Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Have you noticed your dogs eating grass lately? Eating grass is a fairly common behavior for dogs, but the truth is that no one knows exactly why dogs eat grass. However, there are some pretty strong hypotheses out there about what causes this strange behavior.

Top Four Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Here are four well-accepted explanations for why you may see dogs and puppies eating grass.

Natural Instinct

As we domesticated dogs, we changed their eating habits and their diets. The food that we feed our dogs today is pretty different from what they would eat in the wild. Dogs are actually omnivores and scavengers, meaning that they are willing to eat all sorts of different foods.

It’s possible that dogs eating grass are just following their natural instinct to scavenge. Wild dogs today will eat vegetation including fruits and grass, so our domesticated dogs may eat grass to satisfy the same natural instinct.

Stomach Upset

Dogs may have an alternative motive to eating grass: Soothing an upset stomach. The grass is tickly, and it can make a dog throw up. Dogs who eat grass may be attempting to relieve an upset or gassy stomach. While the end result isn’t at all fun for us to clean up, it’s possible that our dogs know what their bodies need and are eating grass as a way to make themselves feel better.

Anxiety

Grass eating in dogs can be a sign of anxiety. This behavior can be compulsive, and if a dog gets worked up or upset, he may turn to eating grass to help soothe his nerves. If you notice that your dog is highly anxious or upset when he eats grass, it is likely that anxiety is at the root of his grass eating, rather than one of the other possible causes.

If you suspect that your dog is eating grass because of anxiety, there are a number of ways that you can help to treat the anxiety. Consult with your vet about holistic treatments that may help your dog. It may take some time to pinpoint the source of your dog’s anxiety, but taking the time to get to the root of the issue can allow you to better help your dog.

Enjoyment

It’s also possible that some dogs just like grass. Dogs may like the taste or texture of grass. Even if grass may make dogs vomit, it’s possible that dogs enjoy eating it so much that the end effect isn’t enough to convince them to stop. Some dogs may just see grass as a special, delicious treat.

The Best Grass for Dogs to Eat

Now that we’ve established that it’s pretty common for dogs to eat grass, let’s talk about how to keep your dog safe when he decides to chow down on the lawn. The best grass for dogs to eat is grass that has not been treated with chemicals or pesticides. Never let your dog eat grass when you’re out at the park or in an unfamiliar place since you don’t know how the grass has been maintained.

You may want to create a safe patch of grass just for your dog to eat. Maybe you want to grow a tray of grass within your home, or in your yard so that you know your dog isn’t at risk of ingesting pesticides or other chemicals.

Keep an eye on your dog when he eats grass. This is particularly true for puppies eating grass, since ingesting too much grass or pieces of grass that are too large may cause an intestinal blockage in a puppy.

Grass eating is one of those behaviors that we don’t yet fully understand. If you’re struggling with grass eating in your dog, then our Behavior Consulting or Nutritional Consulting services may be just right for you.

 

References Noted:

http://www.akc.org/content/entertainment/articles/why-does-my-dog-eat-grass/

http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/vet-s-take-why-dogs-eat-grass/297

https://www.caninejournal.com/why-dogs-eat-grass/

Animal connection dog cat

Natural (Holistic) Solutions for Your Dog or Cat’s Anxiety

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.

Essential Oils

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

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.

Compression Shirts

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.

Professional Help

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.

 

 

 

References Noted:

http://thebark.com/content/essential-oils-and-dogs

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/essential-oils-for-scared-dogs/

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/flower-essences-for-anxious-dogs/

https://www.caninejournal.com/thunder-jacket-for-dogs/

Male veterinarian examining Great Dane on cancer in vet clinic

Neoplasene: Safe or Dangerous for Your Dog?

A canine cancer diagnosis is devastating. If your dog has cancer, you want to do everything possible to help him. Neoplasene, a treatment derived from bloodroot, may help with some cancers. Even though it is a natural substance, it does hold potential dangers. If you decide to go this route, it is imperative that you work with your holistic veterinarian every step of the way. Neoplasene is available only by prescription.

 

Neoplasene

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadanesis, has long been used in herbal medicine to treat skin issues, including warts and fungal infections. This native wildflower appears each spring in the eastern woodlands of North America. Native Americans also used it for red dye. Only certain components of bloodroot are used in the making of neoplasene.

