Farm Dog Blog

We Put Love For Dogs and the Environment in Everything We Do.

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Sugar. Everyone is talking about it.

How much sugar does the average American consume on a daily basis?  Answer: 22 teaspoons. How much sugar does the average American dog consume on a daily basis?  You would be surprised.

Over the past few years more and more sugar has been finding it’s way into mainstream pet food and treats. Not that I am a fan but the number one selling dog treat in America is Milk Bone Dog Biscuits. Milk Bone makes a chewy version of their original hard biscuit (also filled with crap) and check out the product ingredients:

“Beef, chicken, soy grits, sugar, cornstarch, filet mignon, salt, rice flour, propylene glycol, natural flavor, guar gum, lactic acid, garlic powder, potassium sorbate and BHA (to preserve freshness), artificial color, sodium nitrite.”
Here is another best selling treat.  Purina’s Beggin’ Strips. I cringe at the thought of my pug, Francis, eating it’s nasty goodness. However, I know she would knock me over for one.  Hmmm, I wonder why?  Sugar.

Here is a list of Beggin Strips’s completely toxic and sugar laden treats:

“Ground wheat, corn gluten meal, wheat flour, water, ground yellow corn, sugar, glycerin, soybean meal, hydrogenated corn syrup, bacon (preserved with sodium nitrite), salt, bacon fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), phosphoric acid, sorbic acid (a preservative), natural and artificial egg and cheese flavor, calcium propionate (a preservative), added color, natural and artificial smoke flavors, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1.”

I refrain from getting on my soap box about the plethora of other nasty ingredients in the above treat so I will just point out the two forms of sugar that keeps dogs beggin’ for more. Here we have sugar as the sixth ingredient and corn syrup as the ninth.

My last example is Beneful. Just one example of the many sugar laden dog foods on the market today.  This food is also a top seller and marketed to small dogs. Behold the benefits of Beneful. I myself can’t find any benefits to feeding this frankenfood but you be the judge.

Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), rice flour, beef, soy flour, water, meat and bone meal, propylene glycol, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, phosphoric acid, salt, animal digest, potassium chloride, sorbic acid (a preservative), dried peas, dried carrots, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, Red 40, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Vitamin A supplement, Blue 2, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, brewers dried yeast, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.

Beneful is full of what I would call blood sugar busters and substances that turn to sugar in your dog’s blood stream.   
 
So what is so wrong about feeding your dog sugar? Plenty.

In 1957, Dr. William Coda Martin asked the question:  What makes a substance food and what makes a substance poison?   In answering this question, Dr. Martin defined refined white sugar and its derivatives as poison. He states: ” Sugar consists of pure, refined carbohydrates. The body cannot utilize this refined starch and carbohydrate unless the depleted proteins, vitamins and minerals are present. Sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination makes upon one’s entire system”

Just imagine what adding sugar to dog treats and dog foods is doing to our precious pets. Dogs are becoming addicted to foods and treats like Beneful. The end result is sickness and obesity.  DVM Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) states “When you have popular treats such as Snausages that list sugars as three of the first four ingredients, you know there’s a problem.” The APOP estimates that 45% of US dogs and 58% of cats are too fat. Just how many dogs and cats are we talking about?  Try 89 million!  You may notice this sounds a bit parallel to the American epidemic of human obesity.  What do our furry friends and their humans have in common?  Processed foods.

Processed foods are made with hydrogenated oils, cheap ingredients, refined flours and you guessed it, sugar. Sugar had one sole purpose in refined foods and that is to sweeten. Most refined foods have little to offer nutritionally because they are depleted of fiber, minerals, high quality proteins, healthy fats, and live enzymes.

A couple of years ago I worked with a dog named Oscar.  He was prone to seizures, lethargy, skin allergies, and yeast infections.  The only food substances Oscar consumed were four cups of Beneful and two or three Beggin’ Strips per day. In essence, Oscar was being depleted of any nutrition he was able to extract from his “science” diet and his cells were literally starving. Oscar’s parents didn’t know any better and trusted the dog food companies. They didn’t realize that Oscar’s diet was the root cause of all of his health problems.  As we went over the ingredients on the packaging one by one, they became enlightened and frankly, quite upset.  We weaned Oscar off his diet of chemicals and he literally went through a period of withdrawal from the amount of sugar, corn syrup, and artificial ingredients in what he was eating.

Oscars intake of refined sugars were depleting his body of Calcium, magnesium, potassium, and minerals it needed to metabolize the sugars he was consuming on a daily basis. This cycle of sickness placed a huge burden on Oscars organs, bones, skin and teeth. After about six months on a holistic, sugar free food, Oscar was seizure free, looking great, and full of energy.

