Monday Memes ~ July 22, 2019

Weather

Ugh, the heat. It’s been brutal, I’m hoping today ushers in something cooler. Besides, another topic would be nice.

Weather

Have a cooler week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 19, 2019

We made it to Friday-woohoo, no thanks to the blistering heat Mother Nature has been doling out. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this weekend, we’re also celebrating the 72nd birthday of astrophysicist and epic guitarist from Queen, Brian May, PhD. Commissioned by NASA, this anthem, his first solo song in 20 years, celebrates the latest mission by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which just set the record for the most distant spacecraft flyby ever. So let’s hear it for May and the universe. And because it’s Friday, we’re joining our good friends and Nature Friday hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard.

Mother Nature and I are not on speaking terms this week. Like most of the country, we’ve been baking in triple digit temperatures. Luckily the humidity in these parts barely registers in the low teens so at least we don’t have that with the heat. We are looking forward to 65 days from now…the official arrival of Autumn. I know, I know, I heard your digital groaning at that thought but neither the Knuckleheads or I are hot-temperature fans. Sure we enjoy the longer daylight hours , but the heat, um…no thanks.

So this weekend we’ll be lifting our eyes toward the skies enjoying the universe’s wonder, and then take a look down here on Mother Earth to take in summer’s bountiful lavender harvest at the annual festival tomorrow at the Denver Botanical Gardens, Chatfield Farms location. Here’s an image from last year’s festival. What are your weekend plans? Stay cool and enjoy nature this weekend.

Lavender
Lavender Festival, Chatfield Farms, Denver Botanic Gardens

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know ~ Essential Oils and Cats

CatLast week I shared a list of safe essential oils that can be safely used on your dog (found HERE) and I didn’t want to forget our feline friends. Use of essential oils is a controversial topic for use on cats but there are some essential oils that are safe, with caveats.

Never having owned a cat, I had to consult Dr. Google. One thing I learned  about cats is they are deficient in glucuronyl transferase, a liver enzyme that changes bilirubin into a form that can be removed through the bile. This compound also changes some hormones, medicines, and toxins into non-harmful by-products. Since uprights have a much higher tolerance for phenols, extra care when using essential oils on cats is critical. Harkening back to high school chemistry for a moment, you may recall that phenols are chemically active compounds which are found throughout nature, especially in plants (i.e. peppers contain capsaicin which is a phenol). Phenols exhibit a wide range of properties; some for their health benefits, while others are deadly poisonous. Only high quality, therapeutic grade oils (without phenols) should be considered for cats.

Cats possess an enhanced sense of smell, so diffusing essential oils has the potential to become overwhelming. That said, essential oils are likely more safe for cats than artificial fragrances and air fresheners. Even still, what your nose perceives as pleasant may not be perceived quite the same by your cat. When diffusing essential oils, a scent-free room for retreat is a good idea.

It should also be noted that a cat’s system is incredibly sensitive and some oils can be quite toxic. Essential oils with phenols should never be used and any safe oil used should be diluted in a quality carrier oil (a high-grade, pure vegetable oil is the catalyst that can make certain essential oils tolerable for cats. Some vets suggest the differential be dramatic: 50 drops of vegetable (the carrier oil) to 1 drop of essential oil though you should verify this ratio with your own vet as some recommend increasing that ratio up to 80- to 90-percent. Once properly mixed, you can place a drop of this mixture into your hands and pet your cat. Dilution and testing are two critical components when introducing your cat to essential oils, but before you start applying, it’s important to introduce these agents to your cat slowly.

The following oils are safe for use on cats and may be used in moderation (make sure your essential oil is phenol-free).

Cedarwood Repels pests and promotes healthy skin and coat.
Chamomile Promotes relaxation and sleep and also supports healthy digestion.
Lavender Relieves anxiety from separation or during long trips.
Myrrh Can help fight allergies and promote healthy skin and coat.
Clary Sage Calms nervousness and excitability.
Geranium Great for repelling pests and as a treatment for ear infections.
Ginger Relieves pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia and supports healthy digestion.
Marjoram Repels pests and helps treat skin infections and irritations.

Never apply essential oils at full strength on cats (and only use in a diffuser for short periods  of time). not meant to be used near the eyes and ears of humans or cats. It only takes 6/100th of a drop of lavender oil to calm pets down. And just because paws have leathery pads, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to apply essential oils to them.

Avoid these oils:

Clove oil Cinnamon oil
Thyme oil Oregano oil
Wintergreen oil Sweet birch oil
Lavender oil Citrus oil
Peppermint oil Pennyroyal oil
Eucalyptus oil Tea tree oil

Remember always consult your vet before introducing new food, treatment, or any substances into your pet’s routine care. If using essential oils on your cat, be on the lookout for strange behavior (drooling, muscle tremors, difficulty walking, or lethargy). Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately, and especially if you notice redness on your cat’s skin, or if they begin pawing at their face following exposure to essential oils.

