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.
As someone who takes many dogs, including my own to dog parks, this used to be the question on my mind when walking through the gate. Now, I realize I’ve been asking myself the wrong question all along. The real question is, are these responsible pet owners at this dog park?
First, I am not alone as a dog owner who does not want every rambunctious dog to tackle my pal when we’re entering the dog park. Yet, so many pet owners are not paying attention to their dogs but rather talking with other people in the park, on their cell phones or taking a nap on the bench!
Once inside the park, this is a time for owners to be on heightened awareness, watching their dogs interactions and controlling their misbehavior. Unfortunately, more times than not, dog owners with a dog who has over rambunctious, bordering aggressive behavior is either distracted or in denial that their dog is about to create a bad situation.
There seems to be more distracted people with poorly socialized dogs who lose control of (or make no effort to control) their pets. These people, who often have a cup of coffee in one hand and a cellphone in the other (and a leash in none), chase haplessly after their dogs who run to greet, tackle, or pick a fight with another dog. Occasionally, as the chase or attack occurs, the people yell their dog’s name and, in turn, the words “My dog is friendly!” Ha! Really people?
By this time, it’s usually too late. The next thing you know, people are scrambling to damage control and often times sadly, a dog gets seriously hurt. Sometimes, even people who try to stop the attacks.
Just this weekend, at one of the so called “friendly dog parks”, I witnessed an owner with a highly charged and aggressive dog, sitting and chatting with someone while his dog went after and attacked 3 different dogs. I watched him sit on the bench, laughing at this, like it was amusing instead of frightful.
One by one, pet owners leashed their dogs and left the park. As I did the same, I looked back to see the wrong person and dog still inside the dog park.
Come on pet owners, show a little respect and awareness. A dog park is a place to bring social dogs. Not aggressive dogs. Dog parks are a place where the dogs get to play and interact, not the owners. Owners, you’re there to make sure all dogs have a great experience playing, socializing and exercising. Do it for yourself on your own time!
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!
Yes, even our pets can go green with a little help from their owners! Here’s a few easy tips that will make a big impact on the planet.
Cat Food. It can be more eco-friendly by favoring certain cat food flavors over others. According to John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution, it takes significantly more resources in terms of land and water to produce one pound of beef as compared to a pound of chicken. So, when you’re at the store staring at the shelf and trying to decide which of the 15 flavors to pick, consider the ones that are lower down in the food chain. Choose chicken over beef. Look for seafood that is sustainably harvested such as sardines or mackerel instead of tuna. Go organic with your cat food. Certified organic foods are produced without synthetic pesticides or genetically modified ingredients and the organic farming process helps to preserve the integrity of the land and water.
Cat Litter. Forget those disposable plastic liners. You can keep your cat’s box fresh with daily scooping and washing it regularly with a mild soap and some water. When you do need to replace the litter box, look for one made from recycled plastic. Go with litter made from recycled paper products, corn or wheat.
Cat Toys. They can be eco friendly too. To reduce waste, choose quality over quantity and choose toys that you’re sure Kitty will enjoy. Cats are notoriously finicky, so if you buy something that you’re not sure your cat will like, chances are they wont. Get creative and look around the house for articles you already have. A pen top or bottle top can keep a cat intrigued for hours. Try hair rubber bands and cut up toilet paper rolls. A roll of string or yarn or an old cardboard box and cover can become your cats next favorite toy.
Share the Green. Once your cat has settled into her new earth-friendly routine, share your green knowledge and experience with fellow cat lovers. Greening the entire planet can start with just one cat and owner, so take the first step today toward reducing your cat’s carbon pawprint today!
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.
It’s summer, it’s hot and inside temperatures of parked cars are even hotter! Don’t be fooled by parking in the shade or cracking a window. Temperatures inside a car can soar after just a few minutes.
Take the “hot car pet test!” On a hot sunny day, turn the car off and crack a window. Sit there for a few minutes. Soon it becomes unbearable. You can open the door and get out. Your pets can’t!
If it’s 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 102 degrees in a matter of minutes. On hot humid days, temps in parked cars directly in sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute!
Dogs especially are designed to conserve heat. They can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes. The best place for pets on a hot day is at home.
If your taking a trip with pets, make sure to take them out of the car and into shade or air conditioned buildings with you when permitting. Rule of thumb, think how you feel in the heat, your dog and cats feel that way too!