Pets Can Be Eco-Friendly Too!

When it comes to pets, Americans love to spoil their furry friends. According to a study by the American Pet Products Association, 62% of U.S. households own a pet (or 72.9 million homes), and Americans will spend an estimated $50.84 million this year on pets. One of the trends mentioned in this report discusses the increase in eco-friendly pet products on the market. Whether you have an animal with allergies or just want to ” do your part” for Mother Earth, natural pet products are easier to find than ever.

Here’s an overview of how your pet can be green too!

Buy collars, leashes and beds made with organic materials, like soy, hemp, cotton and bamboo, and recycled materials, such as plastic bottles and inner tubes. You can also find these items made with organic cotton or natural dyes, which lack the pesticides and chemicals of regular pet products (these ingredients also help with allergies). Charleston Naturally carries a line of doggie bed duvets, which allows you to build a bed by stuffing old clothes, towels or other materials into a stuff sack ($12-38). Aroo Studio collars and leashes come in a variety of colors and prints, and are made from sustainable fabrics like cotton and hemp.

Molly Mutt Perfect Afternoon Dog Bed Cover

Buy  organic and natural food, treats and chews. Also, look for items that don’t harm other animals, like elk antlers that fall of naturally. Dog bowls come in bamboo or other earth-friendly wood materials too. Guyot Design’s squishy collapsible dog bowls ($14.95) are made of BPA- and polycarbonate-free silicon.

Look for natural products for all your pet care needs. Shampoosflea sprayear cleaner and more are now being made with herbs and other natural ingredients. Using natural pet care products keeps chemicals and harmful ingredients out of wastewater, and they are better for your pet’s health. Check out all of our pet care products here ($7.98-23).

Other tips for earth-friendly animals include:

  • Check the company’s manufacturing processes to make sure they are doing their part. Using biodegradable and compostable packaging is always a plus.
  • Rework your pet waste disposal. Cats can be converted to eco-friendly litter made out of corn, wheat, recycled newspapers. Dogs waste can be disposed of with biodegradable bags, or even a doggie septic tank.
  • Buy local! Pet products made in the U.S. reduce carbon footprints. Buying from local, independent pet stores also does so and boosts your local economy.

To learn more about Charleston Naturally’s eco-friendly pet products, check out the pet section of our blog and the Kids & Critters page on our website.

DIY Day Spa for Your Pooch

We love our pets and spending quality time with them is a great way to show our appreciation for all the unconditional love they give us.  Clear your diary and reserve a special day for your best friend on a regular basis – dogs love nothing more than getting their owners’ undivided attention.  What we have in mind is something the whole family can get involved in.  Why not turn the tired old chore of washing the dog into something a little more exciting at your house? So round up the kids and get ready for some healthy clean fun.

Re-creating the Day Spa experience at home for your pooch is easy with the great, fresh-smelling organic products we have for you.  John Masters’ organic shampoo for dogs, aptly called DogPoo Dogwash, is an amazing all-rounder shampoo for dogs.  It is especially formulated with the wonderful aromatic oils of Citronella, Neem, Eucalytus and Tea Tree to ward off those pesky parasites like ticks and fleas.  Best of all, it contains a host of other alluring essential oils such as Lavender, Sage and Mint to relax your special customer.  Plant-derived extracts of Vitamins A, B5, D and E help to nourish your dog’s skin and coat.  All you need to do is lather up your pooch and massage all that goodness in.

Massage is well known for its therapeutic properties in humans, but did you know that it is equally as beneficial for pets as well?  Older animals tend to suffer from ailments just as we do.  Depending on their breed, dogs, and other animals, can get a range of diseases and debilitating conditions which require special treatment for a better quality of life.  Massage is one such treatment which does not require a trip to the Vet.  If your dog suffers from mobility troubles, a warm bath and a thorough massage on a regular basis can help to ease the pain and stiffness in their joints.

Next in line for the special doggie day spa treatment is more heavenly pampering.  How does a relaxing brushing sound?  Aubrey Organics is a leader in the world of organic products and their Organimals line is very affordable and simply divine.  Your dog will love their Organimals Dog Grooming Spray.  It is mildly scented and has great conditioning properties for your dog’s skin and coat.  Brush through after a bath or in-between shampoos to maintain freshness, moisture and to keep unpleasant odors at bay.

