Category Archives: Pets

Are hand sanitizers dangerous to us and our pets?

With the Covid protocols seeing hand sanitizers flying off the shelf of stores, we have to wonder what effect the germ killers they contain has on our health and our pets.  They are basically alcohol based and this can, in people, cause alcohol poisoning with symptoms in people of confusion, vomiting, drowsiness and even respiratory arrest an death. Hand sanitizer usage has also actually increased antimicrobial resistance increasing the change of contracting the disease. In June 2020 researchers reported over 9000 hand sanitizer exposure poisoning cases in children.

Some brands contain a toxic version of alcohol called methanol. Methanol, also called wood alcohol, can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested, the FDA warns. Symptoms include headache, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, loss of coordination, and a decreased level of consciousness and even death. The methanol has a direct toxic effect on the optic nerve, and ingestion can lead to blindness.

Another ingredient in many hand sanitizers is Triclosan, also found in soap. This ingredient is an endocrine disruptor and interferes with the thyroid hormone. Overuse of this ingredient leads to antibiotic resistance increasing susceptibility to infections. Recently Triclosan has been banned from most hand sanitizers, but not all and since EPA-approved products do not need to have their ingredients listed on product labels you may not know what toxin lies in hiding.

Handling pets after using hand sanitizers exposes them through their skin, and especially in cats where they will groom themselves to get rid of the substance. The FDA has stated there is no evidence that antibacterial products are more effective than regular soap and water. You could also substitute for therapeutic-grade essential oils but note that some essential oils are high in salicylates or phenol and these can be toxic to cats.

To protect your pets, when you get home, please keep your mask away from your pets until you wash it.  If you’ve been in an area of high potential exposure, change you clothes before letting your furry family member sit on your lap. Wash both your hands and your pets feet (if they have been in an area of exposure) with plain soap and water, reduce dust in your house (wet mop), and avoid toxic purchases (read labels). Our pets, especially cats, are susceptible to the virus especially because they groom themselves and can ingest the virus. If someone in your household is quarantined, make sure they stay away from the pets as well. Cats can shed the virus in their feces for a short time after infections so clean the litter box often and wear a mask while doing this. Double bag the soiled  litter, especially if it creates dust. Like people, pets need to keep their immune system on high alert so you may want to fortify with supplements.

If a family member has Covid, watch if your cat coughs or sneezes a lot and has trouble breathing. Then isolate them for 14 days and call the vet right away. They recover well with a little help from the vet. According to the CDC , there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.

*link to photo source and article on better hand sanitizer: 


Pain reliever cream kills cats.

Don’t use pain reliever creams on your hand and then pet the cat…. can make them sick and even kill them! Read more…

“When the veterinarians performed necropsies on the three dead cats, they found physical damage in the cats’ intestines and kidneys, evidence of the toxic effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, like Advil and Motrin, and naproxen, which is in Aleve.

Ibuprofen is the most common drug that pets eat, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, perhaps since many of the pills are candy-coated. In pets, the drugs can cause stomach or intestinal ulcers and kidney failure.

But these cats died by flurbiprofen, another NSAID. In the case of its most recent victims, the cat owner applied a lotion or cream containing flurbiprofen to treat muscle or arthritis pain. And it’s highly unusual for a cat to show up at the vet’s office; usually it’s the dogs that get into trouble from exposure to NSAIDs.

“I can’t even remember the last cat I’ve seen that got into ibuprofen or an NSAID,” Erica Reineke, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, tells Shots. “We’ve seen more cats that get into antidepressants.”

Reineke says that she probably treats a pet for some sort of ingestion problem every day, but usually it’s chocolate or chewing gum, or the owner’s medication. As little as 50 milligrams of ibuprofen for every kilogram a cat weighs can cause problems; for dogs, it’s 100 milligrams for every kilogram. Reineke says she’s never seen flurbiprofen toxicity in her office and would have a hard time estimating how much would be toxic to a cat or dog.
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The FDA recommends that pet owners store all medications away from pets and to discard anything used to apply the medication. If any furniture or carpeting becomes contaminated, clean it immediately.”

Rodent poisons kill our pets too.

There are an influx of rats in New England so many people are resorting to poisoning them. (We have-a heart trapped ours and took them to the woods). These also kill skunks, raccoons, and possums too.  This post came from my vet:

To keep our fur-families (and humans!) as safe as possible, we would like to discuss products available that, if ingested, may be more treatable than others in their class.  Each poison product creates toxic effects and most require some degree of treatment.  Several types include ingredients containing:

Long-Acting anticoagulants:  ANTIDOTE = Treatment with Vitamin K. These anticoagulants prevent the blood from clotting, which leads to internal bleeding if not treated properly.  Toxicity varies for animals, creating more risk for our older or very young animal companions. Cats tend to be more resistant, although they not immune to toxicity.  Dogs tend to be very sensitive and almost always require medical treatment.

