Nov 30, 2010

Never, EVER Worry About Yout Dog or Cat Getting Lost Again

This is Tom Rees writing to you. I was married to Wendy for 10 years, and while we divorced 5 years ago in 2005, we are still great friends and business associates. I help her with the blog and radio, and manage some of her business affairs.

I am incredibly excited about a company that we have aligned with named Pawtag, a live 24/7 operator assisted Pet Rescue service. THE COMPANY IS OFFERING A SPECIAL DEAL IN CALIFORNIA RIGHT NOW AND AN ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT FOR WENDY'S PEOPLE WHERE LIFETIME RESCUE COVERAGE IS ONLY $29.95 -- ONE TIME FEE ONLY.To be honest I am so excited about it I'd like to buy into the company, and I'll tell you why in a second. First I just want to say, I have purchased Pawtags lifelong services for all four of Wendy's and my dogs because the company's management is offering a special deal during Pawtags' introduction here in California. If you have cats, they obviously work for cats too.

Wendy and I have great dogs and we mix them up between houses because we are divorced but still good friends and working together. Occasionally one of them has to show off his independent side and run off to be the man about town. We both live near really busy through-streets though, so it is always kind of a panic attack when one of them decides to take off and we discover them missing. The next hours consist of driving down all the nearby streets calling out a name and whistling or banging food bowls together.

A couple of times we have had people pick up a dog seeing that he was obviously lost, and they call the number on the tag. Well it's Wendy's number so if she's busy and can't pick up her phone for any reason, the person may not know what to do. Once we had one of the dogs taken to a dog-pound, but luckily we contacted them and figured out a dog matching our description had been brought in.That approach is sort of hit or miss, however, so I would not want to have to go through that again.

What if we hadn't contacted animal control when we did and they took a bunch of animals off to be euthanized and ours was mixed in somehow? Maybe I'm a little nuts, but that's the kind of thing I worry about. Let me just tell you why I am so jazzed about what Pawtag is doing:

#1 I thought micro-chipping was a good idea until I learned that the technology with these microchips is always changing. That means there is no guarantee that an animal center can read my microchip if its too new, or too old, or not the right brand 2, 4, or 10 years from now. The much bigger issue is, however, I want somebody to know my dog's name to be able to calm the animal, and I want to make 100% sure the rescuer can reach somebody right away. I don't want to count on them having to drive my dog to some clinic that hopefully can read my microchip. I don't want them keeping my dog and maybe locking him in a closet because they have to go out immediately.

#2 A personal tag with the dog's name on it is OK, but I'd rather never be in the situation where a person calls the phone number on the tag, and whoever they're calling is busy at that moment or does not pickup. So use PAWTAG even if you have a regular tag. It is only $29.95 on a ONE-TIME basis. You can't lose!

#3 Most importantly, if somehow my dog ends up in the pound, I want them to be able to notify someone right away. I don't want my dog hanging out where strays and all kinds of diseases are passed around.

4 Pawtag solves all these problems with their 24/7 operated assisted rescue number. I called it just to see how many rings it would take and if the operators would know exactly what to do. It was a great experience so I bought tags for all my dogs!

Whoever finds the dog calls the 800 number , gives the operator the code on the tag, is immediately told the dog's name and that he just had all his shots, and the owner lives at xyz street 1.5 miles away (they have maps)-- "hold on a moment while I reach the owner". Then she's got Wendy to call, then me and if we don't answer goes down a list of numbers on the computer until she reaches somebody in your family.

Before buying the Pawtags tags I called the operator's desk and asked myself what her procedure was, So I not only listed Wendy, but they have room on the input sheet for 10 phone numbers. I added Wendy, my best friend Steve, mom and dad, and sister!

The bottom line is there is no room for error. Just while I was writing this article, a microchip article came up on my news. They have to reprogram the microchips, then add them to this manual universal data base. Then they talked about getting only 3 out of 4 animals back with their owners because of old data or things wrong, and they said that is a good number! I think it's terrible because it should be 100% an owner gets his or her pet back (barring accidents, God forbid). PAWTAG has NEVER not been able to locate an owner or owner's family and friends!

