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Pet Friendly Flooring – Green Flooring for Pets

Dog Allergies - Dog

Flooring that meets green standards is generally produced from natural or eco–friendly materials. In many cases these floor types contain fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs),* which means better indoor air quality. You may be surprised to know that pets can suffer from allergies and have sensitivity to chemicals and cleaners just like people. By taking your pets' needs into consideration by purchasing green cleaners and flooring, you're not only doing yourself and your kids a favor, but your pets too.

*Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are carbon–based chemical compounds that can be found in flooring materials, adhesives and cleaners and can cause allergic reactions and/or illness.

Harmful Floor Toxins to Avoid

Green Flooring House

Environmentally friendly flooring not only takes into account the materials used in floor production, but also the affect of the floor on indoor environments after installation. Floors that release harmful toxins into the air are not considered green because they pollute indoor and outdoor air and contribute to global warming.

Many non–green floor types are manufactured using chemicals and VOCs that can be harmful when inhaled. Over time, exposure to VOCs and other toxins can irritate allergies, asthma and even increase the risk of cancer.

Vinyl flooring contains polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other chemicals that can raise respiratory sensitivity when leaked into the air. In fact, there have been multiple cases in the U.S. where PVC has been linked to illness and incidents of cancer. While many companies have stopped the distribution of products that contain PVC, there are still manufacturers who continue to produce them.

Greenpeace Logo

Greenpeace, an international environmental organization, has stated that the toxicity of PVC is a direct result of dioxin, a chemical by–product of PVC production. Cancer, reproductive disorders and illness are all possible consequences of exposure to dioxin. Greenpeace is currently encouraging hundreds of companies around the world to phase out their use of PVC and hence reduce dioxin levels in the atmosphere.

Formaldehyde is another chemical compound that should be avoided as it can be toxic, cause cancer and aggravate allergies. Some general symptoms of formaldehyde exposure include runny nose, headaches, difficulty breathing and throat burning. Many manufacturers use formaldehyde resins in their floor adhesives (glues).

Formaldehyde Free (CH20)

For your health and the health of your pets, always ask if formaldehyde is used in any stage of the floor process. If you can't buy flooring or adhesive that's formaldehyde free, choose one with a significantly lower emission level. Adhesives that contain low to no formaldehyde meet E–1 Standards*.

Avoid having to get an adhesive altogether by choosing flooring that doesn't require it. Many floor types offer a glue–less alternative (where the floor locks together without using adhesive) which means less likelihood of formaldehyde exposure. Keep this in mind when shopping for pet–friendly flooring for your home.

*E–1 Standards are the European regulation for formaldehyde content. E–1 Standards are commonly referred to in the flooring industry because the standards are higher than those in the United States.

Green Flooring and Allergies

Green Flooring Types
- Bamboo, Linoleum and Cork

Green floors such as bamboo, linoleum and cork are not only environmentally friendly, they are also naturally hypoallergenic. In other words, the surface naturally resists allergens such as mites, dust and pet dander. This could mean less sniffling and wheezing for you and your pet. To further minimize the pollutants in your home's air, remember to select bamboo and linoleum that uses formaldehyde–free adhesive.

Bamboo, linoleum and cork are also antimicrobial and resist the growth of fungi and mold. With these floor surfaces there's less risk of your pet suffering from respiratory sensitivity due to bacteria.

Green carpet is now available. Carpets that are considered "green" are made using fewer VOCs than customary types. Tests show that the emissions from green carpets are safe for indoor environments. Nonetheless, environmentally friendly carpets can still harbor allergens and fungi growth just like other carpet types. Even if you plan on cleaning your carpets every other day, this will do little to keep mites and pet dander from clinging to the carpet fibers.

Some Other Green–Friendly Ideas for Pets:

  • Biodegradable training pads
  • Wood beds made from eco friendly materials
  • Cat toilet seats (minimizes kitty litter waste)
  • Green cleaners and deodorizers made with natural materials
  • Recyclable dog toys
  • Dog houses constructed out of recycled materials