Cholecalciferols (vitamin D3), NO ANTIDOTE: The most dangerous and should be avoided when possible, especially for households with animals.  Even small amounts can be fatal for any animal, and almost all ingestion is at the very least, toxic.  Prompt aggressive treatment and monitoring is typically required.  Signs of D3 poisoning may not be noticed for 1-2 days after exposure. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, vomiting, decrease of appetite, weakness/lethargy, and possibly an ammonia smell to the breath.

Bromethalin, NO ANTIDOTE: A Neurotoxin with long-lasting effects (requiring longer term hospital care) and is especially toxic to cats, although is toxic to dogs as well.

Zinc, Calcium and aluminum phosphides, NO ANTIDOTE: These are used mainly in other animal baits, but some mouse and rat baits contain these poisons.  These release toxic gases, and once in the stomach, result in serious gastrointestinal issues and possible liver damage, or shock.

If you must use a rodenticide on your property, place in an area that is not accessible to your companion animal.  If you have a choice to a rodenticide with long-acting anticoagulants, which are more treatable than other poisons on the market, we recommend this, however, these might not be as accessible after January of 2018 in response to EPA regulations that have restricted regulations and banned the use of second-generation anticoagulants.  Buyer beware, most rodenticides sold for residential use will most likely contain cholecalciferol or bromethalin, however many pest control companies that service commercial customers are still using anticoagulants.

If your animal has consumed any rodenticide product, call your veterinarian immediately.  Please try and provide the following information to assist in the most effective treatment for your animal companion: rodenticide packaging to identify the type of poison, how much of the rodenticide was ingested, and the approximate time the poison was ingested.


House plants that clean the air

These are the plants I use in my house, although I built my home as a non-toxic one so they are useful for whatever else shows up.

Spider plants are among the easiest houseplants to grow,  and remove formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide an xylene, a solvent. Spider plants are OK to have around your pets.

Peace lily plants are relatively small compared to many of the plants on this list, but they still pack some major air-cleaning abilities. Easy to grow, and remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. They are toxic to pets so please don’t keep them in a spot where the animals can chew on them.

Boston Ferns prefer to clean the air from a cool location with  high humidity so make sure in the winter you add a humidifier to your room.  They’re relatively easy to grow, but they do need to stay moist. They also remove formaldehyde and xylene and are fine to have around pets.

In addition to being easy to care for, Aloe ‘s leaves contain a clear liquid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, but don’t eat the plant… it must be processed correctly or is toxic to the body. It also removes formaldehyde. Do not leave where you pet can chomp on it as they may develop diarrhea and if it gets severe you may have to take them to the vet.

*Boston fern photo by

 Note: read on my blog why I stopped taking vitamin pills .  Click Here

Keep your pet safe during the holidays.

img_0472We offered this in 2014 but in case you forgot, figured it was important to mention again.

Tips to keep your pet safe during the holidays. Those great holiday plants are a pretty accessory but don’t let them eat mistletoe or holly…poinsettias aren’t lethal but can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Don’t let them drink the water under the tree especially if you’ve added longevity chemicals to keep the tree green, and don’t let them eat pine needles.

Make sure you keep tinsel and ornaments away and make sure they can’t chew light wires. Also they my chomp down ribbons and paper so watch them. Snow globes are filled with antifreeze which could kill them so if one breaks clean it up and keep the pet out of the room while cleaning.

 Make sure you don’t leave chocolate, gravy, spicy foods, cooked bones, alcohol where your pet can ingest it. Candles should be extinguished while you are not in the room as the pet may knock it over and burn your house down. Also potpourri can make them sick as can those oil fragrance sticks (the oil can be lethal).

And last but not least, keep your pets away from party guests if they seem to be getting stressed due to all the commotion. Best to keep them in a safe space until the party is over.

-don’ t forget to get the free download of my new book Think and Feel Younger





Cats and poisonous plants

tigdaisyWe know that lots of our readers have pets and many are kitties. We ourselves have many furry family members. We thought we’d share this information for cat owners who want to make sure their pets don’t get sick or die from eating houseplants or toxic yard plants. This is the list:

Lilies: both outdoor (tiger, daylilies,etc) and houseplants (Easter lilies, Peace lilies) when ingested can cause kidney failure  and death if not gotten to the vet immediately. Even a small bite can be toxic. If they start vomiting, get depressed and lose their appetite… look around. They may also drool and paw at the irritated areas. You may also get foaming and swelling. If you see part of the plant munched – get them to the vet.

