Herbs offer cures for many common canine ailments. I’ve used them often, with the recommendations from my vet, and my dogs have all lived long and remarkably healthy lives.
Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they’re not powerful. Herbs are nothing to sneeze at. What may look like a mere weed or homely root can, in fact, be a very potent medicine. Here’s a list of the top ten herbs no dog lover’s cupboard should be without. It’s a pharmacopeia for dogs – call it a bark-acopeia! Before you try them, make sure to talk it over with your vet about the right dosage for your pet and whether any of these herbs would be contraindicated with your pets current medical regime and medications.
What: Azadirachta indica, an extract of the Neem tree, is nature’s non-toxic insecticide, plus it heals burns and soothes dry, irritated skin.
Why: Applied topically and absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, Neem makes your dog naturally repellent to mosquitoes and fleas. Parasite preventatives work by filling your dog’s blood with poison; in order to be eliminated, the pest has to take a bite out of your best friend. With Neem, Spot won’t even get bitten!
Suggested Use: During the warm months (high mosquito season), bathe once weekly in TheraNeem Pet Shampoo, to which you add several drops of Neem oil; both are available at Whole Foods stores. For extra protection from within, administer Neem Plus supplements by Ayush orally once daily, hidden in food.
What: Achillea millefolium – a.k.a. stanchweed, soldier’s woundwort, and sanguinary – helps stop bleeding.
Why: If your dog sustains a cut or laceration, you can administer first aid by flushing the wound with povidone iodine, then treating it with yarrow.
Suggested Use: Wound Balm for Animals by Buck Mountain Botanicals contains yarrow (along with echinacea and goldenseal); it speeds healing and is a first-rate addition to Fido’s first-aid kit.
What: Arnica montana, a.k.a. Leopard’s Bane, has long been prized for its astonishing bruise-healing property.
Why: Has Spot sustained a bruise or muscle injury? Arnica does double duty, easing the pain and promoting healing.
Suggested Use: Arnica pellets. Administer 3 pellets 3 times daily, in the inside pocket of your dog’s lower lip. It’s OK if he spits it out; healing begins when the pellets make contact with the gum.
What: This effective – if highly malodorous – herb (Valeriana officinalis L.) is nature’s time-trusted sedative and sleep-inducer.
Why: For dogs who experience high anxiety during thunderstorms or on the 4th of July, Valerian will put them out for several hours of stress-free slumber. It’s also great for long car trips, to help Spot snooze through the ride.
Suggested Use: Valerian comes in capsules, available at any health food store. To dose your dog, you’ll need to hide the capsules in a piece of meat or cheese with peanut butter on top – anything to mask that awful smell!
Olive Leaf Extract
What: The extract of crushed-up olive leaves (oleuropein) is nature’s antibiotic.
Why: If your dog experiences diarrhea from, say, scarfing something rancid on the sidewalk, the antifungal property of Olive Leaf will help set his digestion right.
Suggested Use: Available at health food stores, Olive Leaf capsules smell and taste exactly like olive oil (i.e. delicious), so there’s no need to hide or mask them. Just sprinkle over your dog’s food like a spice
What: A flowering plant whose extract, Silymarin, is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants for people and pets.
Why: Boosting and protecting the liver, milk thistle is a must if you want to extend the life of your dog. Everything passes through the liver, so it welcomes the support – and because eye and liver health are linked, milk thistle also prevents and reverses cloudy eyes (nuclear sclerosis) in dogs.
Suggested Use: Sold at health foods stores in capsule form, this herb tastes somewhat bitter; very finicky dogs will need to have it hidden in something tasty, but most dogs will eat it sprinkled over their food (cinnamon helps sweeten the deal).
What: Crataegus is a berry that’s used to treat cardiac insufficiency.
Why: Strengthening the heart muscle and improving circulation, hawthorn helps stave off congestive heart failure in senior dogs (and people), and tones the tickers of younger dogs who’ve survived heartworm disease. Young, healthy dogs don’t need it yet – wait until they’re older.
Suggested Use: One capsule in your dog’s food (available at health food stores); most dogs don’t mind the taste.
What: The resin of the Boswellia tree has many medicinal uses.
