It might be in the 60s in Virginia, but the Almanac says to watch for late February-early March snow and ice. Come in now for 20% OFF DOG WEAR, including Foggy Mountain, Pendleton, Teckle dog coats or Chilly Dog and Fab Dog woolen sweaters. Be prepared!
Anxiety affects pets as much as people. Traditional veterinarians might prescribe smaller dosages of the same anti-anxiety medications – such as Valium and Paxil – used for humans to treat pets. These drugs often have powerful side effects. Unless your pet is completely and dangerously out of control, natural solutions for anxiety are safer and as effective.
Determine the Cause
Natural solutions for your pet’s anxiety aren’t one-size-fits-all. It’s crucial to narrow down exactly what stresses your pet. Sometimes the answer is obvious, such as Fourth of July fireworks. If you’re not sure about the trigger, observe your pet carefully. Have there been any changes in the household recently? Is the pet experiencing a new routine? Inappropriate elimination in cats – a euphemism for going outside the box –often results from anxiety. Have your pet examined by your holistic veterinarian to determine whether your pet’s anxiety derives from a health or psychological issue. If it’s the latter, explore natural therapies for treatment.
If you have a dog, keep lavender essential oil on hand. This aromatic oil helps calm agitated canines – and it smells good. Lavender oil boasts soothing properties, but like all essential oils, it is quite powerful. That’s why it’s important to dilute essential oils with carrier oils, such as sesame or sweet almond for use with cats. However, dogs need the oil to be applied in a “neat” fashion and therefore the oils do not need dilution. One rule of thumb – mix 10 drops of essential oil into .5 ounce carrier oil.
Let your dog sniff the oil from the vial, or place a few drops on a bandanna and tie it around his neck. Try putting a drop or two in your hand and then petting your dog down the length of his body, or apply a drop around the ears. Another option: Use a diffuser and allow lavender oil to permeate the room. Lavender is one of the few essential oils safe to use on cats – very sparingly. Never place lavender directly on the cat, but a drop or two on the bedding in the cat carrier can ease feline travel nerves.
Other essential oils with soothing properties for dogs include:
- Valerian – aids in calming noise anxiety
- Vetiver- subdues nervous dogs
- Ylang ylang – helpful for separation anxiety.
Purchase only high quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils for your pet’s therapy. View our line of Young Living Oils.
Flower essences are similar to essential oils in that they derive from plant-based materials. While many essential oils have medicinal properties, flowers essences heal only on the emotional level. Perhaps the best-known flower essence is Rescue Remedy, a distillation of five flowers – cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, Rock rose and Star of Bethlehem -essences designed to restore calm in stressful situations. Available in a vial or as a spray, it’s another must-have for pet owners. Unlike essential oils, flower essences are safe for felines.
Certain flower essences are created for very specific issues. For example, gentian restores confidence, while larch boosts the esteem of scared animals. They sound like the same thing, but there is a subtle difference. Work with your holistic veterinarian to find the right flower essence for your pet’s problem.
If thunder or similar loud noises terrifies your dog, he or she doesn’t necessarily need anti-anxiety medication. What may help is a compression shirt, a garment using gentle pressure to make the dog feel secure, much like infant swaddling. While compression shirts won’t help all dogs with noise anxiety, many owners report good results. That’s especially true when essential oils, flower essences and other complementary therapies are also used.
If your dog suffers from severe separation anxiety, high-stress levels, or other behavioral concerns you’ve probably tried all the standard methods to resolve the issue. If nothing has worked, contact Pattie, Animal Connection’s owner, and animal telepathy, expert.
Learn more about our Behavior Consulting services here.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY, “PET FOOLED?” It’s an in-depth exposé of the inner workings of the commercial pet food industry, the majority of which is owned by only a few multi-conglomerate companies. With the help of veterinarians Dr. Barbara Royal and Dr. Karen Becker, filmmaker Kohl Harrington takes viewers on an entertaining and eye-opening journey exploring all facets of a secretive industry, which has operated largely unchallenged until now. We’ll be showing this incredible film at our store on February 26 at 2 pm. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free, but please call the store to register so we will have enough seating for all. We can promise it will be well worth your time to attend. Check our Facebook page for updates on this in-store event. Contact us for more info!
February is dental month for pets! And, the best products for better dental health are better foods! Great choices like our raw, dehydrated, or freeze dried foods or higher protein kibbles don’t have the useless carbs and sugars that allow tartar or yeast to develop, which then causes bad breath, gingivitis and tooth decay. Stock up on digestive enzyme products, like Leba III Spray, ProDen Plaque Off, Indigenous Dental Bones or Willard Water. These products are extremely helpful and easy to use. Plus we offer a great selection of toothbrushes and toothpaste and we’ll be happy to show you how to get your pet used to regular brushing. Don’t forget, teeth brushing is included at no charge when we groom your dogs or cats! Here’s to great smiles for all your pets!
