Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Spring is here, and if you have dogs, you know what means – FLEAS.

Ugh. The very thought makes me start itching.

I don’t know of anything that’s more frustrating. They annoy your babies…they annoy you…they multiply like crazy…they bite…they cause all sorts of skin irritations – they’ve got to GO.

But how do you get rid of them? If you give your babies chemicals, there are all sorts of adverse reactions that they can have from allergies & rashes to seizures & death (not to mention how it can affect you, your other pets & your children). In 2008, over 44,000 reactions presumed to be tied to spot-on (topical) products were reported by pet owners, veterinarians and other animal caretakers. Whether it’s topical or a pill, you’re inundating your furbaby with toxic chemicals when you don’t have to.  You’re essentially feeding them or rubbing INSECTICIDE on them. It’s poison.

Just a few of the ingredients in your average topical or pill are imidacloprid (which is an insecticide), fipronil (another insecticide), permethrin (hmm, another insecticide), methoprene (you guessed it) and pyriproxyfen (do I even have to say it?).  Still not convinced that this stuff is DANGEROUS for your babies? Read more HERE.

And I KNOW as a responsible pet owner that loves your pet, you’d NEVER want to intentionally poison them. Sadly, some of our vets are under the same influence as some of our doctors – Big Pharma. All they know to do is push pill after pill after topical solution after topical solution. It’s all “safe”, according to them. But the truth is, IT ISN’T. Stop the madness!

Here’s the good news – you don’t have to expose your pet to these toxins. You can SAFELY and EFFECTIVELY give them flea prevention that will not put them at risk. I know this to be true because last year, the fleas were INSANE in our backyard. My poor girls were scratching and scratching until I finally started to put a little liquid concoction in their food.  And within a few days, the scratching stopped. I went from picking off 10+ fleas a day to finding NONE. It was wondrous. We were gloriously flea free all summer.

Before I give you the super simple recipe, there are other things you can do, too. Make sure that your babies are eating quality – preferably ORGANIC – food. This will discourage fleas (& other ickies) from biting them because a healthy immune system will make your dog less tasty to them. (Fleas are very attracted to pets that eat a high amount of grains since it makes them quite “yeasty.”) You can also treat the yard with diatomaceous earth or with this Mosquito Barrier. There are essential oils that you can use either in a spray or on the dog’s collar that will keep fleas at bay, too. Do a quick search on Google – there is so much out there that you can try. You don’t need poison!

My girls get organic food & treats and are bathed & brushed regularly. They also get 1/4 tsp of this mixture in their evening food:

flea prevention 1

1 clove of garlic, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Mix in a saucepan with 1 cup water. Bring barely to a boil to infuse the water, cool, strain & put in a glass container to keep in the fridge. 1-20 pound dog – use 1/4 tsp…20-80 pound dog – use 1/2 tsp…80+ pound dog – use 1 tsp in food bowl each day. *Note* Do not give to puppies until they are at least 10-12 weeks old.

Give it a couple weeks. What will happen is that the scent will begin to come out of their skin. Don’t worry – YOU won’t smell it, but the fleas WILL, and it will discourage them from getting on the animal because they can’t stand the smell. Your baby will suddenly NOT be their favorite snack!

flea prevention 2

** Read this ** – THE GARLIC WILL NOT HURT YOUR PET. I can’t believe the amount of misinformation that is ‘out there’. I suppose if you fed your dog TWO HANDFULS of garlic all at once, it might affect them, but you’re not doing that. Garlic is very healthy for them. PLEASE read this blog by behaviorist and wellness adviser, Karen Rosenfeld, so that you can be informed – http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/06/garlic-for-dogs-health-benefits.html

Don’t want to take her word for it? Read THIS and THIS and THIS. Feel a little better now? You should.

After you read these articles, if you are STILL not comfortable with the garlic for whatever reason, just omit it and use the apple cider vinegar and the lemon juice. It might take a few more days to start to repel the fleas, but it will be SO much better than poison! Your babies will thank you!