To enhance your dog’s day spa experience, Spot Organics has a selection of very exclusive products specifically designed to decrease anxiety and increase inner calm in dogs with the use of aromatherapy.  The Spot Organics Happy Dog Spray or their Chill – Dog Anxiety and Calming Spray is an ideal way to complete the whole spa process.  There are no chemicals and nothing artificial in these products, so you can use them as often as you like whenever stressful situations arise and know that your dog is getting wholesome goodness from the sprays.

The very last item on our list of spa treatments for your dog is a good spritz of the Spot Organics Peppermint Dog Breath Spray.  It aids in controlling bacteria in the mouth which can cause the dreaded ‘doggie-breath’ – an essential addition to your dog’s grooming at any time.

A clean pet is always a pleasure to have around and with so many fantastic natural and organic products available, it is easier than ever to care for your four-legged friends and they will thank you for it in their own special way.

Dog Days of Summer

While the official start of summer is later in June, the temps are already hot in many parts of the U. S. Last week we chatted with fellow dog owners to get their tips on how to beat the heat of the dog days of summer. We met and talked with several responsible and smart pet owners who take special precautions to keep their dogs well-hydrated and healthy.  Here’s what they had to say.

Happy dog days this summer!

CN:  Do you do anything differently when exercising/walking your dog in hot weather?

Take fewer walks, schedule them for the late afternoon or early morning, and cut the walks short.

Use a harness as opposed to a neck collar to create less strain and decrease the panting

Bring water!  A combo water bottle plus bowl with a strap works great.

Use a kid’s pool filled with water for a dog’s very own splash park.

CN: When swimming, boating, or playing in the summertime, what precautions do you take to keep your dog healthy, hydrated, and happy?

Bring water on every outing – plenty of it.

Take advantage of shady areas.

Use a collar and a leash to prevent dogs from running into traffic or into unfamiliar places.

Keep dogs away from open bodies of water like pools and ponds.

CN: How do you prepare for summer travel with your dog?

Travel with plenty of food and water and consider buying pet bowls made for travel.

Never leave the dog in the car alone in the hot summer months.

Sop every two hours for breaks.

Use window shades to shield car interior from the hot sun.

Bring along their favorite bed or blanket.

Have a tip to share?  Tell us all about it in the comment section below.



Eco-Friendly Hemp Collar for the Fashion-Forward Pup

Whether your playful pup frequents the beach, backyard, or doggy park, or enjoys boat rides and neighborhood strolls, his or her collar must battle the natural elements and inevitable play-induced tears and scratches that come with an outdoor, active lifestyle.

Instead of purchasing a new collar every few months, try a durable and eco-friendly hemp collar. Your pooch will not only be the most fashionable dog in the park, but he or she will also be able to roll in the mud and play with others without you worrying about a ruined collar.

What’s so great about a hemp collar?

  • Hemp collars have a natural resistance to mold, mildew, and fading colors due to UV rays.
  • Hemp collars can be easily washed with soap and water—throw them in the wash or hand wash them for a new and fresh appearance.
  • Hemp is more durable and longer lasting than synthetic materials that many collars are made from.
  • Hemp is grown completely naturally without the use of hazardous pesticides and chemicals, which means your pup isn’t being exposed to toxic materials.
  • Hemp becomes softer and more limber with age.
  • Hemp collars were featured in Bark Magazine and Animal Planet’s Daily Treat as a durable and ideal option for dogs who like to play hard but still look their best.

A hemp collar is perfect for your pup if he or she . . .

  • Loves getting wet.
  • Is always outside in the dirt and grass.
  • Plays with other dogs.
  • Has high energy and sweats often.
  • Frequently needs to visit the groomer.

We suggest the Flora Hemp Collar by Aroo Studio, which comes in a selection of vibrant colors including earth and kiwi. Combine this stunning cotton dog collar with the matching Aroo Studio Hemp Leash to make a bold fashion statement.

The combination of the Flora Collar and Leash adds a hint of zing and pizzazz to your dog’s already outgoing demeanor and makes for a happy and chic pooch.

Why not treat your pet with an eco gift today – take advantage of the Aroo promotion now.

Aroo Studio Flora Hemp Collars

Shop online today at www.CharlestonNaturally.com.  Enter promo code: AROO to receive a 15% discount + Free Ground Shipping on any Aroo Studio collars or leashes. No expiration date on this offer.