So that's it in a nutshell. I believe this system beats all the others hands down, and for $29.99 for life you have a deal that's hard to beat. The only reason for NOT using this program would be you prefer a personal tag with the dog's name on it, but my answer to that is why take ANY risk of not being contacted? It would be WELL worth it to simply buy a second tag while it is going for such a discount (The Pawtag).

If you have time to read the article that just popped up for microchips, they are trying to make it sound good -- but I see nothing better than Pawtag.

THE DANGER OF MICROCHIPS: Editor's Note: I believe that because this sector is in a shambles, its popularity will start to fall and be replaced with Pawtag:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: City Of Burien Can’t Read Pet Microchips?

Hi my name is Delsie Baumgardner, I have a story I’m not sure if you’d be interested in but it would be helpful to people out there looking for their animals:
I lost my female calico cat she was about a year old and spayed and micro-chipped. She had been missing since Tuesday September 7th 2010. I put up signs on Friday September 10th since I never heard anything from any local shelters picking her up I figured I’d be notified if she did get picked up since she was micro-chipped.
I got a phone call from a lady Saturday night saying she was sorry to tell me some bad news about my cat that she was pretty sure it was my cat that was hit by a car on 136th and 2nd Ave South (I live on 136th and 3rd Ave South) and that she called a number that someone gave her to pick up the deceased body.
I called the number that the lady called to have her body picked up and it was the Burien public works department (phone number 206-248-5521) it was Monday morning I called and talked to a lady named Val. She said yes indeed the road crews picked up a deceased calico cat on 136th and 2nd Ave South on Thursday evening. I asked her if they checked her for a microchip and she said no, that unfortunately they don’t have scanners but that if a deceased animal is picked up with a collar and tags that they will notify the owner (cat’s get their collars and tags off plenty of times so we think micro-chipping them will be helpful) and that sometimes they keep the deceased body’s for a couple days but this one was too beat up for them to keep.
What I want to know is that these deceased animals that “road crews” are picking up and not checking for microchips why aren’t they taken to Burien animal care and control and checked for microchips then so that the proper person can be notified if the cat/dog is microchip? I feel that it is unfair that people don’t know, me being one person didn’t know that Burien had road crews picking up deceased animals. I was expecting animal control to have picked up my animal if anything and I don’t know for sure if it was my cat or not that was found near my house deceased or not. It would be nice for some owners to have that closure knowing or not. I also think that owners should know that road crews are picking up deceased animals, and that micro-chipping doesn’t always mean that they are going to know if their animal is picked up or not by the crews.
Thank you for your time and I hope to get the word out so people know to not only look at shelters but to call the Public Works department and maybe we can get them going on getting a scanner!
Delsie Baumgardner
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Click Anywhere on Picture to Buy Lifetime Coverage for $29.95

  • When you sign up with Pawtag, you enter the brass tag number on their computer input page.
  • You enter your dog's name, so when the person who found your pet calls in to the 800 number on the tag, that's the first thing the operator tells them. This way they can talk to your pet by name to calm him.
  • The operator asks the person where they are physically located, and can tell them using a computer map how far your dog is away from home and the address of the dog and you, the owner.
  • The operator tells the person that he/she is going to call you immediately, the owner, so you can call the person back and arrange to pick up your pet. The operator takes down a name and address for the good person who is reuniting dog with family.
  • If you are at work or busy or perhaps away or on vacation, on the computer input form you can enter up to 10 relatives and friends' phone numbers for the operator to call when you are busy and unaware there is a problem. This makes sure the person who found your pet is not inconvenienced if they have something else they must do.
  • Because the computer information is so important it is backed up in one place where the operators can get at it all 24/7, and it is backed up at a secure 2nd location in the event the main database is compromised.
  • Lots of people who have Microchips get Pawtags to help--because neighbors can't read microchips.
  • Let's face it -- while life goes on we take vacations, work, and are sometimes unavailable to attend to an emergency we don't know about-- but with Pawtags you never have to worry about it. Just tell all the people who you listed on the phone list to perhaps expect a call one day. Get them to put THEIR pets on PAWTAG for a lifetime of no worries. Help Pawtag take over as the leader in the lost pet help category, as it can only help Pawtag be an even stronger company with a better known name! 

