Late Monday night I posted a photo of some steeping lemons with a caption that read "Tis that time of year again, flea time. Steeping my lemons for the dogs all natural flea spray." There were several inquiries on how to whip up this concoction, the recipe is listed below!
You will also find a few other all natural and inexpensive flea preventatives or treatments below! Let me know if you have any questions!
Citrus Flea Spray
What you will need:
4-6 whole lemons
1 1/4 cup water
Slice the lemons into halves and place them into the pan with 1 1/4 water.
Bring the water & with lemons to a boil and let sit for 5 to 6 minutes.
Turn the burner off and cover the pot, letting the lemons steep overnight.
This will allow all the juices and oils from the lemons to saturate the water.
Place one or two lemon halves into the spray bottle along with some of the water.
BAM! Flea Spray. Easy peasy!
Lightly spray directly onto your pups fur. Fleas, gnats, mosquito's, etc. do not like the smell of Citrus and will steer clear of your now lemony fresh pooch. If the smell is too strong you may choose to spray a bandanna for your dog to sport as not only a fashion statement but as a bug repellent as well! Dual purpose fashion, I love it!
DAWN Dish Soap
There's a reason why Dawn dish soap always seems to have a picture of a baby duckling or other cuddly critters on their container; it's an AWESOME alternative to get rid of fleas and it's safe for even the most delicate surfaces. It's also used to remove oil or grease.
Dawn is the most effective and the safest for your pet, no generics!
Plop your pooch in the tub and soak em' down with H20. Rub in Dawn soap just as you would any other shampoo making sure to really scrub down to the skin where fleas will hide. Rinse and repeat.
Remember, fleas will flee to the head and face so you will have to scrub your pups face with a dab or two of Dawn dish soap as well.
Diatomaceous Earth is a GREAT product to kill fleas and other pest that have an exoskeleton(hard outer shell) Diatomaceous earth products are registered for use against bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, ticks, spiders, and many other pests. Though it is a bit controversial simply because there are a few different kinds of Diatomaceous Earth and you have to be VERY careful and diligent to purchase the correct form.
Sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth around the perimeter of your house or even in your house will kill any and all fleas on contact. It can be sprinkled directly on your pets fur as well.
Diatomaceous Earth is made from the fossilized remains of microscopic aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called Silica. Fleas and other insects with an exoskeleton (hard shell) are susceptible to the glass-sharp edges of the microscopic diatoms. The silica shards cut through the waxy exoskeleton surface, effectively drying out the flea, resulting in death to these types of insects and their larvae.
Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is non-toxic to both humans and pets and is safe to ingest. HOWEVER, you do NOT want to breath it in. It can, over time and in large quantities, cause lung damage. There are thousands of non-pesticide products that contain diatomaceous earth. These include skin care products, toothpastes, foods, beverages, medicines, rubbers, paints, and water filters. The Food & Drug Administration lists Diatomaceous Earth as "Generally Recognized as Safe". "Food grade" Diatomaceous Earth products are purified. They may be used as anti-caking materials in feed, or as a purifier for wine and beer.
Toxin Free/ Essential Oils Flea Collar
It was a warm night, with a gentle breeze. Crickets were singing and fire flies filed the fields with their glow. Fido laid sleeping at your feet. Little did you know this night was going to cost you thousands of dollars.
While you enjoyed the night, swaying your feet in the warm pond water, Fido took a stroll into the brush to do his business. He shook his head fiercely in an attempt to shew a pesky mosquito but it was too late, the welt began to appear at the nape of his neck under his fur.
Several months later Fido went for his yearly physical. The vet asked if he was on Heartworm preventative to which you shrugged your shoulders and shook your head. A Heartworm test was administered and the results were positive.
Heartworm is found in all 50 states and is transferred exclusively by the bite of an infected mosquito. Once an infected mosquito bites and infects its host, roughly 7 months later the larvae matures into adult worms. Heartworms are most prevalent in canines but can also be found in cats, ferrets and other mammals excluding humans.
Once the larvae matures into adult worms they lodge in the lungs, heart, and other blood vessels throughout the body and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow to be over 12” long and live between 5 to 7 years with an abundance of 250 or more worms in a single infected host.
Symptoms will not present until the disease has progressed and become more advanced. If caught early enough, symptoms will not be present and a blood test is the only way to diagnose and therefore develop a treatment plan.
Symptoms to look for:
There are two approaches to treatment, one more severe and potent but required for quick and complete elimination of worms, especially for more advanced cases. Damage inflicted by the worms is permanent and irreversible so swift treatment is required and expensive. Treatment can range in price from $500 to $2000 depending on location, veterinary clinic providing treatment, severity of disease and the type of treatment administered.
The more potent and more often utilized treatment plan requires a drug called Immiticide. Immiticide contains ingredients such as arsenic. As you can imagine, Immiticide is a very potent and strong drug that can cause symptoms much like someone receiving chemotherapy would experience. The drug is administered in 3 dosages determined by the dogs weight. During treatment and for a time after, the dog needs to be kept inactive with little to no exercise. As the drug works, the worms will die and begin to break apart into large pieces. If a dog undergoing treatment is allowed to exercise, an increase in heart rate will increase blood flow and therefore increase the likelihood that a piece of dead worm will lodge in an artery and cause complication.
