Pet Food Safety
1. Chemical Preservatives (BHT and BHA) no one knows how these chemicals might affect human or pet health. Limit use if possible. It’s especially important for pets since they eat the same food at every meal, and have a higher exposure rate.
2. Menadione, known as vitamin K3, is a synthetic form of vitamin K. Vitamin K, found in leafy greens, helps the body form blood clots. Dogs and cats need very little. Their gut bacteria produce Vitamin K. There’s evidence K3 causes liver toxicity and damages cell membranes. It was banned from use in human food in 1963.
3. Meat-Byproduct Meals – This means all the refuse from the human food industry; organs, blood, bones, fatty tissue, and beaks. It’s generally OK to give pets small amounts of byproducts. Chicken byproduct meal is different. When the word “byproduct” is followed by “meal,” it means the meat leftovers were cooked for hours to kill off bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The meal may contain more questionable waste, such as very out-of-date supermarket meat, restaurant grease, and diseased or disabled livestock. Pet food cannot contain hoofs, horns, feces, or road kill. Chicken meal can be safe if you buy a high quality product. Look for “chicken” or “chicken meal,” not “poultry” or “poultry meal,” and no animal meal.
4. Corn Products – Dry kibble can be loaded with corn byproducts as filler in treats, like feed corn scraps, seen as the ingredient “corn gluten” on labels. Foods where corn is the main ingredient is a sign the product is nutritionally lacking. Buy brands whose main ingredients are specific meat protein, such as chicken or tuna.
5. Sweetener – Sugar is as bad for your pets as for you. Sweeteners are in poor quality foods and pets can get addicted to it. Leave products with sugar, corn syrup, cane molasses, fructose, glucose, and ammoniated glycyrrhizin (a licorice extract) on the shelf. Natural sweeteners like honey and blackstrap molasses are fine in small amounts in treats, but not in every meal.
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp wormwood
1 tsp dried rue
Lice use Artemesia
Natural Pet Remedies will save you money while keeping your carbon footprint and paw print in check!
1. Rid Fleas With Citrus – Fleas don’t like citrus. Rub your pet’s fur with a small amount of fresh lemon or orange juice. Put those mostly-juiced citrus rinds to use!
2. Repel Biters With Brewer’s Yeast – A dose of brewer’s yeast mixed with a small amount of garlic in dry food daily will help to repel fleas for dogs. For cats, add brewer’s yeast, but no garlic. (It can lead to anemia for felines).
3. Drown Fleas With Water – Fleas aren’t so grabby when deluged with the miracle solution known as water. Dip your pet in a tub of water and rinse as well as you can. A gentle shampoo (or natural liquid dish detergent) can help. Or you can take him to the lake or beach to swim!
4. A Clean House Makes Fleas Sad – Tidy housekeeping can keep the flea community down. Frequently vacuum your pet’s favorite hangout, launder pet blankets, towels and beds, and keep floor clean with a natural disinfectant.
5. Feed Flea Babies to the Worms – Beneficial nematode worms, available at garden shops and pet stores, like to eat flea larva. Keeping them in the garden can help keep outdoor flea populations down.
6. Make a Rose Geranium Tick Collar – Rose geranium essential oil is successful for repelling ticks from dogs, apply a few dabs to your dog’s collar. (Not recommended for cats.)
7. Treat the Feet – If your dog’s feet seem sore from rough terrain, hot or cold pavement, or any other reason, check the paws and toes. Remove anything that doesn’t belong there, wash gently, and apply a gentle moisturizer. If bleeding, apply antibiotic ointment and gently bandage them.
8. Spray Chamomile for Icky Skin – Chamomile tea is great for alleviating skin irritations. Make tea, put it in a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and apply it to your pet’s raw skin.
9. Pamper the Pup with Vitamin E – A dog’s dry skin can benefit greatly from applications of vitamin E oil to affected areas.
10. Kick Itch with Oatmeal – Use baby oatmeal (or fine-grind your own), add water, and rub the paste onto itchy areas. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse with warm water. Works!
11. Rehydrate a Sick Dog – Flavorless electrolyte drinks, like sports waters and pediatric drinks, can help a sick dog recoup necessary fluids after a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
12. Make a Happy Tummy – Pets on antibiotics may have stomach problems as the medication wipes out beneficial bacteria as well as the sinister ones. A little yogurt (with live active cultures) with dinner will help the stomach.
13. Relax Aching Eyes – If you pet’s eyes seem irritated or infected, a warm chamomile tea bag can be used to soothe them.
14. Use Epsom Salt for Sprains and Strains – Your limping dog may have strained or sprained something. Add ½ cup Epsom salt to a warm bath and let your dog soak for five minutes, twice daily. If your dog doesn’t agree with you on this method, you can soak a washcloth in Epsom salt and warm water and apply to the local area.
