Holistic Pet Blog - Debbie Reynolds, DVM
The one skin treatment that can help most any skin condition AND is safe to lick - Skin Spray by AnimalEO
Skin Spray by AnimalEO is one of our best selling products for Veterinary Home Healthcare patients.
Why?1. It treats MANY skin conditions
2. It is safe for young animals
3. It is affordable
4. It is safe if ingested (licked)
5. Ease of use
Skin Spray was created to combine all of the major essential oils that benefit skin health into an easy to use application. For example, Copaiba is a very potent anti-inflammatory and helps calm and soothe the skin while fighting inflammation. We have used this combination of essential oils at Veterinary Home Healthcare for years, for everything from hot spots to atopic dermatitis. We have even had some people discover the effects of it on their own skin and return to purchase it for their human family!
The essential oils promote skin health and are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-yeast, soothing, immune supportive, anti-depressant, calming, and grounding. In a nutshell, it can help about any type of skin condition.
Some common scenarios we use this product for are puppy pyoderma, the little skin infections young puppies get - because it is 100% safe for them to lick it or have it on their body; also hot spots, dry skin with flaking and dandruff, skin infections, fungal infections, itchy skin, and we use it to maintain skin health after a condition has been cleared.
This unique blend contains essential oils of Helichrysum (H. italicum), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis), Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia), and Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha).
Heart disease affects MANY dogs and cats as they age. Don't wait until that happens - begin supporting them NOW.
(check below to see if your pet is on the at risk list)
CardioBoost Essential Oil for Cardiovascular Health: just needed once a week with a simple petting technique!
As a veterinarian I see many patients with heart disease. When I think about them - I would sort of lump them into categories:
1. Older, small breed dogs - heart murmurs associated to a valve problem (such as mitral regurgitation).
2. Older, large breed dogs - weakened heart muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy)
3. Older cats - thickened heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
4. Older cats - increased blood pressure
5. Any breed, any age, dog or cat (in many areas of the U.S., but very prevalent here in the Mississippi River Valley) - heartworm disease.
6. Breeds with their own special heart diseases and/or genetic tendencies to heart disease:
Here's the thing - most of the time these symptoms pop up and due to lack of a "curative treatment" for heart disease in many cases, we support the cardiovascular system with drugs WHEN the symptoms appear. It would be a far better thing to see an animal supported to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, than to deal with it once it pops up. CardioBoost should be used before you ever need them. Like our grandparents always said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
I am much more optimistic with cases of desired prevention or in very early detection scenarios than with a patient that has existing symptoms leading up to congestive heart failure (CHF). In CHF you most likely are going to need drugs along with supplements. A dog with a heartworm infection will be more prone to developing heart damage, just as an animal with a heart murmur, or even an animal that is predisposed to developing either form of cardiomyopathy. All of these cases, and cases similar them - can benefit greatly from improving their health lifestyle (their foundation of health), while also exposing themselves to beneficial items such as essential oils, herbs, nutritional supplements, and such.
What I see on a clinical basis - is that animals who have a focus on optimal nutrition, great whole food dietary supplements, and regular use of essential oils - are just way healthier. I definitely see this in my own personal pets and I also can see a patient transform before my eyes when we implement lifestyle changes.
CardioBoost can be used once weekly as prevention and I would highly recommend this in breeds that are known to have a high risk of cardiac disease. I would recommend this in older cats as well. And, in my neck of the woods, if your dog has had heartworm disease, I would implement this once a week for life.
For animals who may have advanced heart disease, and may even be on medications such as Enalapril or Lasix - it is unlikely that you would be able to replace the use of these drugs with essential oils alone. You will need to work closely with your veterinarian or veterinary cardiologist when you select to use heart during this process.
As always, I would love to help you with your pet by providing a free consult to answer any questions you may have.
By: Debbie Reynolds, DVM
My initial reaction to natural bug repellents for dogs and cats was that I didn't think it would take off. I know people don't like putting chemicals on their pet, but I didn't think people would be committed enough to apply a spritz of essential oil to their pet every day or before they go outside.
Turns out, I was wrong. People DO want to go to that effort to avoid putting chemicals on their furry family members. As the trend shifts in humans - steering away from DEET and other chemicals - so it does in animals. It is even more important for animals as they groom and ingest what is on their fur.
