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Review: TerraCycle Natural Degreaser

Whether you are pulling out extra seating for holiday guests, putting away patio furniture for the season, or simply cleaning your dog’s crate, it wouldn’t hurt to arm yourself with a dependable cleanser that is kind to your senses and the environment.

We have two resin yard chairs that are about ten years old. They have lost the “shiny” protective layer that made the chair slick and easily maintainable. When the resin loses this layer, anything and everything sticks to it, and it no longer offers an inviting seat. The entire chair looked like the left half in the photo below.

A resin chair heavily stained on one side and clean on the other.

I’ve tried a number of cleansers on this chair. I’ve hauled it into the bathroom to let it “soak” in a bleach based cleanser, I’ve used two-part cleansers that apparently only pitted the chair and finished off any remaining protective coating that may have existed.

The future was bleak for my chairs. I was faced with sending them off to the recycling center (who, thankfully, will accept this plastic item), or purchasing a can(s) of spray paint. Additionally, I’d need to tarp a spray area, wait for a non-windy day (a rarity here), fight bugs that area always attracted to a freshly painted surface, repeat for multiple paint coats, and then find a recycler for my paint cans. Both options are a lot of work and neither choice really excited me. The chairs aren’t broken or in need of repair, so cleaning them up was the only solution for me. The degreaser was really the last shot at “cleaning.”

One beautiful summer day I headed outside with the degreaser spray (in my non-gloved hands) and scrubbed the chair with a once-coveted scrub brush by a much younger Tristan. I gave the chair a quick rinse with the garden hose, and I proudly present to you a CLEAN chair. Well, I jumped ahead of myself with this photo, as I later realized I forgot the back legs, but they were cleaned too, have no fear.

a clean resin chair after using TerraCycle Natural Degreaser

I didn’t have to tarp my yard or worry about run-off into the flower bed. This cleanser attacked the grime on my chair, not the living grass beneath it. No flowers or grass were harmed in the cleaning of this chair. Oh yeah, neither were the humans or non-human animals of the house or yard. Although this looks like a lot of scrubbing, the degreaser did most of the work, thus preventing me from tearing my rotator cuff for the fourth time.

I know, you are thinking, “That’s great Pack Mom, but you cleaned your chairs outside and now there is snow on the ground!”  Have no fear, you can simply wipe off the area you are cleaning with a damp cloth or sponge. You don’t need access to a hose. There aren’t any chemical odors that will make you leave your home for hours until it dissipates, so no excuses, no matter the weather, you can clean it. 🙂

I mentioned it earlier, but I highly recommend this product for degreasing your pet’s crates, carriers, and dog houses, whether they be plastic or metal. You may or may not have noticed that the inside of your dog’s crate can acquire a very unattractive and “greasy” surface that is discolored and smelly. This coating is created by your pet rubbing and lying against the surface of the crate. The natural oils from his coat transfer to the surface and begin to retain all odors and hair. This may, if left long enough, begin to discolor the surface. Establishing a regular cleaning routine of these items will help keep your pet healthy and your home free of any odd odors you can’t seem to locate.

A cleaning brushed with dog teeth marks.

Clean chair thanks to TerraCycle Degreaser and a little elbow grease.

Pack / Nature Approval: We’ve been using TerraCycle Natural Degreaser for over a year, and none of the 24Paws Pack suffered any negative responses. Tristan, Mr. Sensitive Nose & Skin, never sneezed or presented with any allergic reactions when he was in the room or area where the spray was being applied. When we’ve applied the cleanser outside, there were no visible traces of our use – no dead grass, flowers, or any other living element.

Human Response: As someone with both asthma and extremely fair and sensitive skin, I’ve neither had a reaction to the solution when it has had contact with my skin, nor has it induced an asthma attack.

24Paws Rating:  5 Paws (5/5)

5 Paw Rating for Excellence

The Product: Natural Degreaser – Non-Toxic, Biodegradable, Environmentally Friendly

Company & Site: TerraCycle

How’d We Get our Paws On It? TerraCycle sent it to us.

Retail Price: $2.99 – $4.99 for 34 fl. oz. (1L)

Easily portable: Yes. Willing to clean wherever the desire takes you.

