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Monday, 23 April 2012

DIY DOG FRIENDLY, NATURAL HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS

Dogs are frequently exposed to a vast array of toxins inside and outside the home. Many toxic substances are carcinogenic, but even if a toxic substance is not carcinogenic it can still cause problems for your dog’s health. Toxic burdens on your dog’s system weaken biological functions causing damage, and suppressing the immune system. Over time, toxins can build-up in a dog’s system causing a substantial toxic-load that can lead to many health issues including cancer. Daily exposure to the air born vapours, droplets, and surface residue of chemical based household cleaners are one of the villains a dog’s system must fight to stay healthy. You can help reduce the daily stress on his/her system by making your own dog friendly household cleaners. In addition, many of the chemicals are lethally poisonous to dogs and other animals.

The recipes provided below are also ‘green’ recipes - environmentally friendly. And one more big plus - they are not tested on animals as many standard household cleaners are!

The ingredients used in the recipes are natural products…



Baking Soda - also known as sodium bicarbonate has antiseptic and a water softening properties, it is excellent for removing stains and grease;

Lemon Juice - the juice of lemons is a natural chelating agent, natural preservative, anti-bacterial and anti-septic. You can use lemons in many other ways to support your dog's health too - read more here.

Salt - is a natural abrasive cleaner. Coarse salt offers greater abrasive action than fine salt.
Vinegar - Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties (primarily from the acetic acid and malic acid in ACV);

Water - it is best to use water that is not heavily laden with hard minerals.
  
Recipes

Brass and Copper - In a bowl, mix ¼ cup of table salt with lemon juice to make a paste. Apply the paste to copper or brass pots and pans, let sit for 5to 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Buff dry with a soft cloth.

Counter Top Stains - Rub half a cut lemon over the surface; let the juice sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean.

Carpet Cleaner - I use vinegar to remove all sorts of stains from carpet including blood, dirt, doggie accidents. Just spray or pour some vinegar on the stain, or fill your carpet cleaner reservoir with vinegar rather than chemical cleaning agent - let the vinegar sit for a few minutes then rub it by hand or go over it with the carpet cleaning machine. You can also use baking soda. Just sprinkle baking soda on the spot then spray vinegar on top and follow the same process mentioned above. You can also use salt to remove fresh carpet stains, such as red wine, coffee, etc. Pour salt on the stain, leave the salt until the spot dries and the vacuum-up the salt.

Disinfect Surfaces - To disinfect surfaces mix 1 part vinegar with four parts water, if you would like to add a scent you can squeeze some fresh lemon into the mixture.  Or you can disinfect and freshen surfaces like wood cutting boards by rubbing a cut lemon over the surface. Let the lemon juice sit for a few minutes prior to wiping clean.

Drain Cleaner - Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the clogged drain then immediately pour ½ cup of vinegar. Vinegar and baking soda react together and fizz. Cover the drain to contain the fizzing action within the drain.  After the fizzing action subsides, pour a litre or two of boiling water down the drain. For really clogged drains, you may need to use a drain snake after the boiling water.  

Floor Cleaner - (hard floor surfaces) Mix 1 part vinegar with four parts water, if you would like to add a scent you can squeeze some fresh lemon into the mixture.  To remove scuff marks from the floor - sprinkle the marks with baking soda and wipe clean with a warm, damp cloth.
Furniture Polish - Mix ¼ cup of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, apply to furniture with a soft cloth.

Glass Cleaner - Mix 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar and ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray on and then use newspapers to wipe down the surface for a streak free result. For a fast drying glass cleaner you can use this formula - but just remember alcohol is not safe for dogs to ingest so keep the spray bottle where your dog cannot get at it. In a spray bottle mix 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup rubbing alcohol. Spray on glass surface and then rub with newspaper. The alcohol smell is a little strong but dissipates as the alcohol drys.

Grease - Fill a spray bottle with plain white vinegar (you can also purchase extra-strength vinegar meant specifically for cleaning). If you do not want to use a spray you can simply dip a sponge or cloth in vinegar.  Use the vinegar to wipe down counter tops, dishes, pots and pans, cook tops, ovens, exhaust fans, etc. You can also use lemons, just combine the juice from two lemons with ½ cup of vinegar and use this to wipe down surfaces.