Is there a safe amount of sugar that you can feed to your dogs?  The answer is No. Refined sugar in any form is not meant to be in a dog’s diet and this includes refined honey and molasses. Not only does sugar encourage hyperactivity and never ending hunger, it plays a huge role in diabetes, cancer, obesity and auto immune disease.

Sugar cane, the plant that white sugar is refined from, is a healthy snack. When you refine the sugar cane into white sugar crystals and syrups, it turns sugar cane into a substance depleted of it’s life force, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals resulting in a toxic white mess.

I refer to any chemically laden dog food or treat as “doggie crack”  Researchers have proved that our brains light up from sugar the same way they do for drugs like cocaine.  So the next time you see any dog food or treats with any kind of sugar or sugar derivative like syrups, dextrose, sucrose or fructose.  Just say no.

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Oh to be young again. The American dog and the falicy of age.

Did you know that studies on American dogs have classified over 80% of dogs who are ages 6 and older as geriatric?  In human terms, that is a ripe age of 42.  As a 42 year old woman, I don’t think I am ready to be put out to pasture. As a society, we have begun to accept the notion that it is valid for a dog to look old at age 6 or 7. Don’t believe the hype.  With just a few easy steps, you can help ensure your dog lives a long, healthy life.

A few months ago, I met a woman on a walk with two pugs. Without even thinking, I said, “I love old pugs, can I pet them?”. She gave me what I would call the stink eye and told me that her dogs were 6 and 7 years old. Yikes! Her pugs looked ancient, had ruff, dull coats, and one of them was already suffering from eye issues. As I tried to redeem myself and change the subject, she asked me the dreaded question, “How old are your babies?”  I answered and then changed the subject again. Francis, my black pug, is 9 and glows with health. Her sleek and silky, blue-black coat makes people think she is under 3. Finnbar, my fawn pug, is a ripe 13 years of age and is just now starting to slow down. People think Finn is around 7 to 8 years old. Were my pugs always this healthy? Sadly, no.

When I got Francis, she had demodectic mange and looked like an elephant due to her lack of hair.  She was a young mother from a puppy mill raid and was so pathetic looking when I took her home. I put Francis on a holistic food and after a year or so, switched her to a raw food diet due to chronic urinary stones. I have had Finnbar since he was a  baby. I was an uninformed person thirteen years ago. When it came to feeding my pug, I did what any uninformed puppy owner would do. I put Finn on Purina One puppy formula. Mistake. Finnbar snored, had a stinky face, suffered from breathing issues and developed arthritis at an early age. He was young and a mess. When he approached 4 yeas of age, I started applying the same basic principals of holistic health that I used on myself to Finnbarr. With a bit of patience, he turned into the healthy little spud he is today.

Here are a list of beginner steps to help clean up your dogs internal and external environment and put them on the road to a long life full of vibrant health.

Filter your dog’s water. Have you ever considered what is in the water your dog drinks?  Tap water and many bottled waters are full of contaminates that a simple water filter can remove. Cysts, heavy metals, chlorine, and pharmaceuticals are just some of the contaminates found in water. These contaminates can affect your dogs skin, coat, and overall health. Always use a stainless steel or glass bowl for water. Plastic and plastic derivatives can leach into your dog’s water, so it is best to avoid it.

Watch what chemicals you put on your dog. Longevity is all about toxic load. Toxic load can be explained by the amount of toxins you put in your body and how your body processes those toxins. Every time you go to put medicine or different grooming products on or in your dog think about what it is made of. For example, when you are shampooing your pup, make sure that your shampoo is a natural, plant based soap free of sulfites and heavy chemicals.

Feed an all natural diet. To me, diet is the key to longevity and a healthy life. What you put in is what you get out. For the beginner, avoid ingredients like wheat, soy, corn, sugar beets, by-products, and generic animal fats such as poultry fat. For those of you who are already feeding a holistic kibble, try adding raw fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet as well as raw meat. With any dietary change, make the transition gradually. If you decide to feed your dog a 100% raw diet, make sure to research the proper techniques for doing so. I feed my pugs a raw diet. My lab, terrier, and lab mix all get a holistic, limited ingredient dry kibble. Essential to every diet is a mixture of proteins. This reduces your dog’s chances of developing a sensitivity to their food. I always suggest switching proteins every 2 to 3 months.

Add enzymes and probiotics to your dog’s diet. Enzymes are fundamental to proper digestion. If your dog is eating a dry or canned dog food, it is essential to add a digestive enzyme to their diet.  Enzymes are not found in commercial dog foods because the cooking and extruding process destroys them. Your dog’s stomach was built to digest raw foods that are plentiful in a variety of digestive enzymes. Probiotics are an excellent way to balance your dog’s stomach bacteria levels. Balanced gut bacteria leads to healthy digestion and a strong immune system. Gut health has a direct correlation to overall well-being. When you add probiotics to the diet, they produce antibiotic substances than can help your dog fight off certain infections.