Neoplasene causes cancer cells to die – but it can also kill healthy cells, so extreme caution is necessary. Neoplasene treatment may lessen the cancer’s spread, or metastasis.

 

Canine Cancer Treatment

Neoplasene is only effective for certain canine cancers. These include:

  • Fibrosarcomas
  • Hemangiosarcomas
  • Nasal tumors
  • Mammary gland tumors
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Perianal cancers

Neoplasene doesn’t cost as much as common cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, but it is labor intensive and unpleasant to apply topically. When the tumor cells die, they leave behind a gaping hole – perhaps down to the bone – requiring vet care. Your vet may initially inject neoplasene into a tumor, and the growth will necrotize – die off – within a week. After that, you must apply neoplasene salve to the wound at least twice daily. When done correctly, scarring is minimal for small tumors. That’s not the case with large growths.

Don’t force off the dying tissue, even though it appears repulsive. Unless your veterinarian indicates otherwise, merely clean the area with a hydrogen peroxide solution daily.  

There is an oral form of neoplasene used for cancers that have metastasized. The dog will likely require this supplement for the rest of his life. However, oral neoplasene usually causes nausea and vomiting, so it is accompanied by specific diets designed to combat these side effects. Your vet will recommend a diet for your dog’s therapeutic needs. Raw and dry food diets are out. Neoplasene is mixed with food, as giving it directly to your dog will almost certainly result in vomiting.  During the neoplasene regimen, your dog can’t receive any treats and is put on a strict twice-daily feeding schedule. His access to water is also limited.

 

Neoplasene Precautions

Your dog can’t lick or eat the neoplasene ointment, so he may have to wear an Elizabethan collar or other device to keep him from getting at the wound. Elizabethan collars, the so-called “cones of shame” are uncomfortable and your dog will have to wear one for weeks. That’s just one of several precautions during neoplasene therapy:

  • The salve may cause pain when placed on the wound, so your vet may prescribe analgesics for your pet. Certain painkillers have their own side effects. Dogs receiving neoplasene therapy cannot receive anti-inflammatories.
  • Do not give your dog any supplements, including vitamins, without your veterinarian’s consent.
  • Buck Mountain Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of neoplasene, warns, “Prolonged contact with healthy tissue is to be avoided.”
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs should not receive neoplasene.
  • Treatment for any other common dog disorders must cease during neoplasene therapy. That means no arthritis supplements, whether prescription or natural.

Neoplasene won’t “cure” cancer, but in combination with other holistic treatments, including diet, it can help your dog live longer with a good quality of life. In a best-case scenario, your dog succumbs to the infirmities of old age, not cancer.

A picture of a vet brushing dog's teeth

How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Naturally

The majority of dogs suffer from some type of dental disease, and signs of dental issues are apparent as early as age 3. It is not natural for dogs to have plaque and tartar on their teeth, and it doesn’t happen to their wild carnivore cousins. This buildup, which leads to dental and periodontal problems, is preventable via holistic dental techniques. These techniques focus on the entire dog, not just the mouth itself.

Poor dental health affects more than the teeth or gums. The bacteria from tooth infections can travel throughout the body, leading to heart, lung, liver, and kidney disease. Even if your dog already has signs of teeth troubles, it’s not too late to begin a holistic approach, with guidance from your veterinarian.

 

Conventional Teeth Cleaning

If your dog requires conventional teeth cleaning, that means undergoing anesthesia. The vet uses an ultrasonic scaler for removing large pieces of plaque and tartar, and then each tooth is cleaned via a hand scaler. It can take several hours for your dog to recover from the anesthesia. Although deaths from anesthesia are rare, they do occur. If you use a holistic approach to canine teeth cleaning starting when your dog is young, he may never need to undergo veterinary cleaning under anesthesia. One caveat: If your dog is very small, dental issues are more common. That’s because little dogs still possess the full complement of 42 teeth, crammed into their tiny mouths. Brachycephalic breeds – those with short noses and “pushed-in” faces – are also more likely to need professional dental cleaning. These breeds include the bulldog, pug, and Boston terrier.

 

Food for Dental Health

The best foods for your dog’s dental health are those designed for the way canines naturally eat. That means most of their teeth adept at tearing apart animal protein – meat – with a lesser number intended to crush this food prior to swallowing.

