Keeping Your Dog Hydrated and Preventing Dog Dehydration-How to Get a Dog to Drink Water. Here are some tips to help entice your dog to drink water during outings. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated and Preventing Dog Dehydration | How to Get a Dog to Drink Water

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated and Preventing Dog Dehydration

How to Get a Dog to Drink Water

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated and Preventing Dog Dehydration-How to Get a Dog to Drink Water. Here are some tips to help entice your dog to drink water during outings. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Dog Drinking Water

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Primalvore and also has affiliate links. However, I will always try to offer my readers great product selections. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

Did you know that dog dehydration is a serious risk to your beloved canine? Dehydration can actually lead to death, so it is critical to know the signs of dog dehydration before it’s too late.

Dog Dehydration Symptoms

  • Loss of skin elasticity- Gently pick up the skin from the top of your dog’s neck and let go. If your dog’s skin does not snap back into place, your dog is dehydrated.
  • Rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, or panting
  • Dry nose or gums- Gently lift up your dog’s lips and look at his gums. If they are dry or gray, he may be at risk for dehydration. Press your finger to his gums and release. You will notice the gum will be briefly white but then should return quickly to normal, if not, then dehydration is likely.
  • Sunken or empty eyes- If your dog seems to have lost the sparkle in his eyes, this can be a sign that your dog is dehydrated.
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive drooling
  • Weakness, lethargy, or shakiness
  • Collapse

Common Dog Dehydration Causes

A dog may become dehydrated for a variety of reasons. Dehydration is caused by fluid loss and lack of moisture in the body. Medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, heat stroke, diarrhea, vomiting, ingesting a toxin or parasites, just to name a few. A processed, dry dog food also can become a culprit as a dog’s kidneys work overtime resulting in a constant state of low-grade dehydration.

Dog Dehydration Treatment

If you have the slightest concern that your dog is dehydrated, please seek veterinarian assistance immediately. Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, explains, “Dehydration reduces the volume of both blood and intracellular fluids flowing through the body, which in turn reduces oxygen delivery to tissues and organs, as well as the removal of waste products.” She continues by saying, “Which can interfere with the normal function of the body’s organs and systems. If a dehydrated pet isn’t quickly rehydrated, death can occur very quickly.”

Your dog’s veterinarian will likely will provide your dog with IV fluids to replenish electrolytes. In more serious cases, this may take place over the course of a few days, or until your dog can fully recover. If it is unknown why your dog was dehydrated, your vet may want to run a variety of tests and blood work to try to find the root cause.

Preventing Dog Dehydration

Ensure you are addressing any medical concerns your dog may have. Feed your dog a species-appropriate diet that is extremely high in moisture vs. a dry kibble. Prevent your dog from becoming overheated or exhausted. And, finally, help your dog stay hydrated by providing him with plenty of cool, clean, filtered water.

Encouraging Your Dog to Drink Water on the Road

If your dog is anything like Dexter or my previous dog, Theo, getting him to drink during outdoor adventures can be tricky. But, this is one time you don’t want your dog to not drink water. Here are some of my go-to tips to help a dog that won’t drink water.

Keep your dog’s water nice and cool in a stainless steel dog-water bottle. If you are out and about or your dog’s water bottle is in the car heating up, that water can actually get really hot. Instead, keep your dog’s water nice and cool in a stainless-steel travel-water bottle and even better yet, pop that into a portable cooler or travel cooler bag.

Entice your dog’s taste buds by adding Primalvore’s bone broth to his water! Not only will bone broth increase the likelihood your dog will drink his water, it will also provide a protein boost and vital minerals, perfect to keep your dog moving. I’m a big fan of Primalvore because the bones they use for their broths are made from humanely raised, human-grade free-range meat bones. The cattle are 100% grass fed, and the chickens are 100% free range. The beef and chicken bone broths come from organic cow and chicken bones (no antibiotics or added hormones). Both the turkey and duck bones are also antibiotic- and hormone-free.

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated and Preventing Dog Dehydration-How to Get a Dog to Drink Water. Here are some tips to help entice your dog to drink water during outings. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Preventing Dog Dehydration

I make adding bone broth to Dexter’s drinking water very easy. I make bone broth ice cubes and store them in a glass container. When I’m preparing Dexter’s travel-water bottle, I just pop a couple of cubes inside. Easy-peasy. Now that I add Primalvore’s bone broth to Dexter’s travel bottle, I have zero issues getting him to drink.

So, remember to keep your dog hydrated, and if you have the slightest concern that your dog may be dehydrated, seek medical assistance right away.

Visit Primalvore today to boost your dog’s health.

Use Promo Code: DEXTER for 20% OFF Your First Order.

Read on how to keep your dog cool during the summer.


What is your dog’s favorite outside activity? Tell me in the comments.

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated and Preventing Dog Dehydration-How to Get a Dog to Drink Water. Here are some tips to help entice your dog to drink water during outings. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #dogdehydration #dehydration #bonebroth #dogbonebroth #signsofdogdehydration
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Best Supplements and Joint Supplements for Senior Dogs

Natural Supplements and Remedies for Senior Dogs

Supplements for Dogs, Especially Senior Dogs! I spoke with two of Dexter's holistic veterinarians on the best supplements for dogs. Click to read their dog supplement recommendations. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Best senior dog supplements

Dexter The Dog is eight! Just before Dexter’s sixth birthday, I wrote an article on Natural Care for Aging Dogs. Today, I wanted to dedicate this article to supplements for senior dogs or foods for senior dogs.

As our dogs age, their bodies go through a lot of changes. Aging changes the function of their organs. Vital organs such as heart, kidneys, and lungs begin to lose some of their function, or may function abnormally. Cells and tissue begin to change, too. Connective tissue, epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, and nerve tissue all begin to change.

As a dog’s body starts to go through the aging process, you may notice things like joint pain; cognition difficulty; lack of energy; mood shifts; and dryness of the coat, nose, and feet. Although these may all be part of the normal aging process, we can still play a proactive role in our senior dog’s health to help him age gracefully, be more mobile, and feel less pain, or even be pain-free.

With Dexter’s neurological condition, I’ve been trying to play a proactive role in preventing or managing inflammation, one of the culprits causing his “bad days.” I’ve also focused on improving cartilage for a possible weakening of his trachea. Besides feeding Dexter real foods with support, he’s also been on a regimen of “supplements.” I quote supplements, because if I can find it in a real food way, it’s always better. Dexter receives regular bone broth, chondroitin through real foods, green-lipped mussels, kelp, spirulina, omega-3 fatty acids (primary fish source), foods high in antioxidants and CoQ10.

Supplements for Dogs, Especially Senior Dogs! I spoke with two of Dexter's holistic veterinarians on the best supplements for dogs. Click to read their dog supplement recommendations. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #naturaldogs #realfoodfordogs #dogsupplements #seniordogs #seniordogcare
Anything for Dexter!

Because Dexter must be on some pharmaceuticals to help with his disease, I also focus on supporting his immune system, detoxing, and liver support. Two other supplements that make it into our rotation are milk thistle and Standard Process Canine Immune System Support. A few years back, one of his quarterly checkups showed a decrease in his kidney function. I added RX Renal Canine and AminAvast. I am happy to report that his kidneys have been functioning perfectly ever since. I continue to provide these two supplements daily.

To be clear, I do work with Dexter’s team of veterinarians when choosing the best supplements and foods for Dexter. I want to make sure nothing conflicts with each other, and that the doses meet Dexter’s needs.

