This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a veterinarian if your pet is ill.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Minnie helping with holiday card writing

Happy New Year!
Christmas came and went uneventfully - I had the flu and wasn't up for much. Hopefully the new year will bring many good changes for all of us. Today is a very cold and windy day - the kitties and I will celebrate the New Year with a movie and some warm comfort food!
Blessings to all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ivy is Sick - Please Send Purrs and Prayers

Little Ivy cat from "Dangerous Napping" photo is having lots of seizures. I am consulting with two vets to see what we can do to help her. She has had a rough life living outdoors with a feral group until I took her inside two years ago when the others had died or left. She adapted very well and likes to be loved.

Also both my hours and my husband's hours have been cut back to part time in our jobs which makes it hard to make ends meet financially! Please keep us and Ivy in your thoughts!

Thanks for your purrs and prayers. I spoke with one vet and we are trying herbs and homeopathic remedies. She thinks it is Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome which is not easy to treat. Ivy's itchy skin causes her nervous system to overreact. I have gotten her down to one seizure a day - usually it happens first thing in the morning. I held her on my lap last night for a few hours to Reiki her. It seems to help calm her. She spends most of her day sleeping in the cubby hole of the TV stand, only coming out to use the litter box. I have another vet appointment on Friday with a new but holistic vet. We just moved here so I don't have anyone but my old vet who is doing phone consults with us. Will keep all posted.

Monday, December 22, 2008


All dogs drool a little and some breeds drool a lot because the loose skin around their mouths traps saliva and overflows. Even cats will drool when they are feeling happy and affectionate.

Dogs that drool normally can wear a bandanna around their neck - it catches the moisture before it hits the floor and they look spiffy wearing one!

Any change in your pet's drooling indicates a possible health issue. Drooling increases when pets are nauseated or when they have something stuck in their teeth or gums or a loose tooth in their mouth. Serious conditions like liver disse can cause drooling.

Do a mouth check - pets with a piece of string or bone in their teeth will drool heavily. Make sure they don't have a foreign object stuck between their teeth. They will also drool if they have gum or tooth disease. My cat Sweetpea was drooling long ropes of bloody saliva when one of her teeth became loose but would not fall out. A trip to the vet is needed if this is the issue.

Nausea - traveling in a car will cause drooling. The motion upsets the pets stomach and causes them to drool. I use the homeopathic remedies Ipecacuanha or Cocculus for this. Look for 30C strength and give two or more drops up to two hours before traveling.

Mancat Monday - Only Keeping a Lookout

It is a cold windy day but sunny. Don't think it warrants doing anything but sitting inside and watching the leaves blow by! ...and dozing off too!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dangerous Napping

Rainy days are great for napping - Ivy has a very precarious spot on the edge of the sofa! Every so often I have to yell her name to wake her before she slides off on the floor. Who would have thought napping could be risky!

Rainy Day Work

The day is rainy but warm so I am trying to catch up on my feral cat shelter work. The screen porch has been enclosed in plastic to protect them from the weather but they miss being able to see out. During warm days, I can lift the front door and one side and tack it up on Velcro strips to let in fresh air and sun. I need something for those colder days when I don't want to expose them to the weather. I have a few windows from an old trailer that I am embedding in the plastic to provide views to the outside and still be protected.

It took a few tries to get it right but cutting a hole in the plastic and sliding the window inside, then taping it up to keep it from moving and leaking worked the best. I put in two glass windows still in metal frames and one piece of Plexiglas for a higher view. The glass ones I rested on the ground. The Plexiglas being so light I could set it up higher for the cats to see out from a shelf inside.

They seem to enjoy watching the chipmunks and birds at the feeders in front of the windows. The shelter is still a work in progress for the cats and me. More work for another day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

At the Grave of a Fine Cat

This poem is dedicated to all the wonderful cats we have all known that have passed on to the Bridge.

May your whiskers be ruffled by only pleasant breezes,
May your bowls be filled with tuna and sweet cream,
May your dreams be blessed with legions of mice,
And most of all,
May you forever purr in peace.

--Barbara Younger

Are You Top Dog?

Your pooch needs you to be his leader. Dogs need to foloow soneone - it's their nature to live and hunt in packs.

Way back in dog history, members of packs with weak or not so smart leaders didn't survive to breed. Those is well led packs fared far better and passed the strong genes on to their offspring. As a dog owner, it is best to understand this insticnt and work with it - otherwise you will have a very hard to manage dog on your hands.

In an orderly pack the leader is the smartest and often the strongest. Under him or her is a dog who can beat every dog except the top or alpha dog and so on down throguh the pack. This is accomplished by testing the pack memebers.

Since you need to be the top dog, you need to set up challenges with your dog to test him. This process is what we call obedience training. It teaches your dog the he must always do what you say even though he may not have done so left to his own choices.

What happens whne the dog accepts you as top dog? A huge bruden is lifted from his mind. He knows he doesn't have to be constantly vigilant for danger outside the pack becasue you, the pack leader will take care of that. All he has to do is your bidding, which is exactly what you want.

The book and television show Dog Whisperer about Cesar Millan focuses on this very concept - of being a pack leader and letting your dog relax in his pack. Check out his book for ways to challenge and train your dog.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living With a Deaf Pet

Pets do loose their hearing as they get older just like people. Some pets like white blue eyed cats and dalmatians can be born deaf. It takes some extra effort but they can adapt and make great pets in spite of their handicap.

I know from first hand experience. Albert, now four, is a beautiful long haired blue eyed deaf cat. I found him as a kitten sitting quietly alongside a busy road, watching the cars drive by. I walked up to him with a friend to help keep him from running into the road and he let me pick him up without any fuss. Since a family member had a white deaf cat, I surmised that this may be the case with Al. I knew that the local shelter would have a hard time placing him with his hearing loss and since I too am hearing impaired, I just felt this was meant to be.

Here are some suggestions to help make this living situation better for you and your deaf pet.

If your pet is deaf, then he must become strictly an indoor animal, out of harm's way. He will not be able to hear the engine of an oncoming car or the movements of another animal or person who may hurt them.

Indoors you must still become more aware of your pet's handicap and adjust your routine to assist him. Avoid startling the animal - never approach him from behind. Stomp on the floor. The vibration will let him know you are nearby. If your pet is sleeping, blow gently on his fur and he will turn to see what you want. Always be gentle in getting his attention.

If your pet was once hearing and responded to voice commands, then you will have to train him to respond to visual clues. Once I have Al's attention, he seems to be able to know what I am trying to tell him. Hand signals work great and are easy to teach. I wave at him to tell him to come. If it is for his food, I hold the food dish up for him to see and he will come to me.

Since he can't hear you telling him no, you must use another form of command to keep him in line. I use a water squirt bottle to stop Al from getting up on counters etc. You must quickly squirt and then stop - you don't want him to think it is a game. Sometimes just distracting him with a toy or another activity is the best way to divert his attention away from doing something you don't like. It doesn't always work - Al has a mind of his own but I keep trying.

Life with Al has been interesting and challenging but I would not have it any other way. Like the new movie out - Life with Marley - my life with Al has been just as funny and difficult but I have learned a lot from him along the way.

How to Trim Your Cats' Claws

Cat's claws should be examined and trimmed every two weeks or so. A groomer or vet can do this but most owners are capable of handling the task as well.

The following tips help make this a doable project for you and your cat.

Do the trimming when your cat is relaxed or sleepy. Waiting until they are makes this all the easier.

Have all the equipment at hand that you will need -- clippers, emery board, and styptic pencil.