15. Reduce Facial Hot Spots by Switching Bowls – If your pet eats from plastic bowls and suffers from chronic hot spots, irritation, or allergic reactions around the face, the fix may be as easy as changing to a glass or metal bowl. Plastic harbors bacteria and other nastiness that can be very irritating. Be sure to wash the bowls thoroughly.
16. Fight Hairballs With Butter – The grooming brush is your best defense against hairballs, A daily brush followed by a wipe from a moist towel should help considerably. But during high hairball season, a half a teaspoon of butter for a few days can really help.
17. Administer Juice for the Bladder – Cats are naturally prone to bladder and urethra issues. Unsweetened cranberry increases urine acidity resulting in a reduced chance of blockages or infections. Add cranberry powder to food, or cranberry juice to the water, or give your cat a cranberry capsule.
18. Prunes or Canned Pumpkin for Digestion – In older animals, digestion can get a bit bumpy. If your pet is more mellow than usual, is straining, and makes frequent toilet attempts, constipation may be the problem. Adding canned pumpkin or diced prunes to food could get things started again. For a sever case, try mixing in a tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia. Prune pits are toxic to both animals and humans, so make sure they are pit-free.
19. When They Eat Something They Shouldn’t Have – If your pet devours something toxic, you can use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. Give them one teaspoon per five pounds of body weight, and repeat once if needed. (Call your vet)
Home Remedies for Fleas
The essential oils used here are all natural insecticide/pesticides, shown to either kill or deter the pests due to their naturally occurring chemicals.
1. Flea collar
A flea collar is a great way to ward off fleas without always having to reapply something topically, and it keeps the flea control constant and steady.
3-5 drops of cedar oil or lavender oil
1-3 tablespoons of water
Bandana OR your dog’s collar
Dilute 2-3 drops of your chosen oil in 1-3 tablespoons of water. If you go up to ½ teaspoon you can use up to 5 drops of the liquid. Using an eyedropper, apply 5-10 drops of the mixture to a bandana and rub the sides of the fabric together and tie it about your dog’s neck. Reapply oil mixture to the collar once a week. 1 or 2 drops of oil diluted with 1 tablespoon of olive oil can be placed at the base of your dog’s tail.
2. Flea deterring drink– can be used alongside any of these remedies.
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar
For every 40 pound dog add 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar to 1 quart of their drinking water. Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar deters fleas and improves a pups skin and coat condition from the inside-out.
3. Flea comb
This contains lemon and lemon contains something called limonene, which is a chemical that kills and repels fleas but is harmless to us or our pets.
1 freshly sliced up lemon
1 pot of fresh water
comb, sponge, or brush
Boil a pot of water and add the slices of a freshly cut lemon to it. Turn off the heat after the lemons has been added and cover the pot, letting the mixture steep overnight. The next day dip a comb or your pets brush in the liquid (make sure it’s sufficiently cool) and run it through their hair.
4. Flea spray
Your pup will get a nice gleaming finish to their coat after using this flea spray.
1 cup white distilled vinegar OR 1 cup apple cider vinegar OR a 50/50 blend of both
1 quart fresh water
2-3 drops of lavender or cedar oil
The essential oil gives the spray an extra edge and a nice smell. Add 2-3 drops as you add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar/apple cider vinegar to 1 quart of fresh water. Fill your spray bottle, and mist your dog. Avoid spraying near the face. Dampen a cloth with the mixture and wipe it around the neck and behind the ears/their chin area. Spray your pets bedding and around it lightly with this mixture.
5. Flea (be-gone) bag
This little sachet contains things that smell pleasant to us, but that drive pests away from your pet.
Two 6 inch squares of breathable fabric (such as muslin)
handful of cedar chips
1-2 teaspoons of dried lavender buds
peel of 1 lemon
Cut 2 6 inch squares of fabric and place them together inside out. Sew all but 1 side and turn inside out. Fill with a rough handful of fragrant cedar chips, 1-2 teaspoons of lavender, and 1 lemon peel. Leave enough room at the top so you can tie it off with a ribbon or sew it shut (tying allows you to reuse it when the contents lose their potency.) Place under your pets bed/bedding or near it to ward off fleas. Change the mixture every month or so.
6. Flea bath– wash your pup with this weekly to deter fleas.
half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice*
1 ½ – 2 cups of fresh water
1/4 –1/2 cup of mild pet-friendly soap or shampoo
Stir together a half a cup of lemon juice, 1½ cups of water, and ¼ cup of mild pet-friendly shampoo or soap. Bottle and label and bathe weekly to keep fleas away. As a general rule of thumb, use 2 parts water to every ½ cup of soap and lemon juice.