Air fresheners made from simple household ingredients

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1. Vodka
Ethyl alcohol, found in vodka and other spirits, is a main ingredient in most commercial air fresheners. Cleaning your air with vodka allows you to get rid of musty odors without saturating the air (or your lungs) with added chemicals, like petroleum-derived propellants and harmful synthetic fragrances. Vodka leaves no odor as it dries, so you can spray it straight into your air as is, or add 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oils for a pleasant scent.

2. Cat Litter
Have a smelly closet or musty basement? Set out a tray of cat litter, specifically, Jonny Cat Litter brand, recommends Joey Green of Joey Green’s Cleaning Magic. One primary reason that brand works so well has to do with the fact that the main ingredient is Diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring mineral that, among its many wonders, absorbs odors (it also absorbs moisture in the air and kills pests that come in contact with it). So if you can’t find any Jonny Cat Litter, buy a box of Diatomaceous earth and set a few bowls out in the corners of smelly rooms. You can find it online from garden supply stores, such as Planet Natural.

3. Coffee Grounds
Who doesn’t love the smell of coffee? According to Green, it’s another weird odor remover that helps cut the smell of winter mustiness. You can use fresh or used grounds, but if going with used, let them dry out a bit first. Place them in a bowl wherever you need an odor removed, or wrap them up in a coffee filter or old stocking and hang them in a closet or from a shelf. If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can still benefit. Some Starbucks (and many small locally owned cafes) give their used coffee grounds away for free.

4. A Palm Tree
We’re not talking about palm trees at the beach (though a beach vacation is a good way to get away from dirty indoor air). Palm trees used as houseplants are very effective air purifiers, known to remove formaldehyde, which lurks in paints, furniture finishes, and the glues used to hold pressed wood and particle board together. You’ll get similar benefits from a variety of other houseplants, but palm trees are among the easiest to care for. Look for Dwarf date, bamboo, areca, lady, or parlor palm varieties.

5. Your Skin
Thanks to all the oils in your skin, dead skin flakes act like natural air purifiers, say researchers from Denmark. According to their study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, one of the most common oils in skin, squalene, reduces levels of the indoor air pollutant ozone, a respiratory irritant that can trigger asthma attacks. After comparing levels of ozone in a day-care center’s indoor air with the amount of squalene from skin flakes in its dust, the researchers determined that dead skin flakes can reduce ozone levels anywhere from 2 to 15 percent. We’re not quite sure how to make use of this information, but it’s nice to know you’re producing your very own natural air purifier.

6. Elbow Grease
Ultimately, the best way to deal with smelly or chemical-laden indoor air is to go straight to the source. It’s easier to eliminate an odor’s cause than to try to cover it up with coffee grinds or cat litter. And indoor air pollutants that collect in dust can be trapped by a good vacuum and weekly dusting with a damp cloth. To prevent further polluting your indoor air, make your own green cleaning kit with white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and borax, all of which are also natural odor removers

Is My Dog Cut Out For Camping?

 

Camping with Your DogBeforelanning a trip, you need to figure out if your dog can handle “ruffing” it. If Fido is big on barking, he’s best left at home for so that you and other campers can have a peaceful experience. Also, you may think your friendly dog is delightful, but other campers might not welcome him. If your dog tends to wander when left to his own devices, you might want to keep him on leash or attached to a run when not in the tent with you. Next, consider your dog’s physique and capabilities when planning a trip with him, especially one that involves hiking. If he’s a breed that is low to the ground, like a Dachshund, rough terrain is not the best option. Think about the length of his fur and his grooming requirements when deciding whether to take him along. His long, flowing hair may look beautiful with the wind blowing through it, but the time and effort it will take to remove the knots, dirt and insects from it afterwards may not be worth the hassle.

Boot Camp

Training is crucial for a camp-ready canine, unless you plan to keep him leashed for the duration of your trip. For advocates of the leash, plan to bring a long rope to securely tie between two trees so your dog can have a “run” while remaining safely in your vicinity. Even for tethered dogs, commands are still important. You want him to drop that porcupine when you tell him to. The basic commands you should teach your pup ahead of your big adventure are “okay” (to release him from the command), “stay,” “come,” “lie down,” and “drop it.” With these under his collar, your doggy should be well behaved enough to give you peace of mind. 