A typical commercial diet is one of the primary causes of canine tooth decay. Such diets often contain sugar and are full of carbohydrates – a recipe for dental disease. Your holistic vet will recommend the best food for your dog, and that typically consists of a commercially made, gently cooked or raw diet or a high protein, low carb dry diet. Add a good quality digestive enzyme to their food or a pinch in their water bowl will keep their teeth cleaner and their breath fresher, too. Look for dental chews that contain essential enzymes and are free of sugars and rice products for safe, effective chewing.

 

Regular Brushing

Your vet or your groomer can instruct you on the best way to brush your dog’s teeth. Even if your dog resists at first, he’ll probably come to tolerate brushing and develop a taste for canine toothpaste.  Toothbrushes designed for children do well for small dogs, while you can use adult-sized toothbrushes on larger animals. Always use soft-bristled toothbrushes. Look for canine toothpaste containing antibacterial enzymes to limit bacterial growth. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth twice daily, just as you do your own. If that’s not possible, brush them once daily or as often as you can.

 

Signs of Dental Issues

If you’re brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you’ll notice any dental issues right away. Also watch your dog eat, so you can see if there’s any change in his chewing pattern or if he experiences eating difficulties. Signs of dental issues include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pawing at the mouth.

Take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Even when using holistic dental techniques, dental problems can occur. In some dogs, genetic issues make them prone to dental disease.

A holistic approach to dental health benefits your dog’s entire body. Because your dog consumes an appropriate diet and good dental health minimizes the risk of systemic infection, you’re likely to have your best friend around for a long time.

 

References

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_4/features/Maintaining-Canine-Dental-Health_20501-1.html

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/alternative-dental-care/

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-disturbing-cuase-of-dental-disease-in-dogs/

overweight dog

Natural Treatment for Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

It’s not unusual for aging canines to develop the endocrine condition known as Cushing’s disease.  Formally known as hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s disease generally results from a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. This gland “rules” the endocrine system and produces various hormones, and the growth causes it to overproduce adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH. In about 20 percent of cases, a tumor on one or both of your pet’s adrenal glands induces excess cortisol production. Cortisol is a natural steroid, but excess amounts leave your dog’s body vulnerable to all sorts of maladies.

Standard treatment for Cushing’s disease involves powerful medications which can cause serious side effects. Some of these drugs are contraindicated in dogs suffering from kidney and liver disease and other afflictions common in senior dogs. Find a reputable holistic veterinarian to see if a natural treatment regimen may benefit your dog with Cushing’s disease. Natural treatments are more helpful to dogs diagnosed in the early stages of hyperadrenocorticism.

Symptoms

Suspect Cushing’s disease if your older dog develops any of the following symptoms:

  • increased thirst and urination
  • constant hunger
  • hair thinning and loss
  • muscle weakness
  • frequent panting
  • darkening skin
  • recurring infections
  • lethargy
  • insomnia.

Since these symptoms mimic those of other diseases, it is crucial that you have your dog tested. A simple blood test reveals excess cortisol in your dog’s system. An ultrasound shows whether there is a tumor on the adrenal glands. Approximately half of such tumors are benign – but that means there’s a 50 percent chance of malignancy. For some dogs, surgical removal of the tumor is an option.

 

Diet

Changing your dog’s diet may ease many of the Cushing’s symptoms. Your vet may recommend a raw diet or suggest home-cooked meals. If your dog is not currently consuming grain-free food, it’s time to make the switch. Avoid dry foods and feed your pet as little processed food as possible – that includes treats.

 

Acupuncture

The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has many uses, and regular treatments can help regulate hormones and relieve symptoms. Tiny needles inserted into the corresponding acupuncture point are no longer the only game in town. Veterinarians can now use lasers on these points with the same effect as needles. Nervous dogs or those that tend to squirm a lot at the veterinary clinic may do better with lasers than needles.

 

Herbal Remedies

Certain herbs help control Cushing’s symptoms. Dandelion helps restore normal functioning to canine adrenal glands. Another common herb, ginkgo biloba, slows down the adrenal glands’ release of cortisol. Astragalus boosts the immune system, while burdock helps eliminate toxins from the body. Various Chinese herbs, such as Si Miao San, are useful for treating dogs with particular symptoms. These include overweight canines experiencing constant panting.