Have you ever used essential oils on your kitty?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ July 17, 2019

With multiple days of triple digits draining all of my energy, I thought a nice breezy day image watching the waves before they reach the shore might help my crispy- fried psyche. Just staring at this gets my mellow on. Well that and the fact that the air conditioning was on at oh-dark thirty this morning. Oh, to be able to walk on that beach. Sigh.

Beach surf

Can you picture the wind in your hair, the damp sand between your toes? How are you handling the dog days of summer?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ July 15, 2019

If you own a dog are owned by a dog, you probably have this same conversation on a regular basis. These guys seem to think they’re some kind of legal dream team.

Sam & Elsa

Wishing you a week of successful negotiating.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 12, 2019

Our favorite day is here so that means, we’re joining our good friends and hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Other than the arrival of the weekend, we love Fridays because wine arrives too. After a stressful week, a lovely glass of wine at the end of the day sure hits the spot, don’t you think?

We know wine comes from grapes which are vines so we thought we’d highlight another vine plant nature has been showing off this month in spite of pizza-oven heat. Our favorite vine in the garden (other than the grape) is Clematis.

Clematis

With nearly 300 species within the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, one of the most popular of the hybrids in the Clematis family is C. Jackmanii. It has been a garden standby since 1862. This cultivar was named after 19th century British nurseyman, George Jackman. As a hybrid, “Jackman” comes from the marriage of C. Lanuginosa and C. Viticella. Clematis can be woody and deciduous; there are also herbaceous and evergreen varieties as well.

Jackman blooms in our Zone 5 garden in July and like many Clematis needs support. It likes well drained soil and shallow rooted plants around the base provide the necessary shade to cool the roots. It does not like ‘wet feet’ and seems to do well in a xeriscape garden. Jackman has large (5 inches across) blooms, which come in a dark purple-violet color.

Here’s one last look at Jackman with best wishes for a terrific weekend. We hope you are able to enjoy a bit of the magic that Mother Nature provides.

Clematis

Nature FridayLive, love, bark! 🐾

All American Pet Photo Day ~ July 11, 2019

Pet Photo Day

All around Blogville today, people in the US will be celebrating the All-American Pet Photo Day (“AAPPD”). The Knuckleheads from the ‘Ranch’ are inviting all our fur-iends from around the world to join us today. What little I could find out about this latest calendar ‘howliday’ seemed to indicate the AAPPD was created…you guessed it, due to an algorithm (collected data pointed to an especially large number of pet photos being posted on social media platforms on July 11th). It’s a somewhat new-ish holiday, being created within the past few of years but it has always been observed on July 11th.

It is estimated over half of American households have pets, making it an easy to ‘pawticipate.’ Obviously, dogs and cats are the most popular pets, but those who have birds, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, lizards, and other pets are encouraged to  participate.

Although I celebrate these two characters every day, today will be an extra special opportunity to humble brag on about them on social media. So further ado, here are the ‘Ranch hands’ just for today. Do you plan to post an image of your pet-kid today? We’ll be looking for you on Instagram. Sam

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know ~ Essential Oils and Dogs

You’ve heard me talk about the benefits of using essential oils before and how you can incorporate them into your arsenal of homeopathic options. Did you know essential oils can be utilized in multiple ways?

Essential oils

*NOTE: Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil) and wintergreen oils are toxic to pets and never recommended for use.

Here is a list of 16 safe essential oils to use on dogs.

