Considering a Holistic Approach to Your Dog’s Health?
Before I ran my own dog kennel I use to think that all I had to do was feed my dogs organic food and they would all be instantly healthy. After years of trial and error I now have come to believe we need a holistic approach for our animals, in the same way we do our human families. Developing a holistic approach to your animals care is a learning process. We will be offering a Holistic Health Approach For Animals course some time in the near future, but in the mean time enjoy reading this short article, and please try the recipes below.
The photo below is the newest addition to our family, our little Shiba Inu puppy, Brandon!
Is Your Home Poisoning You and Your Pet?
Did you know many household cleaners contain a chemical called formaldehyde (also known as embalming solution), which could cause severe irritation to our pet's eyes, throat and skin? Or how about rug and carpet shampoos, they contain a chemical called perchloroethylene, which can cause dizziness, insomnia, nausea, tremors and loss of appetite? Some floor polishes contain chemicals that can cause cancer as well as damage to the heart, kidneys, liver and central nervous system. As a matter of fact, most household products do not even warn you of the chemical dangers they could cause.
So how toxic is your house? According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) 50% of all illness can be traced to indoor pollution, which can be directly related to the use of household cleaners. Many products on the shelves today claim to be safe, yet have warning labels. If a product is safe why do they need to warn you of danger? Most rooms in most homes contain these products which could cause any of the following; cancer, birth defects, or changes in human genetic structures. If it is affecting our health in this way imagine what it's doing to our pets.
Consider the effect of the following on your pet:
*Toilet bowl cleaners your pet can drink
*Matches around the house (sulfur)
*Lawn fertilizer/grass chemicals
*Chlorinated pools your animal can drink from
Do you let your dog eat treats off the floor? Do you watch your cat lick itself clean after playing on the carpet? Do you enjoy watching your pet lounged out taking a snooze on the floor? Do you use household cleaners? If you answered yes, you must know the following information. Animals have faster metabolisms and smaller lungs than we do. Their bodies have to work harder to try and eliminate these toxins. Not only are they processing these chemicals at a faster rate, they are also breathing them in more rapidly.
Animals are obviously closer to the ground, which puts them in direct contact with these harmful substances. This makes them more vulnerable to toxic poisoning, which could result in death. Signs and symptoms of toxic poisoning can range from excessive drooling, vomiting and shallow breathing to muscle twitching, convulsions and seizures.
Develop a more acute awareness about the chemicals to which your pet(s) are exposed. Don't just trust grocery store labels and compelling commercial ads seen on television. Take the lead right now to ensure the cleaning products you purchase are safe for you, your pet and the environment. Or try these home remedies that work absolutely wonderful, and best of all the price is right, and may even save you thousands of dollars in vet bills!
Flea, Tick and Mosquito Repellent
Pure Geranium Essential Oil is very powerful and effective. If used alone as a spray, we suggest you put no more than 4 drops per half cup of water and keep it refrigerated. Shake before spraying a light spritz on the pets fur. No need to make the fur all wet, the bugs are repelled from the scent of it. Do not get in the eyes, nose or mouth.
Herbal Flea Powder
Easy and simple to make herbal flea powder that's safe for your pet.
Combine as many of the powdered herbs as you can find.
Mix together equal parts of each herb in a shaker top jar
Brush your pet's coat backward with your hand or a comb while sprinkling the powder onto the base of the hairs. Apply sparingly, paying special attention to the neck, back, and belly.
Put your pet outside for awhile afterward, so his pests escape in your yard, not your home.
Doggie Body and Coat Tea
Herbal teas make wonderful rinses for canine coats and I will give a few recipes for you to try out and of course when comfortable you can start adding your own touches.
1 Tbs. of organic cider vinegar
2 cups of herbal tea (chamomile, rosemary or peppermint)
Nettle, comfrey leaf, calendula leaf (loose herbs)
A few drops of glycerin (optional)
Boil the water and poor it over the tea bag of your choice, cover it and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. If you are using a tea bag and some loose dry or fresh herbs, you have to strain the whole thing when it cools.