The more potent and more often utilized treatment plan requires a drug called Immiticide. Immiticide contains an organic arsenical chemotherapeutic agent. As you can imagine, Immiticide is a very potent and strong drug that can cause symptoms much like someone receiving chemotherapy would experience. The drug is administered several weeks apart in 3 dosages via a shot injected into the lumbar muscles. During treatment and for a time after, the dog needs to be kept inactive with little to no exercise. As the drug works, the worms will expire and begin to break apart into large pieces, exercise can cause blockages and therefore cause severe complications or even death.
The second treatment is a much slower process and often times does not achieve the same effect as Immiticide. Administering a monthly Heartworm preventative such as Heartgaurd will slowly kill Heartworms over a period of 2 years but, again, the damage caused to the vessels during this time is irreversible and will likely result in a shorten life expectancy.
If left untreated, the disease will result in death.
The good news is...
There’s a way to avoid the little buggers all together! It’ll cost you roughly $12 a month and taste like a treat to your dog. Giving your pup a monthly Heartworm preventive will not only protect them against Heartworm but many also guard against ringworm, round worm and other parasites that could wreak havoc on your pups health and your bank account.
I had recently started a new job and the days dragged on like a bad movie in desperate need of a dramatic end just to make it worth the time spent watching it. I was ready to crash as soon as the door flung open and the over-sized sweatpants were pulled on. I was in for a big surprise.
The door swung open, I saw what was waiting for me, backed up and slowly closed the door again. I sat on the porch and waited for the shock and anger to pass. Several minutes went by and I could hear the crate rattling and knew I had to go in and let him out, clean up the mess and figure out a way to hide the damage from my husband…at least for the time being, he was enviably going to see the hole in the floor and the crate that looked like it survived a category five tornado.
Popper was a sweet and gentle soul unless you tried to leave him alone or confine him to a small space. His history leading up to transport from North Carolina to Buffalo was a mystery as they often are when dealing with rescue dogs. He craved attention and was sadly and very apparently, suffering from an extreme case of anxiety.
Anxiety in dogs can be caused by a wide variety of reasons and treatment will vary depending on severity and the specific dog. Some of the most common reasons for anxiety are:
Dogs suffering from anxiety will show one ore more of the following symptoms:
For mild anxiety you want to countercondition your dog. Counterconditioning is the act of changing the fearful or anxiety ridden situation into one of relaxation or enjoyment. You will want to make sure your dog is trained in basic commands, specifically ‘sit’ and ‘stay.’ This will make reconditioning a bit easier.
You want to start by exposing your dog to ques that would normally indicate you are going to be leaving, grabbing your coat or putting your shoes on for example. While you are doing these things give your pup a treat. The idea is to teach your dog that the act of putting your shoes is a good thing and will not always result in you leaving.
Once your dog has become desensitized to the things they use to associate with you leaving start performing out-of-sight stays. Put your shoes on, give them a treat and have them perform a sit and stay in a room with a door. Leave the room and close the door. Depending on their reaction, you want to increase the amount of time between you closing the door and coming back into the room. If your pup runs to the door as soon as you try to leave give them a toy or chew as a distraction. Kongs with peanut butter that have been tossed in the freezer work great or treat trappers that require a little persistence from your pup are good too.
It's important to remove the toy or chew immediately after re-entering the room. They should only have access to that specific toy or treat during times when they are left alone. If all goes well they will associate alone time with a positive experience and toy or chew.
Some dogs with anxiety appreciate a TV or Radio being left on. The voice will help to sooth and calm and make it feels as though someone is with them. Make sure to leave the TV or Radio on a station that has only calming shows or music. Elevated voices such as in a daytime talk show or loud noises like an action packed movie will be counterproductive.
This type of training is designed to take place over time so it's important you come up with a temporary solution to Fido's anxiety issue like a dog sitter or doggy daycare. In fact, dogs that do not get enough physical or mental stimulation can often start to present with anxiety symptoms. Keeping your dog active both physically and mentally is important to their overall health and well-being...and possibly to your sanity and your carpets life!
Some additional tips & tricks to help Anxious dogs
Sadly, there are some dogs that no amount of training or reconditioning is going to help. For these dogs there are daily medications they can be given to help manage their anxiety. If you feel this is the case for your pooch please seek a consultation with your veterinarian.
Some of you have asked about what happened to Mr. Popper. Popper was adopted by a wonderful women who lives in PA and runs a campground. She works from home and takes Popper with her on her daily rounds through the property. Her home is surrounded by a giant kennel so Popper is never confined to just the house or just the outside. He is doing wonderfully and stories like his just cement my belief that there is an adopter and furever home for each and every dog no matter their needs!
Looking back on the last several years, there are a few things I have done that I would have never thought would be a part of my itinerary.