I spoke with two of Dexter’s veterinarians, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia and Dr. Judy Morgan, about their go-to supplements for senior dogs. Below is their roundup.

Top Recommended Supplements for Dogs

  1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids-Both Dr. Cardeccia and Dr. Morgan suggest essential fatty acids, especially omega 3s. Dr. Cardeccia explains, “Our dogs’ bodies can’t produce omega 3 fatty acids, so we need to give it in supplemental form, whether fed in whole foods, or using some sort of concentrated oil product.” She continues to say, “EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, acts to decrease inflammation, and as such could contribute to management of arthritis, skin/allergy issues, and improve coat and skin. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is important for brain and eye development, and together with EPA act as signals to decrease inflammation in cells.” Dr. Morgan also states that omega 3 fatty acids are, “essential for cardiac, joint, and brain/nerve health. I usually dose at 30 to 40 mg per pound of body weight (back off if stools soften).”
  2. Antioxidants-Dr. Cardeccia is a big fan of various forms of antioxidants, “such as vitamin C and vitamin E, CoQ10, curcumin (turmeric), grape seed extract, silymarin (milk thistle). Antioxidants are molecules that gobble up toxic free radicals before they can harm healthy cells and tissues, and as such reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage.” Dr. Morgan says, “Blueberries are awesome!” She continues to inform us, “CoQ10 is anti-inflammatory and offers cancer protection. Dose anywhere from 1 to 10 mg per pound of body weight.” Dr. Morgan also recommends turmeric fed as Golden Paste. She also suggests milk thistle, “2 to 5 mg per pound body weight if there is any liver enzyme elevation or any chronic medication usage.”
  3. Probiotics- “Not only do these aid in digestion but can aid in immune system function as well,” explains Dr. Cardeccia. Dr. Morgan suggests dog parents use a high-quality source, and the CFUs should be in the billions
  4. Coconut Oil/Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)– Dr. Cardeccia explains, “As dogs age, they will often start to have cognitive issues, and MCT can contribute to focus and mental performance, as well as having a beneficial effect on the immune system.” Dr. Morgan adds that coconut oil helps with gut health, coat, energy, and is anti-inflammatory.
  5. Glucosamine/Chondroitin– Dr. Cardeccia explains the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin in senior pets. “Glucosamine and chondroitin can improve the health of joint fluid. There are many products available which provide these compounds, often combined with MSM, vitamin C, selenium, etc. One way to get this would be to supplement with green-lipped mussel, which is a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, glycosaminoglycans, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as amino acids, minerals, and carbohydrates.” Dr. Morgan also recommends the use of green-lipped mussel as a “natural source of glucosamine/chondroitin for joint health, hyaluronic acid for eye, skin, and joint health, trace minerals zinc and manganese needed for tendon/ligament health and coat health.”
  6. Colostrum Dr. Morgan recommends the use of colostrum to help support the immune system.

I’m happy to say that Dexter has been getting pretty much all of the suggestions above. 🙂 We have yet to add colostrum, but it’s been on my to-do list for some time. I guess I need to get moving on that! I’ve been researching brands of colostrum, and I may be putting that research into high gear. I do add turmeric on a very occasional basis.

Don’t wait for your dog to start showing signs of aging—start his natural supplement routine today!


Are you proactive with your dog’s health care? Tell me in the comments.

Supplements for Dogs, Especially Senior Dogs! I spoke with two of Dexter's holistic veterinarians on the best supplements for dogs. Click to read their dog supplement recommendations. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #naturaldogs #realfoodfordogs #dogsupplements #seniordogs #seniordogcare
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Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Dogs and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A Practical Guide for Living and Treatment for CM and SM in Dogs

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Dogs. A Guide for Their Care and Treatment. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Cavaliers

My best friend, Dexter The Dog, was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in 2012, just before his third birthday. His diagnosis was a big blow to my heart. Over the last 6 years, I’ve written a lot on Dexter’s diagnosis, his care and treatments.

I’ve been asked by my Cavalier community to make a bit of a list for easy reference. I hope you find this article on Chiari malformation and syringomyelia in dogs helpful. My request is that you share this information so that others dealing with this heartbreaking diagnosis can also learn that there are many helpful and natural treatments for dogs with Chiari malformation and syringomyelia.

What is Chiari Malformation (CM)?

Chiari malformation (CM) is when the skull is too small to hold the brain. Because of the brain growth in such a small cavity, the cerebellum and medulla are pushed out and obstruct the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid.

What is Syringomyelia (SM)?

Because of the obstruction of normal cerebrospinal fluid, there is a buildup of pressure. This pressure can be compared to holding your finger over half of the opening of a lawn hose, preventing the water from flowing freely. That pressure then can cause fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord known as syringomyelia (SM).

What are Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia Symptoms in Dogs?

Symptoms of CM and SM in cavaliers and other breeds vary. In fact, they vary a LOT! About a year prior to Dexter’s diagnosis, he started to do a few odd behaviors. First, he seemed to gaze out and get focused on dust particles floating in the sun. Second, he would get focused on his rear end and start fidgeting and biting at his bottom. I took him in to his veterinarian; they checked his anal glands. His diagnosis was that they were slightly full, and maybe he was just more sensitive to when they emptied. Third, he would get really weird after a random fly, gnat, or another flying insect would pass by him or happened to land on him. He would, spin around, growl, and become very “strange.” The fourth symptom, the one that put us over the top, was when he started to growl at his back end and almost get into a trance.

I talked to a Cavalier friend and vet, Dr. Lynette Cole at The Ohio State University. She advised me to record the next episode. I did, and three veterinarian neurologists suspected Chiari malformation and syringomyelia.

Dexter’s CM/SM Video

This is how Dexter presented with his disease. However, other common symptoms of CM/SM can include one or more of the below.

  • Air scratching, particularly on walks or when excited.
  • Head scratching or rubbing.
  • Air snapping or licking.
  • Random yelps out in pain.
  • Sensitive to touch and being picked up.
  • Hind end weakness.
  • Head or body wobbles, bobbles, stumbling, eye flickers, or squinting.
  • Head pressing.
  • Seeking darkness or wanting to be left alone.
  • Inactivity or depression.
  • Restlessness.

Diagnosing Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia

The only way to truly diagnose this disease is an MRI. If a dog is presenting some of the common symptoms of CM/SM and is a breed prone to this disease (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahua Brussels Griffons, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, and other small toy breeds), a vet may start treatment without an MRI confirmation.

For me, I’m a person who always wants to know all that I can and treat accordingly. If I’d just started to treat Dexter for CM/SM without really knowing, I would always be doubting myself and worried that I may be missing another disease. Because Dexter was so focused on his lower lumbar area, the neurologists also performed a spinal tap to ensure we had all the facts.

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Dogs. A Guide for Their Care and Treatment. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
CM and SM in Dogs and Cavaliers

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia Treatment Options

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia Surgery

There is a surgical option aimed at restoring the normal flow of spinal fluid. This usually involves decompression, removing pieces of bone, and adding a shunt. The results are varied, with most dogs still feeling pain and needing medications.

Pharmaceuticals to Treat Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia

The disease is progressive and varies in severity from dog to dog. There is no cure, only various treatments to aid in comfort and lessen pain. Just like the wide variety of symptoms a dog may exhibit for CM/SM, treatment options are just as varied. Pharmaceuticals are likely going to play a role in treating your dog’s symptoms. Dr. Clare Rusbridge, has been the leading specialist in treating dogs with this disease. She offers a wealth of information on her website, along with a pharmaceutical treatment protocol.