Insect Control - To keep household pests such as ants, spiders and fleas rub lemon juice or leave lemon peels in bug-prone areas such as baseboards, windowsills, kitchen cabinets.

Laundry Softener - Add a ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften clothes, linen, towels, etc. Vinegar naturally breaks down and dissolves laundry detergent - this softens the fabric.

Laundry Brightener - Lemon has natural bleaching properties, so for whiter fabrics add ½ cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle.

Mildew - Mix baking soda with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to create a paste; apply to bathroom grout, let stand for 30 minutes, then scrub.

Odor Control - Mix the juice of a fresh squeezed lemon to a ½ cup of water - pour into a spray bottle and spray.

Oven Cleaner - You will require the following ingredients to make this cleaner…
1 box (16 ounces) baking soda;
1/2 cup salt;
1/4 cup baking soda;
1/4 cup water;
3/4 cup white vinegar;
10 drops thyme essential oil;
10 drops lemon or lemongrass essential oil.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl then add just enough water to make a paste. Remove oven racks, pans etc. from the oven and preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Leave on preheat for 15 minutes then shut the heat off. Using a sponge or cloth, spread the paste on all of the surfaces (inside the oven) that you want to clean. Allow the paste to sit on the surfaces for 20 -30 minutes. Then combine the vinegar and the two essential oils in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the vinegar solution on the surfaces that have paste and wipe clean with a sponge or cloth. Then use warm water on a sponge or cloth to wipe the surfaces clean.

Pots, Pans and Dishes - To remove caked-on food from pots and pans, sprinkle with baking soda, add water and let them soak for a few hours. The baking soda will loosen the caked-on food. You can also add a little vinegar if you want to.

Rust - Mix salt with a little cream of tartar and add only enough water to make a paste. Apply the mixture to a rust stain on metal - allow the object to sit in the sun until the paste is dry, remove the paste with a little warm water. You can also make a similar paste using lemon juice and salt…add enough lemon juice to salt to create a paste, apply the past to the rust, rub with a soft dry cloth and then wipe clean with a little warm water and dry with a cloth. You can also soak the item in vinegar or wrap the item in vinegar soaked paper towels - then wrap in plastic to keep the towels from drying out. After a couple of hours or days (depending on the amount of rust) once the rust is loosened take a steel wool pad and remove the rust.

Sink Garburators - To cut odours and bacteria in your garbage disposal cut a lemon into chunks and place in the garbage disposal, turn garburator on.

Soap scum and Hard Water Deposits - Pour undiluted lemon juice on deposits, or rub a cut lemon over the resistant spots.

Stain Removal from Fabric - In a spray bottle, mix ½ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda and 3 cups then spray on fabric for a pre-wash laundry stain remover. Then toss the clothing into the washing machine. To remove dirt and grease from clothes add ½ cup of baking soda to the wash cycle.

Tile Grout Cleaner - Fill a spray bottle with 1 part water and 1 part vinegar, spray the solution on the tile and scrub with a toothbrush or other narrow brush.

Toilet Cleaner - Vinegar is anti-bacterial and deodorizes. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet and let sit. Then add a few tablespoons of baking soda, brush and flush the toilet.

Wall Washing Solution - Dust the wall, then mix 1quart warm water, with ¼ cup vinegar, 2 tbs of biodegradable liquid soap. Once you have finished washing the wall with the solution wipe the wall down with plain, warm water and then wipe the wall dry with a soft towel or cloth.

Whiten Toilets, Sinks, Bathtubs, etc. - Sprinkle the entire surface with a thin layer of baking soda and let sit for 10 minutes. Then spray or sprinkle on enough water to form a paste and scrub porcelain. You can also spray with vinegar instead of water. For extra whitening power you can also sprinkle with salt in addition to the baking powder.