Sit down and snuggle with you cat in your lap or have your cat stand or lie down on a table top. It helps to have someone to assist you in case the cat is difficult to handle. I have to wrap my cat Chica in a large towel with only her head and one paw sticking out. She still screams the whole time like I am hurtng her but I get the job done.

Hold up paw, grasp it gently, placing your index finger under the toe pad and your thumb securely on top of it.

Squeeze your thumb and index finger together to extend the claw.

Using the clipper cut halfway between the end of the claw and the quick - the pink, sensitive tissue at the base of the claw. If you accidentally cut into the quick, don't panic. It may bleed a little but if you apply the styptic the wound will soon heal.

Happy trimming!

Check Your Window Safety Stickers

When we moved recently I made sure I put up the "Save Our Pets" sticker by the kitchen door, listing the number of pets we had inside.

If you don't have one already, get one. It is essential to let the Fire Department know that you have pets that need to be rescued in case of fire. If you already have a safety sticker, make sure it is updated with the correct number of pets listed and that the ink on it has not faded with exposure to sunlight.

Most pet supply stores sell them for dogs, cats or both. Safety stickers also make good gifts for friends with pets.

Olive Leaf for infections

When my pets need help to boost their immune systems whether it is because of skin ailments, colds or other infections I use olive leaf. My vet turned me on to this herb and I highly recommend it.

Olive leaf works by stimulating your pet’s own protective cells (phagocytes) to ingest foreign invaders. It interferes with microorganisms’ vital amino acid production processes. It has no impact on ”friendly” microbes.

Olive leaf is highly effective in eliminating microorganisms, which supports its use in almost any type of infection. It is extremely effective in treating 19 different viruses and 15 types of bacteria, including conjunctivitis, canine hepatitis, “kennel cough,” cystitis, Endocarditis, peritonitis, staph infections, and urinary tract infections. Note: With very sick animals, their symptoms may become worse - because Olive leaf works so well that it kills bad microbes faster than the body can eliminate them, so detoxification symptoms may occur. If that happens, reduce dosage or stop giving Olive leaf for a day or two to allow your pet’s waste system to catch up.

When used as a daily supplement, olive leaf will bolster your pets' immune system and metabolism, making them healthier happier, and more able to resist fleas safely, naturally, and without the use of potent neurotoxins found in over the counter flea products.

Thinking of getting the dog his yearly cortisone shot? Did you know that cortisone is a powerful steroid that has many bad effects on the body and overall health? Our pets, dogs in particular, use their skin to remove excess toxins from their system. Because of this, the yearly itching and scratching that accompanies spring allergens is much the same as seasonal colds in humans. The effect of the steroids is merely to push the issue out of sight by driving the toxins deeper into the body. Would you take a steroid shot to treat a cold yourself? Olive leaf can work wonders in easing these annoying symptoms without resorting to heavy handed methods that can manifest into larger problems down the road. Olive leaf dramatically increases the function of the immune system, as well as acting as a natural antibiotic to allow your pets to deal with allergies in a safe, natural and effective manner. No side effects, and no danger of damage to internal organs. Simply add Olive Leaf Powder to your pets' wet or dry food and say goodbye to annoying scratching!

Best for Pets: Try Olive Leaf Powder or open capsules to add the powder to their food. I also like to use olive leaf extract in a non alcohol base. Rule of thumb for dosing - give 1/8 to 1/4 of the human dosage, depending on the size of the dog or cat.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Most dogs and cats can handle the winter's cold without experiencing anything worse than shivers. But pets that spend a lot of time outdoors in blustery weather can get frostbite, an extremely serious condition in which the body diverts blood away from the extremities - the legs, ears and tail - in order to preserve the core body heat. This can cause tissue in the extremities to break down and die.

Pets with frostbite will have extremely cold paws, ears and tails and the cold will persist even after they have spent time inside. They may bite at their feet and tails as well. Frostbite is always an emergency. But if you can't get to a vet immediately, there are things you can do to help your pet.

Let them choose the heat. They need to be warmed up but not too quickly. The best approach is to put them in a room with a radiator or fireplace and let them move closer or farther away as they see fit. Don't try to rush the heating process with things like heating pads.

Warm the ears and pads with moist heat. When the extremities are very cold, it is a good idea to gently dab them with a moist lukewarm washcloth.

Let them go hungry. Don't feed pets with frostbite because eating will draw circulation to the intestines at a time when it is more important to get circulation to the legs, ears and tail. It is fine for them to drink water at room temperature. Once your pets' body parts have warmed up, then you can feed them.

Cat Breeds: Siamese

My uncle always had Siamese cats and they had such outgoing personalities. He really enjoyed this breed of cat.

They need regular brushing but can be indoor or outdoor cats. They do need more space than some other cats. Plus they tend to be long lived cats.

Siamese are very active, inquisitive cats that bond strongly to one person. They enjoy travel and accept a leash quite readily. They are very vocal cats and can be talkers.

Some Siamese can be aggressive towards other cats. They can be jealous and unpredictable and very sensitive.

They are more susceptible to disease than other breeds. Congenitally they can have nasal obstructions, chin malformations, cleft palate, retinal degeneration and weak legs.

There are many rescue organizations that offer Siamese cats for adoption. Find a reputable breeder or help a needy cat find a home through rescue centers.

Vomiting Causes

Pets vomit for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it is fairly obvious what caused it - eating garbage, anxiety, overeating. If your pet continues to vomit daily or several times a day, bring your pet to the vet ASAP! It could be serious. It is helpful for your vet to bring a sample of the vomit -- as gross as it may sound to do this.

The material in it is often the clearest indication of the cause. Material high in mucus tells you that the stomach or high intestine is inflamed. Undigested food can indicate food poisoning, anxiety or simply overeating. Bile is often present when an organ is involved - inflammatory bowel disease, kidney failure, pancreatitis. Flecks of bright blood tels your vet that the stomach may be lacerated. If the blood is brown and caramelized the problem is further down the intestine. Strong digestive odors indicate intestinal obstruction. Bits of foreign substances tell you that they may have eaten something like tinsel, paper etc.

If you suspect you pet may have eaten something they should not have please contact your nearest veterinary ER right away. Time is of essence in this situation.

Dog Breeds: Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are becoming very popular - they have been featured in TV ads and movies like Legally Blonde in recent years.

Their small size,averaging two to six pounds, makes them easy to take along with you on errands and trips. They do need lots of exercise and are very sensitive to the cold. Because of this they are primarily indoor dogs.

They can be difficult to train as they are very dominating dogs for their size. On the plus side, they are also nondestructive to your home and belongings.

Chihuahuas are very affectionate and do need a lot of attention. They have less tolerance for children and may snap at toddlers who handle them roughly.

They make good watchdogs although like most small breeds they may bark too much at times.

Possible congenital defects include deformed spines, knees, dislocated shoulders, heart and breathing problems, hemophilia and brain swelling.

Choosing A Pet

When choosing a pet, choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and preferences. Both dogs and cats vary widely in their temperaments and their needs.

Every day animal shelters must euthanize healthy animals turned in because their unhappy owners did not research and anticipate certain issues. For instance, a mild mannered person should not select a large dog from a breed that tends to dominate the owner. Or a family with toddlers should choose a breed less likely to snap at the children. Those who live in an apartment with no yard should pick an animal suited to smaller confines.

Size also affects personality. Small dogs tend to be active and have a high demand for affection. Large dogs tend to be quieter and more patient with children. Very small and very large dogs are prone to genetic problems. Large dogs require more space and more food - affecting your budget and lifestyle.