When you find that your dog needs to be on regular pharmaceuticals, it is important to play a proactive role in evaluating his organ functions and supporting his organs. Read this article for more information.

Natural Treatment Options for Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia

Luckily, there are a lot of other ways to help support a dog with CM/SM, to help him stay strong and as pain-free as possible. Here are some common natural treatments that you may consider for your dog. I will link to specific articles on how I’m using the treatment with Dexter when available.

Acupuncture to Treat Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia

One of the first natural treatments Dexter received was acupuncture. We started our treatment once a week, then tapered off over the first year after his diagnosis. I spoke to Dexter’s acupuncturist, Dr. Mary Cardeccia and she explained the basic principles. Energy is continuity flowing through our bodies through specific pathways. When a pathway is disrupted or blocked, acupuncture helps restore the normal flow of energy. For dogs with CM/SM, their qi (energy) is stagnant along the spinal cord. Through the proper acupuncture points, this energy can be restored.

Dexter’s Acupuncture Treatment

Cold Laser Treatment

The other natural treatment I provided Dexter, was cold laser therapy. Cold laser therapy works by stimulating the cells, enabling them to heal themselves more efficiently. Cold laser treatments also help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, repair tissue damage, and increase blood circulation. This is still a treatment I use regularly for Dexter, and I also take Dexter to his vet for a treatment if he’s having a bad or painful day. It seems to help him feel better right after treatment.

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Dogs. A Guide for Their Care and Treatment. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Laser Therapy for Dogs

Food Therapy

Shortly after Dexter’s diagnosis, I was introduced the healing powers of food by Dr. Judy Morgan. She taught me how to use food for healing through a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective. There are foods and herbs such as sardines, shiitake mushrooms, celery, radishes, lemon, parsley, and marjoram that can help reduce fluid production. With less fluid production, Dexter has less spinal swelling and pain.

Chiari malformation and syringomyelia is a disease with inflammation. The other part of Dexter’s food therapy includes adding foods that reduce inflammation and avoiding foods that increase inflammation. Dexter is fed a species-appropriate diet of home-cooked or raw dog food. Processed, dry dog food is high in carbohydrates, which increases inflammation. Foods and supplements that I rotate into Dexter’s diet to help decrease inflammation can include blueberries, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage), leafy greens, green-lipped mussels, CoQ10, bone broth, CBD oil, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Conscious Proprioception, Awareness

One of the things I’ve noticed about Dexter is that he “shuffles” his feet when walking. During one of his veterinary exams, Dexter’s vet flipped his foot over so the top of his toes were touching the ground. By flipping a dog’s foot over, the vet is testing his conscious proprioception. In other words, the dog’s awareness that his foot is upside down. Most dogs will immediately flip their feet back to the normal position, Dexter did not fix his foot. Instead, he left it flipped upside down. He was not getting the signal to his brain that his foot was in the wrong position.

Dr. Cardeccia explains, “Because with the SM there is pressure on his spinal cord (from the pockets cerebrospinal fluid that form within the spinal cord near the brain), it is interfering with the nerves of proprioception, which are on the outer portion of the spinal cord. Proprioception is the internal sense that tells you where your body parts are without your having to look at them, so he is not actually fully aware of where his feet are, and that is why he drags them.

Two treatments I’ve implemented for Dexter are the use of Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips for Dogs and regular footwork exercises. Using the ToeGrips has brought Dexter an awareness about his feet through proprioceptive stimulus and help Dexter to pick up his feet. A week after wearing his first pair of ToeGrips, Dr. Cardeccia flipped his foot over, and he immediately flipped his foot back to position!

Dexter’s proprioception footwork includes things like walking over objects, walking on a variety of textures, walking sideways and back. This is all to help him be more aware of his feet.

Dog Core Strength Exercises

Next on Dexter’s dog rehabilitation agenda is to build up his core strength and back end strength. Strengthening Dexter’s core muscles and overall strength will help him with his balance issues. When he does lose his balance or starts to stumble, he will hopefully have the strength to catch himself. We do a variety of exercises on a variety of equipment to target Dexter’s abdominal, back, hind legs, etc.

Clip of Dexter’s Exercises

Canine Water or Hydrotherapy

Dog water therapy is a great way to help strengthen a dog’s body, while having a low impact on his joints. Because one of Dexter’s rehabilitation goals is to bring awareness to his hind feet, Dexter does regular water treadmill therapy. This provides not only strength and core strength, but also helps improve his proprioception. During the warm months, I also take Dexter to outdoor ponds and streams to allow him to walk in the water to continue with his therapy.

Dexter’s First Water Therapy Session

Exercise, Walking and Dog Play Limitations

This is a heartbreaker for me. Dexter has always been a spunky, playful, and active dog. Unfortunately, his disease has other things in mind. Each dog will be different on what they can and cannot tolerate. In the beginning, or as the disease progresses, these activities may change.

I’ve learned with Dexter, it’s about short spurts then rest. I also do a lot of training games and exercises, which include his at-home rehab work, that he finds fun and entertaining. This can take the place of rough or physical activities.

Possible Comforts

  • Dog Harness. No Dog Collars, Please. One of the first things a newly diagnosed CM/SM dog parent should do is dump the dog collar and exchange it for a dog harness. Because the disease starts with a malformation of the skull, a dog collar can be quite painful. I’m never a fan of collars in the first place. Even finding a suitable dog harness can be a challenge. Each dog is different in where a pocket-filled cavity may be, so a harness that might work for one dog, may cause pain for another.
  • Dog Strollers. Dog strollers are a great option for dogs with a neurological disorder, such as Chiari malformation and syringomyelia. This allows the dog to be comfortable and safe, while still being able to join in on the adventure. I always have Dexter’s stroller in my car, and I always bring it on long adventures. When he’s in need, I just pop him inside. Sometimes he rests up and then walks after his rest.
  • Cooling Mats and/or Warming Blankets. I’m not sure why, but these dogs tend to run hot or cold. When Dexter was first diagnosed, and we were trying to find our groove, he always seemed cold. I made him a warming blanket, and he loved it! In a pinch, you can toss a fleece dog blanket in the dryer. It’s important to note that your dog should be able to remove himself if he feels too hot. Now, Dexter actually loves his cooling mat! He always gravitates to it, even in the winter. He doesn’t otherwise seem hot or uncomfortable in any way, but he will sleep more on it vs. a warm bed.
  • Snuggle jackets or tight-fitting jackets, such as the ThunderShirt. This seems to be a 50/50 in the community. Some dogs immediately calm down from a painful episode, and others are in too much pain to wear clothing. Take your dog’s cue.
  • Natural Calming Aids. I find this very helpful when Dexter seems to be having a rough day. I put in his favorite calming CD and will use a natural calming spray. I’m sure it has to do with the stress involved with the pain, and Dexter is not sure why he feels the way he does. 🙁
Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Dogs. A Guide for Their Care and Treatment. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Dexter’s Cooling Mat

Support for Dogs with Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia

Unfortunately, you are not alone. I say unfortunately because I wish this stupid diseases didn’t exist. It can be so heart-wrenching knowing our beloved dogs can suffer from such great pain. Quality of life issues always are at the forefront of our minds. My personal favorite support system came from a Facebook Group for dogs with CM/SM. This group is amazing, to say the least. They are so helpful, supportive, and very knowledgeable. Next, Dexter’s amazing team of specialists, and he has many. Finally, my family. They are my rock, so I can be Dexter’s rock.

