Pet owners can protect their pets from the season's dangers with these simple, low-cost remedies. Whether you are staying at home or traveling, these tips will help keep your pet cool, hydrated and safe.
Insect repellent canine clothing
Due to low mild temperatures around the country, there has been an increase in the mosquito, tick and flea populations. As an added layer or protection, I created insect repellent clothing so I did not have to buy it for my dogs.
Boil three cups of water, then turn off the heat. Add 25 drops of eucalyptus/lemon oil (purchased at most health food stores) and a doggie t-shirt. Allow the shirt to sit in the pot for hour and then hang dry. Once dry, it's ready for wear! Have your dog wear his insect repellent apparel for 3-5 days before washing. Also, don't discard the solution - pour it into a spray bottle to freshen up the shirt as well as to apply to your pet's legs for additional protection. I even use it as bug spray for myself! Why does it work? Mosquitoes, ticks and fleas hate the smell of eucalyptus or lemon oil and should not be attracted to your pet when he's wearing his bug-free apparel. One word of caution - this recipe is not for cats as essential oils are harmful to cats.
Create a cooling bed
While your pet's bed may be comfy, it may be too warm to lie in during the summer months. To keep my senior dog, Hudson, comfortable, I add an oversized, reusable gel pack to the inside of his pillow pet. The bed will stay cool for hours on a hot day. Have a few gel packs in the freezer and swap them out every six hours to keep an attractive, cooling spot for your dog or cat.
My dog, Rhone, needs to lose a few pounds. So, I feed her vegetables as a treat or add them to her meal. High fiber veggies such as green beans and broccoli are filling, and the crunch factor of frozen vegetables is satisfying for many dogs.
Cool down an overheated pet
On a very hot day, a pet's body temperature can surge past the normal range of 100.5 -102.5 F, causing heatstroke. When out with Thames, my black and tan English Toy Spaniel, I have to be extra careful that he doesn’t get overheated. Like Shih Tzus, Pugs and English Bulldogs, English Toys are Brachycephalic. Because they have upper respiratory obstructions (such as smaller nostrils and narrower windpipes), they are inefficient panters. Extra work is required to move the air, which can lead to over-heating on a very warm day.
If you notice your dog or even your cat (my Himalayan is brachycephalic) is panting rapidly, drooling or seems dizzy or lethargic, wipe his paws down with a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol immediately evaporates from the skin and helps lower his body temperature. If you can't cool your pet down, call your vet immediately.
Wash away the fleas
Turn your favorite dog shampoo into a flea shampoo by adding one tablespoon of Neem oil to the bottle. Neem oil (purchased at most health food stores) is a natural, environmentally friendly insecticide that is toxic to fleas, ticks and other insects yet safe for dogs and humans. Neem is also an antifungal and antibacterial agent which is a great choice for my dog Teign whom has sensitive skin.
What home remedies have you tried to help keep your pet safe?