Why: Another senior-dog staple, Boswellia reduces inflammation and improves mobility in arthritic K9Suggested Use: Available in tablet form, it’s called “Boswelya Plus.”
What: As its name implies, the flowering plant Euphrasia officinalis has long been used to treat eye infections.
Why: If your dog comes back from the dog park or doggie daycare with goopy eyes, try eyebright first before consulting the vet; you may be able to clear up the problem yourself.
Suggested Use: Administer 3 pellets 3 times daily, in the inside pocket of your dog’s lower lip. As with Arnica (above), it’s OK if he spits it out; healing begins when the pellets make contact with the gum.
What: A thistle in the genus Arctium, its root has long been prized for its blood-purifying, hair-regrowing, and cancer-fighting powers.
Why: Use it regularly as a preventative, especially if you have a breed of dog that’s prone to cancer (such as a Boxer).
Suggested Use: Add cooked burdock root (found in the produce section of health food stores and Asian markets) to your dog’s food, or give him a piece of raw burdock to chew on, like a carrot. Or purchase dried burdock online and steep one teaspoon in a cup of hot water; let cool and pour over your dog’s food.
Remember, herbs are powerful healing properties and need to be used in the correct dosage for your pets. Make sure to discuss with your vet prior to using any of these herbs or natural remedies to make sure they are right for your dogs.
On an 85 degree day, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees, even when the windows have been left open an inch or two.
Within 30 minutes, a car’s interior can reach 120 degrees. When the temperature outside is a pleasant 70, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter. Shade offers little protection on a hot day and moves with the sun.
Pets most at risk for hyperthermia (overheating) are young animals, elderly animals, overweight animals, those with short muzzles and those with thick or dark-colored coats.
IF YOUR DOG IS OVERCOME BY THE HEAT
Bring down body temperature by soaking the animal in cool (not ice) water, but make sure water does not get into the mouth or nose of an unconscious animal. Seek immediate veterinary care.
Here’s Some Hot Weather Traveling Tips
Get a veterinary checkup before traveling and make sure you have the necessary vaccination certificates for the area you will be visiting, as well as flea and tick treatments.
Carry a gallon thermos of cold water or bring along a two-liter plastic bottle of water you froze the night before.
Exercise your pet during the coolest parts of the day (dawn and dusk), and never immediately following a meal.
Hot asphalt and tar can burn sensitive paw pads. Walk your pet on grass or dirt when possible and provide shade when your pet is outside on a hot day.
Do you ever ask yourself how much water your pet should be drinking a day? Probably not! We generally fill their bowl up in the morning and go about the day. Your pet may not be getting enough hydration, especially if the bowl is empty two hours later, but no ones home the rest of the day! Here’s some factors to think about to make sure your pet is getting properly hydrated and ways to easily achieve it.
The size of your pet is important. A 90 pound dog will need far more water during the day than a 20 pound one. The food your pet is eating will affect the amount of water they need. Is the food wet or dry, what is the sodium content, are some ingredients going to make them more thirsty than others. All good questions to ask yourself!
How about your pets age. Younger dogs and cats need more water than senior dogs. More active breeds will drink more than lap dogs. Climate plays an important role in how much a dog or cat needs hydrating. The temperatures inside your home can also be an important factor. Also, is your cat or dog on medications that make them loose more of their bodies water weight.
It’s so important for your pet to stay hydrated all day long. Like humans, they will easily dehydrate if left without water for too long. Here’s some tips to remember.
If you’re crate training or leave your pet shut off from the rest of the house while at work or out for long periods, make sure to leave them with clean fresh water at all times. Make sure the bowl is large enough to last throughout the day. Or use an automatic water dispensing bowl.
Change the water bowl frequently and clean the bowls out daily. Find out what material the pets bowl is made of to determine how clean it stays. Our pets will stay healthier with clean fresh water in their bowls!
Remember when hiking with your dog to take along enough water for them to drink. A package of ice cubes work great to make sure the water is fresh throughout the day. You can even drop a few in their bowl during the day to keep the water full and clean.
I was going to write a Thanksgiving blog all about the pros and cons of feeding our pets table scraps but something happened on my morning walk that’s irritated me so much, I decided to voice my very opinionated opinion on what it means to be a responsible pet owner instead!