I urge you to reach out to your veterinarians, specialists, and join the Facebook group if you think your dog may have Chiari malformation and syringomyelia. And, please share this article, so that others know of all the possible noninvasive treatments we can provide our beloved dogs with CM/SM and the support system in place.


Does your dog have Chiari Malformation? How are you helping him? Tell me in the comments.

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Dogs. A Guide for Their Care and Treatment. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #cm #sm #cavaliers #ckcs #chiarimalformation #syringomyelia
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by 4-Legger and also has affiliate links. However, I will always try to offer my readers great product selections. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

Reading labels is so important in our lives and our pets’ lives. It’s not about the front of the package or a brand’s advertising campaigns. In the case of pet grooming products, you may see a lot of pet grooming brands state things such as, “no artificial fragrance,” “no sulfates,” “no parabens,” “no polysorbates,” or similar claims. Those are all great things to avoid in a dog or cat grooming product. However, that doesn’t mean the product doesn’t include another ingredient you should avoid.

It’s about reading the ingredient panel. If I’m purchasing a product for my pet that has ingredients (pet food, grooming products, pet dental products, etc.) the very first thing I do is flip over the product and read the ENTIRE ingredient panel. I need to know exactly what’s inside a product, so I can make my determination if it’s a product I feel safe and comfortable using with Dexter or Nutter. If there is not an ingredient panel, back on the shelf it goes!

How to Understand a Pet Grooming Product Label

I’m not a chemist, nor do I expect a pet parent to understand what they are reading on a pet product label. However, that doesn’t mean I’m off the hook at figuring it all out. My pets count on me to find the answers and to make the safest decisions for them.

The Internet is your friend! When I’m looking at a new grooming product, the first place I visit is The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database website. They have an amazing search function where you can input an ingredient hit search, and it will provide you with a summary of the ingredient and a safety rating. For the most part, EWG’s database provides me with all the information I need to make my decision. However, if an ingredient does not turn up any results, my next step is a general Internet search. I tend to type the ingredient name then “side effects” or “toxicity” and read up on the ingredient.

Top 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Pet’s Grooming Products

  1. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)-Links to cancer, stomach disorder, loss of memory, and immune dysfunction.
  2. Polysorbates (20, 40, 60, 80)-Organ system toxicity, commonly contaminated with the cancer-causing 1,4-dioxane.
  3. Propylene Glycol- Liver and kidney toxin, skin irritant (skin, eyes, lungs), contact dermatitis, and organ system toxicity.
  4. Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Coco Sulfate, TEA, Lauryl Sulfate, MEA)-Organ system toxicity, skin irritations, may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane.
  5. Parabens- Preservatives that are known endocrine disrupters; elevated estrogens can cause cancers of the uterus, bladder, and breast.

Now, remember, those listed above are just my top 5. There tend to be more harmful ingredients used vs. good ingredients, so don’t forget to read the entire label.

When it comes to toxic grooming ingredients, there really isn’t a reason they need to be inside my pet’s product. There are enough pet grooming products that are truly nontoxic that I don’t see the need to use unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals on my pets.

I know you want to hop over to EWG’s database and start with the first ingredient on your pet’s shampoo and work your way all the way down the list. Did you find any ingredients that weren’t in the green? If so, check out 4-Legger’s line of organic pet grooming products. Your pet will thank you. Order today with promo code RaiseNaturally20 for 20% off your first order.

Give Your Dog A Healthy Bath with 4-Legger-The ingredients you use on your dog’s skin is just as important as the quality of food they eat. Clean all natural ingredients aren’t just a trend, they are essential for your dog’s long term health. 4-Legger’s dog shampoos are so natural they are USDA Certified to Organic Food Standards! 

References-https://www.4-legger.com/pages/about-4-legger-pet-shampoo

 


How often does your dog get bathed? Tell me in the comments.

Is natural dog shampoo or natural dog shampoo really safe? Do you understand your dog shampoo's ingredient label? Learn how today. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #organicdogshampoo #naturaldogshampoo #dogshampoo #organicpetproducts #naturalpetproducts
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Positive and Natural Dog Training Books
Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes
Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain | Natural Senior Dog Care

Old Dogs and Special Needs Dogs

Natural Dog Care for Joints and Arthritis

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Natural Senior Dog Care

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by GingerLead and also has affiliate links. However, I will always try to offer my readers great product selections. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

Please note, I am not a veterinarian. Please speak in detail with your holistic veterinarian about your dog’s care and support. They will always be your best resource.

If you have old dogs, dogs with arthritis, dogs with mobility issues, or even young healthy dogs, you should be proactive in their joint and mobility care. Often people wait until their dog is in pain, has arthritis, or even has trouble getting up from the ground before they take action. We all do it—I even fell in this category myself with Dexter.

If you’ve been following Dexter’s story, you may recall that he was diagnosed with Chiari-like Malformation (CM) and syringomyelia in 2012. CM is basically when the skull is too small to hold the brain, causing pressure on the cerebellum and medulla, and obstructing normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. You can compare this to holding your finger over half of the opening of a hose; that pressure then causes fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord, SM.

We’ve had our ups and downs with his disease. I’m happy to report he’s been doing well and he’s just as spunky and fun-loving as a young pup. However, just over a year ago, Dexter was getting a bit more “wobbly and bobbly” and losing his balance. It’s then that he started seeing his rehab vet, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia, for regular physical rehabilitation to work on building his core strength and proprioception. You can read about our canine rehab in this article.

Strength Training for All Ages of Dogs

I regret that I was not more proactive in keeping Dexter strong and mobile, prior to his wobbles and weakness. Dexter and I always had regular daily exercise through walks and play, but I never actively focused on his strength and core. Strong core muscles help dogs with their movement, keep their balance, and help them get up and down. For Dexter, it’s also very important in strengthening his spine and allowing him the strength to “catch” himself and recover from a wobble.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Core strength exercises for dogs

Daily Exercise and Movement for Dogs

Have you ever heard the phrase, “use it or lose it”? This is so true when it comes to exercising with our dogs and keeping them moving. According to an article published on the John Hopkins website, “While rest is important, especially during flare-ups, lack of physical activity is associated with increased muscle weakness, joint stiffness, reduced range of motion, fatigue and general deconditioning.” As with every exercise program, it is important to know your dog’s limits and yours, start slowly, and build over time.

Canine Water Therapy / Hydrotherapy for Dogs

There are two traditional forms of dog water therapy: pool therapy and water treadmill therapy. Water therapy has a low impact on a dog’s joints. This is a great solution for dogs with a variety of joint problems and mobility issues. Water therapy also provides resistance, making this a great workout for your dog. Dexter goes to monthly underwater treadmill therapy not only to build his strength, but also to help with his proprioception. During the summer months, I also walk Dexter in shallow streams and ponds between our sessions.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Water Treadmill Therapy for Dogs

Cold Laser Therapy for Dogs

Cold laser therapy uses light beams that stimulate the cells in the body and can reduce inflammation, increase blood circulation, relieve pain, and repair tissue damage. Cold laser therapy uses a laser that does not produce heat. Depending on your dog’s condition, your holistic veterinarian may recommend cold laser therapy. Dexter’s neurological condition relates to inflammation along his spine, so Dexter receives treatment on his spine about once a month. If he’s having a rough day with pain, we schedule an impromptu laser treatment, which usually gets him back on track and feeling better.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Laser Therapy for Dogs

Acupuncture for Mobility

Acupuncture is another natural option for assisting with a dog’s mobility and a lot of other canine ailments, even behavioral issues. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that disease is caused by a disruption of the flow of QI, or energy. Acupuncture is applied in target points to stimulate the flow of QI, allowing the body to become balanced. For dogs with mobility concerns, the practitioner is generally focused on stimulating circulation and reducing inflammation.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Acupuncture for Dogs

Dog Chiropractic Adjustments for Mobility and Range of Motion

First, I want to stress that if you are thinking of taking your dog in for chiropractic care, you see a veterinarian, not a human chiropractor—they are NOT the same. Canine chiropractic care helps realign your dog’s joints and spine, helps with range of motion and flexibility, and can relieve pain.

