Oct 072013
 

I love when ingredients do two or more jobs at once and that is certainly the truth with my first ingredient in Puppy Love Powder Deodorizing Powder and Dry Shampoo.

Colloidal Oatmeal

Of course oatmeal has been used for hundreds of years for  treatment of itchy spots caused by eczema, poison ivy, bug bites and other skin issues.

Recently, scientists studied why this might be and they called one active substances in oats “Avenanthramide”. Wikipedia cites a study ( J. Vollhardt, D.A. Fielder and M. Redmond) that suggests this substance plays a major role in the reduction of itching and redness in skin.” It is thought that oat extract can reduce histamines hence reducing itchiness and redness.

Even if your dog doesn’t have any itchy spots, oatmeal is a fantastic ingredient to use when trying to deodorize and clean your dog. Oatmeal absorbs oil, a lot of oil and it is oil that often makes healthy dogs smelly. Especially water dog who are more prone to having a strong doggy smell.

What is cool about oatmeal, if your dog happens to go into the water, oatmeal has a natural saponin which cleans dogs naturally. If he doesn’t go into the water, the oatmeal absorbs the oils and naturally sloughs off, leaving your dog cleaner.

Even more cool is that if your dog licks the oatmeal off, it is perfectly safe (as is all the ingredients I have chosen to include in my deodorizing powder.)

Diatomaceous Earth

The fun with two for one (or more ingredients continues with my second ingredient in my Puppy Love Powder Deodorizing Powder and Dry Shampoo, Diatomaceous Earth! Oh let me count the brilliant ways DE works!  First, the most obvious. Diatomaceous Earth is soft, silky and perfect as powder because it is almost entirely Silica. Silica is found in many powdered foods but also in those little bags included to keep things dry. Basically Silica is a great absorber so it is perfect for powders. Not only does it absorbs the oil on those oily water dogs, it keeps the powder dry from the elements as an anti-caking agent.

What is more is that the DE I use is food grade and will not hurt your dog if he licks it off. In fact.  some people eat Diatomaceous earth to rid themselves of parasites.

The most fun benefit Diatomaceous earth offers is how it kills fleas.  Wikipedia states that it is : used as an insecticide, due to its abrasive and physico-sorptive properties.[8] The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate.[9] Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick’s law of diffusion. … Medical-grade diatomite is sometimes used to de-worm both animals and humans, with questionable efficacy.[10][11] It is commonly used in lieu of boric acid, and can be used to help control and possibly eliminate bed bug, house dust mite, cockroach,ant and flea infestations.[12][13] This material has wide application for insect control in grain storage.[14]

Bentonite Clay

Moving on to another favorite ingredient of mine, Bentonite Clay. How I love this stuff!  First it is a great adsorber, meaning it literally attracts things to it, especially moist and oily things making it a wonderful way of reducing a dog’s smelly oiliness.   Bentonite clay is used in so many natural products today, great as toothpaste, as an additive to soap and as an powerful antioxidant .

According to Mountain Rose herbs :

Bentonite clay carries a strong negative charge which bonds to the positive charge in many toxins. When it comes in contact with a toxin, chemical, or heavy metal, the clay will absorb the toxin and release it’s minerals for the body to use. Bentonite also helps get oxygen to cells as it pulls excess hydrogen and allows the cells to replace it with oxygen instead.

I use Benton clay in my tooth-powders for their mineral properties as well as the way clay cleans (soft but firm). When formulating my Doggy Powder,  I knew I had to include Bentonite clay.

I first made my Doggy Powder because people were buying my deodorizing powder I made for people for their dogs,. I wanted to make sure that was healthy for their dogs and started researching.

Lemon Verbena and Lavender

First understand, I LOVE DOGS. I was, at the time, deeply in love with my aging dog Charlie. He hated a few things.

1) Loud Noises
2) Baths
3) Perfumes

As he got older and more frail, I felt more guilty giving him baths. As I developed my doggy powder, it was crucial that my elderly Charlie accept the smell of the powder with little or no reaction.  I tested several smells with him. When confronted with a smell he didn’t like (almost always a “fake” smell) he would act like he had been dusted with some horrible compound.

