Whether it’s piping hot or a touch cooler this Summer certain problems with our pets often arise. We have therefore put together some herbal tips to help combat these common problems.
Fleas and ticks
The population of both these parasites rise during the warmer months with increased breeding. The bites of fleas can irritate and often cause allergic reactions in pets and ticks can pass disease, the most common of which is Lyme disease. As with most things, prevention is better than cure and keeping on top of the problem with a herbal routine can be very effective alongside over the counter medications if needed. Garlic and Pennyroyal are two of the herbs that are great deterrents and provide a hostile environment for parasites. Garlic Tablets are often used on a daily basis to keep up the effective level for prevention. Remember to wash your pet’s bedding regularly at this time of the year too, to make sure there are no flea eggs or other nasties lurking there. Pennyroyal herb has been used throughout history to prevent and deter parasites because of its strong minty aroma, and although it must not be given internally, it is very effective for pets when used externally, such as in our Pennyroyal Shampoo.
High pollen counts and an increase in temperature can cause pets to suffer from sometimes debilitating skin conditions. These can range from a mild localised irritation to an extreme allergic reaction. Herbal help is on hand with several herbal products to use depending on the condition and the severity – such as our licensed herbal medicines (Garlic & Fenugreek Tablets and Green Releaf® Tablets) used for more persistent irritation or minor infection, containing parsley, watercress, celery seeds, fenugreek and garlic, all of which have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Also you can add fresh spinach, dandelion, parsley and watercress to the feed but remember to put it through a blender or food processor first to break it down – or use our Easy-Green powder which contains these important plants. Externally using our new Oatmeal Advance Shampoo, which contains lavender and glycerine, it will calm the skin and provide soothing relief. For sore places our organic Comfrey & Calendula Skin Balm is invaluable to have on hand to help with healing.
With the increased amount of insects in the summer your pet can become more likely to becoming stung or bitten. The most common is a wasp or bee sting and young dogs and cats are particularly likely to suffer from these – until they learn to keep away! Stings to the face, mouth and throat can be more serious than those elsewhere on the body because if the throat or airway becomes swollen it can be difficult for your pet to breath. If your pet receives a sting it is best to apply ice to the area to reduce swelling, ice cubes or even a bag of peas will suffice, always wrap these in a towel and do not apply directly to the skin. If the sting stays red and painful for longer than a few hours consult your vet. For bites which sting and itch a homeopathic remedy which is often used is Urtica Urens 30C, this is also very effective for nettle rash. Some animals can be allergic to these stings in the same as humans can, and this may lead to an anaphylactic shock which is extremely serious and affects the whole body, if this happens the animal should be taken to the vet immediately.
Summer thunderstorms and noises
The downside of this hot weather is that inevitably when it eventually breaks we get some violent thunderstorms and these can be scary for our pets. As we don’t have these storms regularly most pets, especially young ones, find the noises and lightning flashes disturbing as it is not something they come across very often, although some cope quite well when they become accustomed to them. Keep your pet indoors during a storm and in a safe place where it will feel secure. Give a toy or a treat to take their mind off what is going on outside and playing a game with them will distract from the fear as well as keeping them occupied and so less worried. Sometimes this alone is not enough and even with the greatest amount of reassurance some dogs will still feel unsure and unsettled which if ignored can lead to a permanent nervousness. As ever, prevention is better than cure, so if you are expecting thunderstorms it is advisable to give Scullcap & Valerian Tablets, to keep your dog or cat feeling calmer, more relaxed and so not frightened by the bangs and flashes. Sometimes of course there will be no warning of a storm and in this case our Valerian Compound is ideal as it is very quick acting in these situations and will reduce stress and fear.
With many of us ‘firing’ up the barbecue once the summer arrives, it’s best to be aware of the risk to your pets. Make sure any leftover food and rubbish is thrown away, a common problem in particular is when dogs eat cooked bones or corn on the cob. Both of these items can lead to serious blockages and compaction in the digestive system. It is best to keep these leftovers away from your pets even if they try their best begging techniques. Some dogs and cats can also get upset stomachs from eating new foods especially fatty or heavily marinated barbecue food. If your pet does show signs of a digestive upset give Tree Barks Powder to help soothe the digestive tract and get the stomach back to normal. Obviously also be careful of the heat from barbecues and make sure they are positioned in such a way that your pet cannot get burned. Barbecue lighting fluid is also a danger so keep this safely away and out of reach. Then just enjoy the barbecue !
Many light skinned or lightly coated dogs can suffer from sunburn due to their lack of protection from the sun. The areas that are most likely to be burnt are around the mouth the top of the muzzle and ears and belly. There are several good quality sunscreens available for pets and these can be very effective. However as prevention is always better than cure, ensure your dog has a shady place to retreat and try to keep them away from sunlight especially during the hottest part of the day.