Veterinarian chiropractors may solely use their hands during a dog’s adjustment, a chiropractic adjustment tool, called the Activator®, or a combination of both. Dexter has had both procedures, and responds better during and after with a hands-on approach instead of the tool. Some veterinarians will actually provide adjustment in the pool, for even a gentler approach.

Proper Weight and A Species-Appropriate Diet and Supplementation

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that excess weight on your dog’s joints and spine will increase pain and inflammation, and decrease mobility. It also leads to strain on your dog’s heart muscles and other vital organs. If there was ever a time to feel your dog’s waistline, it’s now. All dogs should have a slight tuck at the waist.

Feeding your dog a species-appropriate diet is incredibly beneficial in reducing inflammation. Dogs are carnivores, not carbidores. A processed dry dog food is extremely heavy in carbohydrates and has almost no moisture. This combination leads to inflammation, not to mention a lack of fresh vitamins, minerals and enzymes. To help reduce inflammation avoid refined carbohydrates such as sugar, sorghum, flour (wheat, oat, pea, bean, rice, corn), white rice, and potato starch to name a few. Some other foods that increase inflammation include sugar, too many omega-6 fatty acids, and corn. On the other side, there are foods and supplements that help reduce inflammation such as leafy greens, blueberries, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage), bone broth, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, beets, pineapple, glucosamine chondroitin, green-lipped mussels, and CoQ10.

Dog Mobility Aids

If your dog struggles getting up, using stairs, or walking, I would suggest looking at the GingerLead. The GingerLead works by gently lifting a dog’s back legs, enabling him to be in an ideal position. The GingerLead offers a very safe and secure way to help a dog get up, navigate stairs, or go for a walk. You can read my full review in this article.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
GingerLead Dog Support Sling

Don’t wait for your dog’s mobility to decrease. Take action today to improve his movement and longevity.

GingerLead is the No Bunching, Padded Dog Support Sling with Leash and Handle – Quality you can feel – Trusted by veterinarians for improving quality of life for your best friend since 2008 – Proudly made in Colorado, U.S.A. – Adjustable for Height – Easy to Use – Stay on Straps


How are you helping your dog’s mobility? Tell me in the comments.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Moving and Combating Dog Arthritis and Joint Pain. Natural care for your senior or special needs dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #seniordogs #olddogs #dogarthritis
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CBD Oil (Phytocannabioind Rich-PCR)For Dogs with Neurological Pain. Dexter's canine rehabilitation veterinarian, prescribed Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR) Oil twice a day. Learn why and how it may help your dog's pain. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

CBD Oil For Dogs with Neurological Pain | Phytocannabioind Rich (PCR) Oil for Dogs

CBD Oil For Dogs with Neurological Pain | Phytocannabioind Rich (PCR) Oil for Dogs

What You Need to Know about Pet CBD Oil

CBD Oil (Phytocannabioind Rich-PCR)For Dogs with Neurological Pain. Dexter's canine rehabilitation veterinarian, prescribed Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR) Oil twice a day. Learn why and how it may help your dog's pain. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
CBD Oil for Neurological Conditions in Dogs

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Treatibles and also has affiliate links. However, I will always try to offer my readers great product selections. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter

I’m guessing by now you have heard some buzz about CBD oil for dogs. On any social media outlet, a question about a dog’s anxiety or pain is sure to result in a suggestion to try CBD oil. But before diving in, it’s always a good idea to know a few facts.

Marijuana vs Hemp

Both marijuana and hemp come from the same plant genus, Cannabaceae, but they are two different plants. Hemp-derived phytocannabinoids do not contain the hallucinogenic compound Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so they do not cause the ‘high’ associated with marijuana. To be classified as hemp, it must contain less than 0.3% of THC. Some varieties of hemp products are nearly free of THC.

Understanding Phytocannabinoids—a Little Science

Chemical compounds known as cannabinoids are found in all animals (except insects). In plant form, it is known as phytocannabinoids. Studies of phytocannabinoids show they are very effective in promoting both physical and mental health. Benefits range from helping with anxiety, reducing inflammation, combating nausea, helping in digestion, and the list goes on.

The reason phytocannabinoids can be used to treat many ailments is that all animals have an endocannabinoid system that maintains the body’s physiological, immunological and neurological systems. When there is a deficiency in endocannabinoid production, our body will utilize the addition of phytocannabinoids and will start a restoring process to bring our bodies back to balance.

CBD Oil (Phytocannabioind Rich-PCR)For Dogs with Neurological Pain. Dexter's canine rehabilitation veterinarian, prescribed Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR) Oil twice a day. Learn why and how it may help your dog's pain. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
PCR Oil for Pets

Safety Considerations of Hemp-Derived Phytocannabinoids

One of the great things about Hemp-based phytocannabinoids is the safety of the product. There are no psychoactive effects, and the phytocannabinoid-rich oil is non-toxic. It is next to impossible for a pet to overdose, and it is also safe to administer with other pet medications or pet supplements. However, as always, please speak with your holistic veterinarian prior to administration.

Are Hemp-Derived Phytocannabinoids safe?

In a word, yes. Hemp-based phytocannabinoids are non-psychoactive and non-toxic. It is virtually impossible for a pet to overdose. In addition, phytocannabinoids are safe for your pets to take along with any prescribed or over-the-counter medication. Always talk to your veterinarian before adding any supplement to your pet’s regimen.

The Importance of Testing

As with a lot of popular products, quality control and evaluation are important. Various brands offer testing results to the consumer. And yes, some brands don’t test at all. For me, if a company doesn’t offer this information on their website, I would certainly inquire before making a purchase.

A few points to consider when choosing a PCR oil for your pet include: sourcing of ingredients, third-party testing of raw materials, finished product, milligrams of phytocannabinoid, free of bio-contaminants and heavy metals.

My Personal Experience with Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR) Oil for Dogs

Just over 9 months ago, I had a first-hand experience with Treatibles Phytocannabinoid-Rich Oil. I worked with one of my dog training clients on using the Treatibles PCR Oil with her anxious dog, Sora. At the same time, I had my own bottle for Dexter for help with breakthrough pain from his neurological disorder. You can read about both our positive experiences in this article.

As Dexter’s disease progresses, I’m always trying to stay one step ahead of the train and help Dexter stay as pain-free and spunky as his heart desires. Over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed he’s becoming a bit more wobbly and bobbly. I spoke with Dexter’s canine rehabilitation veterinarian, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia on what I could do to help, and she prescribed Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR) Oil twice a day.