Nov 12, 2010

Does Your Pet Need Sober Living?

Does your dog or cat have a drinking problem because you have been feeding them alcohol on the side, or they can't help finishing off the drinks at after cocktail parties? The number of dogs that have been injured biting into full cans of beer is on the rise. Some pets even find their way into the medicine cabinet and experiment with drugs (usually curious cat). This can all lead to trouble and when you feel it is time, you should take your dog or cat in for alcohol or drug treatment programs.

Well, I hope that gave a few readers a lift, but I really did it for your attention. I have seen people who get in the habit of letting their Labradors drink beer, but I don't think there has been an official pet drinking problem!
Wendy is doing me (Tom Rees) the favor of allowing me to show how kids are getting into drugs these days, so you know what is going on, especially if you have kids or grandchildren.

Unfortunately with people it is a little different. Somebody may have handled drinking for a long period of time, but somewhere along the line perhaps his or her drinking habits got a little heavy. The number of people who become addicted to pain medications is unbelievable. And a drug being called "heroin in a bottle" is Oxycontin or Oxycodone. Kids will usually start by one son or daughter raiding their parents' medicine cabinet and getting a few of these pills to share with friends at a party. After all, Mom and or Dad take them -- they couldn't possibly be dangerous. Besides, everybody talks about what a fantastic "buzz" they give -- so why not?

This class of painkillers is an opiate, and the best way to describe an opiate high to someone who has never experienced one is it feels just like being in love -- intensely so. It is not difficult to see how a kid would want to feel this way, so they begin to get the pills at every opportunity and suddenly it is not just on the weekends, either. Maybe they start taking one midweek and realize the pressures of school are easier to handle, and so at some point they begin to take them daily. Physical addiction to the pills can occur extremely fast -- within weeks -- so that when you don't have a pill to take you feel "dope-sick". Being dope-sick feels like a really bad case of the flu, except the only thing you can think about is feeling better using a pill, and you obsess over this..

Along the way, some of the other kids have found a way to get high that is a ton cheaper, because the pills, depending on their strength can be anywhere from $20 - $80 a pill. Your resistance builds fast too, so to get the same "buzz" on that you had a month ago today, maybe now you have to take two pills. Well unfortunately, a better, cheaper buzz comes in the form of heroin -- which can be sniffed, smoked, or injected. Injection becomes an addict's favorite delivery because of what they call the "rush" of the drug hitting you. Sniffing might take 20 seconds or longer. Smoking may take 10 seconds. Injecting is almost immediate and the effect is much stronger. This is how a normal kid with a good home can be transformed into a full blown, heroin injecting "junkie"-- and it is happening to hundreds of thousands of kids every year.

Because of the cycle above, entire towns in the mid-west "Bible Belt" are getting hit -- as well as areas that are more urban and "with it". The only way to break these addictions are to go to Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers that specialize in helping people kick their habits. Hardly anyone in the world can kick off the stuff described above it is so powerful, and at the treatment centers they initially give you other drugs to make the experience bearable.

After treatment you can do one of two things. You can go right home, wherever that is, but it's likely the place where the problem started and the chance of relapsing approaches 95% if you do that. Or you can go to sober living, which is what treatment centers almost universally recommend. Sober livings can be moderate places to live ,usually with 8 or 10 other recovering people who act as a total moral support because they are going through a very similar experience.