Check out the breed list and see what type of pet is best for you and your family.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pet Etiquette When you're the Guest

With the holidays coming up, many of us will be traveling with our dogs and visiting other people's homes. The following tips will help ensure that you and your dog will be welcome anytime.

Travel Crate
You may want to bring a lightweight travel crate to keep your dog confined if your host requests it. This is a good idea to keep him in an easy to clean area especially if you will be away for short while, to make sure he stays out of harm's way during parties and to keep him away from the dinner table.

No one is a fan of pet hair on furniture. If your host does not want your dog on the furniture, you must respect that but covering the furniture with a throw may change your host's mind and make your dog feel more at home.

Piddle Pads
Pets are creatures of routine. When their daily schedule is interrupted, they may have accidents. Piddle pads are great to make sure that your pet does not soil the rugs or floor.

Pet Towel
If the weather is wet or snowy, having a towel on hand will come in handy to wipe of your dog's paws before they come back inside.

Yard Pick Up
Keep your host's yard clean by bringing your own doggie poop scoop. There are so many types available - just find one you are comfortable with and take it along whenever you take your dog for walks to clean up after him.

Today's Quote

"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat your dog."

---Charles F. Duran

Why Cats Crave Warmth

We all know cats crave warmth. Summer often finds cats asleep in even a sliver of sunlight coming through your window. As the weather cools, most will curl up next to or on a heat source to sleep.

Even the youngest kittens instinctively seek heat. Before a kitten was even able to open his eyes, he was able to use the temperature receptors in his face to find his mother. As the kitten ages, these receptors become even more sensitive. This allows him to detect the cozy and warm spots in your home even if they are only warmer than the rest of the house by a few degrees. That is why you may find cat tucked away in the most obscure spots - it is usually a bit warmer in that spot. One of my cats sleeps in the entertainment center next to the DVD player!

Especially during the cooler weather , a warm place to sleep is vital to your cat's health and comfort. So make sure they have snug places around your house with a heat source nearby of better yet get them a safe natural warm thermal cat bed.

Pet Product: Cozy Cushion

For natural warmth without using electricity try the Cozy Cushion. It works like and electric blanket but safer and without the electricity. Your pet will snuggle warmly on the faux fur double thick thermal cushion. A core layer of thermo-reflective material uses your cats' own body heat to warm the entire cushion - no cords to worry about and not electricity costs. The fabric is heavy duty and machine washable.

You can find this great product at your favorite pet store or order online from Doctors Foster& Smith. I use it for my older pets year round and for additional warmth in the winter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Review: Blessing the Bridge, What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying and Beyond by Rita M. Reynolds

This is a hard book to read. I had to stop often to wipe away the tears after reading a story about the author's animal charges. In spite of this I found it to be a very spiritual book full of suggestions to help us and our animal friends make that final passing to the other side.

Reynolds created an animal sanctuary called Howling Success and ran it for 25 years, tending to her animals with kindness, love and compassion. She worked often as a hospice caretaker with the animals and this book is a compilation of her methods, stories and lessons learned. She writes about euthanasia, prayer and how to make the final passage a peaceful one for both of you.

The foreword is written by Rev. Gary Kowalski, the author of The Souls of Animals and Goodbye Friend. He compares Reynolds to Mother Theresa in her work with her animals.

I have used this book often to help release the souls of my animals - the prayers, chants and tools she suggests do help make the moment of death a quiet, peaceful one. She helps us see that it can be a moment of beauty and of love.

To Be of Service by St. Francis of Assisi

To Be of Service

Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FloraLax for Constipation

My cat Minnie has IBS - irritable bowel syndrome and fluctuates from diarrhea to constipation. She gets cramps too, especially when passing hard stools. I tried it all and found this product to soften her stools and avoid cramping.

Made for humans and available at health food stores, this product is an organic all natural fiber formula with flaxseed, psyllium husks and oat bran. The 7 oz. jar costs only $8.00 and goes a long way.

I sprinkle a tiny bit on her food daily and things just run smoothly. I also give it to my older cats. Like people as they age, they too need a little extra help to pass food through. For other pets it may soften their stools too much. If diarrhea develops cut back or stop the FloraLax.

For more info online go to

Companion by Mary Maude Daniels


"Is there anything more satisfying
on a cold, blustery day,
Than a good book,
A hearty fire,
And a soft purring friend by your side?

Mary Maude Daniels

Pet Acne

If your pet has pimples, blackheads or crusty sores on their chin or lower lip then they may have acne. People are not the only ones to get this. Dogs often get it during their teenage years from ages 3-4 while for cats it can be a lifelong problem. Orange tabby cats are prone to this issue.

You don't need harsh chemicals or medications to treat acne. In most cases you can control the problem with a few gentle and natural home remedies.

Acne occurs when bacteria gets trapped under the skin. The herb calendula (Calendula officinalis) available as a tea or tincture will soothe the skin and stop the infection. Soak a gauze pad or cotton ball in diluted tincture or full strength tea, squeeze out the excess and apply to sore spot for about five minutes. Do this daily until the sore heals.

A simple warm water compress will open locked pores and flush out the infection. Hold a warm cloth on the sore until the cloth cools. Do this daily until the acne heals.

If the pet's acne is hot red and swollen, give the homeopathic remedy Apis mellifica. For sores oozing a sticky yellow substance, Graphites is the remedy. Use Hepa Sulphura Calcareum if the spot is infected and oozing a foul smelling pus. For itchiness and thickened stiff, bumpy skin, give Rhus toxicodendrun.

The flower essence crab apple helps heal infections. Give them four drops four times a day. Put it in their water or dribble it into their mouth.

Some cats are allergic to plastic and will break out in acne when their faces touch their food bowls. it is a good idea to use stainless steel, ceramic or glass for their water and food dishes. Cheap stainless steel may contain toxic heavy metals so buy the better brands and buy American.

Homeopathic vets believe that acne develops from an underlying chronic illness. Have your pet checked if they get acne often or if it won't go away with home treatment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Add Dogpile Search to Help Pets

Add Dogpile search engine and they will donate to the ASPCA to help rescue pets. Every time you search - they donate! A win win for both sides.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dr. Bev's Dog Treat Recipes

The following are two of Dr. Beverly Cappel-King's favorite recipes for dog treats.

Delectable Dog Cookies
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/8 cup chopped unsalted seeds and nuts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon molasses

any or all of the following to taste:
grated cheese
nutritional yeast
fresh garlic or garlic powder

Combine all ingredients into firm ball; add milk if more moisture is needed.
Roll out the dough and cut it into your dog's favorite cookie shape. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cookies are crispy.

The King of Dog Cookies
1 1/2 cups cooked rice, oatmeal or other whole grain
1/4 cup whole or skin milk powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup whole wheat flour, rye flour or corn meal

any or all of the following to taste:
grated cheese
nutritional yeast
fresh garlic or garlic powder
fennel seed

Combine all ingredients into firm ball, add milk if more moisture is needed.
Roll the dough out and cut it into shapes. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until cookies are crispy.

If you want to make a big batch and keep them in the refrigerator, squeeze a vitamin E capsule into the dough as a preservative.

Minnie getting candy

Today's photo is Minnie helping herself to a piece of candy. I have had to resort to candy dishes with covers to prevent this. She helps herself to wrapped candy and bats them around on the hardwood floor for hours!