 

Supplements

Your vet can recommend supplements to help your dog fight Cushing’s disease. Common supplements that help reduce the inflammation occurring with Cushing’s disease include:

  • fish oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • glucosamine
  • turmeric.

Melatonin may help your insomniac dog regain a regular sleep schedule.

 

Specific Regimen

Natural remedies may help your dog in his battle against Cushing’s disease, but don’t start making dietary changes and giving your pet herbs and supplements on your own. Your dog needs a specific treatment protocol that only an experienced holistic veterinarian can develop. Your vet must see your dog regularly for blood testing and an overall evaluation.

Keep in mind that natural treatments may work for a while on your dog, but you might eventually have to go the conventional treatment route. Your vet will let you know when it is time. If your dog does require conventional medication – such as Trilosten – he may require a smaller dosage if he continues to receive dietary and herbal therapy and acupuncture treatment.

 

References

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/natural-solutions-for-cushings-disease/

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/herbs-for-cushings-disease/

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm151209.html

Vet holding homeopathic globules for a little maltese dog

How Homeopathy Can Help Older Dogs

There’s only one thing wrong with dogs. They don’t live long enough. It’s hard to see your best friend struggle with the physical and mental debilities that accompany aging. Veterinarians have powerful medications available for treating ailments common in senior canines. These drugs often have just as powerful side effects.  

The basic principle of homeopathy is “like cures like” and treatments consist of  natural, diluted substances given in minute doses. These substances work with the body’s natural healing powers and sort of “jump start” them. Skeptics claim it does not work, but even they admit it does no harm.

Natural remedies, such as homeopathy, may offer an effective and safe substitute for certain conditions. While you can purchase homeopathic remedies over-the-counter or online, for best results consult a veterinary homeopathic practitioner. You’ll receive learned advice on dosage, potency, and frequency of use, as well as the most effective therapies. They will also instruct you on the proper way to give your dog the diluted remedies – there’s great specificity in the way pellets must go into the mouth, for example.

 

Arthritis

If arthritis is limiting your dog’s mobility – and his quality of life – Arnica montana can help put a spring back in his step. Arguably the best-known homeopathic remedy, arnica helps relieve sore joints and muscles. While it is available in pellet form for therapy, it also comes in cream and gel versions for topical application to the joints. You would give your dog the pellet form several times a day to alleviate the chronic condition, and administer the gel or cream if the joint seems particularly sore. Arnica is never applied topically to open wounds.

Rhus tox is another good choice for arthritic dogs. If your dog has difficulty rising from a prone position, Rhus Toxicodendron is the go-to remedy.

 

Periodontal Disease

Older dogs frequently suffer from gum disease. While it’s important to follow your vet’s recommendations for treating periodontal disease, homeopathy treatments can lessen the pain associated with chronic gum issues. Hypericum perforatum  – St. John’s Wort – especially benefits any type of nerve injuries, such as that from loose teeth affected by periodontal disease.

 

Urinary Incontinence

As dogs age, their bladder sphincter muscles weaken, causing incontinence. It’s especially common in spayed females. Since incontinence can indicate various issues, including infections and bladder stones, always have your vet examine your pet. If the diagnosis is weak sphincter, homeopathic remedies may stop the leaking. Homeopathic remedies that may alleviate urinary incontinence include:

  • Bryonia – a good choice for dogs who leak urine when moving.
  • Cantharis – this remedy is better known as Spanish fly, a purported aphrodisiac that can make users seriously ill rather than amorous. In diluted homeopathic form, however, cantharis supports bladder function and helps quell the urge to constantly pee.
  • Causticum – especially helpful for aging dogs with weak bladders.
  • Pulsatilla – another remedy for bladder weakness, which also aids dogs suffering from separation anxiety.

 

Cognitive Dysfunction

Besides physical issues, many older dogs experience cognitive decline. A dog with cognitive dysfunction may appear disoriented, become restless at night, start eliminating inappropriately and exhibit other behavioral and personality changes. Remedies that may lessen symptoms include:

  • Arsenic – this poison is safe in homeopathic doses and it useful for restless dogs who pace at night.
  • Conium – improves the dog’s ability to focus.
  • Rhus tox – aids the anxiety common in dogs with cognitive problems.