Aroo Studio Hemp Leashes

Interview with Molly Mundt – Founder of Molly Mutt

Pets can spend all day napping, so it’s important that they have a cozy, comfy bed to snooze in. If your pet is anything like Sara’s dog Honey and her pal Mama Mia,  her bed quickly becomes soiled with mud and fur and requires frequent laundering and replacement. Thankfully, there’s Molly Mutt to simplify pet owners’ lives.

Molly Mutt is a company that sells DIY dog bed kits. Molly Mundt, the company’s founder, was fed up with cleaning and purchasing dog beds for her three pooches, so she designed these fashionable and easy-to-wash pet bed duvets that can go over existing beds or be filled with the old clothes, pillows, and bedding lying around your house. We are so crazy about Molly Mutt’s pet bed alternatives—which allow owners to “upcycle” material that would otherwise end up in a landfill—that we invited Ms. Mundt to chat with us!

CN: How did Molly Mutt evolve from an idea into a successful company?

MM: In 2002, I packed up my dogs and my stuff, and I moved from Texas, where I went to college, to San Francisco, a city where I had nowhere to live, no friends and no job—the courage I had back then! A couple of weeks after arriving with only a few dollars to my name, I took a job with a very cool company to be a product designer. I found out that I loved working in products. I really enjoyed the creative aspects of thinking up product ideas and designing and selling them. I always knew that I wanted to someday own my own company, and when I was downsized after a corporate restructuring, I thought, why not?

CN: How and where did you make the first Molly Mutt bed?

MM: I have a friend who was the creative director for a small women’s fashion label here in San Francisco. After I came up with the idea, he actually sewed a few samples for me. I’m an absolute craft ninja, and even though my mom had bought me a sewing machine for Christmas that year, the dog bed duvets were way above my skill level!

Molly Mutt's creator, Ms. Mundt

Molly Mutt's creator, Ms. Mundt

CN: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever heard used to fill a Molly Mutt dog bed?

MM: I can’t really answer that without divulging customer secrets . . . think Frederick’s of Hollywood. The most touching story was someone who was working fervently to lose weight, and she and her Weight Watchers group used their now too-big clothes to fill their beds—I teared up on that one.

CN: Do you have any tips on how to avoid lumps in the bed when stuffing the duvet?

MM: Well, here’s a trade secret that I can divulge: dogs love lumps! A lumpy dog bed isn’t going to sell in a store, but, in reality, lots of dogs love lumps. We’ve heard from lots of customers who are thrilled that their dog can move the lumps around as they please. Of course many customers really don’t want to look at a lumpy bed. For those customers, we suggest using our Stuff Sack and filling it with lots of smaller items, such as t-shirts and hand towels, and then throwing pillows on top of that so the bed doesn’t look lumpy from the top. Two regular-sized pillows in our stuff sack fills up a small-size duvet really nicely.

CN: Molly Mutt recently reached its one-year anniversary. How did you celebrate?

MM: We looked at each other, said congratulations, and then we flipped a coin to see who was going to FedEx that day. We also took a few moments to call those customers who saw and ordered from us on our first day at last year’s Global Pet Expo to thank them very much for helping launch us.

CN: What can we look forward to from Molly Mutt in the year ahead?

MM: In January, we launched our Molly Meow brand of cat bed duvets, and we’re really excited about the innovative product possibilities for the Molly Meow line. We are also preparing to introduce four brand-new designs for our Spring / Summer collection.

CN: Any exciting new products in the works?

MM: Our biggest news is the pending introduction of the Molly Mutt Clean. Molly Mutt Clean will be the first line of dog care products certified by the Natural Product Association. Our first three products are in the final testing stage right now, and we hope to have them ready for the marketplace by late spring. Although there are lots of great pet care products already on the market, we knew of a fantastic manufacturer in California that was a true pioneer in the natural health and beauty industry. We were thrilled to discover that they had always wanted to do pet care products and decided to collaborate. We are very excited about launching the Molly Mutt Clean line!

CN: You featured your dogs on your blog in a segment called “Meet my Dogs.” How have the Molly Mutts taken to their newfound fame? Has it gone to their heads?

MM: As you know, I have three dogs, and we’ve been a family for over a decade. Nothing much goes to their heads because they all already have superinflated senses of self, except for Bella, the Jack Russell. To say she’s the alpha dog of the group is an understatement.  Reb and Macy are proud to be models for our products and are prominently featured on some of our fellow San Francisco Bay area pet brand photos. Now-a-days, I do hear them griping a LOT about how they now want to eat fancy raw food. I’m succumbing little by little.

Checkout  ByGollyMolly’s YouTube.com channel.