Book Review: The Nature of Animal Healing, The Path to Your Pet's Health, Happiness, And Longevity by Martin Goldstein, DVM

I had seen this book on stores bookshelves often but when I picked it up it seemed more like a novel than a reference book so I never bought it. I found it again at the local library and decided to read it. It is a great book.

The first two chapters discuss disease and the struggle for health. Goldstein gives a personal account of his path from western medicine to holistic treatment both for himself and in turn for his patients.

In his next section, he takes on the importance of natural food, the questions behind vaccines and then Goldstein explains each of his treatment tools - vitamins, enzymes, homeopathic remedies, herbs and more. The part I use most is the chapter he discusses what treatment he suggests for each ailment. The final chapter in this section is about cancer and treatments.

Goldstein ends the book with a discussion about the spiritual realm and death. This part of the book really sets him apart from other authors. He shows how animals can mirror back to us what is going on in our lives and sometimes that is the cause of their illness. When we make the corrections and balance our lives out, the pet seems to improve too. He hypothesizes that they also take on ailments to keep us from having to suffer from them. Animal communication is included in this chapter.

Finally Goldstein helps his readers through the death of a pet - how to know when to let go, euthanasia and the death process itself. I found this part extremely helpful in his explanation of the actual process of death and what happens.

A little more reading material than most health care books but for a warm distinctly personal point of view on things, I really enjoyed this book. I just wish Dr Goldstein lived near me so I could use him as my vet!

Today's Quote

"For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love we call a dog."

-- Roger Caras

Friday, November 7, 2008

Flower Essences for Behavior Issues

Whether you use Bach Flower Remedies or other brands, this is a good way to help behavior problems in pets.

Made from essential and greatly diluted oils of wild plants, trees and bushes, the essences are known as vibrational therapy, meaning that they help return the body's emotional energy fields to a proper balance.

Flower essence are harmless and using the wrong one won't cause problems. They work quickly and you should see results in a few days. You can use one at a time or up to five at once. They can also be used along with herbs or homeopathic remedies.

I make up bottles to treat specific ailments or behavior issues. Using a small brown bottle with a dropper, fill with pure spring water. Add two to four drops of the essence or essences you wish to use. This will keep refrigerated for a week or so. If you notice the water getting slimy, dump out and make a new one.

To be effective they must be given at least four times each day for five days or more. I put the essence on their food, in the water and in milk if needed.

Essences can be expensive so here is a list of some of the common ones I use and keep on hand.

Aspen for fear of the unknown.

Beech for intolerance.

Centaury for excessive submission.

Crab Apple for cleansing after illness, accident or surgery.
Larch for lack of confidence.

Mimulus for fear of the known.

Rescue Remedy for mental or physical trauma - best used in emergencies.

Rock Rose for terror - it is included in the Rescue Remedy formula.

Scleranthus for car sickness.

Star of Bethlehem for grief or abused animals that have suffered.

Vervain for over enthusiasm.

Vine for dominance or aggression.

Water Violet for aloofness - great for ferals trying to adjust to new situation.

Willow for resentment.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Top 15 Herbal Treatments

This is a list compiled by veterinarians of herbs recommenced for your pet. To be safe, talk to your vet before using them, especially if your pet is taking drugs of any sort.

Aloe (Aloe vera) for constipation and skin irritation

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) for skin injuries

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) for skin irritation (topical), stomach problems, mild stress

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) for skin injuries (topical only)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) for water retention, liver, spleen, blood issues

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia or Echinacea purpurea) for immune support, nasal congestion

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Nausea, motion sickness

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) for old age, mental dullness

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) for infections, bronchial inflammation

Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) for heart irregularities

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) for liver problems

Red Clover (Trifoliaum pratense) for ulcers, sores, burns and as a nerve tonic

Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) for diarrhea, constipation, coughs

Valerian (Valeriana officinales) for stress, pain, aggression

Book Review: Bach Flower Remedies for Animals by Helen Graham and Gregory Vlamis

Millions of family pets are put to death each year even thought they are physically fit and healthy because of behavior problems.

Changes in behavior can be brought about with an animals behaviorist to simply and inexpensively with flower essences. I have used them and can attest to their effectiveness.

This book explains what they are, their history and how they help. It also lists symptoms animal by animal with appropriate remedies. It also explains how to dose and how to make up dosage bottles. Well worth reading to understand this mode of treatment.

Today's Quote

"If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very very few persons."
---- James Thurber

Monday, November 3, 2008

Black Cat Lore

Black cats have been thought of as unlucky, omens of disaster. If a black cat crossed your path, especially on Halloween night, people of superstitious nature believe it to be a terrible sign of things to come. To counteract the bad luck, various magical antidotes have been devised over the centuries. Some of these include spitting on the ground, turning oneself around three times, walking backwards to retrace one's steps and recitation of special incantations. What is the history behind these superstitions?

The main idea of black cats being connected with Halloween and all things mysterious dates back to the second century B. C. and the Celtic Druids. Druid priests believed that cats were once human beings who had been changed into feline form as punishment for evil deeds. As a result, they believed the cats were sacred and included them in their worship.

In ancient Egypt, the Goddess Bastet was worshipped in the form of a lean, short haired black cat and sometimes as a female human with the head of a cat.One of the most popular deities of that time, she was a benevolent Goddess and the domestic cat was the animal most sacred to her. So sacred that harming a cat carried the price of execution. In mythology, Bastet was a deity who possessed nine incarnations - which may explain the concept of cats having nine lives.

The black cat is associated with the Greek Goddess Hectate and to the Norse Goddess Freya who rode in a Chariot drawn by cats.

In the Middle Ages, the black cat became a symbol of the devil and his disciples. Europeans believed the cat to be the animal form most assumed by the witches familiar. During the witch hunts of this time, an untold number of cats, mostly black ones, were put to death along with their mistresses and masters by devil fearing extremists.

The cat has long held a reputation for being an animal possessing both psychic and magical powers. With its link to witches, pagan goddesses and all things magical, it was destined to become one of the symbols of Halloween.

Today's Quote

"I think I should turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self contained."
-- Walt Whitman

Book Review: Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard Pitcairn DVM and Susan Hubble Pitcairn

This book is a classic for chemical free nutrition, treatment and natural healing for pets. It is written by natural pet care specialist Dr. Pitcairn and his wife. My vet trained with him and so did Dr Loops of my web links list.

Dr. Pitcairn's book will tell you how to choose a healthy animal for your next pet, how to make your own pet food, and give your pet a check up. The book also includes a reference section with specific instructions for preventing, diagnosing and treating a wide range of animal illnesses in a drug free holistic way using homeopathy, herbs, nutrition and vitamins.

A must for your pet library!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Kitty Adventures

Halloween morning I went about feeding my kitties and getting ready to run some errands. We were invited to go Trick or Treating with a friend's daughter. Just as I was about to leave the house for a few hours I checked on the cats one last time.

I went out to the screened porch and noticed some of the foam board we put in the ceiling for insulation was on the floor. I looked up and several little white kitty heads peered down at me from the rafters above!!!! They had gotten up into the ceiling from the various shelf perches we made for them. I was not sure whether they had access to outside from here so I had to try to get as many back down as I could before they could escape. So much for my day running errands! They always seem to pick days I had plans to get into mischief!