I’ve owned pets all my life and now run a successful pet sitting company. I consider myself a loving, caring, responsible pet owner. I believe in keeping pets safe, feeding them healthy food, making sure they’re physically healthy, exercised, socialized and loved. But, apparently nowadays, it means something entirely different. When was this new rule book written because I must have missed the issue! And, who wrote it? Since when, in this politically correct world we live in, do we have to follow someone else’s rules because they think it’s the politically correct thing to do in order to be a responsible pet owner.
What happened to the days where you could walk your dog without a leash, go to a school yard and have the dogs play with the kids, go to a park and have the dogs running and playing alongside the people, letting them swim in the ocean and sun themselves on the sand. What happened to having your neighbor call and say your dog was visiting them at their house and they just gave them a sandwich. What happened to letting your dog pee and poo on a walk and not panic because you forgot a bag for cleanup and it might cost you a hefty fine.
I was at a park with my dog a few weeks ago playing catch with a ball when a police car came blazing across the park and stopped in front of me and my dog. The two officers proceeded to tell me I was breaking a law! Yes, breaking a law playing fetch with my dog in a park! They then proceeded to tell me they were going to write a ticket and if I resisted giving them my name and information, they would tasser me and my dog with their tasser guns! Yes, this is all true, as unbelievable as it may sound. This can’t be what it means to be a responsible pet owner, because quite honestly, it scares me to death if that’s what it means.
What I love about dogs, is they have no agenda’s and they live by their instincts. They don’t stop and think, can I, should I, could I, dare I, what if I….. But people nowadays seem to think they should.
I’m really tired of people going out of their way to stop their car or come out of their home to take the time to lecture and scream about your dog walking on their grass, peeing in their yard, pooping and making sure you have a bag to clean it up. Really? Really?? When did we make everyone a dog deputy!!
And, those signs people buy and stick in their lawns, warning you about the code violation your dog is committing if he poops on their grass. Really? Really??? I walk around stressed and full of panic if I forgot a bag. Are they going to call the cops, have me arrested? It’s become so coo coo crazy. And, we just seem to let it continue.
I miss the good old days. I really do. When dogs could be dogs. People were kind and everyone lived in harmony, not fear because you forgot your poop bags on the morning walk or you took your dog off leash to fetch a ball.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Lets give thanks for the pets and focus on the joy that they can bring if you let them!! And, give serious thought to how far we’re letting this politically correct world take over what we already know. How to be a responsible pet owner!
You want to let your dog give you one of it’s slobbery loving kisses but, ohhhh no, it’s the breath of the beast heading towards you instead!
Signs of periodontal gum disease include the yellow and brown buildup of tarter around the gum line, inflammation and bad breath. Your dogs and cats don’t have to be seniors for this to start happening. Infact, it can start as early as 3 years of age.
You’ve tried giving them bones to chew on, breath drops in their water, even tried brushing their teeth with pet toothbrushes! Ya, like your dog likes a big hard plastic toothbrush in it’s mouth! Not my dog. Ugh! Nothing is working, now what?
If your dog doesn’t like plastic pet toothbrushes and if “finger brushes” make them gag, you might have more luck using a simple, thin cotton glove. Place toothpaste on your gloved index finger and gently massage your pet’s teeth and gums. Most dogs find this sensation pleasurable and relaxing.
The glove is analogous to your finger, which your dog presumably trusts, and not hard, inflexible, or rubbery. Wash your hand in the glove and hang the glove to dry for next time. (So simple!)
Eighty percent of humans brush their teeth at least twice a day, but very few pet owners brush their pet’s teeth at all. Yes, guilty as charged! But, with this glove idea, it’s made it easy and a positive experience for both myself and my dog.
Now, I’m working up the courage to try it on my cat! Meowrrrrrrr!!!!
Many pet owners have adopted or rescued their dog and may wonder, how old is this dog, really? Others pet owners may think they know it’s age by applying the old 7 to 1 ratio. For every year of a dogs life add 7 years. Which, by the way, is not exactly accurate either.
Dogs age much more rapidly in the first two years of their lives but then it slows down to a 5 to 1, 6 to 1 or a 7 to 1 ratio, depending on the size of your dog.