CN: Is there anything else you would like to add?

MM: It’s been extremely gratifying to see our products so well received. We get hundreds of emails and photos each month from our customers, and we enjoy receiving each one. To know that our product makes people feel good is the best part.

Charleston Naturally proudly offers a wide selection of Molly Mutt DIY dog bed kits and Molly Meow DIY cat bed kits.


Your four-legged friends will just love them!

5 Tiny Changes to Live Healthier Lifestyle

Spring is a season of renewal and a perfect time of year to make some simple, healthy adjustments to your lifestyle. Rather than overhauling your entire way of life, it is best to make manageable, incremental changes. Here are my top five suggestions to making a shift toward a healthier lifestyle.

1. Get outside

There’s nothing like the scent of a spring day or the sight of a nesting cardinal to invigorate us. The buzz we get from nice weather is not just imagined. There are proven invigorating health benefits from the sun. In addition to improving mood and energy, the sun supplies the body with Vitamin D, which aids in everything from calcium absorption to metabolism regulation. A quick lounge in the sun during a morning work break or a lunchtime stroll will help you soak up healthy amount of rays. Just remember, it’s important to avoid overexposure to the sun and to protect your skin and eyes.

Sara fly fishing

Sara fly fishing

2. Move Your Body

Even moving around a few extra minutes a day can improve both your physical health and mental outlook. Physical activity not only helps you manage your weight, but it has also been proven to combat chronic disease, boost your energy level, and improve your sleep. Find clever ways to incorporate activity into your daily schedule. Here in the Charleston Naturally office, Sara has switched out her desk chair for an exercise ball, which keeps her core muscles engaged all day, and has begun taking her dog Honey on longer walks after work each day; then walking herself on our Cooper River  bridge!

Cooper River Bridge at night

Cooper River Bridge at night

3. Volunteer

Doing good for others is one of the most rewarding ways to improve yourself. As springtime opens up a new realm of fun, look foroutdoor volunteer activities. One of my favorites includes park and community cleanup work and, for you sporty types, youth athletic team coaching. Check out Keep America Beautiful to see how you can improve your neighborhood: http://www.kab.org and the National Alliance for Youth Sports for information on becoming a coach: http://www.nays.org/.

4. Change your Diet

From losing weight to gaining energy, there are many reasons for people to adjust their food intake. One of the changes I have made in my diet is to prepare my own meals. While restaurant, carryout, and frozen foods can be laden with oils and preservatives, home-cooked meals contain only the ingredients I choose to put into my body. I have been particularly inspired by bloggers such as Willi Galloway of Diggin Food, who prepares cuisine with ingredients from her organic garden. If growing your own backyard garden is out of the question, don’t fret. Organic grocery stores and local fruit and veggie vendors are great alternatives.

Grow your own broccoli

Grow your own broccoli

5. Laugh more

If you’ve ever stopped by the Charleston Naturally offices, you’ve seen firsthand that we laugh a lot. According to TheHelpGuide.org, laughter reduces tension and stress, protecting the immune system; triggers endorphin release, elevating mood; and increases blood flow, strengthening the heart. The cliché is true: laughter really is the best medicine!

What tiny changes have you made in your life? If you have any suggestions or comments, we’d love to hear them.


Who Says Easter Baskets Are Just for Kids?

Some may associate the Easter basket as kids only, but who says adults can’t enjoy an Easter basket? And for that matter, who says your dog can’t receive an Easter basket? It’s time to crush the Easter basket kids-only stereotype and have some fun this spring.

First, let’s cover the basic components of a classic Easter basket and how you can put an untraditional spin on these delightful springtime goodies:

  • Choose a basket: Use a traditional loop-handle Easter basket and tie a bow around the left side of the handle, or use a bowl-shaped woven basket, a rustic wooden basket, or a wide flower vase to hold all of your Easter treats. We love the Recycled Magazine Bowls by Two’s Company for their hints of color, classic shape, and diversity—not to mention this basket can be used after Easter for holding fruit, makeup supplies, or anything else you can think of.