Because I always want to know the why and how, I asked her to explain what we hope the PCR oil will do for Dexter. She offered this explanation, “As for the hemp extract, phytocannabinoids and terpenes (normal components of the hemp plant; CBD is one of the phytocannabinoids (cannabidiol). Many people use “CBD oil” interchangeably with hemp oil or extract, but in reality, there are so many great components of the whole plant that it is even better to use the leaf/stem extract instead of just isolating CBD). Phytocannabinoids and terpenes have anti-inflammatory properties, pain relieving properties, and a quieting/soothing effect on the central nervous system (can control seizures), so I am hoping that using it with Dex would help on all three of those levels.” Dr. Cardeccia continued by saying, “I think that you may start seeing improvement after a few doses, as the anti-inflammatory effects should not take long, but the CNS (Central Nervous System) effects may take a couple of weeks to get to full effect.”

CBD Oil (Phytocannabioind Rich-PCR)For Dogs with Neurological Pain. Dexter's canine rehabilitation veterinarian, prescribed Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR) Oil twice a day. Learn why and how it may help your dog's pain. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Natural Remedies for Neurological Disorders

Choosing a Phytocannabioind-Rich (PCR) Oil for Dexter

Of, course, I immediately thought of Treatibles, but I also didn’t want to overlook any other great brands that might fit our needs. As I started to do my research, I ran into some roadblocks when it came to the testing and/or results of the PCR Oils for dogs. Some companies did not offer any testing, while results for other products showed some THC, although under the 0.3% limit. The other test result that I found were in the residual solvent analysis. Even though under 400 PPM would pass, all the companies that I found still had some residue, with the exception of Treatibles. I do understand that the other brands are still deemed safe and there may be a brand I overlooked, but for me, it was just too hard to ignore.

I contacted Treatibles for more information on their testing and products, and learned that Treatibles’ third-party lab tests at every stage, from the raw materials to the finished product. Every batch is tested to determine the exact milligrams of phytocannabinoids in every product. They also test to ensure each product is free of heavy metals and bio-contaminants (none detected in tests), and they provide the testing results for each product on their website. The hemp used for their products is grown in the USA and is virtually free of THC (none detected in tests). Test results can vary from crop to crop, so check the test results prior to purchasing.

All Treatibles products contain phytocannabinoid-rich oil extracted from the whole hemp plant, which, as Dr. Cardeccia explained, creates a synergy effect by utilizing therapeutic phytocannabinoids and terpenes, providing a full spectrum of benefits for pets.

Treatibles actually reformulated their product to use MCT Coconut Oil as the base. Coconut oil has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, contains antioxidants, and is rich in lauric acid, making this a great addition!

I am very happy with my decision to use Treatibles Phytocannabinoid-Rich Oil with MCT Coconut Oil for Dexter. I am hoping to be able to see some improvement of Dexter’s mobility in the next few weeks. The good news is that we won’t be doing any harm in trying, and by adding daily PCR oil, I am reducing Dexter’s inflammation, which is always a good thing.

Don’t let your dog suffer needlessly. Visit Treatibles today~!

Treatibles Compassion Certified hard chews, dropper bottle oils and gel caps are infused with phytocannabinoid rich oil (PCR) derived from medicinal grade hemp grown in the USA. Treatibles help to promote healthy joints and digestion, instill calm and balance, and assist pets with anxiety, discomfort, seizures, end of life comfort, and more.


Have you or your pet tried PCR Oil (CBD)? Tell me in the comments.

CBD Oil (Phytocannabioind Rich-PCR)For Dogs with Neurological Pain. Dexter's canine rehabilitation veterinarian, prescribed Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR) Oil twice a day. Learn why and how it may help your dog's pain. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #cbd #cbdoil #cbdoilfordogs #potforpets #hempfordogs
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Understanding Flower Essences for Pets and How They Differ from Essential Oils for Pets. Most pet parents think that flower essences are essential oils, which they are not—they are actually quite different. Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Natural Remedies for Pets | Understanding Flower Essences and How They Differ from Essential Oils

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Holistic and Natural Treatments for Pets

Understanding Flower Essences and How They Differ from Essential Oils

Understanding Flower Essences for Pets and How They Differ from Essential Oils for Pets. Most pet parents think that flower essences are essential oils, which they are not—they are actually quite different. Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Natural Treatments and Remedies for Pets

When I’m working with a pet client on a behavior problem, I often find myself recommending a variety of natural calming aids, including flower essence or a flower essence combination. Most pet parents think that flower essences are essential oils, which they are not—they are actually quite different. You can read more about using essential oils with pets in this article.

I am by no means an expert in flower essences, but I have had great results with their use. I thought this article would be a nice time to bring in an expert for Q & A regarding flower essences and pets, and how they differ from essential oils.

Understanding Flower Essences for Pets and How They Differ from Essential Oils for Pets. Most pet parents think that flower essences are essential oils, which they are not—they are actually quite different. Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Brenda & Minnie

I spoke with Brenda Utzerath, a certified acupressure practitioner committed to natural therapies including acupressure, massage therapy, herbal remedies, flower essences, essential oils, crystal healing, natural feeding, and animal hospice. She also has an advanced practitioner degree through the worldwide and well-renowned Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute in Larkspur, CO. I thought she would be the perfect pet expert on the topic of flower essences.

What is the primary difference between flower essences and essential oils?

“There are significant differences between (flower) essences and (aromatherapy) essential oil. Essences often referred to as flower essence, use the vibrational energy from flowers, trees or plants infused into water used for healing imbalances of the mind, body, and spirit. They have no scent or taste other than possibly alcohol used to stabilize the essence. The vibrational energy imprint is transferred to the water which can then be even further diluted. They are subtle “energy” extracts. They are safe taken internally or used on the skin.

Essential oils utilize distillation or cold expression using large quantities of actual plant material such as roots, bark, seeds, or leaves. These oils are not diluted in water. They have very distinct and sometimes intense aromas and flavor. They work very well using the sense of smell and limbic system (brain) as a delivery method. Most essential oils are best diluted first in a carrier oil and then applied topically or used through aromatherapy. There is debate whether any or only certain essential oils are safe to consume.

Flower essences and essential oils can be used cooperatively. According to Flower Essence Society (FES), ‘while both affect the mind-body continuum, they work from opposite pathways. Essential oils enter through the senses to reach the soul, while flower essences impact the subtle energy fields of the soul to affect physical well-being.'”

What can flower essences be used to heal?

“Flower essences impact the energy fields of our body and mind to act as a catalyst to heal. They act to help balance our energy or electrical system. These misalignments or imbalances create mental, emotional, and physical symptoms. Flower essences are perfect for restoring the free flow of energy within. Their own ability to adjust and to blossom in their natural environment helps create adaptation in our bodies and a sense of well-being using the innate positive electrical energy found in nature. This, in turn, heals the body as well.”

What tips can you provide on how to determine the quality of a brand?

“Flower essences aren’t burdened with the same marketing hype issue that seems to follow essential oils. You can even safely and quite easily make your own. There are many reputable brands, many with combination essences already prepared for specific emotional issues. Sometimes it comes down to a personal preference or experience with a particular brand for choosing which one to use. There are many single essences also available for you to choose individually.”

Are there any safety concerns or precautions when using flower essences with pets?

“Flower essences are completely safe and without any contraindications. Children, elderly, in pregnancy, with animals and plants, flower essences will do no harm. Nothing is going to happen if you take the wrong flower essence, as the essence will only work on the energy level that we are having problems with. When you take the wrong flower essence remedy, nothing happens.”

How do you know if a flower essence is working or when to try another formulation?

