Hello.

As I sit here trying to figure out where to start I keep imagining what kind of place I want this to be.  I want this to be a place where people (you included) could openly discuss what’s on their mind.  A place where no one is trying to sell you something you don’t need.  A place where new ideas and fresh thinking is encouraged and most of all a place where I can speak openly.
In my day to day life I often have to be very cautious of the info or suggestions I give to people as it doesn’t correspond with my bosses opinions or a vet’s opinions or a customer’s opinions, or because it may be considered practicing veterinary medicine without a license.  So let me be perfectly clear I am not a vet, I don’t play one on TV and I certainly don’t play one on the Internet.  I am, however, a fully conscious human with a brain and the mental capacity to form an educated opinion on many matters including, but not limited to the care of my fur babies.  Any information learned here does not replace your vet, that is not the purpose of this place.

Is there anything you would like to talk about let me know in the comments.

-FM

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Ugh FLEAS!

Ugh fleas again.  I live in a bug zone, plenty of swamps and bogs the perfect breeding ground for all manner of creepy crawly things and while mosquitoes are irritating, gnats are annoying and spiders just plain creepy the worst is fleas. Flea season begins the moment the ground freezes and ends only after the ground has been frozen for 3 days straight. Of course unless they’re in your house then it’s never ending.  Keeping them under control is a must and not as easy as some would have you believe.  

If you talked to a conventional vet they would tell you to put some poison on your pets and around the house.  Of course they will charge you a fortune and don’t tell you all the side effects or that it might not work as fleas are becoming immune to these chemicals.  They do tell you, however, that if you don’t use these you’re a horrible pet parent. 

So what’s a pet parent like you (and me) to do? We, for obvious reasons, don’t want to douse our beloved fur kids in poisons and we don’t want them to have to deal with fleas either.  In my search for than answer I have tried many home remedies and before I get to what works let me tell you some of the crazy things I have done to get rid of fleas.

Blue Dawn Dish Soap 

Used on pet as shampoo, on floors and everything else that doesn’t fit in the washing machine.  This was recommended by a local vet. I was told the soap would suffocate the flea and was safe for use on even the most sensitive skin.

Does it sound too good to be true? That’s probably because it is.  First yes soap put directly on any bug will kill it, however, dish soap was meant to remove grease, oil and stubborn stains from dishes; and it does a very good job of that. Humans and pets have a layer of protective oils that are important not only to keep skin hydrated and from flaking but for providing a barrier from unsavory organisms. The dish soap that is so good at removing tough oils has no problem when it comes to the delicate protective oils. And once the dish soap has washed away it’s flea killing powers are gone too.

Essential oil blends

While essential oils can be very powerful I find in most cases they are over mixed a and thus do not target fleas very well.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Tried both topically and orally, neither seemed to have much effect.

Garlic

Orally, this showed some promise until I ran out of organic garlic and couldn’t find anymore.

Cloves

Topically diluted, smelled great but showed no improvement

Diatomaceous Earth

Topically, once again showed some promise but was a bit messy.  However works great around the house and was amazing for the deer mice who roomed with me last summer.  Not so great for my big shaggy girl.

DIY flea shampoo

This was just a horrible mess and smelled even worse.

So what actually worked (and has worked more than once)? A bath and Coconut oil and lavender oil diluted in water.  Pretty simple eh? 

1. First soak for 8 min make sure all areas out of water are soaped up with a pet safe shampoo.

2. Rinse off and allow shake off (just make sure you pull the curtains across as fleas will be flying)

3. Squish any fleas you see even if they appear dead (they need to pop)

4. Grab an oil squeeze bottle run the tap so the water is very warm

5. throw in a few tbsp of coconut oil (not liquid)

6. about 30 drops of lavender

7. fill the rest of the bottle up with warm tap water and shake well.

8. Use oil dilution as leave in.

Why does it work?

The bath helps to reduce the amount of fleas hiding. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is very effective  at killing fleas, lavender has been proven to repel fleas.

What do you do/use for fleas?

-FM

My Rabbits DON’T Have Bedding or Shavings!

20161227_012816You guessed it! It’s confession time again.  If you have been following along you have already met Echo my wonderful Giant Schnauzer, so now it’s time to meet Sapphire and Meadow my beautiful bunnies. Both are rescues; Sapphire from the humane society with a hooked paw and Meadow from a construction yard. Before it comes up, no Meadow was not a wild rabbit but rather an Easter dump.

Today I confess with absolutely no guilt I don’t use paper bedding, wood shavings or fluff for their bedding.  They also don’t live in a tiny cage.  I have put together 2 dog exercise pens and given them majority of my laundry room. This means there is no top or bottom to their home and nothing to stop bits of paper or wood shavings from getting spread everywhere.  So instead they get quilts and blankets and cat huts and tunnels, they even have their own couch.

The blankets get brushed once a day or twice depending on how messy they have been, their litter boxes are scooped once to twice a day and the whole thing is stripped once to twice a month depending on (once again) how messy they have been.  Not using disposable bedding saves me roughly $50-60 a month and since I can keep reusing the blankets until they disintegrate I get to feel like I’m saving the environment too.

-FM

Nutrition; Science or Art

I remember way back in grade school they combined our art and science class due to budget cuts at the time I thought it was a very odd pairing.  I don’t ever remember getting a real answer, or maybe I just never understood the answer.  In art we were expected to add or subtract elements until we felt it was right and in science we were expected to be very precise to get the correct answer. 