So, I let him choose which “herbal” to use. He liked Fennel most but he’d eat it. He’d anything with it on it. So I didn’t go with Fennel. When trying Lavender and Lemon Verbena, he didn’t want to eat it but he also wasn’t desperate to get it off of him either.

Both Lavender and Lemon Verbena smell good to us but also, Lavender is good to calm dogs. I chose  Lemon Verbena because it often deters dogs from licking and also is a good insect repellent.

I like to imagine that my powder is almost like my dog running through nature and coming home to me healthier, happier and fresher than he was before.

Oct 012013
 

My reason for wanting Dog Hot Spot Relief

Why Make a Dog Hot Spot Relief Lotion

Finding natural dog hot spot relief  can be a real challenge. I’ve felt so helpless watching my itchy dog bite and scratch at his hotspots until he was red, raw and bleeding.  My dog would literally tare his hair out in order to get at the itch.  By the time I managed to get Charlie to the vet for hot spot treatment, his back end would be bld and bleeding and he’d need an antibiotic regimen.  I hated feeling so helpless and not knowing what I could use to give him relief.

That’s why I’ve been working on a Hot Spot Relief  Treatment Lotion for dogs made with Apple Cider vinegar, Aloe, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Seabuckthorn oil and turmeric.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Dogs

Many people have found just how useful Apple Cider Vinegar can be. Apple Cider Vinegar is also great to help relieve a dog’s hot spots. I’m always looking for remedies to help our pets deal with the itchiness and scratching due to insect bites, allergies or more mysterious causes.  The problem is, what works for human itchiness isn’t necessarily good for dogs or cats.  For example, I use tea tree and neem in almost all my products that require fighting bacteria, fungus and/or viruses.  However, from the research I’ve done so far, I think it best to keep both tea tree and neem out of dog products.  I tried Aloe but it didn’t do much.  Then I re-discovered apple cider vinegar’s use as a after shampoo rinse, leaving hair soft and shiney.  While researching this, I came across information on  just how good a job it does soothing itchy, irritated skin and acting as a mild antibacterial.   Best of all, it turns out that most experts believe that apple cider poses little risk for dogs in small quantities, some even beleive that ingesting it is good.

The Earth Clinic says that Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) “helps with digestive health, allergies (watery eyes, runny nose, wet coughs), and even parasites such as fleas, ringworm, ticks, fungus, and bacteria.”

 Treating a Pet with Vinegar

I had made a treatment with Vinegar but it was all runny and it was tough to apply. Cotton Balls were too fussy and my dog could spot the bottle and cotton balls a mile away.   He hated the sound of sprays and sprays also made him sneeze. I ended up using a (expensive!) topical steriod spray which worked great. Luckily, once I got really strict about flea control (and gave into internal flea medicine) the issue disappeared.   However, steriods can have side effects and most of us would prefer to find the least invasive solution possible.

When our cat Karma got one of his  recurring ear infections, we couldn’t get to the vet so I did some research and decided to try diluted (4 to 1) Apple Cider Vinegar in his ear. Oh, I can’t claim he liked it but it totally relieved the itchiness and calmed the redness until we could get him to the vet.

The problem with the vinegar is that it is hard to apply, messy, smelly, it will sting open sores,  animals don’t like it and it dries off too fast.

Which got me thinking…

I thought, I bet I could make a vinegar lotion that sticks.

Apple Cider Vinegar Lotion for Dogs

Most lotions contain 80% water. So, instead of making lotion with water, I used Apple Cider Vinegar.   Apple Cider Vinegar is a good mild treatment for dogs with the beginning of itchy spots. I also used Vodka, the Vodka dissappates during the process of making lotion, it is a good way of sterilizing the process and the small amount left in the lotion should help fight bacteria and work as a mild preservative.  And of course, the Aloe is a safe and soothing ingredient for dogs.

The lotion’s major oil is coconut oil as it is a great source of lactic acid. I also added shea butter for its famous ability to protect and moisturize and olive oil because it absorbs into the skin quickly.  Perhaps the most important ingredient is the Lanolin which is not actually an oil but a wax and really helps the lotion “stick”.

Additionally, to reinforce the lotions ability to heal, I added seabuckthron oil and infused oil of turmeric and ginger (dogs don’t like the taste of ginger either). I posted about Turmeric and dogs here.

Finally, in an attempt to discourage licking off the lotion despite the bitter vinegar and distasteful (to dogs) ginger,  I added cooling essential oil of peppermint (which dogs don’t like to eat) and refreshing lemon extract. I also put a dash of lemongrass as any fleas that aren’t put off by the vinegar’s acid will avoid the smell of lemongrass.

Anytime you add water to a product, you need to also add preservatives. However, I haven’t done this with this batch of the lotion.  I am hoping that the Vinegar and Vodka will preserve the lotion long enough.  It is a new product and time will tell if I am going to need to cave and add a preservative. Meanwhile, I am hoping it will satisfy those people demanding I come up with something to help their dog’s itchy spots.

Anyone who wants this product need to be aware that I am not a veterinarian or scientist, just someone frustrated with the lack of natural products available to try and help our animals without overly exposing them to antibiotics and steroids.  You are welcome to try the lotion as I think it is going to help but know this product is in development, that you must use responsibly and at your own risk. Do your own research too. Watch your dog for allergic reactions, worsening conditions or ingesting too much of the product through licking.  Some dogs will not mind the taste or smell despite my efforts. Do a patch test to see how your animal reacts.

The lotion may irritate and sting open scratches.

The Ingredients

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Vodka
  • Aloe
  • Coconut Butter
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • E-Wax
  • Stearic Acid
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Shea butter
  • Lanolin
  • Lecithin
  • Turmeric and Ginger infused Apricot Oil
  • Essential Oil Lemon Ginger and Peppermint
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Vit. E

I will keep people informed as the lotion develops.

 

Oct 012013
 

I added Turmeric to my Dog Salve for Hot Spots because

1) It is said to help many skin conditions

2) According to several sources, Turmeric seems safe for dogs to ingest (which is important with any salve you put on your pets, no matter how unpalatable yopu try to make the salve.)

The University of Maryland Medical Center writes about Turmeric that: Test tube and animal studies suggest turmeric may kill bacteria and viruses. (see article on Turmeric there)

According to the site “Can I Give My Dog…?”, Turmeric is one spice that is not only safe for dogs but considered good for them.

The site, Healthy Dog Club writes:

Turmeric’s healing … medical talents, which are widely reported, have effects on:

  • Blocking inflammation
  • Kills infectious bacteria and microbes
  • It improves the function and health of the heart
  • It’s antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, antibiotic, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory
  • It cures stomach ailments
  • It cures ear infections
  • It kills sinus infections
  • It kills parasites
  • It prevents cataracts
  • It heals damage from long-term diabetes and wounds caused by diabetes

The site “An Oregon Cottage” writes of their dog  Samson being helped by Tumeric’s anit-inflammatory properties:

…we started him on 1/4 tsp. mixed in with his food in the mornings (we also add water to his dry food – that’s been really great in getting him extra water and slowing down his eating). He eats this mixture with no problems.

This is going to seem like an exaggeration, but literally within a few days he was NOT holding his leg up anymore. And within a few weeks we could detect no problems when he walked (we never saw problems when he ran). Tumeric was the only thing that helped right away (we had tried glucosamine earlier) so it’s become a regular part of his diet.

 

Oct 012013
 

I found this Seabuckthorn and Dogs Study very interesting and wanted to make sure others could find it.

Seabuckthorn, a resource for soft tissue repair in animals

A.C. Varshney1and S.P. Tyagi2

1Professor and Head, 2Assistant Professor

Department of Surgery and Radiology, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

CSKHPKV, Palampur, H.P., India

vetsurg@hillagric.ernet.i

            Wound healing is a complex phenomenon involving a number of finely synchronized cellular processes of body which are in turn governed by a number of control systems of the body. However, a number of variables affect this normal response of body in many ways. In general, the availability of various vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and many other nutrients in body have a major influence on this process directly and indirectly. Moreover, various disease processes and myriad external conditions also affect this process in an unanticipated manner. Therefore, management of any kind of wound is basically aimed in controlling the above mentioned variables in such a manner that the body functions optimally in its healing endeavor. The management of wounds in animals is always potentially complicated because of little control on these variables compared to human. Continue reading »

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