Doggy Gear

Of course, you’ll bring along the usual dog-friendly equipment—bowls for food and water, kibble or canned grub, a collar, a leash, a poop scoop and bags, his favorite sleeping set-up of bed or pillow, a toy, and maybe a crate to ensure his safety if things get really wild. But if your trip includes backpacking, Fido can carry his own weight. Backpacks for canines are designed to strap around a dog’s chest and have pouches on either side to help you cart stuff across the woods. Your pooch should be introduced to the pack and what it will carry over the course of a couple of months. Make the process gradual, with just one can or day’s worth of bagged kibble at first. Build up to about a week’s worth by the time you hit the trail. He will feel important and happy to contribute to the cause.

Special Considerations

When packing for a camping trip with your furry friend, take whatever you will need and “doggify” it for your pooch. Maybe you’d like to bring something special for him to enjoy while you’re roasting wienies and marshmallows over the campfire. Perhaps she would appreciate some rubber-soled canine booties for hitting the trail without the consequences of sharp rocks. Extra towels in case of rainy days are a must, as is shampoo to clean up after a romp in the mud. Citronella torches or candles are handy to keep your area mosquito-free, and DIY herbal and safe repellant recipes for dogs (and people) can easily be found on the Internet prior to the trip. Last but not least, consider the tick and flea potential of your destination of choice, and bring along effective repellants as well as a magnifying glass and sharp tweezers to remove any offenders.

How to start training a dog

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Introduce the collar and leash
As early as a few weeks old, you can introduce your pup to her collar and leash. Wait until she’s doing something positive such as feeding, playing, or getting affection from you and slip on the collar and leash. The idea is both to get her used to wearing them and to have her associate them with positive feelings. If your dog fights against the leash or collar, try using treats or toys to get her more comfortable.

Go for a walk — inside
Just because you don’t want to risk taking your pup around the neighborhood doesn’t mean you can’t walk. Attach his leash and guide him around your living space so he gets used to you leading him around. If you have a backyard, you should use bathroom time as another opportunity for leash training by walking your pup out to the spot where you want him to go, instead of letting him have the run of the yard.

Help him learn to follow
Ideally, you want to be leading your dog when you’re on the walk — not the other way around. But this is a lot harder to do with a large adult dog than a tiny pup, so there’s no better time for training than now. All you have to do is put on his leash and walk a few steps. When he inevitably starts to pull, you should turn and walk in the opposite direction. You’ll stop-and-start a lot at first, but eventually she’ll get it. You can reinforce this learning by rewarding him with praise or treats when he does follow.

Practice obedience training
By the time your dog is ready to go out on walks, between months 3 and 6, it’s also a good window to start obedience training. Start with basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel,” and “down,” and make sure everyone doing the training is consistent, using the same words and gestures. Otherwise, the dog will become confused.

One of the best ways to teach these basic commands is the “Ask, Tell, and Command” method. The idea is that you first ask your dog to do something, such as “come.” Then tell them to do it using a firm voice if they don’t comply the first time. If that still doesn’t work, repeat the command again and physically pull your pup to you. Regardless of whether your dog comes on her own or you bring her over, immediately offer praise. This will help her to associate completing the action with a reward, and next time she may do it sooner.

Keep up with the training and stay consistent. Pretty soon your dog will obey you without even thinking about it!

Stoop to scoop the poop?

Stoop to scoop the poop?

There are 8 million dogs in the UK, which adds up to a lot of daily walks and potential for a lot of dog faeces to be left behind. Most dog walkers are happy and even proud to bag and bin their dog’s waste, some might leave waste if they are off the beaten track or in more rural locations, while a small proportion of dog walkers are totally disengaged from the idea that picking up their dog waste is the “right thing to do.” A new study in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, discusses the environmental, health and safety issues.

Dog faeces are not only as unpleasant as any animal waste, they can also carry parasitic diseases that have health impacts on people and animals that come into contact with them. For instance, they might transmit toxocariasis, via the larvae (immature worms) of the dog roundworm (Toxocara canis), which can cause blindness, asthma and neurological problems in those affected. Dog faeces from animals that eat raw meat and bones are also suspected of causing neosporosis in cattle. The researchers also point out that the presence of dog faeces in country parks, walks and other recreational areas can deter visitors and so have a local economic impact in those areas.

Dog waste signs, bins and their collection are a significant cost to local authorities amounting to more than £22 million per year across England and Wales. “Dog waste is also an emotive subject and complaints made by the public to local authorities are often dominated by dog waste issues,.” There are, the researchers report, several hundred thousand public complaints each year, which also adds costs to local authorities.