Avoid antibiotics whenever possible. Gut health is a key component to a healthy pup.  Antibiotics are the nemesis of happy lgut bacteria. Every year, over 125 million dogs and cats, are given at least one round of antibiotics. Many of these animals need them, but millions more do not. Antibiotics are powerful medicine and have a place in veterinary medicine. However, it is my opinion and the opinion of many scientists and holistic veterinarians that antibiotics should be given only when necessary. They should not be used as a means of avoiding infection. For example, giving antibiotics to dogs suffering from an upset stomach, mild diarrhea, or a shallow puncture. The overuse of antibiotics can lead to autoimmune diseases, chronic ear infections, and cancer. If your dog has a legitimate infection that is not responding to natural methods of healing, then use antibiotics but save their use for when your dog really needs them.

Avoid topical and internal flea and tick treatments.  Flea and tick treatments like Frontline and Advantix are dangerous and in my opinion, and should be avoided. The chemicals found in these medications get into your dogs blood stream and can cause adverse reactions like allergies, skin issues, seizures, and sometimes death.These treatments also elevate your dog’s toxic load by making the liver work overtime metabolizing all of the introduced foreign chemicals. Flea and tick collars should also be avoided. Not only are these collars dangerous to your dog but they can be harmful to you and your family if you touch them and forget to wash your hands. There are many natural and preventative methods for keeping your dog and your environment pest free. I encourage you to explore the natural options before resorting to strong chemicals. Many owners just apply topicals because “it is just what you do in the summer”.  Learning about what you can naturally do to keep your furry ones safe and avoiding these treatments can go a long way in bringing down your dog’s  toxic load and bringing up their vitality.

We all have met the dog who has always eaten the worst food on the shelf, gotten vaccinations every year, and doesn’t follow a single step that I have discussed above. I could compare this dog to my neighbor, J.R.  He eats bacon fat every morning, smokes more than a pack of cigarettes a day and is going on 90 years of age.  A medical wonder. However, these examples are not the norm. Dogs are aging at a unprecedented rate and suffering from diseases historically unheard of. They are meant to live a long healthy life. It is a tragedy that a 6 year old dog is now being considered a senior. With a bit of patience, knowledge, and effort, we can help turn these statistics back around and grow old with our pups.

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Canine Food Allergies or Food Sensitivities?

When I consult with people about their dog’s skin issues, I always here them say, “my dog has bad food allergies”.  Not so fast. True food allergy in dogs is uncommon. What most dogs are dealing with is food sensitivity.
Many people don’t realize that legitimate food allergies are very different from food sensitivities. An allergic reaction happens when a dog’s body encounters an ordinary ingredient like peas and launches an immediate immunological response. Food allergies, in general, are caused by ingredients that do not cause harm to the majority of dogs.

The difference between true food allergy and food sensitivities are important when diagnosing your dog’s itching, scratching and biting. Food sensitivities are slow to develop and hard to balance out.

When someone says “I am allergic to shellfish” in a restaurant,  it puts everyone around them on alert. If the allergic person comes in contact with shellfish, they could die of Anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis is the extreme form of allergy response. It is typically caused by food, medications, and insect bites. Less severe allergic reactions are rashes, large hives or boils, swelling of the throat, and fluctuations in blood pressure. True allergy symptoms can show up within seconds or up to 4 hours from the time of exposure. To contrast an intolerance reaction from a true allergic response, intolerance manifests symptoms 4 hours to 3 days from being exposed to the causative substance. This is correct for both dogs and people.