We’re celebrating the ones who give us unconditional love February 11 – 14 with fun events, store specials, and gifts from our heart to yours! Sign up for PET PORTRAITS, SUNDAY. FEB 12 from 1-4 pm – a photo of you and your met makes the perfect Valentine card! WIN $100 OF HONEST KITCHEN “LOVE” – over 40 lbs of grain free, ranch raised beef and veggies, holistic goodness your dog is sure to love! Register all week long, winner announced Feb.14. FREE SMOOCHES AND NUZZLES, yummy treats also from Honest Kitchen you’ll want to give all year long. VALENTINE’S BAKERY GOODIES – beautifully decorated cookies for dogs, and we’ll have sweet treats for their people too! SHARE THE LOVE WITH PET RESCUE GROUPS! We’ll also be accepting donations for pet food and supplies, a true gift from the heart for pets in need! Check out our Facebook page for more info and events you won’t want to miss!
Old age ain’t for sissies, and that’s as true for dogs as it is for people. Elderly –and sometimes middle-aged – dogs may develop vestibular syndrome, which also goes by the name “old dog vestibular syndrome.” Another term is “canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome,” with idiopathic meaning “of unknown origin.” Although symptoms of vestibular syndrome are scary, the good news is it’s not a life-threatening condition and most dogs recover fairly well.
The vestibular system, located in the brain and inner ear, maintains the body’s balance and orients it to its position in space. When the vestibular system is out of whack, the affected creature no longer has a sense of where his or her body is positioned. Vestibular syndrome comes on rapidly, which is one reason it’s so frightening to dog owners. A perfectly healthy older canine suddenly develops various neurological issues. Signs of vestibular syndrome include:
- Head tilt
- Difficulty walking or balancing
- Falling over – one side only
- Nystagmus – eyes moving back and forth
- Wide stance
- Other neurological problems
- Loss of appetite – due to nausea from balance problems
- Vomiting – also resulting from nausea.
Some of these symptoms are found in serious diseases, such as strokes, severe infections or brain tumors. That’s why it is always necessary to get a definite diagnosis from your animal care provider.
Severely affected dogs may require sedatives to help them relax, or motion sickness drugs to stop vomiting. If your dog is less afflicted, natural remedies such as lavender essential oil can help them calm down. Rather than place the oil directly on the dog, put drops on the collar or a bandana around the neck. Other natural methods and means to help dogs with vestibular syndrome include:
- Acupuncture – treatment can help a dog suffering from vestibular syndrome. Try to have the first acupuncture session as soon as possible after diagnosis. Some dogs show improvement within a few hours.
- Gentle exercise – inactivity in an old dog only makes his joints stiffer and can delay the recovery process. Your vet will advise you on suitable ways to walk your dog, such as using a special harness to help keep him upright.
- Physical therapy – a veterinary physical therapist can design exercises specifically for your dog and his symptoms.
- Floor mats – invest in some inexpensive floor mats with good grip, and place them around your dog’s bed and other places she likes to rest. The more secure footing provided will help her get up and moving.
If a practitioner is available, you may want to consider reiki, T-touch, or energy healing to help your dog recuperate.
Food and Water
Because your dog feels nauseous, they may not want to eat or drink. It’s easy for a dog with vestibular syndrome to become dehydrated and require intravenous solutions from the vet. One way of getting nourishment and liquids into your pet is by feeding chicken broth with some boiled chicken. It’s gentle on the stomach and a good start to getting your dog eating and drinking again. Make sure your dog always has water available and offer it regularly if reaching the bowl on his own is problematic.
The most natural treatment for vestibular syndrome is tincture of time. Most dogs recover from vestibular syndrome within days or weeks, although a head tile may remain permanently. A second instance of vestibular syndrome is rare, but does occur. If your dog does experience a recurrence, you’re less likely to panic the way you did initially, but it’s still wise to have the vet examine your pet.
We’re big believers in changing your pet’s food choices along with the seasons. With the cold winter months, it’s time to try warming proteins like chicken, pheasant, venison, trout and lamb. They’ll help create inner warmth they’ll need for extra energy now through March. If their joints are a little stiff and sore especially on these cool damp mornings, add a little tumeric to their diet to help keep them flexible and supple. If you are feeding our higher protein kibbles, like Orijen or Acana, we recommend a little warm water or bone broth, not only for the extra liquid intake, but to keep their tummy’s warm! You can always warm up any of our frozen or dehydrated food options to make they extra yummy, too.
