Essentials Oils for Pets, Part 1

Essential Oils for PetsJust as aromatherapy and essential oils can benefit humans, physically and mentally, they can also benefit our pets. With that said, it is important to remember that the essential oils and aromatherapy that human beings can tolerate and benefit from might not produce the same reaction in our pets. In fact, some oils can be dangerous and I caution anyone interested is using essential oils for themselves and for their pets to do some research and always speak you’re your veterinarian.

Essential oils are used in a number of ways and can be absorbed in the body via inhalation, ingestion and or contact with the skin. Pure essential oils rapidly enter the body and the blood stream and are distributed to various tissues. As with all compounds, some chemicals have a biological affinity for specific tissues, and doctors — or those knowledgeable about oil use — are able to select oils that will target specific tissues and treat various concerns and issues.

The compounds present in essential oils are powerful and a human dosage of essential oils is generally not recommended for our fur friends.  Additionally, the quality of essential oils you use in your home should be a top priority.  I use doTERRA in my home and can honestly say these are the best essential oils I have ever used.  A hobby of mine for several years has been making soap and other bath and home products for myself and my pets.  I am very happy with doTERRA and all their oils are certified pure therapeutic grade oils; free from pesticides and no added chemicals.

doTerra Dogs

Make your doTERRA purchases mean even more.

Cautions
While oils are useful in healing and calming, they are powerful and can cause a wide variety of adverse effects. The largest problem with essential oils is that they may contain contaminates or adulterants that make more serious issues arise. For this reason, please only use therapeutic grade oils from reputable companies and verify the quality of oils before using them; again, this is why I am so happy with doTERRA.  High quality, pure essential oils are generally expensive, but since a little goes a long way, even the most expensive essential oils in your collection are so very worth it.  Please, please don’t waste your money on unreasonably cheaper oils as they are likely to be adulterated, making them especially dangerous for your pets.

Animals have sensitive senses of smell, so in most cases it is best to use oils that are diluted and always provide an escape route. If a pet does not like an oil do not enforce its use!! Cats are particularly at risk for oil reactions and kitty owners should use oils very sparingly on cats. One drop of essential oil diluted in 50 drops of a pure carrier oil such as grape seed oil or fractionated coconut oil (my fave) is usually sufficient.

Since animals metabolize and react differently to essential oils take care not to overusing oils on your pets. A person discovers essential oils and begins to diffuse the oils into their homes leading to an unintentional overdose for their pets. Lavender oil is highly useful, but it contains no antioxidant compounds and can therefore oxidize as it is stored. These oxidized alcohols can aggravate patients and lead to the development of allergic responses.  Use the gold rule of a little goes a long way.

Some essential oils can cause liver and kidney toxicity in sensitive species. Cats use a different system in their liver to detoxify and are particularly sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds. These are so-called “hot” oils like cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme and birch, which are oils that should be avoided in cats. Cats should not receive melaleuca oil, and never put essential oils into the ear canal as they can damage cats’ delicate ear drums and nerves.

Care is needed around eyes as well. Always wash your hands after handling oils to prevent accidentally getting them into your eyes and that of your pets’.

Resources:
Essentail Oils For Pets

Pet Aromatherapy And Essential Oils…by Dr. Richard Palmquist

SpOil Your Pet: A Practical Guide to Using Essentail Oils in Dogs and Cats

Buy doTERRA and benefit a nonprofit rescue

 

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Four Affordable Super Foods For A Healthy Pet!

With a senior dog and a puppy in my house, and ages in between, I am always reading up on great things to add to my dogs’ diets that are A. affordable and readily available and B. compatible with the pluthera of allergies a couple of my dog suffer from.

I recently came across a great article via Dogs Naturally that highlighted a few great foods.

Organic Coconut Oil
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I have been feeding all my dogs coconut oil for over a year now and used it prior topically on my dogs for dry skin and after baths.

Coconut oil consists of more than 90% saturated fats, with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. A majority of the saturated fats in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). 

Most of the coconut oil benefits come from the MCTs. For example, the lauric acid (about 40%) in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Capric and caprylic acid have similar properties and are best known for their anti-fungal effects.