 I remember a few years ago, when Francis, my sweet black pug, ate some other dogs dog food and immediately broke out in large hives.  I freaked out, called my vet and gave her a large dose of antihistamine.  She was a mess.  For almost 6 hours, Francis looked like Frankenpug. I felt horrible for her.  France’s reaction was not food sensitivity but a true allergic response.
Food sensitivity is the most common cause of the diagnosis of  “allergies”.  For this reason, it is necessary to differentiate and understand the difference between actual food allergy and food sensitivity. Conventional treatment of skin issues that are believed to be related to “allergies” include antibiotics and the steroids. These types of treatments can cause a cycle of sickness that is hard to stop.  The symptoms of food intolerance will always return once antibiotics and steroids have been discontinued.  Usually 1 to 3 months afterward.  I have consulted with many dogs that have been on prednisone for years due to the inability to stop biting and scratching from undiagnosed, unspecific so called “allergies”.  After analysis and proper testing, the only thing these dogs were suffering from was a particular ingredient in their diets. After the ingredient was identified, the itching and scratching ceased.
Food sensitivity can be gradual and build up over time. Just think what would happen if you ate the same meal every day for years. Your body would have a high probability of developing an intolerance to the food you were eating. We need a variety of foods in our diet to remain healthy and so do our dogs.
What causes food sensitivity? When the body turns against itself, a whole myriad of factors can come into play. Symptoms of thyroid imbalance, yeast overgrowth, harsh detergents like Tide, and flea dermatitis should be ruled out before moving on to the causes of the itching, biting and scratching that is characteristic of food sensitivities. Feeding a repetitive diet full of poor quality proteins, fillers and by-products can set your dog’s body up for dysfunction and nutritional deficiency. The most common causes of food sensitivities in the canine diet are beef, dairy, wheat, yeast, pork, soy, and contaminated drinking water.
How do you treat food sensitivity?  Avoidance and the building up of the immune system. Some easy fixes include filtering your dogs drinking water, adding digestive enzymes and probiotics to their food, and if feeding a dry dog food, making it as limited in ingredients as you can find.  I like to advocate a raw, fresh food diet but that is a conversation for another time.
Ingredient avoidance can happen when the causative substances can be identified.  You can do this through blood and saliva testing combined with a limited food trial diet. The first test is called the IgG antibody test. It is a simple blood test that can be administered through your veterinarian and a specialty testing lab. If your veterinarian will not do the test, find one that will. The other test that I like to work with is the Nutriscan test by renowned veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds. (Nutriscan.org)   Nutriscan is a saliva based test and can be done at home. Concerning testing, I have had quite a few people and veterinarians tell me that testing is not 100%.  I say, yes, I know.  Nothing is.  You must be an active participant in your dog’s health in order for them to thrive in this life. These tests are a good place to start if your dog is experiencing extreme sensitivity.  I always tell people to begin with testing and combine the results with a food trial.  Food trials limit ingredient choices over a period of 12 weeks, gradually adding one ingredient at a time.  It is an amazing way to find out what is causing your dog’s symptoms and how to avoid the causative substance in the future. You just have one requirement: Patience.
Patience indeed. I worked with a pug named Innis that was scheduled to be euthanized due to her untreatable “unspecified allergies”. She was mostly hairless, bloody, full of scabs and smelled like vomit. She had been on every allergy related drug and steroid. With each round of drugs, Innis ended up in worse shape. The itching returned and so did the biting and scratching.  I took her in and with much patience, a nose plug, and some inspiration from Sherlock Holmes, we were able to determine that Innis was sensitive to peas and yellow dye number 5. Both ingredients were in the food that Inns ate everyday. Her food was never addressed in the years of treatment she had received.  Did Innis react to her Beneful dog food as a puppy? No. By age 3, she began losing hair from scratching, biting and secondary infections. I picked her up on death row at age 5.
The difference between true food allergy and food sensitivities are important when diagnosing your dog’s itching, scratching and biting. Food sensitivities are slow to develop and hard to balance out. To me, diet is everything. Look what you are feeding your dog for the basic answers to their health and vitality. When problems arise, impatience will be your biggest hurdle to overcome. With a little deep breathing and your dog’s guidance, you can figure things out.

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Essential Oils For Your Cat

Being a herbalist and founder of a natural dog product company, people always ask me if I have products for cats. Sadly, I tell them no. My specialty is dog health.However, I do have a three legged cat named Bones whom I adore. For the sake of convenience, I would love to use the same wellness products on Bones that I do for my pugs, Francis and Finbarr but I just can’t. Why?  I can sum it up in two words: Essential Oils.

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Essential oils are the natural aromatic compounds found in plants including their seeds, roots, flowers, and stems. Essential oils consist of volatile aromatic compounds that are readily absorbed by the skin.

Because cats have been domesticated, and associated with dogs in modern day society, most people automatically assume that cats and dogs are physiologically the same. This is not the case. Among the many differences between cats and dogs, skin thickness and how their liver processes bodily substances are some of the most vital factors to consider when using natural methods involving essential oils.

A cat’s skin is much thinner than that of a human or dog. This being so, it makes them more susceptible to environmental toxins. Like people, a cat’s largest organ is their skin. For this reason, we must use caution as to what substances we put directly on their fur.

When caring for your kitty, it is essential that you keep in mind how your felines body metabolizes and detoxifies food, medicine, and other substances. In a cat’s body, substances get processed at a much slower rate than in dogs and humans. Cats also lack the necessary enzymes to break down certain substances. This is a detoxification mechanism called Glucuronidation and it is present in most animals except for cats.  The lack of this process can result in the build up of toxins. The unfortunate part is these toxins can show up  hours, days, weeks and even months after a cat has been exposed to a toxic substance.

