Living A More Natural Life

Here at Amelie's Bark Shop we focus on natural products for your precious pets, so let's talk about natural products for the humans!

I get a lot of questions about this, so I decided to share some of the products I use around the shop and in my personal life. Most of these are simple switches, but if you need any advice please don't hesitate to comment below!
 

HOMEMADE CLEANING SPRAY

Equal parts pure distilled vinegar and water and a couple of drops of your favorite all-natural essential oils go a long way. I use this natural disinfectant spray for everything from cleaning the counters and shelves to the windows. At first it'll smell like vinegar but the smell quickly dissipates and you're left with a sparkly clean finish! I use this spray in my home too...it makes for a great kitchen, bathroom, everything else cleaner. Added bonus: it's so much more cost efficient than buying traditional cleaners.


LAUNDRY

I've swapped out traditional laundry methods for healthier and more eco-friendly options and I'll never go back. I now use Method's free+clear concentrated detergent and swapped out dryer sheets for wool dryer balls sprinkled with all-natural lavender essential oil. My laundry has never been cleaner or smelled more lovely. Added bonus: the dryer balls significantly cut down on drying time because they create space between the laundry which helps dry everything more efficiently.
 

"SHAMPOO"

I officially haven't washed my hair in a year! That's right! I've weaned myself off of traditional shampoo and have been an avid follower of the "no-poo" routine for a year now. I've tried a few different brands, but I've officially committed to Renpure's Lavender Conditioner. Renpure is free from sulfates, sodium chloride, dyes, harsh salts, parabens, gluten, and phthalates. It's basically a creamy conditioner (it doesn't foam so it takes some getting used to) that gently and naturally cleanses your hair without stripping it's natural oils. As a person who has had issues with chronically greasy hair, I can tell you that switching was tough and didn't seem to work at first, but I stuck with it and my scalp has adjusted very well. What happens when you use traditional shampoos is that you're stripping your natural oils and your scalp is forced to produce more oil to compensate. I only have to "wash" my hair twice a week now and it's never been healthier, had better texture, and stayed clean for so long. I massage it in at the beginning of my shower and let it sit throughout my shower, rinsing it out right before I get out. Trust me, give it a try!


TOOTHPASTE

This is a relatively new endeavor, but after researching the harmful effects of excessive fluoride I've switched to Dr. Bronner's natural peppermint toothpaste. It's a coconut oil fluoride-free formula with natural peppermint. Like the co-wash, it doesn't have any foaming agents in it, so it's taking some getting used to. But, my teeth have been feeling super clean and are looking pretty white. This is one of the only natural toothpastes I was able to find that was carrageenan-free. It contains no synthetic detergent foaming agents, is fluoride-free, vegan and cruelty-free, with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. Made in a 100% recyclable box and tube. Sure, the text-heavy label might be a little wacky, but it means well.


SOAP

My skin is very sensitive. So sensitive that I break out in red itchy rashes from anything and everything, especially soap. I couldn't be happier with the results I've had using Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile soap. Dr. Bronner's is made with organic and certified fair trade ingredients, packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle, vegan and cruelty-free, with no artificial colors or preservatives. It's a concentrate, so I dilute it by pouring out half into a separate bottle, refilling the original bottle with water, and shaking. It leaves me feeling fresh and clean and I just love the lavender one. It's been so gentle on my skin...no more allergic soap reactions! This 18-in-1 soap is good for just about any cleaning task. Face, body, hair, food, dishes, laundry, mopping, pets...clean your house and body with no synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents.


DEODORANT

Along with chronically greasy hair I've been unlucky enough to suffer from stinky underarms as well. I've had to use clinical protection deodorant ever since I was a teenager and it seems like even those don't do the trick anymore. I haven't started this new routine yet, so I'll update this once I do, but I'm going to try a new regimen that I've done some research on. The issue more than likely lies in unbalanced pH levels. What's the cure? Apple cider vinegar apparently! After reading reviews on natural deodorants I was skeptical because of the complaints of rashes and burns, but apparently that's linked to the pH levels of your underarms and that a pre-wash with the apple cider vinegar is what does the trick. What I'm going to try is a daily swipe down of pure unfiltered apple cider vinegar followed by Schmidt's lavender+sage natural deodorant. I bought the jar version, but I found that they have a stick too. Schmidt's is free of aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens & phthalates, plant-based powders protect against wetness without the use of aluminum, certified vegan & cruelty-free. Added bonus: they have an awesome recycling program where you send in 5 empty jars and they send you 1 new jar for free!