 

Along with herbal and other natural remedies, homeopathic therapies can give your senior dog a new lease on life. He’s comfortable, more active and better resembles the dog of a few years earlier. You can’t give your best pal a greater gift.

 

If you’re looking for natural or herbal remedies for your pup, checkout our online shop today!

 

References

http://www.dogchannel.com/holistic-dog-care/natural-remedies-for-the-aging-dog.aspx

http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/homeopathic-remedies-for-dogs.html

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/12-homeopathic-remedies/

http://yourolddog.com/arnica-for-dogs-and-how-to-safely-use-it/

http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/dog-incontinence-remedies.html

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/homeopathic-treatment-for-dogs-an-acute-materia-media/

https://www.petremedycharts.com/Learning%20Center/Homeopathy/Homeopathic%20Remedies/Homeopathic_Remedies/Arsenicum_Album_Homeopathy_for_Animals.html

Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon, Lemongrass Effective Flea Repellent

The Perfect Ingredients for a Natural Flea Repellent

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer and that means … prime flea season. OK, it also means a lot more pleasant things, but if you have dogs and cats, it’s the time of year for flea control. You can purchase effective flea control products over-the-counter or from your vet, but many of them contain toxins that can harm your pet. Mother Nature has provided us with many ingredients for natural flea repellents. These may take a little more work on your part than commercial products, but they’ll only harm fleas, not Fido or Fluffy.

 

Simple Flea Repellents

You probably already have the ingredients for a simple natural flea repellent in your cupboard. Apple cider vinegar and water, mixed in a 50-50 solution, is an excellent, safe flea repellent for use on dogs and cats. You can substitute white vinegar, but pets don’t like it as much when they lick their fur.

Fleas detest vinegar and tend to stay off animals doused in it. You will have to reapply the solution daily – which may not make your pet too happy. Have a flea comb handy and check your pet every day for evidence of the pests.

 

Essential Oil Flea Repellent

Properly used, essential oils are the perfect ingredient for canine flea repellents. Cats, however, are sensitive to most essential oils, so don’t use these repellents on them. Although essential oils are natural, they are strong, so it’s crucial to dilute them properly.

A holistic veterinarian or essential oils practitioner can provide you with recipes for flea control. Purchase only therapeutic-grade essential oils. Flea-repelling diluted essential oils suitable for spraying on hair or skin include:

  • Lavender – place a few drops of lavender mixed with a carrier oil on your dog’s hair, or add about 15 drops to a small water bottle and spray your dog regularly. Since lavender reduces anxiety, using it as flea control also calms nervous canines.
  • Lemongrass and cedarwood – mix these two essential oils with water to create a flea spray. Your holistic practitioner will give you the exact amounts based on your dog’s size. Mist your dog while brushing his hair and exposing his skin so you can spot any fleas. Use this treatment once or twice weekly to keep him flea-free. It also keeps ticks at bay.
  • Peppermint – your dog will smell sweet, and any fleas will die. Peppermint affects the insect’s’ central nervous system, while not bothering your pet in the least.  

Although pennyroyal is effective for killing fleas in both herbal and essential oil forms, never put it directly on your dog. Place it around your dog’s bedding or on your carpeting.

 

A Healthy Diet

A healthy diet contains the ultimate ingredients for natural flea repellents. That’s because fleas hone in on animals with compromised immune systems, along with puppies and kittens whose immune systems are still developing. Feed your pets high-quality foods without grains and fillers. A good diet doesn’t mean you can ignore flea control, but it’s unlikely your pet will become infested.

 

A Clean Environment

The number of fleas on your pet’s coat is just the tip of the iceberg. Fleas on your dog or cat invariably mean fleas in your home. Battle these pests by vacuuming daily and washing all your pet’s bedding in hot water. Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth lightly on your pet’s bed, your carpets, baseboards, and anywhere you suspect fleas are lurking. DE, as it is known, is harmless to people and pets but kills fleas. It consists of fossilized algae shells, and while its tiny particles don’t harm larger animals, they are sharp enough to cut through insect exoskeletons.

By using a combination of natural ingredients, you and your pets can enjoy a perfect, flea-free summer.