They range from moderately furnished and reasonably priced around $800 to some up in Malibu, California and other states that will run you an obscene $20,000 to $30,000 or more per month -- where you have a whole team of gurus and every other nutty thing anybody could want. Some of them are truly exquisite properties, however, and for people where money is no problem, why not live your early sobriety in the lap of luxury? For most of us regular folks, though, these houses assign you chores and expect you to be working or focused on something to move your recovery forward. The house surprises you with drug and alcohol tests and if you get caught using you get thrown out -- so there is also a negative consequence of shame of failure that helps people stay sober.

The bottom line is sober living allows someone to start to rebuild their life from solid ground where the individual goes about his days for the first time in perhaps years without drinking or drugging. Some people live at sober livings for several months up to about a year. But the main benefit is it gets you past the point where relapse is so easy, because you build the confidence up to KNOW you don't have to have your"stuff" to have a good or productive day. It can be a little like quitting smoking, also, where the longer you have gone without a cigarette, the more proud you are of yourself and the less you want to have to do it all again -- so you really learn to think twice if you feel a relapse coming on.

As you may have guessed this is not Wendy writing, it is her husband Tom Rees. After Wendy and I got divorced, I got hit with a really terrible clinical depression -- the kind where you find you can hardly get out of bed or function normally, and I began taking pain pills for my back just a bit too often to try and feel better. SO eventually I checked into a treatment center, and was diagnosed as bipolar depressive with anxiety. I had also drank for most of my life with no problem, but with the pills it became a problem and I found out that alcohol can depress me, so I cut it out altogether. I left a 20 year career on Wall Street resolving to help other people less fortunate than me. I tried owning and operating sober livings for several years but it was very emotionally difficult work, and when my partner relapsed and stole about $80,000 by putting it all in a little 3 inch glass pipe, I figured God was sending me a signal.

Indeed he was, because very shortly thereafter I came to the realization that there was no central directory for sober living and halfway houses. I have launched the largest database in the world with 8000 sober living and halfway houses listed -- and now comes the part where we start to round up managers and owners of the houses to ask them to join us, as that is what makes the business end of this free search engine work. If you know anybody who is sober, please tell them about not only a house searching resource but a general resource where all their questions about drugs and alcohol can be answered (as my lifelong dream is to now build the Google site for recovery!) Please help me, and a big Thanks for Wendy for letting me spread the word here about at

Nov 3, 2010

A Fantastic Interview That Centers Around Healthcare for You AND Your Pet

HealthyLife.Net Radio Show

Wendy’s Animal Talk
Host Wendy Nan Rees

Guest Russell Louie
Choosing a Holistic Practitioner
November 2, 2010, 1-2:00 PM PDT

Russell, has studied holistic health for over 30 years and lived a holistic lifestyle for over 58 years. He specializes in integrating his scientific background with his knowledge of health, to holistically help both people and pets. As a holistic scientist, his greatest talent is being able to cut through all the marketing hype, using his scientific background to tell people what is truly holistic. Today, our topic is “Choosing a Holistic Practitioner.”

Your topic for today’s show would be helpful to all of us, whether we have pets or not?
Yes, that is correct. My goal is to share what criteria has worked for me, my wife and our pets over the last 60 years, so that others can benefit from our lessons. As you know, I do not believe in mistakes, so I do not mean we have selected bad holistic practitioners. But by sharing our holistic lessons, I hope to make others’ path easier, so they can make better choices.

That sounds great. Let us start with Lesson #1.
#1 on my list of choosing a good holistic practitioner is to be a participant in your or your pet’s healthcare. Part of the problem with the way today’s conventional system is structured, is that we have given our power of discernment away to healthcare practitioners. We tell them our or our pet’s symptoms and they tell us what is wrong with our body based on one-dimensional lab tests. They then prescribe medication, supplements or treatment based on their single point of view and educational experience. Sometimes they guess right and the body comes back into balance and the symptoms go away and sometimes they guess wrong. In either case, the practitioner expects the patient to follow everything they say whether it is right or wrong, it works or not.One of Margaret’s old-school practitioners said it best, “Your job as a patient is to comply.”

So, some healthcare practitioners expect total compliance with what they prescribe?
Yes, that is right. There is no latitude to deviate from the original prescribed treatment or even question it. We favor a more collaborative approach where the healthcare practitioner listens and honors our opinion and works with it when prescribing a healthcare plan. After all, two heads are better than one. I observe and live with my body and my pet 24 hours a day. I think I can provide valuable input, albeit in layman’s terms. The conventional healthcare practitioner only sees a small snapshot based on the sample questions they are trained to ask. I look for a holistic practitioner that listens to all that I have to say, whether it is immediately relevant to their modality or not.

I agree with that. What other lessons have you learned?
When a healthcare practitioner prescribes something, we need to be their eyes and ears until we see them again. It pays to write down what symptoms you are experiencing now, rating each one on a numerical scale and then charting your progress. We get a lot of first-time customers call back saying our holistic product did not work. What they mean is their symptoms did not go away in the 20-30 days they tried it. So, I ask them if they feel they have more energy than before they started, are they sleeping better, do they have more clarity at work and have their mood swings been neutralized. 

If their pet is being treated, I ask if the pet has a shinier, silkier coat, they have more energy, act more playful or affectionate, sleep less, ask to go outside more and have more consistent bowel movements. If they say, Yes, to some or all of these, then I point out that research studies show it generally takes at least 90 days for any permanent change in the body to take effect. This includes changing personal habits, quitting smoking, dieting to lose weight, results from natural supplements, etc. The fact that the new customer did notice some benefits tells me the balancing process still has a way to go before their symptoms improve. They need to be patient and give it at least 90 days.

So, providing this interim feedback gives the holistic practitioner more information to judge unseen results?
That is precisely correct. I like to say to get the maximum out of any treatment plan we need to be an active participant and not just a passive patient.

What else do you look for?
Whenever I have to take increasing amounts of a supplement or give increasing amounts to my pet the longer I take it, I always question my practitioner to see if there is not a better way to balance my body. Having to take ever increasing amounts, tells me my body is becoming dependent on the supplement or product and my body is NOT becoming holistically balanced.

What if the practitioner does not have any more options for you?
Perhaps they do not see anything wrong with being dependent on a supplement or product the rest of your or your pet’s life. Or perhaps you or your pet has exceeded this practitioner’s level of knowledge and experience. I would then ask who they go to when they have issues they cannot solve themselves.

Have you seen this before?
As a matter of fact, Yes. Once I had to move on to my chiropractor’s chiropractor because I had reached a plateau in my body’s progress. My situation was just too complex for my first chiropractor’s skills. A good holistic practitioner should recognize this and give you the contact information for the practitioner they see when they cannot treat themselves.

Can you give us another holistic lesson you have learned?
Yes, make sure the holistic practitioner is addressing the WHOLE body and not just your or your pet’s symptoms. This is very important when considering side effects of supplements.

Can you give me a specific example?
Sure. A practitioner had prescribed high therapeutic doses of glucosamine for a dog with arthritis. The client was not seeing enough progress in their dog and was searching for a better answer. After asking my holistic evaluation questions, I asked the client if she was seeing any side effects from the high therapeutic doses of glucosamine prescribed. She did not know there were any side effects. I told her two of the most common side effects of high therapeutic doses of glucosamine are insulin resistance and yeast overgrowth. The client remarked, “Oh my gosh, is that why I have to clean my dog’s ears out almost daily?”

So, how could this situation have been prevented?
If the practitioner looked at ALL the symptoms of the dog’s WHOLE body, they might have recognized these side effects of glucosamine in the ears. This is a problem we often see with giving high therapeutic doses of supplements to pets. Not many practitioners are looking for side effects. Too many people and practitioners assume if it is all-natural it must be holistic and therefore safe.