The product that we use the most of is an essential oil made by AnimalEO called "Away". It has a light lemony scent and doesn't smell harsh in the least, it is quite fragrant. A spritz on the feet and belly as they go outdoors is enough to keep bugs off. There are other options available for natural bug repellents, but this is the one I know and trust. It is made by Melissa Shelton, DVM and it has been out there long enough that we know it works and we know it is safe.
Away essential oil is water based so it is not oily and contains Eucalyptus citriodora, Catnip (used in a lot of human applications as a bug repellent), Citronella, Lemon Tea Tree, and White Cypress.
Several unique ingredients in Away increase its ability to eliminate odors and repel insects. Eucalyptus citriodora (also called Lemon Eucalyptus) is an essential oil from Australia, which carries well known constituents that repel insects, including PMD (p-Menthane 3,8 diol). Catnip oil is also showing great interest in the world of insect repellents, however both essential oils carry properties that are rivaling DEET!
Essential oils do not last as long as the chemicals we have found to be so convenient. But, what price do we pay for that convenience? Many of my patients and clients come to me for alternatives to traditional medicines that were causing harm to their animal friend. It is a scary thought that we apply toxic chemicals in the name of convenience to our family member that often sleeps in the same bed with us! Natural protection is not perfect, but nothing out there really is. One of the benefits is that applying essential oils to your dogs actually makes them healthier and not many products can boast of that!
If you are a person dedicated to natural ectoparasite care for your fur baby, just establish your routine, tweak the dose according to the time of year and the bug load and don't give up. It will be worth it in the long run!
By: Debbie Reynolds, DVM
The most important thing you can do to add years to your dog's life is to keep their teeth clean. This is so important in order to keep your dog healthy. Tartar builds up daily on your dog's teeth. You can even sometimes see the tan/brown buildup at the gum line caused by layers of bacteria.
This leads to gingivitis or gum inflammation/infection. When this occurs - the bacteria in the tartar have access to your dog's capillaries under the gum line. Once this bacteria is flowing through the bloodstream it starts wreaking havoc. The two places that it loves to "lodge" is in the tubules of the kidneys and on the valves of the heart. This is why we often tell patients and clients that not cleaning the teeth can cause heart or kidney problems.
The next stage is periodontal disease and this occurs when more time goes by with no dental cleaning. It leads to bone loss and loose teeth. Needless to say, the breath gets pretty bad at this point. Chewing and eating become more difficult and even painful.
Most of my dog and cat patients need their teeth cleaned professionally about once a year. Some pets can go a bit longer and some cannot go that long. In general, shorter nosed dogs have more crowded teeth and develop tartar more quickly. Genetics also play a role - same as in people.
In between the cleanings you should be providing routine dental care at home. Ideally, their teeth should be brushed daily. Even if you get a professional cleaning by a veterinarian, tartar starts rebuilding in 24 hours. Brushing eliminates the problem faster than anything else. You will need to use toothpaste made for dogs, and any toothbrush will do. Human toothpaste has some dangerous ingredients for our pets and the dog toothpaste is made to be tasty for our pets with meat or peanut butter flavors.
Short of that, there are a plethora of dental products on the market. Not all of them work well and some pets refuse certain products. There is everything from bones & chews to water & food additives or even goo you can put in the mouth. At Veterinary Home Healthcare and The Blessed Pet Shop we have a few favorites.
For the more natural minded person, we recommend frozen Primal marrow bones. These bones are fresh and frozen and full of marrow. The marrow contains natural enzymes to inhibit tartar buildup. The small pieces of meat on the outside of the bone encourage chewing in such a way that it mechanically scrapes the surfaces of the teeth. We recommend one fresh bone per week.
For the more medically minded person, we use Oravet Chews. These chews are given once daily. It will take most dogs about 5 minutes to ingest one of the chews. Oravet works in two ways - the chewing action works to loosen and dislodge plaque to help it break away from teeth. In addition, it also protects by forming a barrier to help protect against the bacteria that leads to tartar buildup for a cleaner mouth and fresher breath. This is because Oravet Dental Chews contain a special ingredient, delmopinol, which works to form a preventive barrier that blocks bacteria, and the future formation of plaque and tartar that builds up over time. OraVet Chews are the first and only dental hygiene product for dogs that contain delmopinol.
In addition, we recommend that you add "Dog Breath" every other day. This is an essential oil you place on the gums, on a favorite chew toy, in with their toothpaste, or even in their water. It has a holistic approach of improving oral health the natural way. Dog breath contains a combination of essential oils including copaiba, helichrysum, peppermint, myrhh and coconut. These oils have a variety of properties including antimicrobial, deodorizing and anti -inflammatory.