If you are using roots, seeds or barks (hard plant parts) such as ginger, fennel, valerian root, soak them in cool water overnight and then boil them for 10-15 minutes. Then follow the above steps.
Once it's cold add organic vinegar and glycerin. Dilute this solution with 1-2 cups of bottled water. Use this mixture as the last rinse water for your dog. You can wipe your dog's face with it as well. It's light and the scent is so mild that it will not bother dogs sensitive nose.
You can also put this doggie body tea in a spray bottle without diluting it and mist lightly while brushing your dog. I use both peppermint and chamomile all year around and it's makes our Shiba Inu’s coat smell great and helps the itches she gets after hiking and excessive swimming.
Make sure to label (date, ingredients used) and refrigerate left over tea.
I do not suggest adding any essential oils directly to water, as they will not mix with water and it will rise and stay on the surface. On the other hand you can use essential oils diluted with base oils such as olive, safflower, jojoba, almond or any other vegetable oil and use it externally on your dogs.
5 drop of your choice of essential oil
10 ml of carrier oil (olive, jojoba, almond etc.)
Mix well and apply away from head (ear, eye, nose) area always. You can use this for dogs and yourself too.
A. Citronella and lemongrass mixture with your choice of base oil "carrier oil" makes a great insect repellent.
B. Rose (Rosa damascena), Ylang Ylang (Cananga Odorata), Clary Sage (Salvia sclare) diluted with base oil should help taming tension for your over active dog about to take a trip to the vet or groomer or yourself during a stressful event!
C. Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis), Peppermint (Mentha piperita) with a base oil will help itchy skin, dry or sluggish skin and coat and helps fight against skin parasites.
D. Lavender and Marjoram diluted with a base oil can help tight, cramping, sore muscles, etc. Add a few drops on your palm and rub gently. Excellent for working dogs and people too!
E.. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) with a light base oil such as Sunflower oil will help eczema, bruises, and cracked or chapped skin. You can use it on minor cuts as well. Niaouli Essential Oil (Melaleuca viridiflora) can be included to treat viral infections as well. Please be cautions using certain essential oils on pregnant or seizure prone dogs or people. I say this though I know all is dose-related. Using herbs, essential oils, hydrosols and all other natural therapies need to be respected and used with care as you would all medication. If in doubt always use your best judgment and always ask your trusted vet.
There are many more essential oils and certainly even more combinations one can use, but as you try a few yourselves you can learn to experiment and come up with wonderful concoctions of your own.
Just keep in mind to use essential oils externally, always keep them away from face, eyes and nose and never use them on or around cats, birds, ferrets, etc. I will strongly suggest that you find a few good aromatherapy books and read about essential oil safety first so that you do not fear it, but respect it!
Infusing, a safe and simple alternative:
You can infuse base oils such as olive oil, grapeseed oil (almond oil etc.) with herbs, leaves, and roots, which you can use on your dog without fear. Best of all you can use these infusions on the whole family; you can cook with it as well as using it in your favorite bath recipe.
Prepare enough herbs to make one cup total. Crush them well or you can use a blender to chop them. Place them in a jar (I use a mason jar.) Get your choice of vegetable oil (I prefer olive and Sunflower oil. Slowly pour the oil just enough to cover your crushed herbs. Close the lid as tight as you possibly can. I use a small thick plastic over the jar's mouth and then close the lid to make it more airtight.
Try to keep your herb jar in a warm place about 75 degrees for 7-10 days. I move my infusion jars near the window on sunny days and move them to the cozy warm shelves above my beloved oven!
A few herbs/botanicals of my choice are Alkanet (root), chamomile flowers, calendula petals, chickweed, comfrey root, neem, nettles, peppermint leaves, rosemary, rose blossoms or petals, St. John's Wort and yarrow.
I use only organically grown and suggest that you try your first few infusions with dry botanicals at first. You can venture into fresh ones later as they do have the tendencies to go bad faster.
If your not sure where to buy these herbs, or you do not live close to an Organic store where you can easily purchase them I recommend buying them through Mountain Rose Herbs. Mountain Rose Herbs has been supplying quality herbs to the public since 1987, and has an excellent reputation. So please check them out, you will be glad you did.
Go to Mountain Rose Herbs