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

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.


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