In short -
1. Make sure you are cleaning your pet's teeth, as best as you can. Choose the method that works best for your lifestyle.
2. Flip that lip - move your dog's lip up and look along the gum line. Especially on the teeth in the very back. If you see brown discoloration - it's time to see your vet for a dental cleaning.
3. Schedule annual dental cleanings with your veterinarian. No matter how much you brush, this is still a much needed procedure. Same as in humans- we brush twice a day and still make sure to get our teeth cleaned professionally.
A healthy mouth is of the utmost importance for your pet to live a happy, healthy, thriving life.
Please leave me a comment below if you have any questions.
By: Debbie Reynolds, DVM
Let's begin here by talking about the word "allergies". If your dog has allergies, or if you have owned one, you know about the symptoms. Many people are not aware of how different dog allergies are from human allergies. As a veterinarian, I often am called on for an "itchy dog" appointment. They are very surprised to find out that dog allergies = itchy dog. You know, the dog that goes thump-thump-thump in the night. The dog that keeps you up licking and chewing on their feet while you try to sleep.
The medical term for dog allergies is "atopic dermatitis" or "canine atopy". Using these words as search terms on the internet will yield you much better results. I trust the website "Veterinary Partners" and recommend them quite often to my clients who like to research.
The subject matter of this particular blog is to help you realize if your dog may be genetically predisposed to allergies. This way, you can practice intervention early, or be vigilant in watching for the symptoms. The breeds listed below are commonly known to have allergies, and different breeds are more affected in geographical locations of the United States.
American Hairless Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
(White dogs of any breed)
CANINE ATOPY is for life. Once you have it, it never goes away. It is managed.
If you have one of the above breeds I would recommend that you look into pet insurance. It is a good idea anyway, and will be a huge help financially throughout the life of your dog and you can choose whatever treatment you deem best without cost playing a factor in your decision. We use Nationwide Pet Insurance at our practice, but there are hundreds of pet insurance companies to choose from. One of the great things is that you can use any DVM anywhere with any of the pet insurances.
What symptoms should I watch for? The primary symptom we see is paw licking or chewing on any or all four paws. Itching can be anywhere and everywhere on their body - tail-based, underarms, flanks, back, head, chest, literally - anywhere. Sometimes they itch and their coat looks healthy. Sometimes they have rashes, crusty areas, flaky skin and even bald spots. Ear infections and puffy or runny eyes sometimes accompany this itch. It is a pretty miserable condition for the dog. It is the itch that you can't scratch away.
What causes canine allergies? There are three categories of allergens that can make your dog itch: (1) Environmental (2) Insects and (3) Food.
Environmental allergens are things such as grasses, trees, pollens, or anything your dog is in contact with in the environment. I've had some patients, after testing, come back allergic to human dander! One of my patients was even allergic to cat dander.
Insects commonly are fleas and household dust mites. This doesn't mean your dog is infested with fleas or you have a dusty house. Just one flea bite can set off a nasty hypersensitivity reaction to make your dog itch for weeks! It is actually the flea saliva that they react to and it just takes one bite to do it. Household mites are everywhere, even in the cleanest homes - some dogs just react to them when many do not.
Food can also cause an allergic reaction. There has been a trend towards grain free foods recently, but I find that pet owners still end up feeding grains to their pets, unknowingly, in the form of treats. Pizza crust, oddly enough, is also a commonly given treat.
How do you treat allergies in dogs? Ideally, you could alleviate your dog's allergy by avoiding the allergen. This is difficult because most people don't know what the allergen is and even if they do it is usually impossible to avoid. So, we as veterinarians do the same thing that people with allergies do. Give "allergy medicine". For dogs this is usually steroids or other pharmaceuticals. But there is a way to avoid allergy pills for life.
Immunotherapy is the gold standard for treatment of allergy dogs. This is done by finding out what your dog is allergic to. You can inject the allergens into the skin, find out what is causing the allergies, then make a vaccine for it. This is normally done at a specialist - a veterinary dermatologist (this is why insurance is a great idea). You inject the vaccine at tapering doses and then your dog builds up immunity to the allergens and you don't have to give medicine for life.
Prednisone is not something you want your dog to take for any length of time due to the side effects which include increased thirst, increased hunger, increased urinations or bloating. In some cases it can even create diseases such as Cushing's and liver disease. Newer medications such as Apoquel and Atopica are effective with less side effects but are expensive to take, especially for life. Most dogs are diagnosed at age 1-2 so they have many years to go.
What can I do to help? What we like to do at our practice is start hitting the supplements hard if we have a breed that is predisposed to allergies. Here are some ideas if you have an allergy dog or a genetically predisposed breed:
1. Shampoo at least once weekly. You need to wash the pollens and dander off of your dog's fur. Especially if you have a long haired dog. At LEAST once weekly. Use a non medicated soothing shampoo such as oatmeal or eucalyptus. If your dog is itchy, don't give a warm bath. Heat makes the itch worse so use a slightly cool temperature.
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids added to the diet daily is an amazing way to supplement your dog's itchy skin. We use Grizzly Salmon Oil and you can read about all the amazing benefits of this oil on our prior blog post here.
3. Dermoscent 6 is a topical essential oil that is applied in one spot on the skin once weekly to help re-establish the broken skin barrier. It helps to keep the allergens from affecting the skin.
4. Boost in a Bottle essential oil is used topically 2-3 times weekly. There is a blend of 22 essential oils to make this an effective way to replace steroids and medications. You can read about all of it's benefits on our prior blog post here.
5. Raw diets are incredibly helpful in helping keep your dog's immune system at its top level. This food is made for your carivorous dog and can enhance their health in many ways and make them thrive! We use The Honest Kitchen and Primal diets, but there are many to choose from. Raw diets are so easy these days - buy a bag - measure the amount- and add water.
The Blessed Pet Shop can be your one stop shop for any and all of these products.
Whether you choose immunotherapy, medication, or want to strictly try holistic support, I would encourage you to try any or all of the above. All of these have to be used on a consistent basis and it can take 4-6 weeks to see results, so hang in there.
There is not much more frustrating to you, me and the poor dog than allergies. As a veteriarian, I hate to diagnose canine atopy. Since this condition is for life, we will be life long partners with the patient and their families to help them get through this. Often, the medications become less and less effective over time. It a difficult and often miserable condition to be in for everyone involved.
However, don't be disheartened if your dog has allergies or if you have one of these breeds. They can be successfully managed for life with persistent care. You can have a happy, healthy dog, it just requires family support. Please consider starting supplements if you have one of these breeds or if you have noticed that your dog may have some of the symptoms.
If you have any questions - please comment below!
By: Debbie Reynolds, DVM
Boost in a Bottle. The name pretty much says it all. I mean, who doesn’t need a “boost”? Best of all- it’s an essential oil! Anyone who owns a dog can appreciate the no pills part. Even better - it is applied by PETTING. So this supplement is definitely dog approved. Two paws up!
The “boost” we are referring to is made possible by combining 22 essential oils in one bottle. That’s right - TWENTY TWO. This is not done in someone’s backyard or bathroom. This is carefully studied, and well thought out by Dr. Melissa Shelton of AnimalEO. She has done all of the research and work needed in making sure each oil is correctly sourced and perfectly blended.
I am certified in animal aromatherapy and have studied essential oils quite extensively. I have read books, attended seminars, webinars and conferences on top of the training and education I received for my certification. This boost in a bottle is quite an accomplishment. You can’t just mix any two oils together. Dr. Shelton has cracked the code on how to efficiently blend the right oils together, to ensure the synergy and chemistry of each oil works most effectively.
I found essential oils out of necessity and now I use them because they are amazing. I needed to help my daughter with special needs who could not take many pharmaceuticals. Out of desperation, I began using essential oils on the humans in my family. It wasn’t long before I wanted my patients to start using this amazing, God-given, natural, plant-based medicine!
So the “boost” is a huge one! It covers almost every body system you can think of. It works as prevention, treatment and builds up the immune system. I would say the main reason I reach for Boost in a Bottle is to help a patient with a chronic condition. Let’s say - atopic dermatitis - you know, the itchy dog. That poor dog that licks their paws all night and their leg thumps in the night because they are scratching incessantly- keeping everyone awake. This is one of the supplements I prescribe for a dog with allergies. I place them on a raw diet if possible, such as Primal; omega 3 fatty acid supplement, such as Grizzly Salmon; and Boost in a Bottle, which is also used as a steroid replacer. Sometimes we add topical Omega 3’s, such as dermoscent and weekly shampoos to get the pollens out of the dog’s fur. I love it when an allergy dog stops itching with all natural, healthy supplements.
I also love to use Boost in a Bottle with senior aged patients whose body conditions are declining and need additional support with their joints, emotions, and immune system. It’s good for dogs that frequent kennels, groomers or day care to improve their overall health and immunity. It is excellent for multi-pet households and allows for harmonious family dynamics. I use it for ANY patient with a chronic illness such as diabetes, hip dysplasia, kidney disease, liver disease, chronic urinary problems, chronic ear infections and on and on. You get the idea! It really is so easy- there is no reason not to use it!
Below, we have the details of Boost in a Bottle for those that need the details. There are a lot of details and we are happy to answer any questions you may have about this product if you want to comment on our blog post below.
What can Boost in a bottle be used for?
Boost in a bottle can aid in conditions such as arthritis, tick borne diseases, autoimmune conditions, allergies or itching, chronic bacterial or yeast skin infections, or be a replacement of steroid drugs! It can also give added support if already infected with Pneumonia, cancer, parasitic infections, inflammatory bowel disease, viral infections, or neurologic conditions! Boost in a bottle is THE Go-To essential oil in animal aromatherapy to treat or prevent a variety of illnesses and disease.
How should you apply Boost in a bottle?
You can apply Boost in a bottle easily using the raindrop technique. Simply drip 4-6 drops down your dog’s back beginning at the shoulder blades and ending at the base of the tail. Use a petting motion to rub the oils into the fur! EASY! There really is no wrong way to apply this oil! This technique follows the natural flow of your dog’s energy field along the spine, known in Chinese Medicine as the meridian. You do not have to know about energy fields or Chinese medicine for this technique to work for you! Just simply drip- and pet! If you have a dog with sensitivity to the drips, you can always apply the drops to your hands first, and then pet them onto your dog.
How do essential oils work?
Essential oils work best transdermally when applied to skin and fur, to quickly enter the bloodstream for fast and effective results. They also work through inhalation and are safe to ingest if licked. How often should you apply Boost in a bottle? The application amount will vary depending on what you are using the oil for. For general health and supplementation, you can use the oil at least monthly. In other conditions, you would apply it every 1-3 days initially and use your judgement on how often to apply based on the results you get and what you are trying to achieve.
What oils are in Boost in a bottle?
Ingredients: Fractionated Cocolut Oil, Essential Oils of Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis), Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea), Marjoram (Origanum majorana), Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), Tangerine (Citrus tangerina), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Oregano (Oreganum vulgare), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Ginger (Zingiber officinalis), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Helichrysum (H. italicum), Melissa (Melissa officinalis), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Anise (Pimpinella anisum) Juniper (Juniperus communis), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) Blue Cypress (Callitris intratropica), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin).
So what are you waiting for? Try Boost in a bottle today!
By: Debbie Reynolds, DVM
We all know that dogs love rawhide. Dogs love a lot of things that are NOT good for them, don't they? I cringe when I see a dog chewing on rawhide. As a veterinarian too many times I have seen terrible illnesses, unnecessary surgeries and death due to chewing on rawhide.
We've all seen it. They chew and chew and chew. This piece of rawhide gets bigger and bigger and bigger. They try to swallow it and choke, gag and sputter. Sometimes it stays down, often they vomit or have diarrhea, and sometimes they end up at the veterinary clinic.
If that doesn't ring familiar, let me tell what rawhide is and how it is processed. Producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top part is tanned and made into leather products, while the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to make rawhide for our pets. Since there are no hairy rawhides, hair is removed using a highly toxic process called sodium sulphide liming. The hides are washed and whitened by using hydrogen peroxide. Residues of arsenic and formaldehyde routinely show up in rawhide. Since the FDA does not consider rawhide food, these chemicals can be used on them. Sometimes artifical color is added as well as glue to make unique designs or twists.
Wait a minute - if the FDA doesn't consider rawhide food, WHY are we feeding this to our sweet dogs?
Thankfully, there is a wonderful alternative! Did you know there is a digestible alternative to rawhides? They are "no-hide" chews. They look and feel just like rawhide but they are completely digestible. The protein flavors (beef, chicken, salmon or pork) are all human grade and sourced in the US from humanely-raised animals. The salmon is wild-caught. The ingredients – olive oil, brown rice, eggs, gelatin and the naturally-derived enzymes from banana and pineapple (bromelain) – are mixed together with the protein flavor. In Earth Animal's proprietary cooking process, the mixture is hand-rolled into its shape, hand-basted with a slurry of the protein flavor (chicken, beef, pork or salmon) and individually air-dried to form the long lasting, tasty chew. They come in 4 inch or 7 inch chews, and also rawhide sticks for small dogs - click here to purchase.