Aloa vera: Many of us have these cactus in our homes and most cats will leave them alone, but if they should chomp on them they can get irritation of the mouth, tongue and esophagus. While not as critical as lily ingestion a visit to the vet will be prudent.

Other toxic plants are asparagus fern, amaryllis, daffodil and lily of the valley. Also watch out for dieffenbachia, rhododendron, azalea, oleander – all outdoor plants which normally cats avoid.

If you suspect the cat is acting differently, avoiding food or acting lethargic get them to the vet. If you can determine if they munched on a plant bring part of it with you. We all want our furry kids to be around a long time so you need to be diligent and not have those types of plants indoors. It’s more difficult outdoors but most cats know which ones not to munch on. Also please don’t spray your lawn with pesticides as cats and dogs not only eat the grass, but walk on it and then lick their feet. Pesticide poisoning may not show up immediately but can lead to neural damage and cancer.


Why grain-free for your pooch or kitty?

ChristophercloseIn recent years the trend has been to give our pets grain free food saying they do not eat that in the wild. So I wanted to know exactly why and found an article in Whole Foods magazine (march 2016) that made sense. The article “Putting Your Best Paw Forward” by Maxine Bogle told me that pets who eat large quantities of grains long-term can get metabolic upsets, chronic illness and bouts of inflammation.

It seems that once they eat grains, the “pancreas begins to secrete larger amounts of the enzyme necessary to process carbs (amylase) and insulin, the hormone necessary to balance the elevated blood sugar resulting from the metabolism of grains.”  Since pets don’t readily secrete enough amylase this causes insulin to be released and the blood sugar levels drop. The result is the adrenals release cortisol which can elevate blood sugar and lead to diabetes. It can also cause high blood pressure that can result in thinning of the skin and coat, decreased bone and muscle mass and cause them to be more susceptible to infection.

This doesn’t say that cold turkey on grains is the answer to all their problems, and some can tolerate grains better than others. Therefore, its best to consult a vet who is up-to-date on this subject and get their advice for your furry family member.

PS. Don’t forget to get the FREE download of my new e-book “Think and Feel Younger” : Click Here

New info for your furry family member.

I started a new blog for wellness tips for dogs and cats. This is not a “cure” site but gives you tips on how to keep your pet healthy and offers some suggestions on supplements you may want to investigate.

PS. Don’t forget to get a FREE e-copy of my new book “Think and Feel Younger” Click Here


Nick will stare at you til you do..



Don’t kill your pet while killing fleas and ticks!

nickcabinetcropI hate fleas and ticks but I’m not willing to kill my cat or dog just to be rid of those pests and that is exactly what 90% of the collars, topical and sprays can do. Most contain neurotoxins which ofter time can destroy the efficiency of your pooch or kitties brain and they can harm your children too. Insect pesticide neurotoxins are the primary active ingredients in most canine flea & tick medication. Insect neurotoxins will stop existing infestations of fleas and ticks by attacking the central nervous systems of bugs. And guess what they do to your pet long term?

The most common insect neurotoxins in dog flea and tick medications are: Fipronil (FIH-pron-ill), found most commonly in Frontline for cats and PetArmor products.Imidacloprid (eye-mid-uh-CLOP-rid), found most commonly in the K9 Advantix and Advantage II products. Permethrin (per-METH-rin), also found most commonly in Advantix products, as well as Protical products.

Flea collars are designed to leave pesticide residues on pet fur, exposing people to the chemicals they contain when they play with their pet or touch pet bedding. If you child plays with the pet the pesticide is absorbed through their skin or it can be ingested when a child puts their hand in their mouth. Propoxur and TCVP are types of pesticides found in flea collars that are known to be toxic to brain development, nervous system communication and can cause cancer.  In large doses, these chemicals can also harm or kill dogs, cats and in extreme poisoning cases, even humans.

Most topical flea treatments are neurotoxins and can affect the brain. Pets may exhibit the following symptoms.

  • Rash
  • Redness
  • Loss of hair
  • Itching with discoloration
  • Drooling
  • Increased excitability
  • Changes in body temperature (lower or higher)
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy

So what is the alternative? Diatomaceous earth, garlic, brewer’s yeast, and essential oil products are the most common natural remedies. The problem with the oils is that they contain phenols which are toxic to animals because their liver can’t detoxify it, so its best not to use the essential oils. And many contain peppermint which may be OK for dogs but not for cats. I found a company that makes Eastern Red Cedar oil that is properly diluted with a hydrated silica carrier oil at a 90% ratio.  It is not known to be harmful to cats or kittens, since it does not contain phenols, or phenolic compounds, which occur naturally in many essential oils. This is extremely effective and you only have to apply it once a week. See their website: