On your most challenging days you can always count on your pet to greet you at the door when you come home or cuddle up in your lap in the evening. They are a vital part of your home life all year long, but when your life takes you away from home — as it often does during summer travel — are you thinking of them before you head out the door?
With so much to pack and prepare for your trip, it’s easy to forget about those you’ll leave behind, like your pets. That’s why if you're planning to leave for a day or longer, you should make sure to employ these five tips to make sure your pet is happy and safe while you're away.
Having a pet doesn’t mean you need to put your summer plans on hold, it just adds another layer to your planning process. Apply the tips above, and you and your pet will be happy and comfortable until the trip is over and you’re reunited.
By Karen Thomas for Paradise Pets Magazine
Aromatherapy and essential oils have been used for thousands of years for healing and anointing. Records dating back to 4500 BC describe the use of balsamic substances with aromatic properties for personal, medicinal and spiritual use. The rediscovery of essential oils into modern medicine began during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse PhD, a French cosmetic chemist known as the father of aromatherapy, began studying oils in 1907. Gattefosse discovered lavender oil’s ability to assist in the healing of burns after immersing his own burned hand into a vat of lavender oil following a laboratory explosion in 1910.
Essential oils are the volatile liquids and aromatic compounds distilled from flowers, trees, roots, bushes, shrubs and seeds. An essential oil contains the true essence of the plant it was derived from and is highly concentrated. These oils have regenerating, oxygenating and immune supporting properties which can assist our animals in the healing process.
Essential oils provide energetic balance and help in healing through the sense of smell. As the olfactory system is stimulated, physiologic functions are supported which allows the body to self-heal. They also have antiseptic, antimicrobial and detoxifying properties and can help with emotional issues such as anxiety and stress. In addition to direct inhalation another excellent way to get these benefits is by diffusing the oils in a cold air diffuser.
Essential oils may also be used topically or ingested. As a rule, when working with animals, LESS is MORE, as sense of smell is highly developed in many animals due to their instinctual nature. For example, a human has 5-6 million olfactory receptors while the dog as 220 million.
Domestic and wild animals will naturally seek out plants that bring their bodies into a state of balance. Rubbing against a pine tree picking up the oils from the bark will help soothe sore muscles and joints. Burying their nose deep into an herb or flower, inhaling the aroma of the entire plant can help the animal keep calm. Or eating a plant and allowing the properties of the plant to be absorbed will assist with overcoming digestive upset.
Whether working with humans or animals be sure that the essential oils used are therapeutic grade. Therapeutic grade oils are pure. They are grown, harvested and packaged with minimal harm to the plant. These plants are wild crafted, meaning the soil has never been exposed to chemicals and wind patterns are studied to see that nothing harmful can blow onto the soil. The plants are distilled with a low heat, low steam and low-pressure process to maintain the integrity and therapeutic benefits of the plant.
Synthetic oils are mostly made from petrochemicals, try to duplicate the smell of a certain plant and are created for a specific purpose, such as perfume. Fragrance grade oils used in perfumes do not assist with healing and can actually cause more harm than good because of their ingredients. Inexpensive oils are most likely not therapeutic quality.
Caution should be exercised with cats when using essential oils with a high phenol content. Cats do not have some of the liver enzymes needed to help metabolize the phenol constituents of certain oils. Melaleuca oil (Tea Tree) should never be used on birds. Melaleuca can cause an adverse reaction in birds which may result in death. In maintaining the health and well-being of our animal companions just remember the LESS is MORE rule. When in doubt consult your veterinarian or a holistic animal practitioner who is experienced with the use of essential oils.
Komitor, C. CMT, HTCP/I, CHBMT, HTACP, ESMT
(2013). Healing touch for animals level 3 workbook (6th ed.). Highlands Ranch, CO: Komitor Healing Method, Inc.
Shelton, M. DVM (2012). The animal desk reference
Essential oils for animals. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. DBA On-Demand Publishing, LLC.
Young, G.D. et al (2011). Essential oils desk reference
Special fifth edition. Orem, UT: Life Science Publishing.
Karen Thomas, R.N., is a Healing Touch for Animals (HTA) Practitioner in the Florida Keys. Healing Touch for Animals is a holistic approach influencing the health and well-being of animals through energy and intention. HTA techniques restore harmony and balance to the energy system while providing physical, emotional, mental and instinctual stability, thus supporting the body to self-heal. This work can be done in person or distantly. Karen can be contacted through her website www.pawsitivetouch.org
By Karen Thomas for Paradise Pets Magazine
We all enjoy the fun of summer activities - swimming, going to the beach, vacations and
holiday celebrations. But our very sensitive four-legged companions may feel a little
different. When the temperature rises we need to be extra vigilant of the well-being of
our babies in fur coats. Living in the Florida Keys the temperature and humidity soar
during the summer creating a very oppressive heat which can affect all of us.
Here are just a few safety tips for keeping our loved ones safe:
Every year hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion from being left in parked cars. It
is never a good idea to leave your pet in a parked car with the windows cracked, ever.
Your vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet at risk of serious illness
and even death, even on a day that doesn't seem hot to you. And cracking the windows
makes no difference. The data below was shared by the American Veterinary Medical
Association on how quickly temperatures rise.
“The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 20
minutes, it can rise almost 30º F...and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60
minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the
outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that's 110 degrees inside your vehicle!”
Safe Travel for Pets
Let’s also not forget the severe dangers of driving with your dog in the bed of a pickup
truck. Not only are they exposed to airborne hazards and risk being burned on the hot
metal of the bed itself, but dogs could also fall or jump off the truck and be injured or
killed on impact. Using a tether in the truck bed is not a good idea either as the tether
could tangle, injure, or even choke your dog. If you must transport your dog in the bed
of a pickup truck, use a secured, appropriately sized and ventilated dog kennel.
The safest plan is to leave your pets at home when you can. They will be safe, grateful
and happily waiting for your return.
Exercise and Hydration
It’s very important to modify your pet’s excise during the summer months. Exercising for shorter periods in the cooler hours of the morning or evening are best once the
pavements and streets have cooled. Paw pads can burn easily on hot pavements,
decks, sand or asphalt. If you’re unsure of the temperature test it by taking your shoes
off and standing on the surface for a few minutes. Often our pets are so eager to
please us that they won’t complain when their paws are burning.
If your dog will be spending time outdoors, make sure they have access to plenty of
shade and fresh water. Wading pools (out of direct sunlight) and sprinkler hoses can
help with cooling and can be lots of fun for them too.
Remember too that older, short-muzzled, overweight dogs, dogs with chronic health
issues and puppies are more likely to overheat in hot weather. Animals with flat faces,
like Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since
they cannot pant as effectively. These pets should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms
as much as possible.
The same rules apply to beach outings -lots of shade and lots of water. I always take
plenty of extra water and a bucket in case it gets spilled or if there are other dogs in
need of it. Be mindful of the hot sand. If you can’t walk on it barefoot you can be
sure it’s uncomfortable for your pup.
Warning Signs of Overheating in Pets
If your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms you should take immediate
action and move him to a cool area, preferably with air conditioning. At a minimum
move him to a shady spot. Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness
veterinarian who writes for HealthyPets.Mercola.com. recommends taking his
temperature if possible.
“If it is 104 degrees or lower begin cooling your dog down by soaking his body with cool
water – cool, but not cold. Use a hose, wet towels or any other source of cool water that
is available. Concentrate the cooling water on his head, neck and in the areas
underneath the front and back legs. Carefully cool the tongue if possible, but don't let
water run into the throat as it could get into the lungs. Never put water in the mouth of a dog that can't swallow on his own. Put a fan on him if possible – it will speed up the
cooling process. After a few minutes, re-check his temperature. If it's at or below 104ºF,
stop the cooling process. Further cooling could lead to blood clotting or a too-low body
temperature. Get the dog to a veterinary clinic right away, even if he seems to be
Fireworks and Storms
Many people enjoy the booming sounds and flashing lights of fireworks, but they can be
terrifying and overwhelming for pets, and possibly hazardous. On the Fourth of July so many pets are frightened and try to escape the sights and sounds that animal shelters
around the nation report a dramatic increase in lost pets during the holiday.
Be mindful of the fact that our pets are very sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and
strong smells. So on the Fourth of July (and the days around it when people are likely
to set off fireworks), it's best to leave your pets safely indoors, preferably with relaxing
music playing or TV turned on to hide jarring noises. I am a big fan of the
“Thundershirt” not only during thunderstorms but anytime there is loud noise or
vibration. The soft pressure on the animal’s torso exerted from the shirt has a calming
effect. I usually spray my calming blend “Serenity” on the shirt as well. I love to diffuse
calming essential oils (like lavender) regularly in our ‘healing room’ where there are
crates set up to help create a peaceful safe space in the house. So during times of loud
noises or vibrations there is a ‘safe place’ in the house for our dogs to retreat to.
The summer months can be fun and full of wonderful activities. Just always remember
to pay extra attention to the special needs of our loving animal companions. They
deserve to have an awesome and stress free summer too!
Sources: American Veterinarian Medical Association: 1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, integrative wellness veterinarian. HealthyPets.Mercola.com.
About the author: Karen Thomas, R.N., is a Healing Touch for Animals (HTA) Practitioner in the Florida Keys. Karen can be contacted through her website www.pawsitivetouch.org or email her directly at karen [at] pawsitivetouch.org
Paradise Pets Magazine