I stood on one of the tables and pounded hard on the ceiling making a lot of noise and succeeded in getting a couple of cats down. I finally had to make a hole in the ceiling to see who was still up there. I had taken a head count but wasn't sure. I pulled the foam board loose and saw Smidge and Lilly still up above me. Using tuna and catnip I sprinkled it on the table under one of the ceiling holes and Smidge and Lilly were just about to come down when Al my blue eyed deaf cat went after gray tabby cat Tabitha. All the screeching and commotion scared the cats back up above! I finally put everyone else inside. With my walking stick I coaxed Smidge down a hole to the porch. I put her inside and tried to get Lilly to come down too. No way -- she was not moving - tucked away in the far corner of the ceiling.

All this had taken me a couple of hours. I gave up for now on Lilly. I left two holes open and food out. I went out for a couple of hours to run errands and finally when I came back she had come down to eat. I picked her up and put her in a kennel cage while we fixed the ceiling. We secured the smaller foam boards with tape and nailed the larger pieces back - I had made a mess of it all trying to get up there. So much for my Halloween plans. We were late but were still able to go out after all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quote ot the Day:

"Places to look: behind the books in the bookshelf, any cupboard with a gap too small fro any cat to squeeze through, the top of anything sheer, under anything too low for a cat to squash under and inside the piano."
---Roseanne Ambrose-Brown

Slippery Elm for Digestive Upsets

A great herb to keep on hand for digestive upsets in pets is slippery elm. The inner bark of the tree is used.

It is a nutrient and food for very young, old or very weak cats and dogs. Use slippery elm as a food in convalescence, mixed with a bit of honey and water. it tastes sweet and pets take to it readily.It coasts and heals all inflamed tissue internally and externally.

It is used for the stomach, ulcers, bowels, and kidneys, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery and colitis and the entire digestive tract.

Use it externally for wounds, burns, rashes, abscesses, boils or insect bites and internally for the lungs, coughing, vomiting and for stomach and bowel cancer.

For a poultice to bandage wounds, stir enough water into powdered bark to make a past and apply it to the affected area. Slippery elm bark contains special cells that expand into a spongy mass in the presence of liquid. Applied to thoroughly cleansed wounds, it dries to form an herbal bandage.

I use the powder straight from the capsule, sprinkled on pet's food. For a tea taken internally use 1 to 2 teaspoons of powdered herb per cup of water. Blend a little water in first to prevent lumpiness. Bring to biol and simmer 15 minutes.

No No Foods for Pets

With the holidays coming up -- Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, we can't resist giving our pets table scraps but not all people food is fit for dogs and cats.

Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which can kill a dog or cat. The smaller the animal, the less chocolate it may take to cause illness.

Tuna fed to cats every day can cause a deficiency in vitamin B and E, leading to illness. Because tuna blocks the absorption of these vitamins you need to add supplements to their food or limit tuna treats.

Onions contain sulphur which can destroy red blood cells and cause anemia in some dogs.

Milk can cause gas and diarrhea in some pets who are lactose intolerant like people. Try a as a treat the product Catsip. It is a lactose free milk product which contains taurine to promote healthy eyes and blood vessels.

Cold Weather Tips

As our temperatures go down, be sure to take extra care of your pets.

Bring them indoors if possible, when the temps reach 32 degrees. Cats are safer if kept inside year round.

If your dog or cat spends anytime outdoors during cold weather he/she should have an elevated house, clean dry bedding and a flap to cover the door. Straw works best for bedding since it traps air in pockets and dries quickly when wet. Blankets will stay wet far longer.

Check the water bowl often and add fresh water when it freezes. You can buy electrically heated water bowls for this purpose.

After walking your dog or when your cat comes inside, wipe paws to remove, snow, ice and especially deicing agents.

Keep your pets away from antifreeze; it is poison. For safety, buy the non toxic kind available at most stores now.

Before starting your car, bang on the hood to scare away any animal sleeping there - cats like to curl up on the hot engine parts. They can get seriously mangled when the engine is turned on.

These simple tips can keep your pets and your neighbor's healthy and safe in the coldest weather.

Did you know...?

There are more breeds of dogs than than there are of cats? Dogs win this contest hands down with about 310 breeds to their credit compared to about 70 for cats!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tips for Chronic Diarrhea in Pets

First of all if your pet has chronic diarrhea, please take him to the vet for an overall physical. Many conditions can cause this and you need to know what is going on.

If everything has been ruled out like in my case with Snowball, then you might want to try some of these remedies. Snowball gets the runs every so often and they last for weeks. He is acting fine, no weight loss or vomiting or dehydration. I have tried all sorts of things to help stop it with no results, It usually stops on it's own. But this time I hit pay dirt!

I discovered in a people remedy book that apples, let to turn brown will stop diarrhea in humans. Plus bran which helps to loosen stools - also works to firm them. I added a little bran and chopped brown apples to Snowball's food twice a day.

To boost things along I also added a few drops of Crab apple from my Bach Flower Remedy collection. This I put in his water, and on his food. The trick is to get it in him at least four times a day for five days. If it works-- it works.

Low and behold, his stool firmed up and he has been fine. I tapered off the apple and bran and still good. I left the Crab apple in the water for the full five days. So far so good. If he relapses, I will just go back to the remedies - a brown apples, bran and crab apple again. Hope this helps your pet too!

Book Review: Homeopathic First Aid for Animals - Tales and Techniques from a Country Practitioner by Kaetheryn Walker

I have many homeopathic books in my pet library but this one was worth adding to the collection.
Along with physical conditions and the remedies used to treat them, Walker intersperses anecdotes and recipes for things like electrolyte solutions and kitten/puppy milk replacements. The section on caring fro orphaned pups and kittens is worth the price of the book in my mind!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Milk Thistle for Liver Problems

Milk thistle or silymarin is a liver cleanser, detoxifier and repairer.
Use it for liver or kidney damage, hepatitis, jaundice, and parvovirus recovery. it may be helpful in chronic skin disorders, tumors and cancer. I give it to several of my pets daily.
This is a major antioxidant. Pets that have been on a lot of veterinary drugs, heartworm prevention or medication, vaccinations, deworming drugs or chemotherapy need this herb for healing.

Halloween - Not for Pets!

Halloween is coming up and although it is a fun holiday for humans, it can be a scary one for pets.
Keep them inside or in an enclosed area during trick or treat hours, making sure they don't accidentally slip out. I have several black cats and I keep them safely inside with me.
Don't share your candy with pets, especially chocolate - it can make them sick or even be lethal.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Suggle Safe Heatpad

With the weather getting cooler and winter on it's way, our pets need extra warmth too especially if they are older. I got this item as a gift and use it often for my aging indoor cats and for the ferals outdoors in their shelter.
Snuggle Safe Microwave Heatpad is a wonderful way to keep them warm and toasty. This plastic Frisbee shaped disk is filled with a nontoxic material that heats up in the microwave to provide up to 12 hours of safe gentle warmth when placed under their bedding.
To order check or other web sites. I have not found it in any pet stores yet.

Cat Fact

67 percent of America's feline friends get to sleep on their owner's beds - or anywhere they want.

Today's Quote:

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

--Will Rogers

Book Review: Kinship With All Life by J. Allen Boone

This is a wonderful little book about animal communication, first published in 1954. A friend let me borrow it and I was smitten!
It is written by an animal caretaker who is caring for a movie star dog named Strongheart while the owners travel. Boone begins to realize that this dog has opinions and thoughts of his own and wants to be treated equally.
It will surely change your view about animals and make you realize that they are equal beings in their own right. More spiritual than most books of this kind yet it does give you directions to connect telepathically with your animal friends or animals in general. A must read.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Poem For Cats

And God asked the feline spirit
Are you ready to come home?
Oh, yes, quite so, replied the precious soul
And, as a cat, you know I am most able
To decide anything for myself
Are you coming then? asked God
Soon, replied the whiskered angel,
But I must come slowly
For my human friends are troubled.
For you see, they need me, quite certainly.
But don't they understand? asked God
That you''ll never leave them?
That your souls are intertwined. For all eternity?
That nothing is created or destroyed?
It just is...forever and ever and ever?
Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat, For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am...forever and ever and ever.