“You will know the flower essence is working if you begin to feel better or differently than before taking the essence. Often times with acute issues you will begin to feel relief from the very first dose. Other times when dealing with layers of symptoms or long-standing issues, it could take a few weeks of regular dosing to create a shift in the energy field of the mind and body. The frequency of dosing is more important when using essences rather than volume. So a few drops several times a day will give your body energy better support than more drops once or twice daily. Since you cannot overdose flower essences taking an entire bottle won’t be harmful, just wasteful. It is worth noting that flower essences are often stabilized using alcohol, although there are now some companies using other than alcohol to preserve them if that is important to you.

Using flower essences can sometimes be similar to peeling an onion. There may be layers of imbalances. Remove one layer to reveal another one hidden below. It can take time, however keep in mind flower essences are gentle and safe healers. No need to be concerned with becoming addicted or in having negative side effects.”

What is the best way to administer flower essences?

“Flower essences can be taken internally or absorbed through the skin. Putting a dropper full into a bottle of pure water then sipping on it during the day is a fine way to dose flower essences. Similarly, adding them to your pet’s water bowl of pure water allows them to dose themselves with every drink they take. If that is not convenient, a few drops from the essence bottle directly into the mouth or onto the skin works equally as well. Further diluting a dropper full or two of flower essences in some pure water in a spray bottle makes it easy to spritz on the skin as well. If all else fails, putting a few drops in a bowl of food for your pet, will generally accomplish good things, too.”

After speaking with Brenda, I feel even more confident to work with flower essences with both my pets and my clients’ pets. I’m actually going to start a little research on looking to add flower essences to Dexter’s medical regimen!


Have you or your pet used flower essences? Tell me in the comments.

Understanding Flower Essences for Pets and How They Differ from Essential Oils for Pets. Most pet parents think that flower essences are essential oils, which they are not—they are actually quite different. Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #herbsforpes #naturaldog #naturalpets #essentialoilsforpets
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How to research a good dog breeder and what questions to ask a dog breeder before buying a puppy. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

How to Research Good Dog Breeders | How to Find a Puppy Breeder

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How to Research a Good Local Puppy Dog Breeder

Things You Should Know First and Questions to Ask a Dog Breeder

How to research a good dog breeder and what questions to ask a dog breeder before buying a puppy. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Finding a good puppy breeder

I know some of my friends are ‘adopt don’t shop,’ but I feel there are also great reasons to purchase a pure-bred dog from a responsible dog breeder. As I’m typing this, I think maybe that would be another great topic for the blog, but right now I’ve had a lot of requests on how to find a responsible breeder. Here are some things to consider when looking for a good breeder.

Research Your Dog Breed

This is a must in my book. If you are looking to purchase a puppy from a breeder, I think it’s only fair to understand your chosen breed’s physical and behavioral characteristics. Of course, not all dogs read their dog breed manual, but it’s a great starting point.

Where to Learn about Your Dog Breed

The internet is amazing in this first step. A simple search, such as “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel National Breed Club,” will pull up a few great sites for breed specific information. Spend some time reading all about your breed to learn about your breed’s grooming care, behavior traits, size, and medical concerns.

I highly recommend really reading and understanding the medical concerns. Some breeds are prone to hereditary conditions. A national breed club website is likely to suggest specific screening of the Sire and Dam (parents) of dogs prior to breeding to help reduce the risk of disease. ‘Reduce the risk’ is the key phrase, but it’s never certain. A good dog breeder really tries to help increase the health of the breed by breeding healthy and tested dogs.

Puppy Socialization Starts with the Puppy Breeder

Puppies are developing both physically and mentally right out of the gate, and even during pregnancy! A stressed mom can produce stressed, unhealthy puppies. A responsible breeder that is ensuring both the physical and mental well-being of their puppies will start with basic puppy socialization at their home. This may include introducing the puppies to children, adults, outdoors, handling and grooming, and even textures and obstacles.

How to find a good puppy dog breeder near me
Meeting puppies

Finding a Puppy Breeder Listing

Many national breed clubs will provide a breeder list. This is a great place to start to learn about specific breeders. I would suggest starting with a specific mile radius that you are willing to drive to meet the breeder and the puppies. You can start by looking at a breeder’s website. Look for information on health testing and puppy socialization.

When you find a few breeders that look good on paper, shoot them an email or give them a call. Talk with them about your goals and hopes for your new family member. You are looking for a connection with a breeder just like you are looking for a connection with your puppy.

Meet the Breeder and Their Dogs

I’m a fan of setting up a date and time to meet the breeder in their home and visit with their dogs. Seeing the living situation and behavior of their dogs in person is a great indicator of how the puppies will turn out. I would suggest looking for happy breeding dogs that are part of the family. When I suggested this concept to a Facebook group, I had some breeders that were really unhappy with that idea. They felt that was an invasion of privacy and waste of time. They have every right to choose how they want to sell their puppies, but for me, I also have a right to choose what is important to me in the puppy-buying decision.

Visiting Dexter The Dog

Choosing a Puppy

I think this is another article in itself. But, a few highlights to get you started. TAKE YOUR TIME! This is not a time to make a quick decision or an impulse buy or think “we can make it work.” You are in the process of choosing your next family member. A living creature with strong emotions that will hopefully be with you for the next ten to twenty years. Twenty? I know… I have high hopes for all the amazing dogs out there. 😉

Before meeting the puppies, have an idea about what you want to do with your puppy and future dog. Are you looking for a canine athlete? Or maybe a therapy dog to visit children or the elderly. The personality traits of those two puppies can be quite different, so knowing your goals will help in choosing the best puppy for you, your family and goals. Need help in choosing the right puppy for your family? I offer in-home or phone services to help you choose the right puppy!

Taking Your Puppy Home

Picking up a new puppy typically happens when the pup is between 8-12 weeks of age. I prefer the latter when the puppy is in a great environment with other aunties and puppies for socialization. Prepare your car for your new puppy prior to arriving at the breeder’s home. Some items you may want to have on hand are a travel crate, puppy blankets, healthy treats, water and bowl, and a leash and harness. If your journey includes an overnight stay, make sure you pack items for the dog-friendly hotel stay.

How to research a good dog breeder and what questions to ask a dog breeder before buying a puppy. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Taking your puppy home

Air Travel

I personally would never fly any of my pets in cargo. I would also never have my puppy shipped to me. Again, no cargo for me and I would want to meet the breeder, meet the dogs, meet the puppies, etc. If you are planning on a plane ride home, check with the airlines on what they will need prior to your departure.

Staying in Contact with Your Puppy Breeder

When breeders are really trying to do well by the breed, they may ask you to provide specific health tests on your puppy through his life. This is a good thing. This means the puppy breeder is looking to see how the puppies develop, and if there are any medical concerns over his life, they may not breed that breeding pair again. In my book, this speaks volumes about what a responsible breeder really is.

Now that you have a healthy and behaviorally healthy puppy, it’s now your job to start puppy socialization and puppy training. You and your puppy are ready for a lifetime of fun and joy.


Do you travel with your dog? Tell me in the comments.

How to research a good dog breeder and what questions to ask a dog breeder before buying a puppy. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #puppy #puppies
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Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems

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DIY Dog Grooming at Home. Basic Dog Grooming and How to Cut a Dog's Hair. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

DIY Dog Grooming at Home | Basic Dog Grooming and How to Cut a Dog’s Hair ~ Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Demo Video

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DIY Dog Grooming at Home | Basic Dog Grooming and How to Cut a Dog’s Hair

Grooming, Trimming and Brushing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

DIY Dog Grooming at Home. Basic Dog Grooming and How to Cut a Dog's Hair. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Dog Grooming at Home

No, I’m not a professional dog groomer, nor do I play one on TV. I do, however, bathe, groom, and clip Dexter at home. This article is to share with you my techniques and what has worked for my dog grooming at home. If you are looking for a more professional look, I would highly recommend taking your dog to your local groomer or even taking a few pet grooming courses yourself. If you don’t have a groomer you love, ask your friends for recommendations.