Sitting on the kitchen floor holding a bag of frozen peas to Milo’s empty, swollen scrotal sack or pulling a string (or worms) from a dogs behind are among the list but chasing Milo around the house with a tube of Monistat in my hand with the intent to inject the cream into his ears while yelling “bring your vagina ears over here!” absolutely takes the cake for one of the most theatrical and amusing moments of my rescue career.
Now, anyone who knows me knows I am frugal…sometimes to a fault as my husband has frequently called me cheap, I say financially thrifty. On the other hand anyone who knows me also knows I will gladly drain my bank account for any of my fur kids…when necessary. Thankfully, through the years I have been lucky enough to acquire knowledge of several at home remedies for everyday doggy issues us fur parents may face.
Sometimes a tablespoon of pure pumpkin is all that stands between you and paying the emergency room fee plus care costs at the vet on a Sunday. So below you will find a list of at home remedies that are safe and will not stage a robbery against your bank account.
Let’s start with one of the most common issues us doggy parents face, the hersey (very stinky) squirts. I’m sure I’m not the only wife who’s come home to find the dogs’ bed and blanket in the middle of the driveway, the crate moved to the hardwood floor in the living room, and one poop covered pup waiting for me (all courtesy of the husband who has a horrible gag reflex). Or walked in the door after a long day’s work to be greet by a smell worse than rotten eggs whisked in expired milk.
Pure Pumpkin is loaded with natural fibers and will work wonders for dogs suffering from both constipation and diarrhea. The large quantity of fiber will absorb the extra moisture and will result is harder stools within just a few hours of consumption. It will also cure an upset tummy and work in just the opposite manner for dogs suffering from constipation. Not only is pumpkin filled with magical digestion cures but it is also a good source of vitamin E, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Potassium. Canned pumpkin is AMAZING and it’s the first thing I give my fur kids at the first sign of digestion issues.
For smaller dogs start with one tablespoon and for larger dogs start with two tablespoons. Canned pumpkin can be found at any grocery store and will likely cost you under a dollar! Much better than a $50+ trip to the vet!
Now back to those yeasty, Vagina ears.
Yeast Ear Infections
If you are the fur parent to a dog with floppy ears you have likely experienced the joy of treating a yeast ear infection. For a dog with chronic ear infections, those frequent trips to the vets office can really do some damage to your bank account and your vacation days. Here are two tricks for treating those pesky infections at home for pennies on the dollar.
Single men, you may want to get a lady friend or your mom to help you gather supplies for this one! You will need a tube of Monistat (here’s where your mom or lady friends help comes in) and some Hydrocortisone. Mix an equal amount of Monistat and Hydrocortisone cream into a small bowl and plop into the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Use a syringe to suck up and inject the mixture into your pups infected ear. Do this twice a day for 5 to 7 days.
You can use just the Monistat cream as the Hydrocortisone cream is strictly to helping with itching and discomfort.
If you aren't comfortable heading to the lady section of the grocery store and you can’t seem to find someone to help you there is another option; White Vinegar and water. NEVER put straight vinegar into your pups’ ear! The solution MUST be diluted half water, half white vinegar and never leave your pups ears wet. Squirts the diluted solution into your dog’s ears and clean out with a cotton ball. Do this twice a day until the infection has cleared.
Please be cautious to monitor your pups ears closely. If they do not appear to be getting better with either of the above treatments do not wait to get them to a vet, ASAP. Ear infections that are left untreated can reach deep into the ear canal and eventually the brain stem and cause inflammation leading to seizures.
Below are a few more inexpensive solutions for doggy care;
Coconut oil- helps to reduce dry, itchy skin and contributes to healthy coat
Fish Oil- helps to reduce dry, itchy skin and contributes to healthy, shiny coat
Plain Yogurt- good to give to your pup if they are on antibiotics as antibiotics are known to cause yeast infections. The Acidophilus in yogurt will help to keep good bacteria in check while still allowing antibiotics to kill off any bad bacteria in the intestines.
Chamomile tea- is great for soothing minor skin irritations and tummy aches while the, still warm, tea bags are great for irritated eyes.
Epsom Salts- if your dog is constantly itching/biting their feet chances are they are sore, red and inflamed. Epsom salts will help to sooth and will kill off any bad bacteria and or yeast in between the pads of their feet. If you can’t get your pup to stand in a bath for 5-10 minutes you can soak a cloth in the mixture and wrap their feet while they take a siesta.
An old Copper Penny (prior to 1983)- If you use a water dispenser you can insert an old copper penny into the top of the dispenser, the little bit of copper your pup will consume should be enough to warn off fleas! The penny HAS TO BE FROM BEFORE 1983!!! If you use a penny produced later it is not composed of strictly copper and can pose a risk to your pup especially if ingested. (My parents have used this method of flea prevention for many years with great success).
Flour and water- if you accidentally clip your dog’s quick you can easily stop bleeding with a quick mixture of flour and water. Add a bit of water to a bowl of flour to make a paste. Put the paste on the affected nail and blood be gone! Baking soda or corn starch will also work!
I hope some of these tips and tricks will save you a few unwanted trips to the vet!
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!