Why we like it: Non-toxic, No Fragrances or Dyes, Biodegradable, pet and people friendly/safe ingredients, is an effective cleaner without being harsh, is NOT tested on animals, contains no animal-derived products, packaged in a waste stream recyclable bottle, is absent of ammonia, phosphate and petroleum ingredients. This non-abrasive cleanser does the job without walking away with peeling/burning skin or a diminished product.

Room For Improvement: Would like to see a completely transparent ingredient list

To Sum It Up: We’ll simply repeat what we’ve said before, “We love the fact that the ingredients in these products are pronounceable, identifiable, and natural. However, as sticklers for transparent ingredient lists, we’d like to see exactly what ‘essential oil cleaners’ they are putting into the products. We love essential oils, but sometimes there are sensitivity issues with them and it would be nice to know what’s under the cap. However, this issue doesn’t take away from the fact that these products were successful in removing stains, dirt and grime, while being gentle on our floors, skin, and sense of smell, not to mention the planet.”

Ingredient List:

Water, grease cutters and performance enhancers (linear alcohol ethoxylates), essential oil cleaners and soaps, all derived from natural sources.

Check out out our full Review/Rating Process Guidelines

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Happy Thanksgiving!

From everyone at 24Paws, we wish you and yours a Thanksgiving full of love, appreciation, and kindness. Don’t forget to take some time and snuggle close to those adored pets you love so much. There is no better day to snuggle close and take a quick nap.

May Winni & Grandbury inspire you…

Calico cat Winni and Shepherd mix dog Grandbury

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Halloween Silliness Recap with a Video

Did you have a safe and fun Halloween? Our Halloween was filled with sweets and treats from Grandbury and Winni.

Grandbury wore his “Personalized Angel Wings” tee. The dog t-shirts from Zazzle do have quite a bit of stretch in them, but we recommend you go one size larger than you think you’ll need. We ordered an XL for Grandbury, and at 49 pounds, he fits within the 46-70 lb. window suggested for the product. Like we said, the tee does stretch, and it is by no means too tight on him, but we found it a little difficult to get off of him when it came time to extract his front legs from the “arm holes.” This is in part because he is 16 and not quite as limber as he once was, but the holes don’t really have a stretch to them either. But, as for the main belly and back portion of the tee, they have a nice stretch and didn’t put any pressure on his tumor. The shirts are 100% cotton, so watch your washing methods! The t-shirts are really soft.

We think he looks handsome.

Photograph of a dog wearing a 24Paws angel shirt with wings.

Grandbury, a member of the 24Paws pack, wears a winged tee

Calico cat Winni dressed for Halloween

Winni wore her own t-shirt – she went as a Pumpkin.

A very silly pumpkin as you can see from the video. No, she wasn’t blissed out on catnip, she was just ready to pounce and play the night away. She did have a hard time choosing which “Ugly Kitty Eco-Tosser” was worthy of her attention. Leave us a comment if you enjoy the video! 🙂

Grandbury felt so comfy in his new t-shirt he just dozed right off, waking every now and then to watch what new silliness Winni found herself in.

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Don’t Lose Your Head For Halloween

Some people really hate the idea of dressing up companion animals for Halloween. Don’t get your pumpkin in a knot, there are two simple rules that everyone needs to follow when comes to sharing Halloween with your beloved pet –

1. If they enjoy dressing up, don’t let a few sour candy corns spoil your fun. Dressing up your pet for a few candid photo shots can become a family tradition. Don’t force your pet to wear something that either makes him/her miserable or doesn’t allow for free movement of all limbs and tails. Keep those eyes clear!

2. Keep them safe. This rule encompasses everything about Halloween festivities. Halloween, like most holidays, usually involves noise, strangers milling around, inappropriate and unsafe food close to expectant mouths, and a general sense of anxiety, excitement and stress that can cause some animals to bolt out the door.

Whether your pet loves Halloween or would rather take a siesta straight through the day, always remember to give them some “down time” to recharge their batteries and emotional centers. Don’t forget some play time so they can get out any frustrations or stress the holiday can bring on. That goes for you, too!

Have a great and safe Halloween!

Need some inspiration for your pet’s costume?

Check out these cute pet costumes you can whip up yourself from the talented folks at Leisure Arts, Inc.