Taking this into consideration, if you are using essential for yourself, make sure they are of the highest quality. When using a diffuser, make sure your cat has some place to escape to if they do not like an essential oil. You will know. Many cats will just get up and leave the area. Animals have an amazing way of knowing when a smell is harmful to them. When you are in your cat’s presence, never use any oils that are already known to be toxic to them.

Here is a list of some essential oils that are toxic to cats:

• Peppermint

• Oregano

• Clove

• Sage

• Citrus oils

• Melaleuca (tea tree oil)

• Cinnamon (cassia)

• Wintergreen

• Thyme

• Birch

• Bergamot

• Pine

• Spruce

Some of the symptoms of toxicity are a mixture of the following conditions: sluggishness, lethargy, drooling, panting, uncoordinated movements, confusion, vomiting, and diarrhea.

So, as a cat owner, how do you treat your furry one with alternative medicine? Carefully.

There are many safe choices out there to help keep your cat happy and healthy. Some easy ways include reading up on known feline toxins, looking at labels and ingredients before bathing your cat and feeding a high quality, holistic diet designed specifically for cats.

Alternative therapies that are safe and work wonderfully for cats are homeopathy, flower essences, and herbal medicine. I always suggest working with a qualified practitioner so that you can administer the proper dosage and treatment. The following websites are a great place to start: The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (theavh.org), The American Holistic Veterinary Association (ahvma.org) and The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (ahvma.org) These are excellent resources to find qualified alternative therapy practitioners for your cat.

stl sWhenever I write for the general pet loving public, I always come from a place of safety.  Yes, as a trained aromatherapist you can use some essential oils on cats. That being said, you really need to know what you are doing and be able to determine if your cat is accepting of a specific essential oil. I have seen many good intentions go horribly wrong when people who have little knowledge of aromatherapy try to apply the practices they have used on themselves on their pets. Don’t give up on natural therapies just because you can’t use essential oils on your cats. The natural care world is composed of numerous therapies, and essential oils are just one of many.

Filed under Essential Oils For Your Cat Oils for Your Cat Cats

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2013 DOG FOOD LISTINGS

    

THIS OUR LIST OF FOODS FOR 2013.   WE HAVE TAKEN MANY FOODS OFF THE LIST DUE TO BIG CORPORATE BUY OUTS.

THE LIST

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN FOODS

PETGUARD - NEXT TO NATURE

 V-DOG

Dr. Harvey

Honest Kitchen

WET FOOD/RAW/DRY

ADDICTION

ACANA

ACTIVE LIFE

AMICUS

AUNT JENNY’S

BRAVO

B4GRAIN

CANIDAE

DR. HARVEYS

FROMM

GO! & NOW! 

GREAT LIFE

HALO SPOTS STEW

HONEST KITCHEN

INSTINCT

KARMA

LIFE  4 CANINE

MERRICK

NATURE’S VARIETY

NEWMAN’S OWN

ORIJEN ( Be careful of high protein levels, use for working dogs)

PINNACLE

PRAIRIE

PRIMAL

REAL MEAT AIR DRIED FOOD

SMARTPAK

SOJOS

SOLID GOLD

TASTE OF THE WILD

ZIWI PEAK

NOTES:

BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS:   If you are having behavior problems such as hyperactivity or agitation, watch their protein intake and keep it under 30%.

MEASURING CUP: Use a measuring cup for feeding.  Don’t’ free feed your dog.

OVERWEIGHT:  If your dog is overweight, decrease your dogs intake by 1/4 of a cup at  a time until weight-loss is achieved.  You can also add green beans to your dog’s food for bulk.

ROTATION: It is a good idea to find two food that work for your dog and change them up every 2-3 months.

URINARY ISSUES: Choose a grain-free food for your dog.  The lowest in protein of the grain-free products, add a vitamin C supplement like Solid Gold’s Berry Balance, and a tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar with each serving of food.

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Holistic Remedies To Noise Sensitivity And Other Anxieties

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Summer is the season to entertain. If you’re like me, the word entertain can make you a bit uneasy if you have a noise sensitive or anxious dog. Door bells, laughing, glasses and bottles clanging together, the smell of food and non-stop attention can all lead to an overwhelming disaster. With the help of herbs, flower essences and some positive training techniques, you can set your dog up for success so everyone can be happy and enjoy the event.

