Human Foods that are Dangerous for Pets

August 27th, 2012

Simon is family, and all of us, including my extended family treat him like the baby.  However, we do have to remember that he is a dog and what we can eat may often be dangerous for him.

I just saw another article reminding us about human foods that are dangerous for our pets (dogs and cats), and I wanted to also remind folks that there are certain human foods that just need to be kept away from them.

We all know about chocolate, and that this is toxic for our pets.  What we don’t always remember is that the following foods are also toxic to our pets:

* Macadamia nuts.  They  can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia.

* Grapes and raisins which can result in acute kidney failure.

* Onions and onion powder can cause damage to red blood cells.  So be careful if you give your pet table scraps.

* Several sugar-free products and human toothpaste contain xylitol an result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar, and  at high levels can result in acute liver failure.

* Raw bread dough made with yeast.  In the stomach, the dough is activated by the animal’s body heat and rise. When this happens, alcohol is created.  Some signs are abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, depression and lack of coordination.

If any of these things happen, take your pet to the vets as soon as possible.



Third Annual Fragrance Free Day Q & A

August 20th, 2012

On August 10, 2012, our Fragrance Free Day Twitter panel fielded questions and provided tips to those joining us.  Thanks again to Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist ( and Dr. Stephen Ziman, organic chemist for making yourselves available to answer questions on how fragrances can affect our pets and our families health!

For those who were unable to join us, below are Q&A from our third Fragrance Free Day (2012) and some expanded answers to questions posed to the panel.

Question 1 from @jordan_feeney: How do fragrances stay in the air for so long and what is the impact to pets and people? #fragrancefreeday

Answer from @PatrickMahaney: #Pets may be impacted by fragrances that irritate their eyes, nose, mouth, lungs, skin, & digestive tract. #FragranceFreeDay

Answer from @CleanandGreen: Fragrances are very volatile and remain in the area for a long time b4 they’re ventilated out. #FragranceFreeDay. For people, some chemicals in some fragrances have been ID’d as hormone disruptors #FragranceFreeDay.

Extended Answer from CleanandGreen:  Fragrances have chemicals which cause a secondary reaction in indoor air and contribute to the formation of formaldehyde and ultra-fine particles.  Ultra-fine particles are small enough so that they be absorbed through cell walls.  Fragrances have been tied to allergic dermatitis, asthma, headaches, mucosal symptoms.


Tip from @CleanandGreen: TIP: When cleaning your house, if you can smell the fragrances, so can your pet and they will be affected by them. #FragranceFreeDay


Question 2 from @RedHeadMeag: My dog has episodes of reverse sneezing. Scary! I know allergens are a source – could what I’m cleaning with be, too? #fragrancefreeday

Answer from @PatrickMahaney: Yes, your cleaning products may trigger an episode of reverse sneezing. #FragranceFreeDay. For safety sake, it’s best to keep your #dog, #cat, or other #pets (birds, etc) out of area being cleaned. #FragranceFreeDay


Question 3 from @alexisel: My cat was recently diagnosed with asthma. Should I look into switching to fragrance free products? #fragrancefreeday

Answer from @PatrickMahaney: Gr8 question! Yes, you should use fragrance free cleaning products (& litter) if you have an asthmatic #cat. #FragranceFreeDay

Answer from @CleanandGreen: Respiratory problems (in humans or pets) = no fragrances in your home. #FragranceFreeDay


Tip from @CleanandGreen: TIP: DEP (diethyl phthalates) can be used in cosmetics & fragrances & are identified as a potential hormone disruptor. #FragranceFreeDay


Question 3 from @MissJRF: The effects of chemical fragrances are scary – no doubt. But I really love wearing my perfume every day. Help! #fragrancefreeday

Answer from @CleanandGreen: Although you love wearing your perfume, it’s a health issue, so start by just wearing it on special occasions. #FragranceFreeDay

Extended Answer from CleanandGreen:  I know this is asking a lot, but remember, it is a health issue, not only for your pet, but for you too!  Chemicals in fragrances are linked to hormone disruptors that scientists believe are  linked to breast cancer and other health issues linked to hormonal imbalances in our system.  So, start slow and work your way towards being as fragrance free as possible.