- Author Unknown

Should I have my cat declawed?

Declawing is a very controversial issue among veterinarians these days. It is an illegal procedure in many European countries including Germany. I just want to set the record straight as to exactly what declawing is.
Simply put, declawing is a painful and permanently crippling procedure requiring serious surgery. Under general anesthesia, the cat's last joint of each toe is amputated including the bone, not just the claw.
After surgery, complications may arise - reaction to anesthesia, hemorrhage, infections, nerve damage and nails regrowing inside paw and needing x-rays periodically to check for this painful condition. Declawing causes gradual weakening of leg, shoulder and back muscles, affecting the cat's ability to walk.
Declawing also affects the cat's personality, often making them morose, reclusive and withdrawn since their main mode of defense has been removed. Without their claws some cats may bite to defend themselves.
There are more humane alternatives to this procedure including regular nail trimming to clip off the sharp end of the claws which hook into furniture; setting up several scratching posts and teaching the cat how to use them with toys and catnip; or using soft nail claw caps. These are soft vinyl nail caps applied to the newly trimmed nails by a groomer or vet and lasts 4-6 weeks.
Many vets refuse to do the declawing procedure and will be more than happy to help you work out a suitable alternative method. Please explore all possible solutions before you declaw. Your cat will thank you!

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to Grow Wheat Grass

Does your indoor dog nibble on grass when he is outdoors? Or does your indoor cat eat your house plants?
why not grow some wheat grass for them to graze on? This eating grass is part of a natural cleansing instinct so don't discourage it, just give them a healthy alternative.
Here's how to grow wheat grass.
Soak one to two tablespoons of wheat berries (available at natural food stores) overnight.
Drain the water.
Almost fill a plant pot or tray with potting soil and sprinkle seeds on top.
Cover with 1/4" of potting soil.
Water daily, just enough to keep the soil moist.
When the shoots are about 4" high, offer them to your pet to eat as is from the pot.
You can also trim the shoots with scissors and sprinkle small pieces in their food. Try growing barley, alfalfa or rye as alternatives.

Second Hand Smoke Bad for Pets!

Researchers at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, MA have discovered that cats who live with cigarette smokers are twice as likely to develop feline lymphoma, a deadly cancer of the blood and immune system. This seven year study also showed in households where cats were exposed to second hand smoke for 5 years or more their health risks tripled. So...if you smoke, stop for the health of both you and your pets!

Book Review: Cats: Homeopathic Remedies by George Macleod

This book is a must have and also comes in a dog version - Dogs:Homeopathic Remedies.
It explains this branch of natural medicine, how to prepare and administer the remedies. Sections cover descriptions of the remedies as well as what remedies work for different symptoms.
For readers who have little knowledge of homeopathic medicine, let me explain. This branch of medicine, using all natural remedies from the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms, treats like with like. It involves using tiny amounts of natural substances that may cause symptoms to treat symptoms.
I know this may sound like a lot of nonsense, but I have used them with my feral cats with great results! The trick is to get the right remedy. If you goof, nothing happens - that's it. No side effects or anything. Just try another remedy! This is a very harmless, inexpensive way to treat minor illnesses and some remedies even aid in treating more serious symptoms along with western medicine.
My only fault with this book is the terms may be a bit more medical than for the average lay person. Get yourself a medical dictionary of sorts and you will be fine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Reiki for Animals

Reiki, pronounced ray key, is a unique touch system of energy healing that dates back to ancient Tibet.
Reiki supplies the body with additional life force energy to help heal. It was rediscovered int he 19th century by a Japanese monk named Dr. Mikao Usui. It has been passed down since then by Reiki Masters and is used worldwide on people in hospitals, private practice and by individuals for self care.
Reiki is also used on animals with great success. Since animals absorb energy far more quickly that we do, the Reiki session can be quite short but still have far reaching effects. It is gentle and non-invasive - ideal for using with animals. When a pet is feeling well, they may reject Reiki and walk away. If they need it, they will sit quietly accepting the energy.
What is Reiki like? The Reiki practitioner will hold her hands just above the body or lightly touching it. Her hands will feel warm at the spot on the body. The person or pet getting the treatment may feel a warm tingling sensation or nothing at all. Most pets fall asleep during the session.
Reiki can aid in reducing pain and stress, cleanse the body of toxins, balance the flow of energy, and accelerate the healing process. For healthy animals, Reiki helps to maintain their health, enhances relaxation and provides an emotional sense of peace and contentment. For dying animals, Reiki is a powerful yet gentle way to provide comfort, relief from pain, fear and anxiety and to ease the transition to death.
Reiki can also treat from a distance so that the patient does not have to be in the Reiki practitioner's presence. A free healing network is available online - go to Request a healing for you or your animal friends.

Book Review: Why Is Cancer Killing Our Pets? How you Can Protect and Treat Your Animal Companion by Deborah Straw

With cancer the number one killer of pets in the US, this is a much needed book to assist us in understanding a serious disease.
After losing four pets to cancer, and frustrated from the lack of information available, journalist Straw decided to research everything from surgery to holistic remedies.
Readers will discover the many environmental, dietetic and vaccine related culprits that may cause cancer and learn how to prevent it. All areas of treatment for cancer are covered including herbal, conventional acupuncture and Reiki. An excellent source of general information.

Comfrey for Skin Issues

The herb comfrey is a good blood cleanser, nutrient, detoxifier and infection/inflammation fighter.
As a pure slave comfrey helps heal skin wounds, bites and itching. I know a shelter owner who used the salve one of her cats with skin cancer on its ears and the cancer healed.
As a tea taken internally it heals ulcers, urinary tract infections, kills streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria, heals lungs and respiratory problems. It is known to speed the healing of bruises, torn ligaments and broken bones.
Make sure this herb is in your pet medicine cabinet!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Are Dog Chews Safe?

Aside from pet chews getting all gooey and messy after the dog has been chewing on them a while, are they safe for your pet?

Fresh animal hides, the material of most chews, must be preserved, the hair removed and the hides cured to prevent spoiling. Many of the least expensive chews come from Asia where no restrictions are put on this process.

Poorly processed animal hides can contain lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts and formaldehyde. USDA only requires an import license and certificate of origin. US products may be safer but they also use chemical processing.

If you must buy pet chews, buy man made materials or a high grade product that states that it is naturally processed and made in USA.

No Aspirin for Cats!

Aspirin and aspirin substitutes like Tylenol, Motrin, can be extremely toxic to cats. Misuse can cause weakness, vomiting, convulsions, even death.

Dog Byte

More than half the pet dogs in the United States know at least one trick.

Know the Pain Signs

If your pet displays any of these signs that they are in pain or discomfort - see your vet!

Alters behavior dramatically seeking isolation or constant affection.

Winces, pulls back or cries out when the body is touched.

Hesitates when getting up or lying down.

Acts grouchy, less playful or more submissive.

Licks constantly at one body part.

Seems unresponsive or restless.

Has difficulty eating or sleeping.

Does less self grooming (especially true of cats).

Cat Facts

At a full sprint, a domestic cat can reach speeds of about 31 MPH. That makes him faster than an elephant, pig, black mamba snake, squirrel and you!