Have you ever been watching a movie and one of the characters rings the doorbell? I know I can’t get to the remote fast enough!  All my dogs run to the window and start screaming and barking. It takes me more than ten minutes to calm them down again. Imagine what your dog feels like when your guests are constantly ringing the doorbell. As a party host, small actions like warning your guests ahead of time not to ring the doorbell or making a sign that tells guests to come inside without alerting you to their presence can help de-stress your dog before your guests even get in your door.

Noise sensitivity can be a real problem if your event is more than a few people and that is where herbs can be useful. A combination of oats, nettles, and motherwort tincture can help calm your dog while you and your guests have a good time. Mix 10-15 drops of tincture in 1 ounce of distilled water. Administer 1 milliliter dropper an hour before your event and another dropper 30 to 45 minutes after your event starts. (Herbhealers.com)  For added benefit, you can use flower essences like Rock Rose, Lavender and Mimulus in conjunction with the above mentioned herbs. Mix 3-5 drops of each essence into 1 ounce of distilled water and administer the mixture with a dropper as needed throughout the event. (Bachflower.com)

Just like you can get anxious about meeting new people at parties, your dog can get anxious as well. This can be a problem because many times dogs deal with anxiety much differently than humans do.  One way is by going to the bathroom. I have caught my pug Hogan trying to pee on someone’s leg because he has been anxious. Totally embarrassing. Avoid the humiliation and make sure your dog goes to the bathroom before your guests start arriving.

After the pees and poops are out of the way try this positive training technique. Instruct your guests to ignore your dog until he or she have completely calmed down. Giving dogs attention when they are exhibiting negative behavior just reinforces those behaviors and make matters worse.

Using a Thundershirt is another method that can help deal with canine anxieties while entertaining.  Thundershirts work by applying light calming pressure via a specially designed shirt or vest. For anyone who has used a Thundershirt for storm anxieties, you know how well they work. It is great to know that Thundershirts work equally well for anxious situations. (Thundershirt.com)  When dealing with canine anxieties using herbs, I use Chamomile tea mixed with a small amount of broth. I give this to my dogs thirty minutes before people come over. This remedy works for people too. Use the same dosage but skip the broth and the dog bowl.

Don’t forget flower essences if your dog is pacing or just won’t lay down and relax. I like to treat acute anxiety with the flower essence Mimulus mixed with Bach’s Rescue Remedy tincture. This combination helps minimize the feeling overwhelm that accompanies being a furry party favor.

We want to make our canine friends feel comfortable and safe while entertaining. Noise sensitivity and acute anxiety are the big issues that most dog owners have to deal with when throwing a party or having a soiree. Proactive measures mixed with safe, herbal support can go a long way into making sure your dog and your guests have a wonderful time.

Filed under Holistic Remedies Noise Sensitivity Anxieties Thunder Shirt bach flower anxiety Noise herbal support

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Your dog is in the stars. Pet personalities and astrology.

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Have you ever wondered where your dog’s personality comes from?  I always wonder why my two pugs are so different despite growing up in the same environment. Francis is attentive, affectionate and mischievous while Finnbar is your typical curmudgeon; serious, hates change, and only wants affections on his terms. Finding out the why of your dogs personality might seem complicated but it may be as simple as looking to the stars.

The zodiac is more than horoscopes. Within the charted stars, you can find insights about yourself as well as your dog. Here is a brief breakdown of each sign and what it can tell you about your dog’s personality.

Aries (March 21 – April 20)

The sign of Aries is the Ram which is ruled by the planet Mars. Mars is known as “the bright and burning one” ruled by passion and drive.  Aries is a fire sign which makes the Aries dog confident and able-bodied. Taking no for an answer is not in their  mindset. When an Aries dog does not come when they are called, don’t take it personally. They probably found something more interesting for the moment.  As a fire sign, the Aries dog is extremely smart and playful. They want to be the center of your world and your possessions. Naturally inquisitive and assured of themselves, the Aries dog can find themselves getting into accidents and you may find yourself at the vet more than you would like.

Taurus (April 21 – May 20)

The sign of Taurus is the Bull which is ruled by the planet Venus. Venus is the planet of love, beauty, and gentleness. Taurus is an earth sign and creates a lot of will power. The Taurus dog wants to have their cake and eat it too. When they want to do something, then that is the way it is going to be. Taurus dogs are inherently shy and need to feel safe. They love to be shown affection if they are in the mood. The Taurus dog needs a balanced and peaceful environment. Loud noises and chaos will get them stressed and upset. My pug Finnbar is a Taurus, he is afraid of thunderstorms and other loud noises like hammers. He is also the most obstinate dog I have ever had.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

The sign of Gemini is the Twins which are ruled by the planet Mercury. Mercury is the planet of intelligence. Gemini is an air sign with an earthen spirit. Dog’s with their sun signs in Gemini are both passive and aggressive, positive and negative, outgoing and reserved. Gemini dogs aren’t into “ownership”. Guardian is the way of the Gemini and these dogs weave their spirit in the world rarely bonding with one person. The Gemini is a quick learner, loves exercise, has a quick wit and is affectionate. However, they can also be nervous, indecisive in their eating habits, and prone to separation anxiety due to their need to be with others.