Tip from @CleanandGreen: TIP: Every fragrance (natural or synthetic) has chemicals and can cause all of the problems we’ve mentioned. #FragranceFreeDay


Tip from @CleanandGreen: TIP: Can’t give up your perfume? Wear it less frequently, in lower quantities & cut back on other fragranced products. #FragranceFreeDay


Question 4 from @thespottedduck: I know fragrances cause air pollution in the home. What can I do to improve my home’s air quality for me & my pets? #FragranceFreeDay

Answer from @PatrickMahaney: Gr8 question. I’m going to answer in multiple parts. #FragranceFreeDay.

1. Have your home heating & cooling system seasonally serviced and change filters regularly. #FragranceFreeDay.

2. Use ventilation to move air around your home. Open windows and use both overhead and oscillating fans. #FragranceFreeDay.

3. Use completely non-toxic cleaning systems, such as vacuuming & deep steam cleaning. #FragranceFreeDay.

4. Clean your cat’s litter box once to twice daily & have your dog eliminate outdoors instead of on pads. #FragranceFreeDay.

Answer from @CleanandGreen: 3. Also, use fragrance free cleaning products in your home. #FragranceFreeDay


Tip from @CleanandGreen: TIP: Regularly clean any surfaces that come in contact with your nose or mouth, i.e. bed sheets, towels, etc. #FragranceFreeDay


Tip from @CleanandGreen: Last TIP: Don’t go fragrance free cold turkey, look at all your products & cut easiest ones first. #FragranceFreeDay

Tip from @PatrickMahaney: #Vet Tip: Just because a product says “all natural” does not mean that it is safe for use on or around your #pet. #FragranceFreeDay


@CleanandGreen to @PatrickMahaney: Great point! A lot of people think citrus products are safe but lemon, pine, etc. are actually toxic. #FragranceFreeDay


Tip from @PatrickMahaney: Another #Vet Tip: Do not use “essential oils” on your #cat. Sever toxicity, including liver failure, can occur. #FragranceFreeDay


Tip from @PatrickMahaney: #Vet Tip: Cough, sneeze, eye discharge, salivation, & behavior change are signs of chemical inhalant toxicity in #pets. #FragranceFreeDay


@CleanandGreen: Remember: It’s not only your pet’s health, it’s human health too. #FragranceFreeDay



Formaldehyde in Baby Shampoo!

August 16th, 2012

I just read an article titled, “Johnson & Johnson to Remove Formaldehyde From Products” in the New York Times.

“Formaldehyde, which last year was identified by government scientists as a carcinogen, is released over time by common preservatives like quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin, which do appear on labels. And 1,4 dioxane, which has been linked to cancer in animal studies, is created during a process commonly used to make other ingredients gentler on the skin.”

“The company had already pledged to remove certain chemicals from its baby products by 2013, but the latest announcement extended the program to its adult products, including well-known drugstore brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno and Clean & Clear.

There’s a very lively public discussion going on about the safety of ingredients in personal care products,” said Susan Nettesheim, vice president for product stewardship and toxicology for the company’s consumer health brands. “It was really important that we had a voice in that.”

Environmental and consumer groups have for years pressured Johnson & Johnson and its competitors to remove questionable ingredients from their products.”

These ingredients have been in their products for years and not even listed on the ingredients list!  I don’t know if you all did what I did, but when my children were babies I only used Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo when washing their hair.  I also washed their clothes separately using Dreft; again supposedly more gentle than other detergents to keep our babies safe.   I need to find out if I was fooled again!

Well….I, along with all you other  moms who did the same thing, were fooled!  I am starting  blog series about how to look at household cleaning products.

For more information about all consumer products, I would recommend that you plug into the Environmental Working Group (EWG) network by becoming a member.  I am, and all you moms out there should too! Become a member by going to




Fragrance Free Day is Today!

August 10th, 2012


Just a reminder that today, August 10, 2012 is Fragrance Free Day.  For all of you who have already pledged to go fragance free , thank you.  Please spread the word and encourage others to do the same!

For all of you with questions, please join me today along with Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist ( and Dr. Stephen Ziman, organic chemist.  Those with questions on the safety of products they’re using can Tweet them with the hashtag #fragrancefreeday on Friday, August 10th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST and have their question answered by one of the experts through SeaYu’s Twitter account (

Look forward to your question!  BTW, I will post the questions and answers.



Breathing Formaldehyde In Your Home?

August 9th, 2012

According to two studies the Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products and the Indoor Air Chemistry: Cleaning Agents, Ozone and Toxic Air Contaminants, fragrances can cause other chemicals (like formaldehyde and glycol ether) to form in our homes.  Here is a direct quote from the studies:

“Fragrances, particularly terpenes such as limonene, are associated with secondary chemical reactions in indoor air and can contribute to the production of formaldehyde, glycol ethers, ultrafine particals and secondary oganic aerosols.  Exposure to fragrances has been associated with a range of health effects, including allergic contact dermatiis, asthma and asthma exacerbations, headaches and mucosal symptons.  Synthetic musks have ben show to have estrogenic effects.”