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Friday, 20 April 2012

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR DOGS, CATS WITH SORE, IRRITATED PAWS, SKIN


In this article:
  1. Typical Reasons Why Paw and Skin Irritations Occur
  2. Recipes for Foot and Body Soaks and Rinses
  3. Why You Should Resist Putting Your Dog or Cat on Steroids and NSAIDs
  4. Natural Alternatives to Steroids and NSAIDs
  5. Understanding Food Allergies
  6. Natural Remedies and Treatments, Diets To Resolve Food Allergies

1.0 Typical Reasons Why Paw and Skin Irritations Occur

Dogs and cats can get sore irritated paws for many reasons, including:
  • A symptom of environmental allergies;
    • 'Hayfever' or allergies to other plants;
    • Contact with (surface, ingestion, inhaling) toxins;
  • A symptom of food allergies;
    • Resulting in:
      • Irritation, inflammation, infection of the paws, skin and ears;
      • Yeast infection - candida;
  • Fungal infections;
  • Abrasions cuts and wounds;
  • Etc.
If your dog or cat is suffering from allergies and/or resulting yeast infections of the paw or skin on other parts of the body (i.e. candida), or has come into contact with poisonous and/or toxic substances - giving your dog or cat a foot soak or overall body rinse is very important to reduce discomfort, help treat the symptoms, remove harmful residue and stop your dog’s or cat’s need to lick and chew his/her paws and skin Toxins left on the paws can migrate into the dog's, cat's blood stream, and over time increase your dog's, cat's  toxic load, compromise his/her immune system and trigger the development of cancer.

If your dog’s or cat's paws have come into contact with road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides it is very important to ensure that you remove the particulate and/or residue from these substances right away. Even if you cannot see anything on your dog’s paws - if he/she was walked on or brushed against surfaces or plants that are treated with these substances, a residue will be present on your dog’s, cat's paws, fur or skin. The toxic chemicals found in these substances can make their way into your dog’s and cat's blood stream by passing through your dog’s or cat's skin or when he/she licks his/her paws, fur or skin.

The most affective way to remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from your dog’s and cat's paws is to provide your dog or cat with a 30 second foot soak. Depending on the size of your dog, you can do afoot soak in the bowl or basin, sink, bathtub, shower or in a small children’s pool.


It is important to note that dunking/placing your dog’s or cat’s paws in the soaking solution is not as affective as soaking the paw for 30 seconds. After the soak just pat your dog’s or cat’s paws dry - do not rub them dry as rubbing can cause irritation.

2.0 Recipes for Foot and Body Soaks and Rinses

Foot Soak Recipe #1 - Warm Water and Iodine
Remove Toxins, Disinfect Paw Wounds, Treat Yeast Infection
for Dogs and Cats

 
Iodine is a naturally occurring water-soluble element. Iodine is an excellent disinfectant as it has both anti-fugal and anti-viral properties, it is also non-toxic for dogs (but should not be ingested, just used topically). Iodine is a common disinfectant carried by most pharmacies. To remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from the surface of your dog’s paws - this soak can also be used to reduce itchy, inflamed, and other wise irritated paws…

  • Fill the container you are using with warm water;
  • Add enough iodine to make the water turn the colour of ice tea;
  • Have your dog or cat stand in or hold his.her paw in the the water/iodine solution for 30 seconds;
  • Then pat your dog’s or cat's paws dry.

Foot Soak Recipe #2 - Warm Water, Apple Cider Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide 
Treat Yeast Infections or Irritated Paw 
for Dogs and Cats

 
Organic unpasturized, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties (primarily from the acetic acid and malic acid in ACV).  

To make this paw soak combine:
One gallon of water with;
One cup of hydrogen peroxide, and;
One cup of organic unpasturized unfiltered apple cider vinegar ACV;

To apply:
  • Soak your dog's, cat's paws or skin for 30 seconds;
  • Allow your dog's or cat's paws/skin to air-dry. 
Do not use pasturized non-organic apple cider vinager such as that typically found on grocery store shelves (i.e. Heinz apple cider vinegar). Pasturized vinegar does not have the medicinal properties that unpasteurized ACV has. 