 

References

http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/holistic-healthcare-library/fleas-ticks/53/the-natural-approach-to-flea-control.aspx

http://www.fleaguide.com/homemade-flea-spray.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/259278-essential-oils-that-naturally-repel-fleas-ticks/

http://www.pet360.com/dog/health/how-natural-flea-and-tick-repellants-work/gYZ1XK4KUU60oUHjuVuW-A

vet checking on a dog for heartworm

Natural Heartworm Prevention

It’s important to protect your dog against potentially deadly heartworm infestation. Conventional prevention generally involves using a powerful dewormer or other medications available only by prescription to kill microfilaria – baby heartworms – in the animal’s bloodstream. These drugs have potential side effects.

However, there are alternative, natural ways to prevent heartworm disease, recommended by holistic veterinarians. Using a natural mosquito repellent in conjunction with a raw diet might preclude the need for monthly heartworm medication.

Heartworms

Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, infestation in dogs has been documented in all 50 states. Affected dogs may have dozens of heartworms in their bodies, with some of them reaching several feet in length. Heartworms congregate not only in the heart, but also in the lungs and blood vessels. The more worms in the body, the greater the risk.

Heartworm Transmission

Mosquitoes are the primary method of heartworm transmission in dogs. Female heartworms living in another member of the canine family’s bloodstream – whether a domestic dog, fox, coyote or wolf – produce microfilaria. When a mosquito bites an infected canine and consumes a blood meal, it also picks up the heartworm larvae. The microfilaria remain infective for the next two weeks, so any dog or cat bitten by the mosquito in that time may have heartworm larvae transmitted to them via the bite wound. In six months, the microfilaria matures into adult heartworms.

Heartworms can live in dogs for up to seven years, and in a cat for up to three years, according to the American Heartworm Society. If you effectively repel mosquitoes from your pet, theoretically, heartworm larvae aren’t transmissible.

Wondercide

Wondercide protects pets naturally against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, and it’s effective for treating the house and yard against pests. It is safe to use on dogs and cats. Wondercide contains only food-grade ingredients, and all of its products contain cedar oil. The odor of cedar cause insects to flee – no pun intended. Wondercide also contains silica, which kills pests via suffocation. Just a minute amount of silica is enough to close insect breathing pores.  

Choose from three natural Wondercide fragrances for your pet’s pest protection:

  • cedar
  • cedar and rosemary
  • cedar and lemongrass

Raw Diet

A raw diet strengthens a dog’s immune system, which helps keep parasites at bay. Canines naturally evolved eating raw meat and some herbs, and cooking foods remove many essential nutrients. Many holistic practitioners recommend a diet consisting of raw meat, including bones and organs. A raw diet helps keep the dog’s digestive tract clear so parasites are not attracted.  A healthy immune system may kill off heartworm larvae on its own. Keeping your dog’s heart muscles strong also involves giving him plenty of exercise.

If the dog on a raw diet does develop heartworm disease, his strong immune system helps him stay well during heartworm treatment, which is a difficult process.

Heartworm Disease Symptoms

Dogs in the early stages of heartworm infestation often show few symptoms. As the heartworms grow, so do the signs of infestation. These include:

  • persistent cough
  • exercise intolerance
  • appetite loss
  • weight loss.

Dogs with a high heartworm load may develop a swollen abdomen, heart failure, or even die suddenly. Heartworm disease symptoms in cats are often more subtle with sudden death being far more common.

Heartworm Treatment

If your dog shows any signs of heartworm infestation, they require immediate treatment. You will require the services of an emergency pet care professional for diagnosis and eradication of canine heartworms.

References

http://www.wondercide.com/natural-flea-tick-mosquito-control-for-dogs-evolv/

https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics

http://dogs.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Natural_Cures_for_Canine_Heart_Worms

Lavender Herb And Essential Oil

Essential Oils for Pets

If you’d like to take a more natural, holistic approach to caring for your dog or horse, include certain essential oils in your toolkit. Used medicinally for thousands of years, essential oils are the results of distillation from plant elements. Although there are dozens, if not hundreds, of essential oils on the market, several specific oils are your best bet for use in common canine and equine conditions. When buying oils, make sure they are 100% pure (non-diluted) and certified organic. Most oils can be used on dogs and horses at full strength. Cats are very sensitive to oils like oregano, peppermint, and some cedars, so it’s best to ask the supplier first and then dilute them with a carrier oil.