Let's Talk Cat Litter

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.
― Jean Cocteau

Clay Litter

Here at the shop we get a lot of questions about kitty litter. Most commonly people ask for traditional clay litters.

Health

  • Clay litter contains a carcinogen called silica which can cause respiratory issues when inhaled, bad for you and your furry friend
  • Clay litter contains sodium bentonite which expands when it comes in contact with liquid. It can expand to 15 times its volume and forms an insoluble mass, bad for your furry friend when they clean themselves after using the litter box or for your frisky dog who might like to get into the litter box

Environment

  • Clumping clay litter doesn't biodegrade, meaning it sits in the landfill essentially forever
  • Clay litter is produced using strip mined clay. This involves scraping away the earth, in many cases literally blasting apart mountains, to reach the clay. This causes permanent damage on the landscape's forests and wildlife. The loosened top soil then washes into streams and pollutes the waterways, damaging fish and plant life, and increases the risk of chemical contamination of ground water.
  • While there are negatives associated with producing non-clay based litters such as corn or paper or wood, the environmental impacts are far less
     

What kind of litter we suggest instead

  • corn based
  • pine based
  • paper based
  • wood shavings based
  • wheat based


We use World's Best Lavender litter for both of our cats. We transitioned them over to World's Best after using an traditional Arm & Hammer litter. Luckily they accepted the change easily. If your cat is on the picky side, try transitioning very slowly by adding small amounts of the new litter to the old day by day, much like you would when transitioning to a new food. The lavender scent is natural and light, covering odor pretty well. The change over to natural litter will surely be an adjustment for you and your cat, but it's well worth it for your health and for the environment!

Feel free to comment below with any questions. Meow!

Pet Food Revolution

“Few of us are aware that the act of eating can be a powerful statement of commitment to our own well-being, and at the same time the creation of a healthier habitat. Your health, happiness, and the future of life on earth are rarely so much in your own hands as when you sit down to eat.”
— John Robbins : The Food Revolution

In light of the recent heightened controversy surrounding Beneful, we wanted to reach out to our customers and the pet community at large and talk about pet food.

'Big Box' pet food companies were the go to for so many years. With great marketing, nice packaging of a leaping healthy dog, and low prices, these companies had the market share. You can chalk it up to changing times, or to a more enlightened consumer, or to higher standards, but the fact is that these companies are slowly toppling.

Recalls, internet resources like www.dogfoodadvisor.com, and word of mouth have been vital in spreading the pet food revolution. As a general rule, we don't carry any brands that have had a lot of recent recalls. Sure, a company can get their act together and better their manufacturing processes, but we need to see proof and longevity. The proof is in the pooch pudding! A lot of pet supply stores and vets do push and sell controversial brands, so just make sure you do your research before purchasing a new brand.

I often compare certain brands to McDonalds. I hear this a lot... "my pet has been eating this for years and they've never had problems." Well, a human could eat McDonalds every day for years and not see any immediate problems, but you better believe that it's probably going to catch up to them.

Food is fuel for humans the same as it is for dogs and cats. If you feed your body a mostly nutritious and healthy diet, why would you ever do differently for your beloved pet? 

So next time you're at the grocery store and your cart is filled with organic fruits and veggies, superfood granola, and free range eggs, put down that bag of junk dog food and head to your local natural pet supply store and pick up a bag of high-quality food for your pet too. They deserve it!
 

Some brands of food and treats that we love and proudly carry :

  • Annamaet
  • Verus
  • Acana
  • Orijen
  • Fromm
  • Weruva
  • Sojos
  • Wellness
  • Plato
  • Bixbi
  • Barkworthies
  • Ark Naturals
  • Cloud Star

Food and treats we avoid and why :
A lot of the following brands are listed for their frequent recalls, low grade ingredients, and poor manufacturing processes. Feel free to comment below with any questions!

  • Purina
    • Merrick
    • Friskies
    • Beneful
    • One
    • Beyond
    • Fancy Feast
    • Pro Plan
    • etc
  • Mars
    • Nutro (78 recalls and withdrawals since 2005 with an estimated 30 million units recalled)
    • Greenies
    • Eukanuba
    • Pedigree
    • Iams
    • California Naturals
  • Blue Buffalo (for use of unlabeled by-product meal)
  • Greenies (the most frequently asked for product...not a highly digestible treat, many reports of animals getting sick and/or dying from digestion issues linked to Greenies)

Common ingredients to avoid :

  • corn (inexpensive filler)
  • artificial coloring
  • cellulose
  • by product
  • salt
  • corn syrup
  • sorbitol
  • sugar
  • ethoxyquin (common preservative aka herbicide)