Over two-thirds of American households have a pet, mainly dogs and cats, and most of us would go above and beyond for them; after all, they are a part of the family. The last thing we want to do is put them in harm’s way. But studies reveal that microplastics and their additive chemicals, like phthalates and bisphenols which leach out of them, are toxic to humans. There’s also increasing evidence they are getting inside our pets too, and could be making them ill too. So here are the top 6 tips for protecting your fur babies from plastics.

How to protect your fur babies from plastics:

1. Sweep Up

That household “dust” isn’t just dust – it’s full of microplastics. Regular sweeping and vacuuming can reduce what you and your pets breathe in and ingest. 99% of carpets in the US are made from polyester, nylon, polypropylene, or triexta, which are plastic textiles, meaning your beloved cats and dogs are probably coming into contact with almost invisible plastic filaments and fibers all the time — unless you are cleaning them up.

2. Beyond Plastic Packaging

Plastic packaging leaches into your pet’s food and treats and bisphenol, often known as BPA, can line the inside of pet food cans. To avoid them, try reaching for options in non-plastic packaging. Ditch the plastic bowls; glass or stainless steel are much better for serving up Rover’s dinner.

3. Hidden Ingredients

Pet food itself has also been found to contain microplastics, from ear tags from the heads of carcass animals used in the making of pet food to plastic packaging from waste human food that can get ground into the mix. So consider cooking your own home style pet food so that you know exactly what Buddy and Jinx are eating. There are lots of great resources on-line for this and the  ASPA has advice on the  nutrients your pet needs.

4. Choose Natural Toys

Our animal companions also ingest plastics from their toys because dogs especially  love to chew and the plastic they are gnawing on is not magically edible. Manufacturers will claim they don’t expect your pet to consume the plastic squeakers inside plush toys, but we all know they do. Opt for toy alternatives made of natural materials like organic cotton, bamboo, natural rubber, wool and hemp. Avoid toys heavily dyed.

5. Say No to Polyester

Cloth collars, clothes, beds, leashes and toys are nearly always going to be made from or contain plastic based materials – polyester textiles which shed are microplastic fibers commonly used. But these should be a no-go for you and your pets! Choose natural materials instead.

6. Choose Smarter Grooming Products

Avoid pet shampoos and other grooming products with  microbeads (those tiny plastic balls found in many beauty products). Instead, look for animal friendly shampoo bars.

Overall, reducing plastic use in your home cuts down on microplastics in your environment, making your household safer and healthier for everyone — paws, claws, and all. Plus, to offer a lot more insight on the subject EARTHDAY.ORG has a new report coming out on May 20 on National Rescue Dog Day, called PETS vs PLASTICS.