And speaking of babies, here are mine. They are my world.

henna jonesie for blog

While this blog has focused on flea prevention for DOGS, I haven’t forgotten our feline friends. Go here for great suggestions that won’t endanger their health!  They don’t need chemicals, either!

Hope everyone & their babies have a SAFE, NON-POISONOUS and FLEA FREE summer!


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That’s right. I’ve gone through the coupons that arrive safely tucked away in the folds of your Sunday paper, and some of the claims that I see over and over are driving me crazy. I feel I have a responsibility to counter their claims  with a little TRUTH. Ready? (I will avoid actual names for legal sake, but you’ll get the idea.)

1. Paper towel-type hand towels for the bathroom

The advertisement shows a dirty towel (sorry, but to start with, NO ONE’S bathroom towel gets THAT dirty before being washed) with the words toothpaste, mustard, shaving cream, make up, grime, mascara and hand lotion under it. Folks, please tell me HOW any of these things would even get on your regular towel? You RINSE OFF toothpaste, you RINSE OFF mustard, you RINSE OFF shaving cream and you RINSE OFF make up. Come on. Do you realize how many trees go into processing the cardboard for the box and the pulp for the towels?! I can guarantee you it’s a WHOLE lot more than washing regular  towels each week at home. Want fresher towels? Go to the dollar store and buy some hand towels. Change every couple days. Wash once a week. Easy. Please don’t reward this company for using up our natural resources for nothing.

2. Granola Thins/Crispy Squares

100% Natural. Well, while this claim is true, I discovered a new ingredient that I haven’t seen before. Seems the corn industry is scrambling now that the ugly truth is out about high fructose corn syrup (please don’t believe those awful commercials that tell you sugars are processed the same in your body – go talk to a diabetic). Now, they’ve come out with HIGH MALTOSE CORN SYRUP. It is all glucose, so your body can process it, but it’s still a CHEAP, PROCESSED CORN SWEETENER. And for those who have gluten issues – which is over 50% of the population in the States – this is BAD for you. Will the corn industry ever give up? AVOID!

3. Popular yogurt company that makes yogurt items for kids

You try to be a good parent. You read labels and think that you’re feeding your children the best they can have. But have you really read the ingredient label? This  gurt on the go (and other products) features HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP and ARTIFICIAL COLORS. If you’d like to give them yogurt (which IS good for them), give them Stonyfield’s plain, no fat yogurt and add some fresh fruit and maybe a little sprinkle of Stevia. Please stop feeding them colorful crap.

4. A certain vegetable-in-eight juice

If you drink this juice for the taste, then that’s one thing, but if you drink the juice for the nutrients, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. Whatever nutrients were in the veggies in the beginning have been cooked out during processing. If you enjoy that kind of juice, take the money wasted on this juice, invest in a quality juicing machine and brew your own. Not only will you get the nutrients, but there’s no funny processing or tons of salt as a preservative. It claims that it has the same vitamin C as orange juice. Funny that. It has ascorbic acid in it – ASCORBIC ACID IS NOT VITAMIN C. The majority of ascorbic acid in the food industry is SYNTHETIC and has NO nutrition whatsoever. (I have mentioned this in other blogs.) Don’t be duped!

5. A chef who thinks he is secretly nutritious

This one makes me giggle. Shame that this mess is being fed to our growing children by the GALLONS. First of all, guess what it has in it that is EVIL? If you guessed HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, you’re right! After that comes caramel coloring (mentioned in a previous blog), citric acid and maltodextrin (oh goodie – a double dose of cheap, processed corn sugar). There are a few other icky preservatives in there, as well. If you really want to feed your kids pasta, meat and sauce, make some up at home. It’s a SIMPLE meal to make, and if homemade, will be MUCH healthier. “Secretly nutritious”, my backside.

