Dog Daycare Owner Says It's Easy Being Green
(Pet Pulse Photo by Kris O’Donnell, Design by Tim Mattson)
ORLANDO –- When it comes to helping the environment, even pets are going green.The University of Doglando is central Florida’s first dog daycare center to go green.
Since Janie Nelson came here with her 1-year-old dog Lexi, she has changed the way she goes about choosing cleaning products.
“I was concerned about the environment, but I didn’t really know that much about being careful with cleaning products,” Nelson said. “I kind of did what my mom always did and used Lysol and bleach, and all the kind of stuff, and really didn’t think a whole lot about it.”
At Doglando, dogs are able to run, jump and play, or enjoy a cool dip to escape the Florida heat, just like at other dog daycare facilities. That, however, is where the similarities end.
Using eco-friendly products is the rule here, which took clients some getting used to.
“We’d be using biodegradable poop bags and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is a little weird. It feels a little weird, what is it?’ ” said Doglando owner Teena Patel. “And so we took that opportunity to explain to them that these are biodegradable poop bags, and this is how we’re going green.”
Doglando opened in April, and already 10 percent to 15 percent of their customers are using green alternative products, Patel says. Everyday Patel uses items like Epsom salts and baking soda to make cleaning solutions, as well as earth-friendly laundry detergent.“
That was a big concern for a lot of people,” she said of her clients’ reactions. “‘Oh, is this soy-based stuff, is this natural stuff just as good? Does it clean just as well?’
“We go through a lot of linen, towels, and they’re white. They’re just as white as your own white laundry would be and we don’t even use bleach."
Most dog owners, Patel says, do not notice how many chemicals their pets are exposed to during the course of their day.“
A lot of times there’s lying down over here, rolling around, and then they go on to the couch,” she said. “They’re rolling around on the couch, one of them could have just jumped out of the pool, now they’re on the towels, or the linen, or whatever.
“Then when they’re bored or itchy they lick themselves. All of this stuff is going into their system.”
Patel’s message has gotten through to Nelson.
“She was explaining to me that everything she used in her business was environmentally friendly,” Nelson said. “And I was like, ‘Wow, can you really do that?’ And yes, you can.”
Nelson now stocks up on biodegradable waste bags and uses safe alternatives to harsh kitchen cleaners, thanks to Patel.“She was sharing with me the different products she was using,” Nelson said. “ And really convinced me that it’s really time to start really not using the harsher chemicals and things in my home with my pets, my fish and my children especially.”
Green-minded purchases represent a little more than 2 percent of the nearly $43 billion spent annually on pet products, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Patel, however, says monitoring what goes into the cart at the grocery store is a good way to start converting.
“Start checking and becoming a bit more sensitive to the products that you’re picking up off the shelf,” she said. “Clorox, the manufacturer of Clorox, now makes Greenworks, so it’s all on the same shelf.”
Green items are not as expensive as people may think, Patel says.
“They might be 25 cents or 50 cents more, but what’s the value?” she asks. “50 cents for the possibility of not harming yourself or your pet? I mean, that’s huge.”
The chemicals in shampoos, the toxins in toys and the pesticides in flea and tick medication can all negatively impact the environment, Patel says. As more of her clients choose green, though, Patel sees the tide turning.“
Our research and our efforts are paying off and it may not be directly to University of Doglando,” she said. “But it is to the world, and it is to the environment, and that’s our goal, too.“
We’re not just a business, we’re a service and whenever we can help we want to.”
For more information, visit Doglando.com.
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