“It is becoming socially unacceptable for dog owners in the UK not to clean up after their dogs,” the team says. “This behavioural change may also be partly associated with the construction of ‘the responsible dog owner’ that has developed in the context of increased media exposure of dog attacks.”

The researchers carried out a path audit in popular dog walking areas of Lancashire, UK, to determine the influence of path morphology, location and management (related to dog waste) on the frequency and location of bagged and non-bagged dog waste. They also conducted an online, nationwide survey of dog walkers to determine attitudes and behaviour regarding dog waste.

The team suggests that there are five types of dog walker from the most to the least socially and environmentally responsible:

  • Proud to pick up — happy to be seen carrying dog waste, will pick up in all locations and take it home if no bins are available
  • It is the right thing to do — will pick up in public places but will seek to dispose of the waste as soon as it is practical; often embarrassed to be seen carrying bagged waste
  • I have done my job — if there is no bin available will leave the bagged waste to be dealt with by others
  • Only if I have to — will only pick up in the presence of other people — likely to discard when no one is looking
  • Disengaged — will not pick up in any situation even if they are aware of the environmental consequences of their actions

The study highlights the complexities of the issue, the team says, and in particular the importance of interactions between situational, social and individual motivational factors in influencing behaviour. “It is suggested that significantly more research is required to assist in addressing this emotive yet complex problem,” they conclude.

Rolling in Stinky Stuff

Rolling in Stinky Stuff

Why would a perfectly normal dog choose to roll around in garbage, dung, or rotting corpses? Like it or not, some do, and seem to get great pleasure out of it. And it’s rarely the dog’s own mess; rather, it’s nearly always something else’s putrid leavings. Go figure.

Why? One theory claims that dogs want to mark over a strong scent with their own smell, rising to the olfactory “challenge.” Others posit it’s a holdover from when dogs wished to camouflage their own scent in order to sneak up on prey. Or it may simply be that dogs to whom scent is everything, simply revel in the fragrances emitted by gross things. To dogs, what we find horrid is actually interesting. Think teenage boys wearing cheap cologne.

To prevent your dog anointing himself with eau de rotting seal keep things as clean as possible around home and property. While on walks, make sure you decide when your dogs stops to relieve themselves, or investigate. Keep an eye out for garbage, dead animals, or generally stinky stuff. Work on the Leave it! command, as well as a reliable recall command to stop an off-leash dog from rolling in stink. If needed, use a loud clap and a verbal Leave it! if you see him going for that flattened squirrel. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot on dog shampoo.

How to travel with your dog

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The most comfortable way to travel with a dog is by motor vehicle. This form of transportation gives the best opportunity to effectively tend to their needs and give them needed attention. However, not all dogs enjoy riding in vehicles. While some dogs jump at the chance to go for a car ride, others detest it. Sometimes car travel is not possible and air travel becomes the only alternative. It is important to do the homework necessary to insure the comfort and security of the cherished companion.

It may be necessary to prepare the dog for the upcoming trip. Here are some suggestions which may help:

*Introduce the dog to the carrier in ample time before the trip. Make it as comfortable as possible, including any favorite and comforting toys.
*If the dog is not accustomed to riding in a car, go for short rides, making sure to secure the carrier with a seat belt.
*When the departure date arrives, feed your dog at least three hours before it is time to leave.
*Whether traveling by car or airline, always make sure that your dog has the proper identification.
*If traveling by air, the first step is to check flight restrictions. It is important to find out which airlines accept dogs and select the ones that will have the most comfortable and secure environment.
*Dogs pick up on their owners’ emotional states. If you are anxious, most likely, your dog will be anxious as well. It is important to plan all aspects of your trip in a way that will insure your own peace of mind.

How to keep your dog healthy

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The combination of low nutrition and a high chemical load from your dog’s diet and medication, has the effect of causing liver (in particular, but other organs are not unaffected) toxicity and a low immunity. The effect of a compromised liver can lead to anger and aggression, as well as digestive problems and cancer.

The effect of a compromised immune system means your dog is far more likely to contract other health related problems and is easy prey to passing epidemics.

Simply changing the diet can start to unload the toxins in your dog and improve his/her immune system. The best food for your dog is to make it yourself from quality, human grade ingredients. You can find more information on this subject here. http://naturallyhealthydogs.com/indexnn.html

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