What other lessons can you share?
Conventional medicine looks to eradicate symptoms. Holistic practitioners are trained to look beyond that and identify the possible origins of those symptoms. They will try and identify what gland, organ or body system is producing the illness. But few holistic practitioners are trained to look beyond the first set of circumstance they find.

I am not following that reasoning; can you give me an example?
Sure. Supposed a client, people or pet, has classic symptoms of being hypothyroid—constant, fatigue, weight gain, dry hair and skin, hair loss, irritability, depression, intolerance for cold, muscle cramps and constipation. The holistic practitioner prescribes a thyroid supplement and the symptoms improve but do not entirely go away. So, the practitioner looks for something stronger.

I have seen that before. What is wrong with that?
Even if the holistic practitioner does find a stronger remedy, that will still not resolve the hypothyroidism. It will only make the body dependent on the stronger supplement. Remember one of my earlier lessons of prescribing ever increasing dosages?

What would you do as a holistic practitioner?
I would realize that since the thyroid is a secondary gland in the endocrine system, just giving a stronger thyroid supplement is only temporarily “fixing” the symptoms. While this might be necessary in the short-term, my long-term solution would be to look at what imbalance might be occurring in the primary glands that control the thyroid: namely, the pituitary (master gland), pineal and hypothalamus in the brain. If we could balance these three glands and organs in the brain, then the brain would pull up the secondary thyroid by the bootstraps, so to speak, without having to give a stronger supplement. This is what I call healing from within or from the top>down.

I see that now. Your thinking is definitely more holistic. Give our listeners another tip for choosing a good holistic practitioner.
A good holistic practitioner will be proactive and not wait for symptoms to show up before making a recommendation. Most people wait for symptoms to show up or blow up before taking action in their own lives and that of their pet. But this is even harder for our pets, since they cannot talk. So, we have to be observant to any changes our pets display, so that we can take preventative holistic action.

Can you give my listeners an example?
Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) in cats does not show up in clinical signs (blood test) until 50-75% of kidney degeneration has occurred. By the time clinical signs confirm CRF, it is almost too late to help holistically. I would rather teach the client to recognize the subtle signs of impending kidney disease, such as:

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Increased urination
  3. Vomiting both food and clear liquid
  4. Nausea and gagging
  5. Weight loss
  6. Muscle wasting
  7. Poor, dry coat
So, what does one do if they notice some of these signs in their cat?
I would first get a vet exam to either confirm or rule out CRF. If the cat is younger, I would take preventative measures such as eliminating all dry food, transitioning to canned food or even home-cooked and a raw food diet. These diets have more moisture than dry kibble.

I would next look for a holistic product that supplied abundant Omega oils and was high in antioxidants. Holistic vets say these are two critical nutrients for CRF cats.

So, you would give dietary suggestions first rather than just a kidney supplement for cats?
That is correct. Remember, I would rather address the WHOLE body with whole foods and superfood products that just treat the kidney symptoms with a supplement. To me, that is just supplementing the symptoms.

I am beginning to see the wisdom in your holistic thinking. Can you summarize for our listeners your personal guidelines for finding a holistic practitioner?
Here is a list of guidelines for choosing a good holistic practitioner for both people and pets:

  1. Be a participant in your or your pet’s health care. Do not just comply with their recommendations but ask questions and understand your practitioner’s reasoning.
  2. Be observant to any changes in your or your pet’s body.
  3. Provide this feedback to your or your pet’s practitioner. Be an active participant and not just a passive patient.
  4. Do not accept ever increasing dosages as a true holistic answer.
  5. If you reached a plateau in your or your pet’s progress, ask for more options. These options could include seeing your practitioner’s practitioner.
  6. Consider all side effects of supplements and how they affect the WHOLE body.
  7. Make sure the practitioner is looking for the primary cause of your or your pet’s illness and not just treating the symptoms with a supplement.
  8. Look for a holistic practitioner that helps you proactively prevent illness and degenerative diseases BEFORE symptoms show up.
You seem to have wealth of pet knowledge. How can we access more of your 58 years of holistic wisdom?
One way is to go to our website, and sign up for our free monthly e-newsletters. We have written articles on such topics as, Is glucosamine the answer for arthritis? Healthy water for you and your pets and Whole Food Products vs. Supplements. All past articles are archived online and one can search for a specific topic. If your listeners will check the box at the bottom of the subscription form, we’ll send subscribers a free report entitled What Pet Food Companies Don’t Want You to Know. This report contains 11-points some of which we covered today.