Here is a list of benefits of coconut oil (always use organic for you and your pets)

Skin Conditions

  • Helps clear up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis,and itchy skin
  • Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
  • Makes coats become sleek and glossy, and deodorizes doggy odor
  • Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida
  • Disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing
  • Applied topically, promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings

Digestion

  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
  • Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
  • Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing

Immune System, Metabolic Function, Bone Health

  • Contains powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agents that prevent infection and disease
  • Regulates and balance insulin and promotes normal thyroid function
  • Helps prevent or control diabetes
  • Helps reduce weight, increases energy
  • Aids in arthritis or ligament problems

Plain Goat Milk Kefir

Trader-Joes-KefirI am looking forward to adding this to my dogs’ diet staring tonight, and here’s why:

  • Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria that aren’t found in yogurt, and also keep in mind that many dogs are allergic to cow’s milk.
  • It also contain friendly yeasts, which can control yeast (Candida) overgrowth in your dog.
  • It contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals, ad a wide variety of probiotics for super awesome healing qualities.
  • Some studies have shown kefir fights salmonella and E. coli.
  • Kefir can help prevent allergies in your dog.
  • It’s been shown to help with gastritis, pancreatitis, abdominal peptic issues, skin psoriasis, rheumatism and joint disease as well as gouty arthritis, weakening of bones, anemia, and leaky gut.
  • Some studies show kefir to reduce the risk of  some cancers.

The feeding guide given in the article I read is provided below.  It did not go by pounds but “size” of dog/cat.  I will assume that small is under 20lbs, medium is 20-50lbs, and large is over 50lbs but please do consult with your vet when adding an new food to your pets’ diet:

Small size dogs or cats: 1 tsp – 1 tbsp
Medium size dogs: 1 – 2 tbsp
Large dogs: 2 – 3 tbsp

Fresh Whole Sardines

We all know the benefits of fish oils but feeding your dog fresh, whole sardines in place of fish oils supplements is a great way to go.  Sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).  

calamai, apple stuffing 008Worried about mercury?  Don’t be: “Sardines may be small, but they’re mighty when it comes to pet nutrition,” says nutrition counselor Celia Kutcher, aka the Food Healer. “Since sardines are small, they tend to have far less mercury than larger fish, which makes them an ideal choice for people, too.”

Can’t find fresh sardines?  You can buy canned sardines but make sure to always buy wild caught, packed in water.  

Kitties can have half a small sardine and dogs can have one whole small sardine per 25lbs.  It is not recommend to feed sardines every day, especially to cats. And don’t worry about the bones for dogs or cats: they’re safe, and will supply a little calcium as well!

Raw Beef Bones

Nature’s toothbrush for your dog!  Raw meaty bone diets keep wild carnivores’ teeth in prime condition and they can do the same for our domesticated companions.  Raw thmeaty bones are sold at nearly every neighborhood pet store and can be found at your local grocery store too.  Click here for a guide to bones for your dog. 

Also, consider turning those raw beef bones into a bone broth for your pup: the benefits are amazing! 

  • Bone broth is good for joints
    Bone broth is loaded with glycosaminoglycans and you might even be familiar with one of them: glucosamine. Not only does bone broth contain super amazing amounts of glucosamine, it’s also packed with other joint protecting compounds like chondroitin and hyaluronic acid.
  • Bone broth helps detox the liver
    Your dog’s liver suffers a onslaught of lawn chemicals, toxins in his food and water, vaccines, heartworm and parasite meds every day and the liver’s capacity to detoxify is limited by the availability of the amino acid glycine. Guess what has tons of glycine? Bone broth!
  • Bone broth promotes a healthy gut
    The lining of the intestines contains millions of tiny holes that allow the passage of digested nutrients to enter the body. Stress, poor diet and bacterial overgrowth can cause more holes to open or to become bigger … and when undigested food matter and yeast enter your dog’s body, allergy symptoms appear. Bone broth is loaded with a gooey substance that can plug up those leaky holes: gelatin!

Click here for a bone broth recipe.

 

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How to Ease the Stress of Fireworks

Dog and Fireworks

 The Fourth of July is not a favorite holiday for our canine friends.  Maybe your dog paces, pants, barks, drools, is uncharacteristically destructive or just hides and shakes.  Regardless, you want to help your dog feel less stressed this time of year.  Here are some tips:

  • Depending on the depth of your dog’s fear, you should speak with your veterinarian about whether anti-anxiety medications can help. If you don’t like the idea of medication, ask your veterinarian about alternative supplements that might help.  Melatonin, DAP collar and diffuser, Rescue Remedy, etc.

 

 

  • Create a safety area for your dog. This is wherever your dog is going to be the most comfortable. This may be their crate draped with blankets, a bed in your closet, a blanket fort in basement, a safe place in the bathroom, etc.  Set up the safety area before the fireworks start and make it a positive place by feeding treats or meals in the area, introducing new toys there, etc.  Make sure that your dog has easy access to their safety area.

 

  • Consider running a white noise machine, a loud fan, some soothing music, or a neutral TV station like the Food Network to help create some background noise and muffle the boom of fireworks.