It’s tough reading through these studies with all the scientific terms (where I have to go to the dictionary to understand what they mean), but the bottom line is that fragrances just are plain unhealthy for us, our children and definitely our pets!

Join us this Friday between 1PM – 2 PM ET for our Fragrance Free panel live Twitter chat from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST  using hashtag #fragrancefreeday


EWG Says Fragranced Air Fresheners Are Unhealthy!

August 8th, 2012

The Environmental Working Group is publishing a database named “Cleaners Hall of Shame” this Fall where they will review 2,000 products and 200 brands.  One of the things that the EWG points out is that cleaning products are not required (and often do not) tell you what are the product ingredients.

One major catagore in this Hall of Shame are air fresheners!  Here is a what EWG says, “Air fresheners do not clean or purify the air.  They merely cover up odors by releasing undisclosed mixtures of fragrance chemicals. Common fragrance components include chemicals that spur allergies, trigger asthma attacks or impair reproduction.”

They point out language on the product cans themselves which should tell you that they are unhealthy for you and your family (especially your pets)!

  • This product boasts that “your home will always smell fresh and clean” but cautions that the device should be placed “in well-ventilated rooms away from sleeping areas.” Among the label’s warnings: may be harmful if directly inhaled, may cause allergic reaction in some individuals, DO NOT spray towards face or body, DO NOT get in eyes, avoid content with skin, DO NOT spray directly onto surfaces.

    •  This product cautions to “use in well-ventilated rooms away from sleeping areas.”


  • These products warn, “Do not use in small confined pet areas without adequate ventilation.”

Now, if these products were safe why would you have to be careful to use these in well-ventilated rooms away from pet areas and sleeping areas?

So, join us on Fragrance Free Day and start your path to a healthier life!




Citrus Oils and Fragrances – Are They Safe for You?

August 7th, 2012

Until I started researching the ingredients in products, I always felt that lemon, orange  or pine oils and smells were safe.

It turns out that this is not true!  Oils derived from citrus implies safety, but sprayed into the air, they can react with trace levels of ozone air pollution to form ultra-fine particles that penetrate deep into the lungs and formaldehyde, which the U.S. government classifies as a known human carcinogen. The California Air Resources Board advises people to limit the use of citrus- or pine oil-based cleaners on smoggy days to avoid exposure to particulates and formaldehyde.


Cat Food Recall – Pass the Word!

August 7th, 2012

Pass the word on the cat food reccall for VitaKitty brand cat food!

Arthur Dogswell LLC, Los Angeles, CA 90025, is voluntarily recalling 1051 cartons packed as either 10 or 50 packages per case of Catswell Brand VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins because it has the potential to contain propylene glycol. High levels of propylene glycol in the treats could result in serious injury to cats. The adverse health impacts could be reducing red blood cell survival time (anemia) and making the cells more susceptible to oxidative damage. No illnesses have been reported to date.

The VitaKitty treats were distributed nationwide via retail stores and mail order from April 13th through June 14th, 2012. This product is packaged in a re-sealable 2 ounce orange plastic bag with a clear window. The VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins lot codes affected are as follows: SEW12CH032701/03c and SEW12CH032702/03c with a best before date of 09/10/13 and 09/11/13, respectively (UPC code 8 84244 00057 2). Lot codes can be found on the bottom right backside of the package.


Fragrance Free Day – 3rd Annual!

July 31st, 2012

How time flies!  We are getting ready for our third – yes third – annual Fragrance Free Day!  Allie and Simon  are here to help me do a shout out to join our Fragrance Free Day panel.

I am hosting our 3rd Annual Fragrance Free Day on Friday,  August 10, 2012, which will include a live  Twitter chat from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time with our panel of experts using hashtag #fragrancefreeday.  To answer your questions, we will have Dr. Patrick Mahaney, veterinarian to the stars and Dr. Steve Ziman, retired air quality chemist and me, Quincy Yu.

I have been blogging about the health danges of fragrances for many years, but it is slow getting the word out and for people to change their habits.  Did you know that many of us just don’t know that chemical fragrances are completely unregulated by the government yet pose a significant threat to the health of of our families and our pets?