Feel free to contact us with any questions about cold weather proteins.
Winter is officially here. Make sure you’re prepared with Safe Paw Ice Melt for slippery icy walkways at your home. Try our Musher’s Secret Paw Conditioner, to keep their pads soft and nourished and protected from ice melt chemicals on the roads. We are stocked with warm sweaters, waterproof coats and all weather gear. And for those cold nights, they’ll love our Cozy Cave fleeces and warm Pendleton beds. Don’t wait until Old Man Winter sends our first blizzard, come see us today!
New Year’s Eve is a big night for fireworks and parties, which can be scary for your pets. Keep your pets indoors and create a calming environment with soft music. Put some Young Living essential oils, like Lavender or Peace & Calming on a cotton ball and put it gently in their ear or stoke it on their chest and back for soothing aromatherapy. Add our Bach Flowers “Rescue Remedy” to their drinking water or on a treat for natural stress relief. Provide a Kong toy filled with their favorite treat or a No-Hide chew to detract them from the noise. And especially make sure your pets are microchipped and/or wearing identification tags in case they get loose, panic and become lost. We’ll be open New Year’s Eve until 3pm and can help you… and your pets… have a safe holiday!
Autumn is allergy season for humans and canines alike. Because we’ve had so little rain this season, allergy-prone dogs are suffering more than ever. There are ways to help fight your dog’s allergies, and some of them consist of dietary changes and supplementation.
In fall, leaves drop from trees and plants start dying off. In this season, molds and other inhalants trigger allergies in susceptible canines. While bathing, air purifiers, regular vacuuming and other ways of keeping allergen numbers down on your pet and in your home help, it’s also essential to keep your dog in prime condition so his immune system can fight off allergies.
Bring your dog to the vet for a definite diagnosis if he begins experiencing upper respiratory issues or eye discharge in the fall, typical symptoms of autumn allergies. However, those are far from the only symptoms of canine fall allergies.
Allergic reactions in dogs often take on the form of skin conditions. While these allergies are usually caused by food or fleas rather than pollen and molds, that’s not always the case. A dog who constantly licks his paws in autumn to the point where they are raw and bleeding may suffer an environmental contact allergy. Other reactions indicating an inhalant allergy include:
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Constant scratching
- Reddened areas on the stomach or paws.
Scratching soon leads to secondary skin infections. Because these symptoms also correspond with food and flea allergies, a vet visit will get to the bottom of it.
Human Grade Food
Ask your holistic veterinarian about a devising an allergy fighter diet for your pet. Such a diet consists of human-grade meats, vegetables and small amounts of fruit. If making dinner for your dog isn’t practical, feed him only the highest quality commercial dog food. Look for foods containing human-grade ingredients, and avoid those with grains, sugar, artificial coloring or rendered products.
You may also add digestive enzymes to your dog’s diet to support his immune system.
Raw, local honey is a natural method for treating seasonal allergies. Your dog will also love the taste. If you don’t have a source for raw, local honey, ask your vet or inquire at nearby health food store. Bees produce honey from local plants, and consuming local honey means ingesting local pollen. The idea is that your dog’s body becomes desensitized to pollens through honey consumption.
Nutraceuticals and Supplements
Nutraceuticals are foods marketed specifically for health benefits. They have medicinal properties, but aren’t medications per se. Certain nutraceuticals, sold as supplements, can boost your dog’s immune systems and possibly lessen or eliminate allergic reactions. Fish oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help the body fight inflammation and boost its defenses. You can feed your dog the same type of fish oils you take yourself, but ask your vet about the proper dosage for your pet.
Another nutraceutical, methyl-sufonyl-methane (MSM) is used primarily for joint pain relief, but can also help dogs dealing with rhinitis, skin issues and other fall allergy symptoms. MSM is a form of sulfur, found naturally in the body.
Quercetin supplements, known as “Nature’s Benadryl,” can calm itching. This bioflavonoid acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. As an antihistamine, it suppresses the allergic reaction, much as Benadryl does for people. Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory properties not only treat itching, but soothe congested bronchial tubes. White willow bark has pain-relieving properties. Again, your vet can recommend the right dosage and administration schedule for your dog.
A Healthy Weight
Overweight dogs will suffer more from fall allergies than dogs of normal size. Not only does a fat dog have more difficulty breathing, but too much weight stresses his entire body. While your vet can recommend a diet plan, fall isn’t the best time to start a rigorous exercise program for a dog prone to allergies. Take your dog for longer walks when the pollen and mold count is low, or introduce him to an indoor form of exercise, such as swimming at a canine aquatic center.
Fall allergy season is tough, but take heart. Winter has its downsides, but very cold weather kills off many allergen sources.