Do you offer any consulting services if I want more personal attention?
Yes, we have Mini- and Extended-Consults for those who purchase one of our holistic products and want to get the maximum usage for their pet. We also offer full Holistic Consultations in 15-30-60 minute blocks.

What other holistic resources do you have that would be of interest my listeners?
I just started a personal blog called Wholistic Answers. Your listeners can go to it at

We also have written a series of Holistic Choices e-Books. Readers can take advantage of the latest holistic research we find and absorb the information in a small chunk rather than a 100+ page book. The first three titles that have been published are:

  • Save Your Dog or Cat
  • Secrets of Longevity (for people )
  • How to become a canine massage provider
How can my listeners I and get a copy?
Go to our website and click on the e-Books button in the left column on our home page. As a special offer, I will give your listeners a free e-Book with any purchase of one of our bio-algae concentrate products. Just have them enter in the Special Instructions box of our shopping cart, “Wendy sent me” and ask for their free Save Your Dog or Cat e-Book or mention it in their telephone order

Thank you for sharing your holistic wisdom with my listeners today. For more information on Optimum Choices and holistic options for your pet, go to Russell’s website at You can e-mail them at or call toll-free 866-305-2306.

Oct 6, 2010

Beware of Lawn Care Products - Protect Your Pet

Golf Green.Image via Wikipedia

A golf-course green lawn probably is not safe for your dog. Achieving that emerald luster requires applications of fertilizer, herbicide, fungicide, lime, grub treatment, insecticide, and other growth stimulators. These treatments pose little threat to humans walking across the lawn wearing shoes that are removed before entering the home. Dogs’ paws are fully exposed to grass, a surface with which he is in contact several times a day. They frequently lick their paws to clean them.

A number of dangerous side effects result from exposure to lawn care products. Immediate signs that your dog has ingested toxins include: diarrhea, foaming at the mouth, stomach ache, excessive hyperactivity, drooping or glazed-over eyes, and profuse panting. Long-term effects of using products that contain toxins can range from seizures to death. Some believe that health conditions such as bladder cancer are aggravated by lawn care products. Breeds known for intense self-hygiene are especially susceptible. Female Scottish Terriers, for instance, are known for frequent preening and paw licking.

Now the dilemma: you do not want your dog to lick up harmful toxins, but you also want a presentable yard. Can you have it all? Yes and no. A true organic lawn care program replaces chemicals with cultural practices, such as aeration, dethatching, and applying topdressing. No commercial lawn product, even if it is advertised as “organic,” is ideal for a dog owners’ lawn. There are less potent options—liquids tend to be more potent than granular formulations, for instance. But you are not 100-percent toxin free with any substance or service.

Some practical solutions:

[bulleted list]

Only treat the front yard and forbid your dog to enter this area.

Choose manure-based organic products for topdressing rather than commercial counterparts. Plant native grasses and stop worrying about your curb appeal.

Seek out purely organic lawn care brands (The side effect from manure-based products is a distinct cow-farm smell for a few days following application, but the substance is toxin-free.)

For more information, contact your local university extension office to gather more information on cultural practices so you can prevent rather than treat lawn disease and, therefore, maintain a green lawn without using chemicals. Your dog will thank you for it.