Eliminate Pet Odors Naturally

Does your house smell like dog or your cat litter box? Get rid of the odor with beeswax candles. I use them all the time. Just a 30 minutes session with the beeswax candle and the house smells wonderful again!

Pure beeswax is non-toxic, non-allergenic and non-carcinogenic. Beeswax produces negative ions which clean the air of dust, odors, toxins, pollen, mold, dust mite feces and viruses.

Paraffin candles contain petroleum products and are essentially harmful to us. Do not burn paraffin candles and beeswax at the same time. They react negatively to each other.

With pure beeswax candles, they burn with a golden halo exuding a natural aromatic homey essence and are beneficial for people with allergies, environmental sensitivities and people with just too much stress in their lives.

Appetite Loss in Cats

It's no big deal when a dog skips a few meals but this can cause a serious problem for cats. Cats that don't eat for a day or two can develop a life threatening condition called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease in which fat deposits move into the liver and clog up cells.

Symptoms include a swollen abdomen, loss of appetite and yellowish eyes and ears - signs that bile is accumulating in the body. See your vet immediately if your pet has these symptoms.

If your cat is not eating, check with your vet to find out why - don't let it go for days.

Tick Infection

Tick season is during the warmer months but those of us who live in the south can be dealing with these critters all year long.

We need to be extra diligent in checking our pets' skin and coats for ticks. The tick that causes Lyme disease is much smaller that the usual dog ticks. Knowing this is essential to recognizing the signs of tick infections.

Even if you have not actually found a tick on your pet, you need to be alert to these symptoms. If your pet's appetite falls off, he becomes lethargic and listless or if there is pain, swelling or heat in the joints, take him to a vet ASAP. Other warning signs include diarrhea, vomiting, limping or difficulty breathing.

Don't Buy Hartz Flea Products!

I can't say this enough. Over the counter flea products contain dangerous insecticides which are harmful to both our pets and to children who come in contact with them. Do not buy or use Hartz Mountain flea and tick products, flea collars and shampoo. These and other store brand flea products are causing injury and deaths to many innocent pets. Even though being investigated by the EPA, these products are still sold in retail outlets like Wal-Mart, Eckerd, CVS across the country.

Check the ingredients of your flea products for these organophosphate insecticides: chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon or malathion or for those that contain carbamates---carbaryl or propoxur. These chemicals can cause damage to the nervous systems in pets and children. If your pet vomits, has seizures or drools after using a flea product, see your vet immediately.

For more information on the dangers of flea and tick products go to, the Humane Society's web site.

Play it safe and only buy your flea and tick products from your veterinarian. He knows what is safe for your pets.

About Dogs...

"I wonder what goes through his mind when he sees us peeing in his water bowl?"
----Penny Ward Moser

Book Review: Choosing a Dog for Dummies by Chris Walkowicz

Most people put more thought into buying a lawnmower than a pet. A pet is a life long choice and should be researched beforehand.

This book, written by a champion show dog owner, provides information on most all breeds of dogs and how well they fit into family, city or rural life. A must for new dog owners.

Also listed are health screening, breed rescue and tips to find the best breeder. Filled with lots of information most people don't know even if they are avid dog lovers.

Herbal Supplements: Alfalfa

Alfalfa, which contains every vitamin and mineral, nourishes the entire system of your pet: good for the pituitary gland. A natural immune system booster, it helps treat allergies, arthritis, cancer, urinary and digestive problems. It alkalizes the body rapidly and helps detoxify the liver and acts as a blood cleanser. It helps rebuild decayed teeth and relieve arthritic pain.

The best form of this herb to use is fresh or powdered capsules. I open the capsules and pour out the powder in my pet's food. I use this daily for my cats with urinary and digestive issues.

Alfalfa is safe for pets unless they are taking anticoagulants or have allergies to pollens.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Does your pet get urinary tract infections often?

Stop infections with cranberry. Cranberry inhibits bacteria from sticking to the surface of the bladder and it acidifies the urine, making it hard for bacteria to thrive.

Use powdered cranberry supplements available in the vitamin section of most stores. I sprinkle a little powder on their food daily as a preventative. You can also use Vitamin C in the same way.

Dogs give so much...

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made."
---M. Facklam

Allergic to Dogs?

No dog is totally hypoallergenic but according to the American Kennel Club, the following breeds are less likely to cause reaction in sensitive individuals that others:

Bedlington Terrier
Bichon Frise
Chinese Crested
Mexican Hairless
Irish Water Spaniel
Kerry Blue Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier
Portuguese Water Dog

Natural Cat Litter Choices

We think our litter is safe for our cats but think again. Two ingredients - sodium bentonite and quartz silica (sand) have led to diseases and to deaths.

Sodium bentonite is the clumping agent in scoopable litters. It acts like expandable cement when digested when cats lick themselves. It causes problems that can lead to death. Silica, a form of quartz, is believed to be a carcinogen when inhaled. Silica is what causes the dust when litter is stirred.

Many alternative litters are available using a variety of substances - recycled newspaper, corn, wheat and others. Be careful using pine or cedar litters as they can be harmful due to the natural oils in the shavings. Buy only brands that remove the oils in processing.

Pet Product: Pet Music

When you go away from home do you leave the TV or radio on for your pet? I know I find the commercials louder and jarring during an otherwise soft and relaxing show.

Pet Music offers a patented blend of instrumental music and nature sounds to sooth your pet. Heartily recommended by Animals Wellness Magazine.

For more info go to

Healing Massage Oil

Does your dog or cat have a lackluster coat? Calendula - also know as pot marigold -makes a natural healing massage oil for pets. The flowers are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral. When the flowers are crushed and blended with olive oil, the resulting ointment is powerfully healing for sores, cuts, eczema, psoriasis and other rashes.

1 cup olive oil
Liberal handful of dried calendula flowers (found in most health food stores)
1/4 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract

Put a handful of herbs in a Crockpot or other slow cooking utensil and cover completely with oil. Place on low heat for six hours or so. Cool, strain, and add grapefruit seed extract. The color will be a rich mellow yellow. Pour some oil on your hand and massage deeply into your pet's skin. Makes one cup and will keep in fridge for one-two months.

Book Review: Bones Would Rain From the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs, by Suzanne Clothier

Author Clothier, a dog trainer with a holistic approach to her work, explains with touching anecdotes how our relationships with dogs get off track and how to mend the problems using our powers of empathy, compassion and intelligence.

She will challenge your philosophy toward dog training and the human-dog relationship with her insight into a dog's mind and heart. Great book!

Pets with Travel Sickness

When I used to take my first dog Bunny for rides in the car, she would invariably vomit all over me, the front seat and whoever was riding with us. This was a real problem as she loved riding in cars other than that. She eventually outgrew this issue but now I know what to do to help in cases like this.

Homeopathic remedies treat motion sickness excellently. It is best to pour five or six pellets of each remedy that you wish to use into a dropper bottle of water and shake until dissolved. The main remedy is Cocculus. either 12c or 30 c potency, giving one or two doses before the journey. Add Ipecac 30c if vomiting is a usual symptom. If the pet is fearful and then gets sick, try Aconite 30c - giving one dropper full an hour before leaving and another just before you leave.

Bach Flower Essences are also helpful. Choose your remedies and add two to four drops of each remedy to a dropper bottle of water. To calm your pet, give Rescue Remedy - two drops before the travel day in his water and then continue to give it while traveling. Scleranthus is specifically for motion sickness. You can give it alone or mix with Aspen, Elm and Vervain and give two drops every two hours.