6. ‘Pure’ type pet food

I can’t believe pet owners actually feed their beloved pets this CRAP. I looked at one supposedly benefit-ful, and the first  3 ingredients are disgusting AND the main causes of allergens and other medical issues with dogs. They are ground yellow corn (they use it because it’s cheap), chicken BY-PRODUCT meal and corn gluten meal. There’s NO benefit in this food, period (see my previous blog). You are hurting your pet by giving them this, I promise you. And they have ‘slices’ to snack on. It’s made with the same CRAP, plus they toss in artificial colors, as well. Poor pets. Invest a couple more dollars and buy your pet something that won’t kill them prematurely.

7. No degree for pets here

This dog food advertisement has this quote: “It’s the nutrition I deserve with a taste I love”. No, my little furry friend – you do NOT deserve THAT kind of “nutrition”. It’s more CRAP. More ground corn. More by-product meal. More corn gluten. More artificial colors. STOP THE MADNESS! Ever heard of Innova?


Remember, every single time you buy something, it’s a vote to that company that you want them to make more of that item, and these votes COUNT. If the product is not of quality, DON’T BUY IT. In this day and age, there are WAY too many alternatives out there for you to compromise both yours and your family’s health. Many companies are making big changes because their bottom line is being affected, not because they care about your health. So keep it up!

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Hopefully you read my previous post about the icky (and obviously unhealthy and dangerous) ingredients in the majority of pet foods, and hopefully you ran straight to the can/bag of your pet’s food and made sure that you were not feeding your pet that mess and endangering their health.

No? Let me repost a very important and helpful link: www.dogfoodproject.com. You can print out a small booklet that goes through all of the ingredients and assists you in determining what food is good or bad based on certain ingredients.

Go ahead; I’ll wait. *sits down with steaming cup of coffee and a few magazines*


Okay, now that we’ve addressed pet food, we need to look at pet medicine – flea & heartworm prevention to be exact.

Fleas (and ticks and such) make our pets miserable, and they can cause serious infections. We all know what heartworms can do; they can kill. Any person that cares for their pets knows that these two issues must be kept under control. Unfortunately, most vets have hopped onto the same bandwagon as our adult doctors – the pharmaceutical freight train of chemical poison. These pushers play on our lack of knowledge and our fear. Look around next time you go to the vet. I can guarantee you that you will see a jar – maybe 2 – of some heart infested with heartworms (and maybe a couple other jars). “Do you want your puppy to get this? Then you need to give them this pesticide as prevention.”

Well, they don’t say that last part, but they might as well because it’s TRUTH. Some popular brands of heartworm/flea prevention are Advantage, Capstar, Comfortis, Frontline and K9 Advantix (there are others).

Read this link for more in-depth information about the ingredients used in flea treatments:  www.apnm.org/publications/resources/fleachemfin.pdf . Not to mention the serious (and often deadly) side effects to your pet,  there are serious (and often deadly) side effects to YOUR CHILDREN that play with the pets. Read this article to discover that only the active ingredient is listed, and usually it’s a tiny percentage of the total. Read to discover the extensive testing that is required for the active ingredients versus the lack of testing for the “inert” which can make up as much as 90% of the total. Read how people have accidentally touched some of these “spot on” treatments and then touched their lips, only to find that their lips went numb!

Want some flea treatment alternatives?




** This is what I use for Henna ** www.fleafreeanimals.com  We have no flea problems. I *might* find one on her a couple times a month, if that. We do not see them in the house, either. A few drops daily in her food and water works wonders!

I know quite a few people that don’t do anything for heartworm prevention. Depending on how much of an “outside” dog yours is and the area that you live in, maybe this is ok. I live in Florida; Mosquito Headquarters, so I was torn about what to do. Heartworm prevention meds often have the same issues as flea prevention, but with the volume of mosquitos down here and the fact that Henna pottys outside all the time, I thought maybe I should do *something*. Those that don’t use anything *do* have their pets tested once a year (sometimes twice); this is key. After speaking with a holistic vet, my breeder and a lady that runs a holistic/natural boutique, I decided on Heartgard for the time being.