Small little Chihuahua’s will be in the 5 to 1 ratio after the first two years while Labs and Chow’s may be a 6 to 1 ratio. If you have a St Bernard lounging around the house, then bump that up to an 8 to 1 ratio. Yes, 8!
So, just how old is your dog? Here’s some other signs that may help you figure it out.
Your dogs teeth will be a good give away for signs of aging. Dogs usually have a set of permanent teeth by their seventh month, so if you’ve come across a dog with clean pearly whites, he is likely a year old or thereabouts. Yellowing on a dog’s back teeth may put the dog between one to three years of age, while tartar build-up at a minimal level could mean you have a dog between 4 and 6. Missing teeth or severe wear usually means the dog is settling into senior aging.
Your dogs muscle tone is another clue. Younger dogs are more likely to have some muscle definition from their higher activity level. Older dogs are usually either a tad bonier or a little fatter from decreased activity.
Does your dog have a shiny coat of fur? A younger dog usually has a soft, fine coat, whereas an older dog tends to have thicker, coarser (and sometimes oilier) fur. A senior dog may display grays or patches of white, particularly around the snout.
Look into your dogs eyes. Bright, clear eyes without tearing or discharge are common in younger dogs. Cloudy or opaque eyes may can mean your dog is starting to age.
One of the best ways to prolong the life and improve the functions of your dog as it ages is to carefully regulate its fuel intake. Older dogs exercise less and thus need fewer calories. No matter what your dogs age, a healthy dog is a happy dog and needs lots of love from it’s owner at any age!
Dogs are a lot like humans. They all possess unique personality traits, emotions and behaviors. No two dogs will react the same in any given situation or when around other dogs. Here are some common triggers to watch for aggressive behavior in dogs.
Many dogs take guarding their home and owners very seriously! Territoriality is an extension of resource guarding, when the entire home and property become a valuable resource which the dog wants to guard from intruders at any cost. Resource guarding is natural behavior. Dogs that resource guard will view approach by other dogs or humans as a threat to what they perceive to be valuable. This may be it’s home property, the owner, a meal or a toy, or a preferred sleeping space.
Other dogs can trigger aggression in your dog for a variety of causes. Inter-sex aggression is aggression toward dogs of the same sex. This tends to be most common in dogs that are sexually intact and are generally resource guarding for reproductive advantage.
Type-specific aggression can occur when a dog has a socialization deficit with dogs of a particular body type (large, black dogs for instance) or a history of negative experiences with a dog of particular body type. Or, behavior-specific aggression. Dogs, like people, cannot be expected to indefinitely tolerate even the rudest behavior of other dogs. Many dogs will not hesitate to use their voices, body or teeth to tell a rude dog to “back off!”
Movement can trigger aggression in dogs. Because dogs are predators, they are hard-wired to chase after and bite at things that move quickly and unpredictably. Animals which move quickly (squirrels, birds, cats, etc.) are frequent triggers. Human triggers for motion reactivity include biking, jogging, skateboarding, or moving automobiles.
Frustration is another common cause of dog aggression. Frustration creates stress, which contributes to aggression. Frustration aggression often shows in relation to barriers including leashes or fences. The dog may want to check out a person or dog on the other side of the fence but becomes frustrated because he cannot. He may redirect his aggression toward a familiar human or animal as a result. If barking always worked to get attention but suddenly the owner begins ignoring the barking, the dog may experiment to find out if nipping is a more effective way of getting attention.
Dogs can be aggressive to specific groups of people with certain common characteristics such as men with beards, small children, people in walkers or wheelchairs, individuals with altered mobility, even individuals wearing a certain cologne or perfume.
The predictors of dog aggression vary widely. The most important thing to remember is a dog’s response to a stimulus will be effected positively (create a positive, happy response) by the number of positive experiences the dog has in the presence of that trigger, particularly during critical periods of development such as when they’re a new puppy!
Aggressive behavior is always a good opportunity for teaching a dog new tricks! Positive ones!
I am lucky to work with so many wonderful clients in my business and hear stories everyday about another pet being rescued to a loving home.
Rescuing a dog or cat from a shelter is a big commitment but one of the best ways to save more lives. Shelters are filled with abandoned, abused and neglected pets. Many of the shelters are not structured to be no-kill organizations. Adoption is the only way these beautiful creatures can be saved.