  1. Carrot seed (Daucus carota) oil works well on dry skin prone to infection. Contains anti-inflammatory properties, with moderate antibacterial effects. Can also rejuvenate and stimulate tissue regeneration; it’s a good oil to use for healing scars.
  2. Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) oil is antiseptic, tonifying, and it can stimulate blood circulation. Good for skin and coat conditioning and dermatitis of all types. Cedarwood has safe flea-repelling properties and is a safe to add to any flea-repellent blend for dogs.
  3. German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) essential oil is anti-inflammatory. Safe and gentle to use on dogs and very effective  controlling skin irritations caused by allergies, eczema, rashes, etc. Bonus, it’s a good oil for healing burns.
  4. .Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) has different properties from German Chamomile. It is antispasmodic, pain relieving, and nerve-calming. A gentle oil to use for soothing and calming anxious dogs and effective for relief of muscle pains, cramps, puppy teething pain.
  5.  Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) also has calming effects by sedating the central nervous system. Can be used to calm anxious dogs, but should only be used in small amounts properly diluted. NOTE: Do not use with pregnant dogs.
  6.  Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) is antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It is also an expectorant and is an excellent oil for use to relieve upper respiratory congestion (e.g. kennel cough), and when your good dog is having trouble breathing smoothly. There are two common eucalyptus oils: Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. E. globulus has a stronger, harsher scent and may be overwhelming. E. radiata has a milder scent, is milder chemically-speaking as well and when diluted properly, E. radiata is safe for dogs, both topically and for inhalation. Be sure NOT to let your dog ingest. Note: Do NOT use on small dogs and puppies or on dogs prone to seizures.
  7.  Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) is safe and gentle to use as a strong antifungal for dogs. Good for skin irritations (especially caused by yeast infections), and fungal ear infections in dogs. It is also effective in repelling tick if you make your own tick-repelling oil blend.
  8.  Ginger (Zingiber officinale) when properly diluted, is non-irritating and safe to use on dogs in small amounts to treat motion sickness, because it has anti-nausea properties. Helpful with digestion and tummy upset,  Ginger also has pain relieving properties. When used topically, it can help relieve pain in dogs with arthritis, dysplasia, strains and sprains.
  9.  Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) is an expensive oil with numerous therapeutic properties. It is anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and has regenerative effects and a good oil to have if your dog has skin issues, such as skin irritations, eczema, pyoderma, etc. Works well to heal wounds, such as bruises, scars, cuts, etc. (this works wonders on uprights too-I couldn’t get by without it for treating rotator cuff pain).
  10.  Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Don’t confused true Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) with Spike Lavender essential oil (Lavandula latifolia). While true Lavender oil is very safe and gentle and can be used with most dogs, Spike Lavender oil should NOT be used with pregnant dogs. True Lavender oil has antibacterial, anti-itch, and nerve-calming properties and is good for many common ailments and problems, e.g. skin irritations, anxiety, insect bites, cuts and burns, etc. Lavender has calming properties for dogs who are stressed, nervous, or agitated. A study found that Lavender could calm excited dogs while traveling in cars.
  11. Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana)  has strong antibacterial properties. It is also calming and a muscle relaxant, can be used for bacterial skin infections and wound care. Sweet Marjoram also has insect-repelling properties.
  12.  Niaouli (Melaleuca Quinquenervia) If you or your dog don’t mind the scent of this oil, Niaouli is a must-have oil compared to Tea Tree oil (which may cause irritation) and is safe to use as an effective antiseptic oil that can disinfect and help fight bacterial infections.
  13.  Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) stimulates blood circulation and antispasmodic so it is a great oil for dogs with acute pain. Can be used to soothe pain caused by swelling, sprains and strains. Has anti-nausea properties, and works well with ginger to help dogs with motion sickness. It is generally safe when properly diluted and used topically, or for diffusion in low dilution. Note: Peppermint oil should not be used on small or pregnant dogs.
  14.  Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) has calming and uplifting effects for uprights and dogs and is good for dogs with anxiety, and/or depression. It can also stimulate a dog’s appetite. If your dog is not eating (maybe due to stress or depression), diffusing this oil before mealtime may help. With deodorizing and flea-repelling properties, it can be added to your homemade dog shampoo.
  15.  Thyme ct. Linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) There are many different chemotypes of Thyme essential oil but this is the only chemotype that is mild and safe enough for use on dogs. With pain relieving properties, it can be added to a blend to help with arthritis, rheumatism, or other joint pain. It’s also a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, with antiviral properties. It is an excellent choice for infections and other skin issues.
  16.  Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) has sedative and nerve-calming effects, and is good for helping dogs with anxiety such as separation and noise anxiety.

If you’ve ever experienced that stinking dog smell and it’s not convenient to rush them to a tub but this recipe can help get rid of that odor until you can (or to refresh in between baths).

Essential oils

Essential oil can also be used as a preventative measure when you’re not into chemicals. Just follow the old adage: “dilution is the solution” when preparing a remedy.Essential oils

A word of caution when using essential oils; they should be “therapeutic” grade (NOTE: “100% pure” is NOT the same as therapeutic which is safe to be ingested). Never allow your pet to ingest essential oils unless you’re using a therapeutic grade.

Have you used essential oils on your dog? Did it work for you?  We’re just beginning to experiment with aromatherapy recipes and achieving good  success. Last week (following the cluster of the Fourth of July), we used Wild Orange in a diffuser which helped chill Sam out sufficiently to handle a few noisy revelers over the holiday weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 8, 2019

Now that the dreaded Fourth is in the history books, let’s go back to smiling.

Dogs

Here’s wishing you a super week that includes lots of petting.

Live, love, bark! 🐾