Well….Fragrance Free Day is my continued effort to to  raise awareness about these dangers. We are asking you all to encourgage others to pledge to  go ‘fragrance free’  for just one day,  Friday, August 10, 2012 — that means no perfumes, colognes, scented lotions or harsh cleaning products with added fragrances – for one full day!

To learn more about the day,  visit our facebook page!/events/301418859956249/

So… join my panel and Simon and get your questions answered – #fragrancefreeday.  Keep getting educated on why you should NOT purchase and use fragranced products in your home for use around your pets and family.

Talk to you on the August 10th!



Twitterview with Dr Patrick Mahaney on Going Green

May 3rd, 2012

Who better to host our Earth Month Twitterview than Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian who started California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW) and is part of the Veterinary Cancer Group, an integrative veterinary medicine practice for  dogs and cats in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Patrick also writes a veterinary column and connects to animal aficionados worldwide through Q & A, videos, radio interviews, and Twitterviews this one


.@PatrickMahaney  Lets get started. Thanks so much for joining us today for an #EarthMonth chat, Dr. Patrick! #greenpetchat


.@PatrickMahaney Q1 For pet owners that may not be aware of what “greenwashing” is – can you explain? How do YOU define “green”? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A1 #greenpetchat I define “green” as a lifestyle approach with maximal emphasis placed on minimizing daily exposure to toxins


.@PatrickMahaney Q2 What do you hear from clients are their biggest issues with looking for #green #pet products? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A2 #greenpetchat Understanding what products and ingredients are safe or potentially toxic for pets and why


.@PatrickMahaney Q3 You’re big on healthy #pet food. What should people be looking for where food is concerned? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A3  #greenpetchat Pet owners should focus on providing human grade based whole foods lacking pet-grade ingredients


.@PatrickMahaney Q4 If you have to shop the #pet food aisle at the grocery store, what’s your best bet? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A4 #greenpetchat If “stuck” w/pet foods, pick canned options lacking protein & carbohydrate meals, by-products, preservatives


.@PatrickMahaney Q5 How important is it to start your #dog or #cat on an organic food product at an early age? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A5 #greenpetchat I feel human grade & whole food is more important than organic & start during puppy- or kittenhood


.@PatrickMahaney Q6 What advice would you give to pet owners that are thinking of making their own pet food? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A6 #greenpetchat Work w/their vet to do a Univ CA Davis Veterinary Nutritional Support Services consultation. Worth the $$


.@PatrickMahaney Q7 Let’s talk shampoo. What should #pet owners be looking for where coat-care products are concerned? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A7 #greenpetchat Buy shampoo lacking fragrances, colors, sodium laurel sulfate (foaming agents), insecticides, steroids, etc


.@PatrickMahaney Q8 What issues have you observed as the result of NOT using an natural #pet shampoo product? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A8 #greenpetchat Salivation, vomit, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy result from shampoo ingestion/absorption via skin


.@PatrickMahaney Q9 How important is an eco-friendly #pet bed? What should people look for? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A9 #greenpetchat Beds made w/fabrics lacking toxic chemicals, including fire retardants, formaldehyde, phthalates, PVC, BPA


.@PatrickMahaney Q10 How can pet owners go green with their #pet bed without spending lots of money? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A10 #greenpetchat Comparison shop on-line or ask for referral for best prices from eco-minded pet stores


.@PatrickMahaney Q11 For pet owners making a change 2 green products, should they be worried about how their pets will adjust? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A11 #greenpetchat Watch for signs of illness (vomit, salivation, decr appetite, etc) in pets w/any product use or change


.@PatrickMahaney Q12 Should #pet owners also be considering green pet toys? Are mass-produced toys dangerous? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A12 #greenpetchat Choose non-toxic, natural material pet toys made in USA.  Mass produced toys possibly contain toxins.


.@PatrickMahaney Q13 Why is it so important to use green #pet products? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A13 #greenpetchat As diseases are multifactorial in their origins, reduce amounts of toxins entering or being applied to pets


.@PatrickMahaney Q14 What is the most important type of green product every #pet owner should have? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A14 #greenpetchat Always provide pet foods made from human grade, whole foods & fresh water lacking toxic chemicals


.@PatrickMahaney Q15 What is your best advice for #pet owners who want to go green, but don’t know where to start? #greenpetchat

.@CleanAndGreen A15 #greenpetchat Start by looking at your pet’s food & treat labels to eliminate pet-grade ingredients & non-USA made products


Simon and Quincy