Category: health (page 1 of 2)

In the 14 years I’ve been feeding a raw diet to the dogs, I’ve almost never had to brush the dogs’ teeth because chewing on meaty bones tends to keep the tartar off.   However, I noticed recently that the boys have more tartar than I’d like on their premolars.   My vet recommended CET Oral Hygiene Rinse 8 Ounce.   (<- That’s a link to Amazon, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than the one I bought at the vet’s office).   (BTW, my vet’s typical recommendation for clean teeth is a raw diet combined with the oral rinse when necessary.)

Since I wanted the tartar off faster, I also purchased the CET Enzymatic Poultry Toothpaste and a toothbrush (but was smarter and bought it on-line).

After 1.5 weeks of rinsing and brushing Ronan’s teeth once almost every day, the tartar is more than half gone.   I just do a cursory brushing since it’s not easy to maneuver around the tongue and teeth.   After the tartar is gone, I may stop the brushing and just use the oral rinse occasionally.  We’ll see how it goes.   Ronan loves getting his teeth rinsed and brushed.   Next is Thistle’s turn– we’ll see how he likes it.

Incidentally, I tasted the oral rinse and can’t say it’s that pleasant tasting, but it isn’t too bad.  The dogs don’t seem to mind it.  I did not taste the poultry flavored toothpaste… yet.   😛

Ear cleaner follow-up

Last weekend I made that ‘Healthy Ear Recipe’ to treat K’Ehleyr’s very irritated, goopy ear.   It was expensive (around $20 total) as I couldn’t find a small tube of Monistat, but compared to prescription ear medication is probably still a lot cheaper plus there is a lot more of it.             

I followed the directions, treating her ears twice a day.  After a day there was already noticeable improvement, and after 3 days at 2x/day, then 2 days at 1x/day, her ear is looking perfectly healthy.   Needless to say, I like the formula and it is in my “keeper” file.

Happy K'Ehleyr

Ear cleaner recipes

I’m posting this partially for my own records, but this is what I use for an ear cleaner, called The Blue Power Ear Treatment.  Here is a link to the website with the original article. I omit the Gentian Violet, but it is supposed to be a good anti-fungal so I may do the real recipe next time.


16 Oz. bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol (standard 70%) 
4 Tablespoons of Boric Acid Powder 
16 Drops of Gentian Violet Solution 1% 
Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well.   

You will need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder.  

Purchase a flexible plastic bottle with the opening at the top so that the solution may be gently squeezed out and dispense solution to affected ears.  The ideal is a hair-dye bottle available at a pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc, or a beauty supply store. 


 1)  Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore: do not attempt to  pull hair or clean out ear at all.  Just flush and then wait until inflammation has subsided, which will be about two days. 
2)  Warm the solution (as instructed above) and shake the bottle each time before using it for treatment,.   
3)  Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle).  
4)  Massage gently to the count of 60, wipe with a tissue.  
5)  On first treatment: flood the ear twice, wipe with a tissue, and leave alone without massage.   
6)  The dog will shake out the excess, which can be wiped with a tissue. 

Note: the Gentian Violet does stain fabrics, etc. so you may want to wear gloves.

Here is another recipe that is supposed to be better if starting with ears that are already gunky.   I’m going to make this for the first time tomorrow for K’Ehleyr since she is having some ear issues right now.

Healthy Ear Recipe

1 tube Monistat (generic is fine- get the one that is NOT pre-filled applicators)
1 tube Polysporin (use the real deal – it’s inexpensive)
1 tube Cortaid (generic works here as well)

Use tubes of similar size.  Mix all three together in a container that can be closed well.  It takes a bit to incorporate because the Polysporin is a bit like Vaseline.  Once incorporated, it stays mixed.

If ears are gunky, inflamed or smell bad, start with using a pea sized dollop twice a day.  Use your finger to gently push it into the ear.  Rub.

Dogs will only shake their heads once or twice!  It’s a creamy, very soothing mixture.  Once you have the ears under control, lessen how often you use it till you’re only using it once a week.  Once a week keeps ears from getting bad again.