Well I finally understand, art and science are not mutually exclusive.  Especially when it comes to things like nutrition which is both a science and an art. On the science side we have our understanding of vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) and fats, proteins and carbs (macronutrients)  how they affect the body. And on the art side we figure out the balance of both macro and micronutrients for a particular body.  Yes I know I can hear you yelling, but there are equations to figure that out, and you’re right there are but not every body will behave the same when subjected to the same things.

So there you have it not every fur baby will react the same and you must find the right balance for your fur baby.   I know that sounds scary and overwhelming but don’t worry I’m here to help you along. For free no less.

Are you having a little panic attack wondering where to start? Check out what these vets have to say:

Dr. Karen Becker:  Healthypets.mercola.com

Dr. Peter Dobias:  Peterdobias.com

Dr. Rodney Habib:  Planetpaws.ca 

Dogs Naturally Magazine:  Dogsnaturallymagazine.com

-FM

Once I let a vet scare me.

20170420_130126Confession time! I’m human and I can be fooled and scared just like all of you.
Echo my wonderful Giant Schnauzer had become a woman (no longer a girl), I called my vet and they told me I would have to wait for another 10 weeks until after she was done bleeding. And I did, and then I got strapped for cash and time so we put it off, and as things go I kept putting it off until it was almost too late. About a month or so before she was due to come into heat again I quickly phoned the vet to get things ready. This is when we found out I was behind on a few of her shots (yup bad mom!) So we had that appointment first and I used this time to talk to the vet (new vet at the clinic) about other options rather than a full spay. The vet gave me that look and explained that there are other options and it was my decision. Sounds good right? Of course, he was making me feel like it was my decision. He then went on to tell me about the heartbreak of dogs getting cancer and in his opinion because you can’t get cancer in something you don’t have a full spay was the way to go. I promptly went out and scheduled it for a week and a half later.
Yup didn’t even think twice, I was won over by the cancer scare tactic! Now some of you are wondering what’s wrong with that advice? After all no one wants cancer and no one wants anyone they care about to get cancer either. But would you cut off your arm because you might get cancer in it? Probably not, what about your tongue? Or liver? Throat? Thyroid? Toes? I do realize there are people out there who do remove body parts as a preventative measure, the difference is they are genetically disposed and if the doctor is worth anything they had to go through rigorous testing to make sure this was actually a viable option. My vet never did any tests on my dog, didn’t look into her bloodline didn’t even mention that schnauzers are prone to toe cancer. And in my panic I fell for it.
Now I don’t think my vet was maniacally laughing at me after I left, I think he truly believed everything he was telling me. He really was concerned about cancer and thought I should be too. After all that is the opinion his schooling has taught him. And this is why I feel the need to confess, I failed my girl by panicking. I should have stopped taken a step back and looked at this rationally and asked my vet the same line of questions I just asked you.
In the end the surgery went well and I have not noticed any major issues. She is still running around and acting like herself. But I don’t know how this decision will affect her later in life and I don’t know if I would make the same decision the next time I’m faced with it.
-FM

Opinions vs Facts; What is a Theory?

As more and more people start learning from non-traditional sources, like the Internet, there will inevitably be more disagreements and arguments and often in the middle of these fights you will hear (or read) someone yell “Well that’s your OPINION!”. It’s often said as a slur, meant to end an argument that one cannot win without fully giving in and agreeing with the other party.  Of course very rarely does it actually end the argument, it’s actually more likely to spiral a relatively calm debate into a full temper tantrum.  Essentially, by telling someone the info they gave you is an opinion (rather than a fact), you told them that they’re stupid, uneducated and are plain wrong.

In truth, there are very few (if any) facts period, everything we learn is actually someone else’s opinion or theory.  Take a second for that to sink in.  That’s right when you go to school and learn about say nutrition, you are learning someone else’s opinions and assumptions.  Your doctor learned someone else’s opinions regarding medicine and makes assumptions based on those opinions.  Wow.  Yes I did just say that but before you start yelling at me in the comments take a second and open your mind.

How did the practice of medicine start? I imagine someone wasn’t feeling well then ate something and felt better, then the next time they felt unwell they ate that same thing and again like magic they felt better.  They then told someone else who wasn’t feeling well to eat that same thing and the other person also felt better, and now when anyone feels unwell they eat that same thing and most feel better.  So here we have a person who assumed that what they ate was what made them feel better they also assumed that it would make someone else feel better. In their opinion (or from their viewpoint) they were the same and thus the same treatment would work. But of course as we know now what works for some (even for most) might not work for everyone.  Of course I don’t know if this is how medicine actually started but this is my theory on the matter.

So what is a theory? You guessed it; it’s an assumption based on observable data.

Now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with fur babies, and the answer is everything!  I often here people say well I don’t agree with what my vet told me to do but they’re a vet. Or I don’t really like using _____ but the trainer said it’s the best thing. Or we’ll the breeder said this was the best/ the only thing I can use.  I usually want to smack and shake these people back to reality, your gut is telling you something is wrong. Do not ignore your gut! Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to question anyone, yes that includes me. Remember every single person who tells you something is telling you their opinion.  And it never hurts to get a second or even third opinion.

Of course there are limits, and there are things you really should trust your vet on.  For example if your vet refuses an operation or a medication ask why don’t just dismiss their opinion.  If your vet says no to specific foods, maybe that food will counteract a medication or maybe it will give a false positive on a blood test.  There really is a lot to learn when it comes to medicine, and while it is based on theories, opinions and assumptions your vet has had a lot more experience than you (and me).

My rule of thumb… leave medicine and surgery to the doctors; and question everything.

-FM