In preparing to move this past week, I came to realize just how dirty my dog is right now. Joker is a 12-year-old Border Collie. He’s an old man, but still has a lot of spunk, especially when he spots a squirrel, or cows out in a field. (Cows – it’s all about the cows.) Then he’ll go and roll in the dirt (or whatever!) to show me how happy he is, and he’s covered in dirt and leaves…and possibly other things. So, how do I care for him naturally? Check out a few of my tips:
Before you bathe a dog (or a cat, guinea pig, or other pet), your first step should be to brush them. It’ll loosen up hair, dislodge dirt and rid them of a few fleas. I put 1-2 drops of high-quality lavender essential oil on the brush to enhance the shine of my dog’s coat, protect his skin and repel fleas and ticks.
(Note: Do not drip undiluted essential oils directly on your animal, and never use essential oils if your pet resists at all. Use extra caution while using essential oils with cats – they are more sensitive to the oils and do not have the detoxification mechanism that most other mammals have. Read more here about the best ways to use essential oils with cats or with dogs.)
If your pet is really dirty, especially oil-type dirt, you can brush dry cornmeal into its coat, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush it out. It will absorb all kinds of things. This is best done outside since it will leave quite a mess. And if they happen to eat it, it’s harmless.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the pet owner’s best friend. It is a very small coral-like creature that lives in the sea. When the shell is dry, it’s crushed into a powder. The powder is almost like tiny razor blades that cut criss-cross type cuts into the outer shell of invertebrates like fleas, ticks and mites. It’s harmless to humans and pets as long as it doesn’t get into the eyes or nose, to which it could be irritating. I use it on pet beds, the floor and other carpeted areas. Sprinkle it on, allow it to sit for a day or two and vacuum up the excess. I’ve even used it in birdseed to keep out the Indian meal moths and other such creatures. You can find food grade DE at farm stores or online here.
4. Lavender essential oil
I use it on all kinds of things. On pet beds to repel fleas and ticks, on the dog to repel pests and heal wounds and in the ears to get rid of mites and cure infections. It can even be used internally if there’s a cut in the mouth or something like that. I mix it with some kind of carrier oil like almond or even olive oil. Use about 1 drop to every 1 tablespoons of carrier. Find 100% pure lavender essential oil here.
(Note: These suggestions are appropriate for dogs. Do not give cats essential oils internally, or place in their ears.)
Cedar shavings not only smell great, they also absorb moisture and repel fleas and ticks. Tip: It’s much cheaper to purchase them at large home improvement stores rather than pet stores. You can also find them online here.
6. Pumpkin seeds
Every once in a while Joker gets worms. It’s the nature of dogs that they snuffle at almost anything on the ground. About once every two months I grind up some pumpkin seeds and add them to his food. Within a few hours, most all the worms, including tapeworms, are expelled. I’m not sure how it works, but it really does! Find pumpkin seeds here.
My secret to a nice shiny coat is eggs. I take a raw egg, beat it up and pour it on Joker’s food once a week. This really helps keep his coat in top condition, and the extra protein doesn’t hurt either.
I mentioned in this article about mushrooms how they helped get rid of the cancer on Joker’s nose three times now. I’ve been giving him one capsule every 4-5 days as a maintenance routine. It seems to be working well, as the cancer has not returned in several months. Mushrooms contain polysaccharides, powerful antioxidants that fight cancer cells.
We need sunshine to produce vitamin D in the body and so do pets. If a pet is kept inside all the time, it can be subjected to darker conditions that can lead to eye problems. If you have an indoor pet, be sure it has exposure to natural daylight through a window or glass door.
I can’t say enough about how fresh clean water is beneficial to everyone, including our pets.
Make a non-toxic flea collar for dogs
Though Joker gets fleas on occasion, I help keep them off him with an all-natural flea collar. I don’t believe in chemical flea collars – they just don’t work well, and the chemicals are really strong. I tried one on my cat before and the only place I found fleas was right under the collar! Pests like fleas can become immune to some of these chemicals, Carbaryl (the main ingredient in Sevin Dust) being one of the most potent. As the fleas become immune, you use stronger and stronger chemicals and eventually it can poison your dog. I’m for the more natural approach.
- 1 bandana or similar piece of cloth (find this here)
- 10 drops essential oil such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, cedarwood, or litsea cubeba
- Fold the bandana into a triangle.
- Add the 10 drops of oil to the long edge.
- Tie on your dog. Enjoy a pest free pet!
(Note: Because essential oils tend to evaporate, you will need to reapply every few days. Do not use this flea collar on animals other than dogs.)
What natural approaches do you use when caring for your pets?
photo credit to Werwin15
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