Update on Flea and Tick products – EPA

Interesting notice from the EPA:

It’s hard to know the right thing to do regarding flea/tick control products.  On the one hand, ticks can transmit serious disease so one wants to use these products to kill any rogue ticks.  Also, some dogs are allergic to flea bites so it behooves them to have a preventative.  On the other hand,  putting chemicals on ones pet that *could* potentially harm them in the long run is not a great option either!   

Fortunately our tick problem in California isn’t as bad as other parts of the country.   I try not to use flea/tick products.  Haven’t had a problem with fleas, and use spray repellents for ticks.

I recently found out about a natural tick repellent recipe one can make to use before going hiking (or other tick-infested areas).  Supposedly it works really well.  For those that want to get something ready-made, Avon makes a skin-so-soft Bug Guard repellent that seems to work too.  I just sprayed the last of my supply liberally on Sport when hiking the other day and so far I haven’t seen a tick on her.   Hoping one doesn’t show up now that I’ve said that.

Here’s the tick spray recipe (which I haven’t tried yet).  

Tick Spray – 4 ounces

3 ounces of distilled water
1 tsp vegetable glycerine
1/2 ounce of grain alchohol (like vodka)
7 to 10 drops of geranium oil 

I’m planning to look for geranium oil at Whole Foods and make this spray.

Allergic reactions – what to do

Handsome Jackson showing his shaved patch from his trip to the emergency vet

Carry Benadryl tablets.  For dogs, the dosage is 1-2mg per pound of body weight (for adult Goldens usually 50-75 mg), and give immediately as a precaution after suspecting an insect bite, such as spider or yellowjacket.   Call the vet for advice.  In the case of severe facial swelling/itching, in addition to the Benadryl go to the vet immediately for steroids to halt the immune response.  Always have your vet and emergency vet contact info/location handy.

A week and a half ago, we had quite a scare because Jackson (Sport/Travis puppy) suddenly exhibited extreme facial swelling one evening.  His face was itching to the point that he rubbed part of his nose raw from scratching it against the floor.   Corina had discovered a hard pink lump on his chest that afternoon, but this reaction didn’t happen until they were returning from their walk several hours later.

Corina and I spoke on the phone, and she subsequently gave Jackson Benadryl but it wasn’t until after his face had been severely swollen for (I believe) about an hour.  This did calm the itching whereupon he fell asleep.  She knew to watch for signs of changed breathing, and when she suspected this about an hour later she rushed him to the emergency vet.   They suspected he may have been having an anaphylactic reaction so they gave him epinephrine, steroids, and put him on an IV for observation overnight.  Corina got him back the following morning, and he was very groggy that day, but by evening he was back to his happy-go-lucky self.

We strongly suspect that he had a reaction to a spider bite, especially since he had the large, hard, pink lump (with a small crater in the middle) on his chest that afternoon.  I’ve since found out that spider bites can be very bad for dogs and the reaction can be delayed by several hours.  Giving Benadryl in the cases of severe facial swelling is typically not enough– the dog should be taken to the vet to receive steroids which stops the immune response and takes the swelling down very quickly (thus hopefully avoiding the heavy-duty stuff like the epinephrine).

If I suspect that my dog has gotten an insect bite such as a yellowjacket sting, I give Benadryl immediately as a precaution, in an attempt to head off any reaction, rather than waiting for signs of a reaction to occur.  (I take Benadryl myself if I get stung, too.)   Then I’ll watch carefully over the next several hours for any signs of a reaction or signs of difficulty (pale gums, shallow breathing, inability to walk properly, blue gums (a dire emergency!!), etc..).   Check the eyes for a normal, alert expression– you want that!  If there is any doubt as to your dogs condition, please call the vet for advice.

Fortunately Jackson and Corina’s ordeal ended up fine, but I’m posting this so everyone can be prepared and learn from their experience– and be very wary of spider bites!

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