Using Essential Oils on Dogs

Remember to always dilute essential oils before placing them on your dog. The smaller the dog, the more dilution is required using a “carrier,”such as almond, coconut, olive oil, or aloe vera juice. Never place essential oils around the animal’s eyes, nose, mouth, anus, or genitals. Some dogs may experience reactions to particular oils, so keep an eye on them after application. If they appear uncomfortable, do not use that oil on your pet.

Lavender and Peppermint Oil

If there are just two essentials oil you keep in your cupboard, make it lavender and peppermint oils. Lavender helps calm a nervous dog, and it’s a good tool for canines afraid of thunder, vet visits, automobile rides, or being alone. It’s also great to relieve scratching and itching from food and seasonal allergies. Elderly dogs with cognitive problems or sleeping disorders may benefit from lavender oil. Because lavender oil also acts as an antifungal and antibacterial, it’s useful for treating minor cuts or scrapes. Peppermint helps dogs who get car sick, just apply a small amount on their stomach before you travel. It also relieves hip and joint pain following extreme exercise or to help keep older pets flexible.

Cedarwood and Eucalyptus

If you don’t like the idea of putting powerful pesticides on your dog during flea and tick season, consider using essential oils to keep fleas and ticks at bay. You’ll have to check your dog for these pests daily and use a flea comb frequently to make sure they’re not harboring these bloodsucking creatures. Several essential oils, often blended together, can prevent flea and tick infestation in your dog. Your best choices are cedarwood and eucalyptus, which both work in repelling fleas.

Sweet Marjoram and Helichrysum

Various skin problems afflict dogs, resulting from parasites, allergies and other causes. Your vet must make the actual diagnosis of your dog’s skin issue. Different skin ailments often have similar symptoms, including hair loss and crusty, oozing sores. Certain essential oils can help canine skin issues, whether used in conjunction with conventional therapy or on their own. Sweet marjoram is useful for treating bacterial skin infections, while helichrysum helps relieve the pain and scratching of eczema and reduces skin inflammation. Helichrysum stops bleeding if you cut your pet’s nails too closely. Once again, lavender oil, used alone or blended with sweet marjoram or helichrysum, helps soothe many canine skin problems.

Respiratory Issues

If your dog returns from a boarding kennel or doggie daycare with a harsh, honking cough – but otherwise seems normal – your dog has probably picked up kennel cough. Although it’s always wise to have a vet examine your dog, kennel cough, or Bordetella bronchiseptica, usually runs its course in a couple of weeks without treatment. Think of it as a canine cold. Blend diluted lavender and eucalyptus in a diffuser, allowing your dog to breathe in this aromatherapy to ease congestion.  

Niaouli Oil for Ear infections

Many dogs, especially those with long, hanging ears, suffer from frequent ear infections. Your vet should always examine your dog if you suspect an ear infection. Niaouli oil, with its strong antibacterial properties, can help rid your dog of ear infections, and keep them from returning. Clean your dog’s ears regularly with a niaouli and lavender oil blend to aid in preventing infections.  

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil should be used with care for dogs only, not for cats – it can be toxic if ingested internally and must be very diluted before used externally. It is helpful for cleaning cuts and scrapes, clearing up fungal infections and stops the itching from bug bites.

Essential Oils for Equines

Because horses are so large, giving them too much of an essential oil isn’t as much of a problem as it is with dogs. They can be applied neat on the chest, down the spine, on the legs and the coronet band. Some oils, although helpful in many situations, cannot be used when showing in rated events. Please check with the AHSA or governing body before you use them during a horse show.

Calming

Use lavender to help calm a nervous horse. Let the horse sniff lavender straight from the bottle, or put some of it on the forehead or muzzle. Other essential oils with calming effects on horses include valerian and chamomile. Hint – if you have a nervous rider, apply it on the chest or the mane – as the horse sweats, the scent will ride and keep the rider calm too!

Essential Oils as Fly Deterrents

Protect your horse from flies naturally and efficiently with homemade fly sprays containing essential oils. Mix citronella, peppermint, lavender and bergamot essential oils to repel flies, in a base of aloe vera juice and water. (Do not use the citronella oil used for lanterns on your horse. You want citronella essential oil.)