[sidebar] Safe Walks in Treated Neighborhoods [Wendy]

Just because you decide to not use chemical lawn care products does not mean your dog is 100-percent protected from exposure. If you live in a neighborhood where curb appeal matters—and this describes most suburban subdivisions—be careful where your dog wanders during walks. Keep him on the sidewalk. Scope out “safe” lawn areas for him to eliminate in advance. If the lawn looks especially green and manicured, steer clear. Toxin build-up happens over time. Take steps to avoid treated areas to protect your dog’s long-term health.

Keep a Two Minute Pet Health Journal - You Could Need it One Day

ConivaImage by AxsDeny via Flickr

A health journal is a valuable tool for keeping track of your dog’s total health history, not just his vaccination records. If you’ve ever had to give your own health history to a new doctor, you’ll recall how difficult it is to remember the specifics for yourself; remembering it for your dog can be even harder.

Keeping a record of your dog’s health history along with notes about his development and activity can help you and your vet track problems. Having a well-maintained health journal will help when transitioning between vets if you move, too.

Creating a health journal doesn’t have to be a big project. You’ll need a spiral notebook or binder with pockets in which you can save all the notes the vet sends home and space to take your own notes. Keep track of vet visits and outcomes, changes in diet or activity, illnesses—anything that relates to your dog’s health. Be thorough, and date each entry. If you like, you can use dividers for each year, or even each month within a year.

No matter how you choose to format your journal, it will be an asset for you and your dog in keeping him healthy and happy.

Make Your Own Doggie Soap Bars (with picture inside!!)

Handmade SoapImage via Wikipedia

This all-natural soap is a fun craft project and great for your dog’s skin. It also makes a perfect gift for a dog owner. The process is so easy that you’ll soon be able to personalize this recipe, adding your own special touches.

We use the melt-and-pour method of soapmaking, which is the least time consuming and can be done in the microwave. Consult with the expert at a natural foods store when selecting your essential oils. Some oils can irritate the skin; citronella, tea tree, and/or lemongrass essential oils will help repel fleas and ticks.


All-natural, unscented, 100% olive oil (castile) soap (see the appendix for sources)

Essential oil(s) of your choice

Exfoliants (optional), such as citrus peel or steel-cut oatmeal—anything that is all natural, nontoxic, and not sharp

Clean soap molds (generally available from soap suppliers in standard or fun shapes, or use your own plastic containers)

Microwaveable container, such as a large glass measuring cup

Kitchen thermometer


1. Chop the soap into chunks and place in the microwaveable container.

2. Melt the soap in the microwave. Each microwave behaves differently, so start at half power and heat for 2–4 minutes at a time, stirring between stages. You do not want to overheat or burn the soap, so check often until you know how quickly it melts. The soap base should be completely melted and at a temperature between 155 and 165°F (68-74°C). Once you have reached this temperature, stir it again slowly to make sure it is uniform, then let it sit for a few moments, allowing any air bubbles to rise to the top.

3. Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance and stir slowly, avoiding creating more air bubbles.

4. Add exfoliants, if desired. Again, stir slowly to avoid introducing air bubbles. It is recommended that all your additives, including essential oils and exfoliants, not exceed 2% of the entire soap solution.

5. Pour the soap into the molds. Best results will be obtained if the soap is poured into molds at approximately 150–155°F (66–68°C). Pour very slowly to avoid creating air bubbles. Once poured, the soap bars should be handled carefully and left to cool completely, about 24 hours.

6. Remove the bars from the molds and wrap them immediately to retain an attractive appearance. The soap bars should be stored at temperatures between 40 and 86°F (4–30°C).

Custom Dog Character Soaps

Clear soaps can be personalized with a photograph of the recipient dog. Cover the photograph with plastic coating, such as cling wrap, packing tape, or laminating sheets. Fill the soap mold halfway and allow it to set. Place the photograph on the soap, then fill the mold with more melted soap.

You can also make soap on a rope so that when you are washing your dog you never have to worry about losing the soap or a bottle falling over. Just drill a hole in the finished bar, thread onto a rope, and tie a knot.

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