 

  • Make sure all your windows and doors are shut tight and locked.  Make sure your dogs (and cats!) are kept inside with no chance of escape! The booming of fireworks is VERY disorienting to all animals and this time of year so many go missing.  So please ensure your pets are kept safely indoors and make sure their microchip information is updated and current.

 

And please remember that neighborhood firework commence before the fourth and continue after so plan accordingly.  Critter Queen wishes you a safe and happy 4th!

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Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

4th of July Pet Safety

Fourth of July Safety Tips
*some tips are taken from our friends at ASPCA

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Use caution if you’re grilling.  Dog can be burned and or start fires by trying to grab items of your grill.  And beware after you are done grilling: those coals are still hot and there are probably delicious bits stuck to the grill that your dog might try to get at.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

 

 

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Happy Holidays for Pets!

Holiday petsCritter Queen wants to make sure your pets are jolly and safe this holiday season!  We understand you are probably a little tired of the do’s and don’t shouted from the mountain tops year after year but this is great information to share with new pet parents, and who knows, there might be something listed here that is new to you :)

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Be sure to securely anchor your Christmas with a sturdy tree stand so it doesn’t tip and fall.  Also be aware of the tree water, which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset if ingested by your pet.  Additionally, stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea.  Be safe and keep the tree water covered.

Tinsel-less Tree
Kitties love tinsel!  It sparkles and its easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to leave tinsel at the store.

No Feasting for the Fur Kids
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate, anything sweetened with xylitol, or fatty trimmings or bones, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to get something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure lids on garbage cans.

Toy Joy
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe!

  • Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods that are safely digestible are a great choice.  Also, consider chews that can be easily chewed and digested; Zuke’s Z Bones, and Paragon Whimzees Alligators are a couple favorites. Many pet owners love to give bones, hoves, antlers and Nylabones to their dogs but more and more we hear of dogs that are chipping, cracking or breaking their teeth on these items…this includes the Queen’s own pup E-Dee :(

  • As for kitty, long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe flowers and plants.

Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, please put the candle out.

Wired Up 
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.

House Rules
Make sure your guest respect the pet rules of the house.  When in doubt, keep pets safe and comfortable in your room or a spare room.  A quite space to retreat will also keep your pets less stressed and out from under foot.

Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Also be aware that noisy poppers (and fireworks) can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

From the Critter Queen Family to yours:
Happy Holidays & a Joyous New Year!

*Some information taken from ASPCA

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Frozen Fun To Keep Fido Cool

ImageGone are the boring ol’ days of plain ice cubes.  Sure your pup (and even kitty) love to play with, lick and munch on ice, but why not branch out and explore some new treats ideas?  Look out freezer, here we come!

 

Stuffed Frozen Kongs
If you have not yet tried this treat, you and your pup are missing out!  Why you?  Because a frozen Kong provides a good 20-30 minutes of activity for your dog…my time is quote from how long it take a pit bull to get through one of these :)  Additionally, because the goodness in side is frozen, you’ll find MUCH less off it all over your floor, the dog bed, your furniture and your pup: win!

Stuff a Kong with canned dog food, or get creative and go for a mash of dog safe fruits and veggies.  Once Kong is full, place in freezer (I set mine on wax paper) until thoroughly frozen, generally 4+ hrs.  These are a staple in my home and I usually make up several at a time so that I always have some hand.

Doggie Ice Cream
32 oz. plain yogurt
1 mashed ripe banana
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 tablespoons honey

Mix all of the ingredients with a blender or mixer and freeze in ice cube trays, or even in Kongs. And as a helpful tip, small paper cups and disposable egg cartons also make good molds.

If your pup cannot have dairy, sub low sodium broth or water.  You can get creative and sub the banana and or peanut butter for other fruits or sweet potato.

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Holiday Treat For Kitty or Pup

Happy Hanukkah Fritters
A tasty treat for man or beast!  As with any treat, moderation is key (these are rich) and please only serve fully cooled fritters to your pup or kitty.  Please check with your vet if your pets have special dietary needs or allergies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup wheat or rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • Oil for frying (I prefer olive oil or canola)

Combine cottage cheese and egg and mix until well blended. Stir in water.

In a separate bowl, together flour, baking powder, salt and optional sugar. Add dry ingredients to wet ones and stir lightly.

Drop by *tablespoonfuls into a deep pot of hot oil (stove tops vary, but I suggest medium to medium high). Fry until brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towels. Let cool completely before serving to your pet.  If these are for you, enjoy hot with jam and sour cream. Recipe may be doubled.

*Size does matter so please adjust serving size according to your pet, or, break into smaller pieces after fritters have cooled.

Yields about 10 fritters.

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