For detailed information on how to choose a good ACV product and the many health benefits of ACV as both a topical and ingested treatment read here

You can also use just apple cider vinegar between foot soaks - just put it in a spray bottle, spray your dog’s paws and then pat dry. Do NOT use ACV on broken skin as it can sting!


Foot Soak Recipe #3 - Warm Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, fresh squeezed Lemon Juice, Peppermint Essential Oil
Treat Yeast Infections or Irritated Paws  
For Dogs and Cats

 
Peppermint contains cooling essential oils (such as menthol) and has antiseptic and slightly anesthetic properties. 

To make this paw soak:
  • Combine:
    • One gallon of water with; 
    • One cup of organic unpasturized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar;
    • The fresh juice of one lemon, and:
    • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil. 
To apply:
  • Soak your dog's, cat's paws or skin for 30 seconds;
  • Pat your dog's or cat's paws/skin dry. 
Find out more about all of the health benefits of fresh lemon for dogs here.

The Following Herbs can also be Added to the Recipes Above...

Chamomile
Chamomile is a non-toxic soothing all natural additive. Just add a few chamomile tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution. 

For a detailed list of the health benefits of chamomile read here


Golden Seal
Golden Seal is a non-toxic soothing all natural additive. Just add a few Golden Seal tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s, cat's  feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution. You can read more about Golden Seal here.




Green Tea
Green tea (use decaffeinated only) is a non-toxic and rich in antioxidants - an aid to healing. Just add a few green tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s, cat's feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution.



The recipes listed above should be used three or four times a week if you are treating a yeast infection, or irritation due to allergies.

Foot Soak Recipe #4 - Warm Water, Rooibos Tea and Lemon
Yeast Infections or Irritated Paws
for Dogs and Cats

Rooibos is a naturally anti-allergenic and also contains a significant amount of AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) making rooibos tea an aid to the healthy growth and maintenance of skin. To see the recipe for rooibos foot soak and read about the benefits of giving your dog rooibos tea as part of a daily diet you can read this article 'Rooibos Tea for Dogs - Immune System Health, Cancer Inhibitor, Allergy Mediator' 


Don't bother with fancy store bought concoctions. They are not necessary and not better…you have what you need to work an excellent treatment with just the simple off-the shelf items I have mentioned above.

Lathering your dog’s paws with ointments, salves and lotions may make the irritation worse as allergens, toxins and dirt can get trapped underneath the ointment. It is better to use one of these soaks and then keep your dog’s paws dry and clean.
 
If your dog does have a yeast infection (i.e. candida) you really need to treat the symptom (i.e. itchy, irritated paws that may smell like corn chips), as well as the issue. It is important to note that in the case of a yeast infection Prednisone and antibiotics can make the condition worse as they further suppress the dog’s immune system and antibiotics kill the good bacteria in a dog’s and cat's gastntestinal tract gut (GI tract)...


3.0 Why You Should Resist Putting Your Dog or Cat on
      Steroids and NSAIDs

It is far better to resolve the root cause of the condition and use natural alternatives to treat the condition. Natural alternatives have little to no side effects. Steroids, cortecosteroids such as Prednisone and non steroidal ant-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have many side effects including life threatening, life span shortening affects.

To understand more about the dangers of using steroids and NSAIDs you can read here.


4.0 Natural Alternatives to Steroids and NSAIDs

For a list of natural, safe alternatives to steroids and NSAIDs you can read here

5.0 Understanding Food Allergies

If you think that your dog or cat is suffering from food allergies you need to treat the immediate outward discomfort (i.e. irritated paws, skin, ears) and you also need to remedy the root cause of the allergy.

To gain an understanding of the causes and many symptoms of food allergies you can read here.

6.0 Natural Remedies and Treatments, Diets To Resolve
      Food Allergies 
While it is important to relieve the symptoms of a yeast infection due to food allergies - if the root cause of the allergy is not resolved the condition becomes re-occuring - chronic.
Your dog or cat can end-up with chronic skin issues and chronic ear infections.
 

7.0 Holistic Support
Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
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  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice - information and payment here >>. 
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans - information and payment here >>.
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services
  • In-Person sessions - information and payment here >>.
  • On-Line consultation and sessions - information and payment here >>.