Granted, it’s not perfect, but it’s been around the longest *and* is the safest. For now, that’s what Henna is on. (It could change as I learn more and as more products come out.) She gets a chewable every 45 days. They say “monthly” because it’s easier for us to remember, but the medication is good for longer than that. I am always looking into alternatives, though. Here are a few:


www.onlynaturalpet.com (Do a search for heartworm.)


There are more. As always, do your own research!

This is an *excellent* site for all things regarding pets and their health: www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com Spend some time reading; well worth it!

I know flea and mosquito control is a very sensitive topic. Yes, some dogs will not have problems, but other dogs DIE. Don’t assume yours will be in the former category. If you’ve read about your chosen method of prevention and feel confident that it’s safe, then by all means go with it. If this brings up some questions for you, however, I encourage you to search on Google and/or find a vet that utilizes both types of treatments (ie: is supportive of natural and holistic options) and play 20 questions.

Above all, be as informed as you can. Don’t rely on someone else’s opinion!

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Regardless of your viewpoint of where pets fit into the family hierarchy, if you HAVE them, you have a responsibility to take care of them as best you can – after all – they can’t hop online to research or get in the car to pick out their own food. They rely 110% on YOU. Don’t disappoint them.

If you buy your pet food at the grocery store, chances are you are feeding your dog a TON of “meat meal”, by-products and corn, NONE of which are healthy. Let’s look at just these three.

“Meat Meal” – Picture yourself driving a truck down the road. Your job is to collect everything that’s dead on the highway, including any animal that was sick or dying from disease. Then you take all of the carcasses, grind them up together and then send that mosh to the nearest pet food company to be included in their food. THAT, my friends, is exactly what “meat meal” is. “Oh, that can’t possibly be true,” I hear some of you saying. “Dog food companies would never put that sort of stuff in their food. It’s just a myth.” Really? It’s time to take off those blinders.

This quote is taken from www.bestdrydogfood.net:

“Generic “meat meal” can contain pretty nearly anything mammalian that found it’s way into the processing bin, whether 4-D (animals declared unfit for human consumption, Dead, Diseased, Disabled or Dying), or a load of carcasses from an animal shelter after euthanasia day, or road kill picked up by whomever’s in charge of cleaning upthe roadside, or even parts of carcasses that have been treated with chemicals like carbolic acid or fuel oil for denaturing. All of that can — and does — go into generic “meat meal” in any given batch.”

Let’s look at some definitions:

From www.wikipedia.org – “Meat and bone meal is a product of the rendering industry.  It is primarily used in the formulation of animal feed to improve the amino acid profile of the feed. Feeding of MBM to cattle is thought to have been responsible for the spread of BSE (mad cow disease). In most parts of the world, MBM is no longer allowed in feed for ruminant animals. However, in some areas, including the US, MBM is still used to feed monogastric animals. It is widely used in the United States as a low-cost meat in dog food and cat food.”

What is rendering exactly? Again, from www.wikipedia.org – “Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, value-added materials.  The majority of tissue processed comes from slaughterhouses, but also includes restaurant grease and butcher shop trimmings. This material can include the fatty tissue, bones, and offal, as well as entire carcasses of animals condemned at slaughterhouses, and those that have died on farms (deadstock), in transit, etc. The most common animal sources are beef, pork, sheep, and poultry.”

Offal? What’s that? Once more, from www.wikipedia.org – “Offal is a culinary term used to refer to the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal.”

So, let’s summarize this ONE ingredient, shall we? When you see “meat meal” in your pet’s food, it is basically a mix of dead animals (anything from a dog or cat to a pig or cow to ROADKILL) that could easily have been sick or diseased or treated with some type of chemical to aid in decomposition, AND that mix includes their tissue, bones, organs and entrails. For good measure, throw in butcher’s garbage and used grease.