Check out Flickr from some great ideas and inspiration. We’ve chosen a few to help get your search mojo going.

We’ve created a new “Angel” series of pet dog t-shirts you should check out. Grandbury will be sporting this one on Halloween.

But, if you prefer just a simple winged version:
And who can go wrong with:
As always, the t-shirts are customizable.
We are adding some additional designs in time for shipping for Halloween.

FreePetProjects.com

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Making Memories: Pet Paw Prints

Unfortunately, we are often driven to memorialize our pets after they are no longer with us. These projects can be a wonderful blessing and a step forward in the grieving process, but they can also create a new heartache if that memory we wish to capture is no longer within our grasp.

When our girl Fergie died during surgery, our vet presented us with a kit that allowed us to take an imprint of her little feet. We were thankful for the opportunity to do this, but we were saddened that we hadn’t done it in a more happy time.

There are many kits available on the market for you to purchase that will help memorialize your pet.

 

Clays that cure when air dried or baked work great. Add colors, words, embed tags, collars, whatever your heart desires. Have fun with it.

We created our paw print memorials many years ago, and they have been displayed atop the fireplace. Recently, I decided to insert a cute ribbon through them, and hang them alongside the framed photos of our Pack.

Hope you’ve found some inspiration to make your own! Moments don’t last forever, but memories can if we seek to preserve them.

These make great gifts and can be used with holiday decorations or to add a special touch to an office.

Ribbons and thread

Paw print filing

Dog paw print in clay.

Inserting ribbon through a clay paw print.

Photo of Frosty, a dog, and his paw print.

Tips for getting a great print:

* Choose a time when your dog is alert but not overly excited. Our guys were young and full of energy when we did these prints. We chose to get a print from them when they were in need of a nap and much more accepting of having their paw pressed into an unknown material. Treats helped.

* Don’t push so hard that you hurt your pet, especially on small animals like ferrets or cats. You need some pressure on the paw, but not a ton. You don’t want to break a nail or digit in the process.

* You don’t have to make just one, making multiple prints of your pet’s paw as they grow is a great idea.

* Follow all directions on the clay product you use.

* Experiment with paint or stains to color in your words or the actual prints.

* Clean up after your print making – don’t leave clay out for your pet to eat. Wash off your pet’s paw.

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Headin’ to North Carolina

coloring book entry for the Eastern Box Turtle of North Carolina

We are heading out to North Carolina next week. Our trip will be a short one, but we plan on making it memorable and fun for both you and us. We are going to plot our route along an interactive map, and include photos and videos along the way so you can come along with us.

Now, Grandbury is a very seasoned traveler, but Winni, this is her first “big” trip. Hopefully he can teach her a few tricks along the way.

First things first, we are making a list and checking it twice. This is our first trip in a long time, and the needs of our gang have changed since our last journey. Do you make a list when you travel? We’ve got lots of lists going. One for our needs, one for the cat and dog, one for reminders of things that need to be done before we leave, one for things to do one our trip, and another for things to do when we return. We are lists makers. Now, if we can keep track of them all, we’ll be set.

Hope you’ll join us this week as we head out to North Carolina. Please share any tips or spots you think we need to hit.

Click on the turtle for a great coloring page!

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Good Night Sweet Tristan

We said goodbye to our beloved Tristan today. Renal failure, the one battle he just couldn’t win. We were so blessed to experience your life and love for fifteen years, but fifteen years wasn’t long enough. Call us greedy, but we’d take more. Tristan, our beautiful boy, we love you.

Tristan, a siberian husky from 24Paws.

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Canine Tooth Abscess & Extraction

An extracted, Canine 4th premolar carnassial tooth, abscessec

6/12/2010

While cutting veggies for soup, I gave Grandbury a few slices of carrot. He devoured them and went on his merry way. Later, while brushing his teeth, I noticed he had bit the inside of his left cheek. His gumline was irritated from the carrots, which is normal these days since he no longer receives hard chews.

However, I noticed he didn’t want the gum above his 4th premolar (Carnassial tooth) area touched. He was fine with me touching the actual tooth. He didn’t react when I pushed upward on the tooth. His sensitive reaction was limited to one tiny spot on the gum.

