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NATURAL PET INDUSTRY
IS BOOMING

Today's pets have their own fashionable beds, blankets, ready-to wear, toys and dining areas.Owners frequently select homes and automobiles that satisfy their pets too. So isn't it naturalfor responsible pet owners to be concerned with healthy habitats?

In 1996, U.S. pet owners supported the natural pet food and supplement industry to the tuneof $65 million. That is when natural cotton, non chemical beds for pets were introduced andthe interest has been growing ever since.

This is a logical move for consumers who educate themselves with the typical dangers oftextile manufacturing. Because cotton is not digested, it is one of the most heavily pesticidesprayed agricultural crops. Additionally, traditional textile production includes synthetic dying with petrochemicals. You know this is harmful for humans, so you are justified with healthconcerns for your pet and our ecosystem.

Natural pet supply companies are becoming major forces in educating pet owners that many products are not safe. They believe that the majority of pet product manufacturers takeadvantage of consumers in an unregulated industry. Typical cotton production is responsiblefor over 60% of all agricultural chemical waste.

Environmental pet products, such as eco pet beds constructed with 100% certified organiccotton and hemp dog bones, are encouraging. Consumers who donít want their cats to biteinto pesticides, herbicides, chemical defoliants and fertilizers, can buy organic cotton or hemptoys in mice shapes stuffed with wild-crafted catnip. Also on the market today are sturdy hempcollars and durable leads.

To groom your pet, find dog and equine soap bars to pamper your four legged friends with.The soaps and shampoos do not contain any preservatives and are filled with vegetable andfruit oils that provide a rich lather and add moisture to their coats.

General grooming contents to look for are chamomile, nettle, dandelion leaf, red cloverblossom, birch, cedar, douglas fir, spruce, hemlock, alder and pine. To benefit from the healthproperties, ingredients must be derived from organic plants and natural tree essences.

More for horse lovers, find bedding made of hemp chips. The chips are extracted from thecore of the hemp stalk to make a natural absorbent, porous cellulose fibre; ideal for equineuse.

For flea control, combs and pet shampoos that contain citronella and rosemary oils arebeneficial. Such shampoo is soothing to the animal's skin and the insects don't like the oils.

Natural Pet Expo, the largest show of its kind in the country, was held in Denver, Colorado lastyear. It was a gathering of professionals in the "natural" fields of expertise featuring progressive new trends in the pet marketplace. The Expo consisted of more than 200 booths,over 60 seminars, and demonstrations of natural, alternative and holistic products andservices for nearly every type of animal, including horses.

Don't hesitate to discuss natural products with your veterinarian. Most have been suggestingand offering better foods for some time. Now homeopathy, acupuncture and chiropractictreatment is common for domesticated animals. If you want to support your local pet storeswith natural products, be sure to tell them.

Your pets depend on you for their health and well being. They cannot make their own choicesin todayís world. Along with good, natural food, I hope you will be encouraged to try some of these organic products for their well being, happiness and of course, fashionable look.

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