also be used to safely clean up after your pet. 

The next time your pet has an accident on your rug, instead of using traditional cleaners, try cleaning up the mess by scrubbing the area with club soda as soon as possible and let it dry. Then sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the area and let it sit to help control the odor. After about an hour vacuum the area thoroughly. If the stain is still there you can spread lemon juice over the area and let it soak in for about 20 min. After the stain is removed, use a mixture of vinegar and water to remove the odor.

If your pet is anything like the dogs I’ve had in my life, then they probably don’t like taking  a bath. There is a natural solution that won’t get water all over the bathroom. If your pet is starting to smell a little funky, you can dry bathe it using baking soda. Sprinkle your pet’s coat with baking soda and rub it in with your hands. Then, use a brush and gently spread the baking soda through the fur until the baking soda is gone. The best part is, even if they lick their coat, they won’t get sick because there are no harsh chemicals involved.

Would you vacuum your dog?

More than half of U.S. households now own a pet, and they have become a big enough chore that manufacturers increasingly are introducing products and tools specially designed to clean up after them. This is from an interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal


Pet Cleaners Promise Hair Today, Doggone Tomorrow

Tips to keep your pet safe during fireworks season

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley has some great tips on keeping pets safe during fireworks season. We hope you and your family have a safe holiday!

Be safe this holiday and follow these tips to help your pet through fireworks season
While firefighters are still working to extinguish the Flagstaff Fire, we remind you that Boulder Police announced yesterday a zero-tolerance for fireworks violations to reduce fire danger and protect our beautiful city and our homes.
The dogs and cats of our community would applaud their decision if they could because many pets find the noise and commotion of fireworks very distressing. Animals have extremely sensitive hearing. To a dog or cat, even the distant sound of fireworks can be alarming.
To ensure your pets’ comfort and safety, the Humane Society recommends the following tips:

  • Leave pets at home instead of bringing them to public picnics, fairs and fireworks display.
  • When walking dogs, keep them on a leash at all times in the event they panic due to a sudden noise.
  • Keep pets away from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area. Turning on a radio or television will help drown out outdoor noises.
  • Do not leave an anxious dog alone in a yard or in a house with access to a screened or open window.
  • Keep all cats – even indoor/outdoor cats – indoors. A screened porch is a safe compromise for a few days.
  • Composure is an over-the-counter tasty, chew with a calming formula that helps to reduce stress and anxiety in dogs and cats. It is available for purchase at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley Veterinary Clinic.

Every fireworks season we find our shelter filled with lost pets. According to 24PetWatch™ (our microchip company) call center statistics, lost pet calls increased 69% during the 1st and 4th of July festivities in 2011. We receive many dogs and cats who aren’t wearing tags, who aren’t microchipped, and even worse, pets who have been hit by cars and seriously injured. Animals with microchips (and updated contact information) and wearing identification can often be immediately returned to their homes.

Reporting a lost or found pet

To report a lost or found pet, call the Humane Society of Boulder Valley at 303-442-4030 or click here to file a lost report online. If we are closed, call the Boulder Police Department at 303-441-3333 or your local animal control. Pets who have been reported found or received at the Humane Society are listed on our website. Our website lists all of the animals brought to us as stray, as well as animals who are reported “found” but have not been turned in to the shelter.

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley will be closed on Wednesday, July 4th. We will reopen Thursday morning at 11:00 am.