Hoof Care

Use tea tree oil to cure a horse’s thrush. If your horse suffers an abscess, blend a mixture of Epsom salts in warm water with tea tree, oregano and lavender oils to help it open. Soak the foot in the mix for 20 minutes, twice a day, until the abscess pops. Once the abscess blows and leaves a hole, apply wintergreen oil. It penetrates exceptionally deeply to kill bacteria in the hole.       

 

A dog is having acupuncture needles placed.

Holistic Pet Care vs. Traditional – The Benefits of Holistic

The word “holistic” gets bandied about quite a bit in marketing, but many people may not know exactly what it means. Some think it’s synonymous with “natural.” That’s partly true, but it encompasses far more than that. Holistic pet care takes the entire animal into consideration, and integrates their physical, emotional and mental well-being into their welfare concerns. Traditional pet care focuses on cure, while holistic pet care emphasizes wellness. You won’t take your pet to a holistic, non-veterinary practitioner if the animal is experiencing an emergency. That’s where traditional care excels. Holistic pet care concentrates on keeping the animal in balance, so that his body and spirit stay healthy.

 

An Individual Approach

Holistic pet care is not one-size-fits-all. It focuses on the individual pet and the animal’s particular situation and needs. A holistic pet care practitioner takes a more thorough history of a pet’s health and lifestyle than does the traditional practitioner. Expect questions about potential toxins in your home or environment, as well as the pet’s diet, behavior, habits and fears.

 

Holistic Therapies

Holistic pet care incorporates alternative and complementary therapies not found in traditional practices. Traditional veterinary pet care practitioners use various types of drug therapy as the first line of defense in non-emergency situations. The medications may work, but have potential – possibly long-term – side effects. Holistic practitioners use drugs only when necessary. Instead, they rely on safe, natural remedies that treat the root cause of the pet’s issue, rather than treating just the symptoms. These methods might not provide an instant fix, but their results show over time and there are no untoward side effects. Holistic pet care therapies include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Massage
  • Reiki
  • Homeopathy
  • Herbal remedies
  • Flower essences
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

Holistic therapies tend to cost less than traditional, drug-reliant pet care. The holistic practitioner may teach the owner to perform some therapies herself, such as simple massage. Although holistic pet care offers a variety of complementary therapies, basic principles involve nutrition and exercise.

 

Pets Are What They Eat

All pet owners know that good nutrition is important. It’s not that traditional pet care practitioners don’t care about nutrition, but they often lack an in-depth knowledge of food and its curative powers. Nutritional therapy can prevent or cure certain conditions. The holistic practitioner will recommend the right kind of food for the pet – one free of fillers and highly processed ingredients. Since cats are obligate carnivores and dogs are primarily carnivorous, the holistic diet is meat-based. Holistic pet foods should provide nutrition suiting the entire animal. Traditional pet foods may be labeled specifically for skin or digestive health, and that’s fine. However, a holistic food should address all of the pet’s needs, and that includes support for the major organs and bodily systems. If they are in balance, the pet’s coat and digestive system will reflect that.

 

Holistic Pest Control

No one wants fleas, ticks and other pests on their pet. The traditional approach uses strong pesticides on the animal, either in the form of topically applied or oral flea and tick preventives. These products work, but their use may have long-term consequences or even prove fatal to some animals. In 2009, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a consumer advisory regarding approximately 70 flea and tick preventives because of an increased number of adverse reactions reported. These reactions included:

  • Seizures
  • Skin burns
  • Irritated skin
  • Death.

The EPA and the federal Food and Drug Administration advised owners to use such products with caution and always consult with a veterinarian about pet flea and tick control.

Holistic flea and tick control takes a little more time and effort than simply squeezing a pesticide on the skin, but it gets rid of pests and does not harm the pet. For example, holistic pest control may involve releasing nematodes, tiny worms that devour flea larvae, into your yard. Natural herbal products are used on the pet’s skin, and daily combing for fleas or ticks is a must. However, pets under the care of a holistic practitioner are less likely to suffer from flea or tick infestations than those receiving traditional care. That’s because parasites go after the weakest dogs or cats, and a pet treated holistically should have a stronger immune system.

 

On our site, you can find some of the best foods, pest control methods, and therapies for your animal. It’s a journey to overall wellness, and you’ll be pleased with the results.