    Recycled Bowls

    Recycled Bowls

  • Lay your basket base down: Fill the bottom of the basket with thinly shredded recycled paper from a grocery bag, a magazine, or a newspaper, or place a bed of faux grass down to serve as a creative cushion for your basket items.
  • Accent your basket with a small item you’ve made: Purchase some origami paper and create birds, chicks, butterflies, flowers, bunnies, or anything else Easter oriented, and secure them onto the basket or place them on top of the items in your basket. If you’re not sending the Easter basket via mail, you can decorate the basket with more fragile items including painted eggs or eggs you decorate to look like baby chicks situated in a twig nest.
  • Add a little sweet treat: Add some peeps, pastel-colored cupcakes you make, chocolate bunnies, or minichocolate eggs as a tiny sweet treat to satisfy sugar cravings.

Items suggested for an Easter basket for Mommies-to-Be:

  • Zebi Bag of Burpies: This adorable sinimay pouch features a plush Jellycat stuffed animal with a set of five organic cotton burp cloths for babies. We suggest the Easter-oriented Pink Bunny Zebi Bag of Burpies.
  • Erbaviva Baby Gift Box: Nestled in a mound of shoestring hay are three delightful natural Erbaviva organic baby products that will not only make your baby soft to the touch but will also make them comfortable and happy. The products included in the Erbaviva Organic Baby Gift Box include Organic Baby Lip & Cheek Balm, olive oil-infused Baby Shampoo, and Baby Lotion scented with mandarin and chamomile.
    Bunny - Bag of Burpies

    Bunny - Bag of Burpies

Items suggested for an Easter basket for your (30-year-old) daughter:

  • Deep Steep Bubble Bath: Infused with sensual aromas, essential oils, vitamins E and B5, organic aloe, olive, hawthorne, barley grass, and rosehips, the Deep Steep Bubble Bath is the ultimate accent to a stress-free and rejuvenating bath session. The bubble bath comes in three scents including lavender-chamomile, tangerine-melon, and rosemary-mint. And as another plus, the label of the Deep Steep Bubble Bath is accented with light pastel colors that will match perfectly with the other items in the Easter basket.
  • John Ritzenthaler Co. Loofah Scrubbers: Playful and colorful, these kitchenware scrubbers are the perfect mother-to-daughter gift. Your daughter will appreciate the childlike look of these adorable John Ritzenthaler Co. Loofah Scrubbers and love its durability. We suggest purchasing the carrot, flower, or butterfly loofah for a warm spring feel.  

Items suggested for an Easter basket for your pup or cat:

  • Molly Mutt Your Hand in Mine Dog Bed Cover: Designed for the lounge-loving pup, the Molly Mutt Your Hand in Mine Dog Bed Cover provides your dog with a soft and comfortable place to rest, while simultaneously adding a stylish decorative accent to any room. The cover is durable, washable, and preshrunk and comes in three different sizes.
  • West Paw Barn Mouse: Made from durable faux suede and silk, the adorable West Paw Barn Mouse cat play toy is arguably the chicest one on the market. With long curled ears, tufts of whiskers, a leather tail, and a button nose, this jingling cat toy is USDA certified-organic catnip.
  • Barn Mouse - filled wit catnip!

    Barn Mouse - filled wit catnip!

What are your crafty ideas for the ultimate Easter basket? We’d love to hear them in our comments section.

Organic, Eco-friendly, Cool & Creative Products

The Charleston Naturally team is excited about our current offerings and we will be adding new products as quickly as possible. While our product selection will be shifting somewhat, we’re expanding our offerings to better serve our customers and our vision of  being the online purveyor of products, information, and experiences that represent and reflect the authentic, Charleston lifestyle.

If you’d like to keep up with us for the next, new addition to this awesome site, please subscribe to our RSS feed.

Below are our latest picks:

West Paw Eco Friendly Pet Toys and Treats

West Paw Zisc

West Paw Zisc

These Creatures Pet Feeders and Leash Hooks

These Creatures Cat Feeders

Two’s Company – Recycled Products for the Home

Two's Co Recylcled Lanterns

Molly Mutt Dog Beds: Comfort At Last

Choosing a dog bed cover can be overwhelming. I chose Molly Mutt’s Your Hand in Mine for my dog Honey because it works well with all the natural colors in my house and her beautiful, honey coat. Finally, Honey can have a good night’s rest.

Honey

All Molly Mutt bed duvets are 100% cotton, durable, washable, and pre-shrunk.  Not only are they easy to clean, but they also come in different sizes, shapes, and a variety of patterns and colors.

While other companies offer dog bed covers, Molly Mutt does it with style and a great mission. These dog duvets are easy to cover existing beds or stuff with old clothing or blankets. Supporting them in turn supports a green idea.

Check out how it works on the Molly Mutt Youtube Channel.