Cancer (June 21 -July 20)

The sign of Cancer is the Crab which is ruled by the Moon. The moon is emotional, sensitive and nurturing. Cancer is ruled by water which is fluid and moving. Dogs born under this sign are loving and sweet natured. Even though they love being around you, most Cancers need continuous reassurance. New places and people can make them disengage and become ill-tempered. Cancer dogs love to nurture other animals and make good companions for other dogs. They are controlled by their appetites and can quickly gain weight. Free feeding should not be on the Cancer dog’s agenda.

Leo (July 21 – August 20)

The sign of Leo is the Lion which is ruled by the Sun. The sun is warming, noble, and generous. Leo is a fire sign with energy to burn. Leos love the outdoors and everything that comes with it. They also enjoy barking. It doesn’t matter if a Leo dog is with you or at the dog park, he or she loves to be the center of attention. A huge positive of having a dog with their sign in Leo is that they are the most loyal dog in the zodiac.

Virgo (August 21 – September 20)

The sign of Virgo is the virgin which is ruled by Mercury. Mercury is the planet of intellect. When Virgo and Mercury are combined, they create the calmest dog in the astrological line up. The Virgo dog is a champion of stressful conditions. Like the Taurus, they love a routine and don’t do well with change. Virgos like to talk and follow you from one place to the next. This behavior makes them a great dog for people who enjoy the outdoors and love to travel.

Libra (September 21 – October 20)

The sign of Libra is the Scales which are ruled by the planet Venus. Venus makes Libra dogs indecisive and a little ADD. They are difficult to train due to their inability to pay attention for long periods of time. Libra dogs are loving and pleasant but need gentle discipline in order to feel secure. If you want a dog that will just go with the flow and deal with complete chaos, a Libra dog is not for you. Structure is a must. Libras also have irregular eating habits. They tend to eat only when they want to.

Scorpio (October 21 – November 20)

The sign of Scorpio is the Scorpion which is ruled by the planet Pluto. Scorpio is a water sign and highly emotional. The Scorpio dog is robust and strong willed. They usually get what they want and are very influential over other dogs and people. Scorpios need daily exercise to help relieve stress and like their fellow Libra they crave structure. Without structure, the Scorpio dog will take advantage of everyone and everything he or she comes in contact with. These dogs are extremely intuitive and never forget when they have been wronged. A Scorpio dog is a friend of solitude but also enjoys good company, especially yours.  They love to be fawned over and groomed.

Sagittarius (November 21 – December 20)

The sign of Sagittarius is the Archer which is ruled by the planet Jupiter. Sagittarius is a fire sign that loves a challenge. The glass is always half full for a dog with their sign in Sagittarius. These dogs are happy, outgoing and kind. You have to watch your Sagittarius dog around others because they have a tendency to get picked on. They love to get physical affection and feel they are your one true love. Loyalty is a Sagittarius’s speciality, making them want to be with you at all times. If you are not careful, this trait can turn into separation anxiety. The Sagittarius dog craves companionship and loves to have another dog or animal in the house.

Capricorn (December 21 – January 20)

The sign of Capricorn is the Goat which is ruled by the planet Saturn. Saturn is an earth sign and one of the most grounded signs of the Zodiac. This makes Capricorn dogs clean, refined, and intense with a mind of their own. They love to run around and exercise. Capricorns don’t sleep as much as other dogs and suffer from anxiety in stressful situations. They don’t always make the best companions for other animals.  If they are forced into getting step-siblings, they may take time to get used to them.

Aquarius (January 21 – February 20)

The sign of Aquarius is the Water Bearer which is ruled by the planet Uranus. Aquarius is an air sign and happens to be the most intelligent and intuitive sign in the zodiac. Aquarians are unpredictable and can go from zero to sixty in about two seconds. They are extremely loving and love others.

Pisces (February 20 – March 20)

The sign of Pisces is the Fish which is ruled by the planet Jupiter. Pisces is a water sign and mixed with the air of Jupiter, you get a dog with a magical sensitivity. Dogs in the sign of Pisces are inherently sweet and need a peaceful atmosphere to flourish because they get stressed easily. Like Leos, these dogs sometimes get bullied because of their non-aggressive nature. Pisces dogs are very independent dogs. They do what they want without attracting the attention of others. What does this mean for you?  Don’t be fooled.  They have you well trained.