Certain vitamins also relieve the stress associated with traveling. Starting about one week before the trip, add a complete B-complex tablet (crush human tablet and give about 1/4 of the tablet) and or nutritional yeast to his food. Also give one or two grams of vitamin C (again crush human tablets or open capsules and pour out powder) spacing out throughout the day in food. Ester C is less acid and more digestible.

A little preventative effort on your part can go a long way to making the trip better for you and your pets.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cat sleeping quote

"You could never accuse him of idleness, and yet he knew the secret of repose."

-- Charles Dudley Warner

Aging Pets

Does your pet spend more time sleeping than she used to? Have you noticed her muzzle has turned gray or white? Does she move slowly or doesn't always hear you when you approach?

Pets age faster than people do and have much shorter life spans. Their health becomes more fragile and their bodies get more susceptible to injury. There are natural ways to strengthen our pets to prevent old age illnesses.

Feed them naturally. Chemical additives in many commercial foods speed up aging by causing the body to produce more waste products. This can strain the kidneys, liver and other organs. Natural foods are easier to digest and produce fewer wastes. You can make your own foods - Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats has many recipes and ideas for home made diets. Check online or in other books for more. Or you can buy higher quality all- natural pet food available in health food stores and pet supply stores. Brands such as Solid Gold, Innova, Wysong, California Natural, and Wellness are a few I use. I also add a vitamin B complex or nutritional yeast and vitamin E to their diets.

Decrease servings. Older pets exercise less and burn fewer calories. This means they put on weight easier and that can strain their muscles and joints. Just feed the a little less if they seem to be putting on belly weight. Talk to your vet about the right amount.

Give a digestive aid. In nature cats and dogs ate the internal organs of their prey and with that were helpful digestive enzymes. Without these enzymes, pets are unable to unlock the full benefits of their food. I give my cats pet digestive enzymes and probiotics to keep their intestinal flora at the maximum.

Herbal help. Some herbs can help in the aging process. Hawthorne is a general circulatory system cleanser that helps the heart, balances blood pressure and is gentle protection from stress. It may be used daily long term. I give it to my pets with heart issues. The best nutrient is alfalfa - it detoxifies and is helpful for arthritic joints, hip and bone problems. Dandelion cleanses the liver. Wheat germ oil daily helps stop urine dribbling in older female dogs.

Protect their joints. Over time the cartilage in pet's joints begins to break down, causing pain and stiffness. Holistic veterinarians have found supplements containing glucosamine or a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, like Cosequin, can help damaged cartilage and keep it strong in the future. Check with your vet before doing this if your pet may have liver disease or clotting disorders.

Keep them moving. Regular exercise is more important when pets age. It helps keep joints working smoothly because it pumps in lubricating fluids. Exercise also strengthens the immune system and releases endorphins, natural chemicals that help relieve pain. Play with them twice a day for 20 minutes or take them for walks. Swimming is also one of the best exercises for dogs because it supports their weight and prevents strain on their muscles and joints.

Spend time petting and grooming. Petted and loved pets live longer because they are emotionally happy and touch keeps the body healthy. Gentle petting and massaging can increase circulation to muscles and decrease spasms. Groom them daily in short five to ten minute sessions. Make sure you are calm and relaxed when you do this - it makes for a happier grooming session.

Provide extra comfort and warmth. Older pets appreciate a soft warm place to rest. An old blanket on the floor or foam pillows near a heat source or in a sunny spot will do. You can buy heated pet bed made especially for older pets.

Raise your voice. When pets age, the tiny bones inside their ears that amplify sound tend to lose their mobility and become less sensitive. That is whey your pet seems to be ignoring you or is startled when you come up from behind. Make sure you get their attention by blowing on them or stamping your foot before touching them. Talk louder to them so they can hear you better.

Boost them up. If they are having trouble getting up on their favorite chair or window perch, put a low stool or platform to help them get up. Older pets can get depressed when they can't do the things they used to be able to do.

A little extra care now can help them live longer and more comfortably. They give us so much, why not do a little more for them in old age?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Traveling Without Your Pet

It is never easy to leave your pet behind when you have to go away. I have left my cats successfully in responsibly run kennels when I was only away a few days but it is hard to find one that you can feel comfortable with. I look for facilities that have someone living at or next to the kennel - in case of emergencies. I always go by and check out every aspect of the place - runs, cages, staff, that sort of thing. Even in the best of places you still run the risk of the pet getting sick - catching something from the other animals. I stopped using kennels when my two cats came home with a upper respiratory infection after one stay.

Now I hire a pet sitter to check on them while I am away. I felt so strongly about this way of caring for pets that I started my own pet sitting company to do this for others. Check with your vet, groomer, pet store for fliers or listings of pet sitters in your area. Some will stay overnight if that makes you feel most comfortable but even having someone come twice a day will be fine for your pet. Dogs need more sitter visits unless they have a fenced yard or invisible fence. Cats can make do with once a day. Ask for references from previous customers - you can tell a lot from these testimonials. Here are some things you can do to make the pet sitting process go smoothly.

Introduce the sitter to your pets before you leave. I always go to the pet's house and meet everyone, get the layout of the place and where things are kept before I sit for them. This way they know who I am when I come back again to sit for them.

Make certain the sitter you hire will follow your direction for feedings, water, exercise and attention. If you are preparing their food yourself, make up some ahead and put in freezer to thaw when needed. People can be very particular in when, how and what they feed their animals and you need to find someone who will work with you.

Explain about any medications that need to be given to your pets before you leave. If possible let the sitter give it to them if you think it might be a problem. Sometimes pets will allow the owner to give meds but when a new person tries to, it is nearly impossible. I know!

Leave money and necessary instruction for emergencies. Make sure the sitter knows who your vet is, and if needed where the travel case is located. Provide phone numbers where you, a friend or neighbor can be reached during your trip.

Add anti-stress vitamins to your pet's diet. Starting about a week before, add a B complex or nutritional yeast to their food, and vitamin C. Put a few drops of Bach Flower Rescue Remedy in their water daily. Ask the sitter to continue this supplementation and keep doing it for about a week after you return home.

Talk to your pets long before you bring out the suitcases. Let them know when, where and why you're going and with whom and for how long. They can sense something is up. Put their minds at ease.

Say goodbye to your pet calmly and with an untroubled mind. They pick up on your anxiety and you end up leaving them in an unsettle mood. Visualize a happy reunion scene with them.

While you are away, think about your pet everyday. Send a mental telegram in the form or words or a picture. He will receive it.

Whenever possible phone home to speak with the sitter. I encourage my customers to do so and tell them when is the best time to call. If the sitter is staying at your home, ask to have the phone put next to your pet and talk to him as if he were a person. They like to hear your voice. You can call and talk to them on the answering machine if the sitter is not staying with your pet.

The best you can do for your animal while traveling is keep in mind he understands your thoughts, words and behaviors. They know way more than we think so expect more from them. They will surprise you!

Recommended Pet Products: Hairball gel

My vet turned me onto pet products made by Vetbasis. This is a great company with natural additive free products for cats and dogs. My cats love the hairball gel which is petroleum and sugar free and enriched with vitamins, antioxidants and taurine. Unlike other hairball gels this one you can even squeeze some on their food. A lot easier to give that way.

Vetbasis also makes shampoos for cats and dogs that are DEA and alcohol free, water free foaming cleansers and other products. You can purchase them at their website or other natural pet products vendors online.


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