YUM. Would YOU eat that?

Let’s move on to the second one: by-products.

This is from www.woodhavenlabs.com:

“It’s not meat, but the organ matter, guts, liver, heart, brains, intestines, stomach and – with regard to chickens – the head and feet.”

This is from www.naturalnews.com:

“”Chicken by-products include head, feet, entrails, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, stomach, bones, blood, intestines, and any other part of the carcass not fit for human consumption,” writes Henry Pasternak in Healing Animals with Nature’s Cures.”

Do you REALLY AND TRULY want your beloved pet to eat this junk? You wouldn’t eat it – how can you feed it to them?

Last one: corn. (There are many other questionable and unhealthy ingredients in pet food, but in my opinion, these three are the WORST ones and cause the most damage.)

First of all, you need to realize that corn (and ANY derivative of it) is nothing more than a FILLER because it’s CHEAP (this goes for human food, too).  Corn can cause serious allergies (itchy paws, red eyes, etc), diabetes, bloat, obesity, oily skin, excessive or runny stool, and a whole host of other issues. Walk down the grocery store aisle and you’ll find that many of the food has corn as the FIRST ingredient (that means that’s the majority of the composition of the food). A little side note – most cows are fed a diet of mostly corn to make them fatter quicker so you can have your steak for dinner sooner. Cows eat GRASS, Folks, NOT corn! http://holisticpetfood.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/cornophobia-demon-corn-is-corn-in-pet-food-really-all-that-bad/

So, I hear you asking “Well then, what am I supposed to feed my pet?”

#1 – Find a small pet shop or salon that sells natural food, or go to Petsmart or Petco. STAY AWAY FROM THE GROCERY STORE, I beg you!

#2 – READ, READ, READ the ingredients. To assist in deciphering what everything is, go here – www.dogfoodproject.com.  It has a small guide that you can print out that breaks dog food down into categories, tells you what’s bad and why and then tells you what to look for that’s GOOD. It’s thorough, and it’s BRILLIANT. I’ve printed quite a few to hand out at work. Gals, fold it up and put it in your purse. Guys, fold it up and put it in your pocket.

#3 – Look at what you’ve been currently feeding them and then THROW IT IN THE TRASH immediately.

“Well, what do YOU feed your dog?” I hear. I’ll be happy to tell you.

My baby gets Blue Buffalo puppy formula dry food. http://bluebuffalo.com/products/dogs/lp-puppy-chick.shtml I’m not saying that this is a “perfect” food, but it is loads better than the grocery store crap. Read the ingredients. As for wet food, she gets Solid Gold. http://www.solidgoldhealth.com/products/index.php?category=1

She also has dehydrated food. http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/products/Only-Natural-Pet-EasyRaw-Dehydrated-Dog-Food/999244.aspx This is very cool. You rehydrate with water for a complete meal as is, or it makes a great base if you’d like to add some broth, fresh meat/fish or rice for their dinner.

All of this applies to TREATS AND BISCUITS, as well. I have found 4 that are excellent.

* Pet Greens Treats. They’re like small pieces of soft jerky.  www.bellrockgrowers.com (I order from Petsmart online.)

* Wellness Just For Puppy Treats. They’re soft little squares that’s easy to chew.  www.wellpet.com (I order from Only Natural Pet online.)

* Pure Bites. It’s freeze-dried chicken breast that is soft and tears easily.  www.purebites.com (I buy from the Pet Supplies Plus store.)

* Organix Dog Cookies. These are crunchy biscuits that I break up into smaller pieces. http://www.castorpolluxpet.com/ (I buy these from Petco.)

Much has been learned about pets and their nutritional needs over the past few years, and MANY skin/eye/teeth/weight/behavior problems have been linked to the FOOD that they eat. Please give your pet the same love that they give you and make some changes to their diet.

If YOU were a pet, you’d appreciate it if your human did that for you.  🙂

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Patsy L Holden M.A.

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