I hope these sun sign astrological descriptions can give you some insight into your dog’s personality. I encourage you to explore astrology and dig deeper into this fun way of looking at the stars. I don’t have a clue of when my rescue pug Francis was born. By the description, I think she might be a Leo.

Filed under Pug Dog Astrology Pisces Aquarius Capricorn Sagittarius Scorpio Libra Virgo Leo Cancer Gemini Taurus Aries

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To Flea or Not To Flea?

 

In these summer months, we dog owners need to be our own defense department.  We have to gather an arsenal of weapons against an unseen army of fleas and ticks. This army can ambush our sweet furry ones overnight and cross over into our homes and bedrooms without being seen.  Worried?  Don’t be.

Fleas and ticks are always the enemy when the weather gets hot. At the first sight of a flea or tick, everyone in my household starts to get itchy and paranoid. I get especially freaked at night when my pug Francis hops up on the bed.  What could be lurking underneath her fur? There is nothing worse than being woken up by a tick crawling up your leg or neck.  Yuck!  To put an end to these worries, I follow some simple steps  to win the war against summer’s invisible  invaders and keep my pets clean and healthy.

The first line of defense begins in your yard. Keep the lawn mowed to the shortest height possible. If you have a small yard or your dog has a favorite place to hang out, spread diatomaceous earth on the ground. Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder made up of fossilized organisms called Diatoms.  These little gems help break apart flea eggs and dry them up before they can grow into adult fleas. You can purchase Diatomaceous earth at your local hardware store or gardening center. If you have a yard where you can put potted plants, consider growing mint, rosemary, fleabane daisies, geraniums, lavender, and lemongrass. These plants repel fleas and ticks and help keep them out of your yard. If you live in a rural area, plant plenty of oregano, black eyed susans, and lemon balm to help deter deer. Where there are deer, the ticks follow.

Keeping your dog’s environment and coat clean is just as important as having a tidy yard. Once per week, wash all of your dog’s bedding in hot water with a natural, unscented detergent. If your dog sleeps with you, make sure you throw your own bedding in the washer once a week.  Vacuum your floors daily including furniture and corners. Keeping your dog’s coat clean with daily grooming  is the key to an effective battle plan.   Wheather your dog’s coat is short or long, daily attention is needed to check for pesky critters trying to hitch a ride inside.

Brushing your dog’s coat will help remove fleas and ticks plus your dog will love you for it. Not only will you be spending quality time together but brushing helps to stimulate the circulatory system, distribute their coat’s natural oils, and remove toxins.  Before brushing, try this excellent flea test. Moisten paper towels and stand your dog on them making sure the towels extend beyond the size of your dog’s coat. If little specks of dirt fall on to the towels and turn red or brown, your dog has fleas. Another great grooming technique is to go monkey on your dog. Preen and pick through their fur like a chimp to see if you can find any ticks paying special attention to their ears, tail, belly, and toes.  What happens if you find a tick?  Put a spot of apple cider vinegar on the tick, place a tweezer as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull the tick straight out. Clean the bite with some antiseptic or lavender essential oil. I recommend that people keep ticks in a sealed bag for at least a year. Your vet may need the tick in the event your dog starts feeling sick and they suspect a tick borne illness might be the cause.  Most ticks have to be attached for 24 to 48 hours to transmit most of the diseases that they can carry.

The last and most vital part of your battle is to repel fleas and ticks using your dog as bait. To do this and win the war, you must fight from the inside out and choose a natural repellent that works. Fighting from the inside out means feeding your dog a healthy diet so they will not smell or taste good to both fleas and ticks. Feed a diet that is free from additives, fillers and by-products. Make sure they are getting enough immune builders like omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. A dog with a healthy immune system will be able to fight off and repel insects by using their skin’s natural oils. Choosing a natural repellent can be a work in progress. I always suggest purchasing a small amount of a product to see if it works. Avoid repellents that contain unsafe essential oils pennyroyal, wintergreen and clove. I am a big fan of making my own. The following recipe is effective and can be used daily. Start by making a tea of fresh or dried leaves of rosemary, lemon balm, and chamomile. Mix with 6 ounces of almost boiling water and let steep overnight.  Strain the mixture into a small spray bottle and add 2 ounces of apple cider vinegar and 5 drops of lavender essential oil. Shake and spray all over your dog’s coat concentrating on the belly, tail, ears, and legs.  The mixture will last 7 to 10 days if refrigerated.

The above natural pest control methods should help put your mind at ease. Summer is a time for long walks and playing in the sun.  Don’t let fleas and ticks keep you from enjoying the outdoors. Step by step, you can have a great summer and a clean, healthy dog.

Filed under fleas ticks natural