Later, I noticed his face had swollen a little more and I once again checked out his mouth. Nothing had changed. It almost appeared that he had been stung by something, so I gave him 1cc of Children’s (no alcohol) liquid Benadryl. The Benadryl had no effect on the swelling.

6/13/2010

Grandbury’s face was still swollen. He ate and drank regularly. Appears fine except he doesn’t want the gum above the carnassial tooth touched.

When I brushed his teeth that evening I felt a lump, hard and circular at the meeting of the cheek and the gum line. This appears to be where the pain is radiating from.  Still eating and drinking regularly.

Grandbury, a dog, has a swollen face.

Dog with beginning abscessed tooth

6/14/2010

Checked spot upon waking in the morning. Larger. Still swollen. By mid-afternoon/early evening redness has expanded on lip area and gum.

He is drinking a lot of water. The “lump” has now become more of an ulcer, extending over the gum, the gum above tooth now has a soft, very tender and swollen area. He is obviously experiencing pressure and pain buildup.

lump becomes ulceration

8:00 pm Grandbury is heavily panting and pacing. Grandbury's gum has a fluid packet.

10:30 gave him a second dose of his daily Tramadol (50mg)

12:45 am finally resting comfortably.

6/15/2010

2:12 am resting, took photo to document very red and swollen areas.

To us it looks like a tooth abscess, but for Grandbury’s sake, we certainly hope it isn’t.

grandbury's increased swelling

As Grandbury wakes up and we prepare to take him in to the vet, I snap this photo to show the increased swelling of his face.Visible outward signs of what lies beneath.

Grandbury, a dog, has a swollen face.

Grandbury definitely wondered why he was up and out with no food. Anticipating there might be surgery, we didn’t allow him any food, only water.

We provided the photos and notes we’d taken to the vet. It has been our experience, that the more information you can provide, the better off you and your pet will be. The rapid change in his status was visible. Even if you don’t take photos, try to get in the habit of making notes. You’ll be surprised what you forget when you are standing in the vet’s office, as you attempt to keep your pet calm and run down a list of symptoms while answering questions about when you first noticed this or that.

The vet believed it was an abscess. The plan was to x-ray his teeth, and since he has to have anesthesia for that, if the x-ray proved positive for an abscess, move him into surgery. No point in getting anesthesia twice. We were already up half the night worrying about the potential risk to him for anesthesia, any required surgery, and healing. Sixteen years old is not an age to start taking risks.

We lost one of our girls, a precious ferret, during a surgical procedure. Losing a beloved companion due to a surgical error never leaves you. Our guys have had many surgeries over the years. We’ve weighed every conceivable risk and benefit before giving the green light to the procedure. It is a decision that we never enter into lightly. No matter how many surgeries we have under our collars, each presents its own problems and fears from the surgical procedure to the post operative care.

While he had blood work done just one month prior, a new panel had to be done to make certain that he was okay for surgery. We needed to know that he would be able to metabolize the anesthesia and that no other surprises were lurking.

Blood work came back great. Pretty amazingly in fact, for a 16 year old with a 7″ round tumor on his side (we’ll get to that in another post). So, operation “remove the abscess” had begun.

The whole procedure, from the time he was given a pre-anesthesia, to the time his tooth was pulled and he was in recovery, was approximately 90 minutes. He was monitored as he woke up from the surgery. Total time at vet’s office: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm. A long day for him and us.

Here is the nasty tooth that caused so much ($734.63) trouble.

An extracted, Canine 4th premolar carnassial tooth, abscessec

He came home and slept and slept. He also had a good deal of drainage, but the underpads save the day again! They made clean up a snap, and saved a lot of washing of beds and coverlets. Once you have these things, you’ll find 101 uses for them.

Underpads make clean up a breeze after surgery.

Grandbury pulled through the surgery and the post-op care like a champ. At first he was very reluctant to eat even his favorite soft treat: canned pumpkin. A lot of coaxing and some syringe feedings were required for the first three days of his healing. It was very important for him to have some food on his stomach due to the pain medications he was on.

We are relieved that he is still with us, and came through the surgery like a champ. It was a scary idea for us, and thankfully, this time it worked out in his favor.

While waiting to be seen, the male office cat, Butter, came out to love on Grandbury. Here is a cute video we snapped of the two exchanging a very loving “hello.”