Watch The DIY Grooming Video

How Often to Give a Dog a Bath

It depends. That’s a great answer to almost any question. But it really does. If you are using a natural dog shampoo that is free of harsh chemicals and preservatives, you can feel comfortable bathing your dog as often as needed. For Dexter, during allergy season, he tends to get a bath every two weeks. During the off-season, it’s more like every three to four weeks.

How Often to Brush a Dog

Ideally, this would be daily! Brushing and combing your dog daily will not only assist in keeping your dog’s coat tangle-free, but it is also a great way to examine your dog. Dog grooming isn’t just about getting a clean and shiny dog; it’s also a way to bond with your dog and check him over for lumps and bumps. If you brush your dog daily, you are unlikely to have any tangles or mats to deal with. If your dog is uncomfortable being brushed or touched, read my article Stress-Free Dog Brushing.

Dexter’s Daily Brushing Routine

When brushing your dog, it’s important to go slowly and to be gentle. You can talk to your dog and even give your dog a healthy treat during the process. You want grooming to be enjoyable for both you and your dog.

When I brush Dexter, I start at the top of his head and work my way down. I typically rotate between a steel dog grooming comb and a slicker brush. The first big part for Dexter is his big, fluffy ears. It’s important for long-haired dogs like Dexter to get every nook and cranny so that they do not develop mats. I gently lift Dexter’s ears up as I comb underneath his ears. If I do find a snaggle, then I hold the mat at the base and start at the end and work my way up to the base. After working the underside of his ears, I do the outside of his ears. I do this the same way, from the top down, unless there is a mat or tangle.

Next, I work my way from under his neck and chest area. After his chest, I ask Dexter to lie down and roll over to his side. I then proceed to brush under his armpits, belly, legs, side and hips. When manipulating his legs to brush under them, I am careful to make sure I am gently moving his legs in a natural fashion.

How to Trim a Dog’s Furry Feet

Some dogs, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, have what are referred to as slippers on their feet. Some people call them Grinch feet. The breed standard suggests keeping the Cavalier’s slippers intact on top. However, it’s important to keep the underside of a dog’s foot clean and fur-free. This excess hair can actually knot up inside the paw pads and cause slipping and injury.

DIY Dog Grooming at Home. Basic Dog Grooming and How to Cut a Dog's Hair. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Cavalier Grinch Feet

I do not follow show standards, and I do trim the top of Dexter’s feet, too. He’s a pretty active boy and his furry feet act as sponges! If you decide to keep the tops of your dog’s feet furry, it’s important to brush the fur between the pads regularly, so they do not develop mats. Simply place your finger in between the toes and bring the fur upward to comb.

DIY Dog Grooming at Home. Basic Dog Grooming and How to Cut a Dog's Hair. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Trimming Feet

For Dexter, I ask him to lie down and flip him to one side. I then gently pick up one foot as I take the clippers and move the edge of the clipper inside the toe pad and scoop the fur out. Be careful not to dig too deep with the clippers; you don’t want to cause a burn or rash.


Do You Groom Your Dog at Home? Tell me in the comments.

DIY Dog Grooming at Home. Basic Dog Grooming and How to Cut a Dog's Hair. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #doggrooming #diygrooming
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Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration. Today is a day to remember to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Read Dexter's inspiring story. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Dexter The Dog’s Eight Birthday Celebration

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How to Celebrate a Dog’s Birthday

Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration

Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration. Today is a day to remember to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Read Dexter's inspiring story. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Celebrate Daily

What can I say? I just love Dexter so much. “To the moon and back,” as I always say. Or, “It’s all about Dexter.” But really, it is.

Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration. Today is a day to remember to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Read Dexter's inspiring story. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
To the moon and back

I’ve always been a dog lover—no, an animal lover. There’s just something about the way animals behave and love that has me mesmerized. I’ve been lucky to have lived with my fair share of amazing dogs and cats over the years, but there’s just something different about the relationship I have with Dexter.

Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration. Today is a day to remember to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Read Dexter's inspiring story. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Meeting Grandma

My Heart Dog. That’s Dexter. When I met Dexter on November 15, 2009, at 5 weeks of age, and brought him home at 12 weeks, I never knew that Dexter was going to become my world. But it didn’t take long before I knew we had something special. For Dexter, I think he knew the first day we met!

Picking Out Dexter

Before Dexter, there was Theo. Theo was cursed with extreme dog anxiety. He was terrified of thunderstorms, loud noises, and fireworks; he had separation anxiety and dog-to-dog reactivity. Theo taught me more than I ever could have imagined, and I thank him for allowing me to care for him throughout his life.

Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration. Today is a day to remember to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Read Dexter's inspiring story. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Still in my car today

Because of Theo’s stress, I knew I was going to be very proactive with Dexter’s care and puppy training. We went to puppy training class 2-3 times a week. Okay, grandma took him through the dog training classes I taught. 😉 We went on daily dog adventures for puppy socialization. I worked hard on preventing dog behavioral problems such as separation anxiety and thunder phobia. We took dog-friendly vacations together. You name it—we did it.

Picking out a puppy
Car ride home

Maybe it’s the fact that Dexter has been my constant companion since day one, or maybe there is just something extra-special about him—I don’t know. But the end result is the same. I love him to pieces, and I will do anything and everything I possibly can to ensure he has the best, fullest life possible.

Puppy's first Christmas
Dexter’s first Christmas

September 2012 would be a life-altering month for me. Dexter was diagnosed with Chiari-like malformation (CM) and Syringomyelia (SM). In a nutshell, the base of Dexter’s skull pushes into his spinal cord and obstructs the normal flow of spinal fluid. This causes the spinal fluid to build up pressure at the base of the neck, forming fluid-filled cavities along his spine. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any successful cure, and the disease is progressive.

Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration. Today is a day to remember to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Read Dexter's inspiring story. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Seriously, I love him!

Dexter’s diagnosis shook me to my core. I couldn’t imagine my life without him, or worse yet, him in pain. However, I am happy to report that over the last 5 years, I have been working with Dexter in a variety of ways to keep his symptoms at bay and to continue to provide Dexter with the quality of life he deserves. If anything, this disease has brought Dexter and me closer, and just proves that we have to live each day to the fullest and have no regrets.

Cavalier puppy photos
Love him to bits

Even though today is Dexter’s 8th birthday, it really isn’t any more special than any other day we have together. I don’t want to celebrate Dexter’s life once a year; I want to celebrate his life daily! In honor of Dexter’s birthday, I am asking you to do two things, starting today.

  1. Please donate or volunteer at your favorite pet rescue. These amazing animals are just waiting for someone to come along and help them learn about love and respect. We will be donating to Cavalier Rescue USA in honor of Dexter’s life.
  2. Please, please, LIVE LIFE DAILY with your pets. They are on this earth for such a short time, so cherish every moment you have with them. We only get one shot at making it a good one. They want your attention more than anything else. Now, go.


How do you celebrate your pets? Tell me in the comments.

Dexter The Dog’s 8th Birthday Celebration. Today is a day to remember to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Read Dexter's inspiring story. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #dogbirthday
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