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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Protecting Your Furry Friends from Sun Overexposure – Animals Get Sunburn Too!

Summer is just around the bend and with that comes sunny days, cool breezes and long walks in the parks and trails, at least for me and my pups.  After a long winter being cooped up in the house my dogs are more than ready to hit the trails and let loose!  I usually pack lots of water, treats and a few toys to toss around but after last summer I realized that my pups need the same type of sun protection as I do. After a long afternoon of trails and splashing around in the lake one of my pups came home with what looked like a sunburn.  I was a bit surprised so I decided to take some extra steps to ensure that wouldn’t happen again.
Easy Shade for A Quick Cool Down
Cooling Off
Cooling Off
If your pups are anything like mine, putting a halt on play time stinks!  I came up with a play area that I can set up either under a large beach umbrella or a shade tent. I create my own shade with a lightweight UV blanket designed for babies that has stretchy ties on the four corners which I tie between either 2 beach chairs or from the back of one chair to a tree. I put things like cold water, food and some Kong toys filled with peanut butter to ensure once they get a sniff they will stay under the shade for a longer period of time making cool down time still fun.  I also check for signs of sunburn or any kind of overheating.
Sunscreen for Pets
At first I had no idea this stuff existed, but when my poor little Japanese Chin burned his little ears I went searching for pet friendly sunscreens.  I was shocked to see so many great products were out there that help pets stay safe from harsh UV rays.  I found a brand called Epi-Pet and it works great, I simply rub some on his ears, nose, belly, forehead and any areas that will be in direct sunlight. I make sure it’s all absorbed before I let him run off just to make sure he won’t lick it off.
I take additional steps as well, since I live in an area where the sun can be harsh I never take my dogs out between 10am-3pm,  I find that they enjoy the morning or early evening weather better and are less prone to wearing out or getting overheated.  I also try not to trim their hair too short, shaving them makes it easier to get sunburns and it causes them to itch. When I do take them out I make sure that all areas are covered with a non-toxic sunscreen and I have my sunshade, treats and water in hand. Once I find a good area I usually set up and allow them to see everything laid out, this way, when I call them back they will come running without much fuss.  My dogs love the outdoors so finding ways to let them play while still proving adequate shade, sun protection and overall safety is a good feeling!

Do you have a great idea for protecting your pet from the sun? We would love to hear your stories, tell us about it!
Sarah Shade (Guest Blogger)
Sarah Shade is a long time writer that brings tips, education, and the latest trends in all things heath, fitness, technology & green living. She lives in Sterling and is mommy to Mikey and Foxy the BEST dogs on the face of the earth!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Earth Day For Kids- Create Your Own Garden

Showing your little one’s how to recycle is a great way to make a big impact in their future, and it’s not just recycling cans, paper or plastic anymore either.  Left over scrapes from dinner can become an interesting project that will allow them to see how never wasting food can help them actually create more food!  Creating rich soil with compost show’s your children that everything is reusable.  The best part is, when the compost is ready they will have a great time helping you spread the compost all over the garden.
Composting doesn’t have to be complicated or hard work. Although all the instructions on how to compost will advise  you to ‘turn’ the compost often I’m just too busy instead so my suggestion is the “Slack Gardener Method” which involves filling 2 bins alternately. When the first is full-ish I give it a good soaking with the hose then leave it to work it’s magic whilst we dump all our leftovers in the second. It only takes a couple of months for the stuff at the bottom to start breaking down so I harvest that as needed (I use the type of bin with the door at the bottom), by the time I have used up the first bin, bin 2 is just about cooked and ready to use.
*Bonus the kids love watching all the bugs, worms and roly-polies that quickly make our compost bin their home and do such a fantastic job breaking down everything from egg shells to vacuum dust and dryer lint!
**To save $ check to see if you local department of sanitation do compost workshops. I got both of our bins through LADWP, they do monthly composting workshops, give away FREE mulch and sell bins at a BIG discount.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day – Create Your Own Re-Usable Shopping Bag

Replacing your plastic bags with reusable fabric bags is the perfect Earth Day craft project.  Since it can take up to one thousand years for a single bag to break down this project really can make a huge difference.  Simply purchase inexpensive fabric canvass bags, and allow your children to create their very own designs with stamps, fabric pens or paint.  Each child’s bag will cut down on excess garbage in the landfills while sporting their fantastic art work.  Have each child create multiple bags and soon enough you’ll have a whole gallery of art work that poses multiple purposes. 
Fabric bags can also be a great way to organize toys and other odds and ends that don’t have a place
To find more creative ways to design these reusable bags click here:  http://crafts.kaboose.com/canvas-grocery-tote.html

Plastic bag facts

  • Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year.
  • An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
  • Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the USA end up getting recycled.
  • Plastic bags are often mistakenly ingested by animals, clogging their intestines which results in death by starvation. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.
  • Even when they photo-degrade in landfill, the plastic from single-use bags never goes away, and toxic particles can enter the food chain when they are ingested by unsuspecting animals.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sun, Skin & Cancer Stats

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Here in the UK we have a love hate relationship with the weather but finally it seems that the sun is putting its hat on and making an appearance. After months of rain, sleet, hail, snow and freezing temperatures spring is making it long awaited entrance. The days are longer and filled (mostly) with sun shine and the temperatures are soaring into double figures, a cause for much celebration.
Read more… 775 more words

Some of my worst sunburns were as a child at home in the UK. We were so happy to finally see the sun we'd bare all in a desperate attempt to develop the elusive tan which never happen I just ended up scorched!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Should I Use “2 in 1″ Sunscreen And Insect Repellent Or Separate Products?


Any time we can reduce the number of items we need to bring along we get excited but with 2 in 1 sunscreen and insect repellent, is it safe to use?
All sunscreens  requires you to re-apply frequently at least every 2 hours , sunscreen combined with insect repellent poses an issue because you’re reapplying not only the sunscreen but the repellent as well which can lead to skin irritation or rash. 
Depending on how sensitive your skin is this can be a real issue.  It’s best to use separate products if you plan on going out into the sun.
Sunscreen should be used to protect your skin from harmful rays and insect repellent should be used only if you’re going to an area known for high insect activity especially ticks & mosquitoes.  If you do decide to use a combination cream carefully read and follow the manufactures directions.  Applying too much or not enough could make for an unpleasant day outdoors.
Though combination sunscreen and repellent products have not been shown to be harmful there can be some unpleasant side effects for those with sensitive skin.  Make sure you test any product first to see how your skin will react.
Wearing lightweight, breathable clothing that blocks both UV rays and protects skin from insects gives you reliable chemical free protection. You may still need to apply insect repellant to the outside of your clothing in some areas but the clothing acts as a barrier keeping toxic chemicals off your skin and leaving smaller areas of skin exposed and in need of sunscreen.
Have you found a combination sunscreen/insect repellent that works for you?