Fur Babies +Essential Oils = Happy Parents

Essential oils have been all the craze for humans can they make my life and my fur babies’ life better?  In this blog, we will look at essential oils that are helpful, good and harmful to our fur babies. 

The best ways to use them in our homes, yards and on our fur babies.  Let’s take the splash into the fur baby world.

Essential oils that are harmful to cats with the symptons they will most likely show if exposed. From Essential Oils and Cats: A Potentially Toxic Mix

” These oils are known to contain phenols and be toxic to cats:

  • Wintergreen oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Citrus oil (including lemon oil)
  • Tea tree oil (melaleuca oil)
  • Pine oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Sweet birch oil
  • Clove oil
  • Ylang ylang oil

The higher the concentration of essential oil, the greater the risk to your cat. If your cat ingests any oils accidentally, go to the veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning

Cats absorb oils that are directly in contact with their skin. Oils diffused in the air are inhaled and also collect on the fur, which results in your cat ingesting them during licking and cleaning. Toxicity can occur very quickly or over a longer period of exposure.

Symptoms of essential oil poisoning include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty walking, wobbliness (ataxia)
  • Respiratory distress (wheezing, fast breathing, panting, coughing)

If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to a veterinary emergency center. The veterinarian may note a low heart rate, low blood pressure, and signs of liver failure.”

Essential oils that are harmful to dogs with the symptoms they will most likely show if exposed from Are Essential Oils Safe for Your Dog?

” Essential oils dangerous for dogs

Certain oils can be toxic to dogs when ingested or when coming into contact with the skin. Essential oils bad for dogs include:

  • Tea tree
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang

Symptoms of essential oil poisoning in dogs

If essential oils are kept within reach of your pet, you run the risk of accidental ingestion. Watch out for these symptoms:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Low body temperature
  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive pawing at mouth or face
  • Drooling

If you suspect your dog has ingested an essential oil, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) right away. Early intervention is best.”

Now that we have scared ourselves whitless we will explore what we can use on our fur babies without harm to them.

 ” Safest essential oils to use with dogs

Below is a short list of essential oils that experts say are safe to use on dogs.

  • Lavender: Universal oil. Useful in conditioning patients to a safe space. May help allergies, burns, ulcers, insomnia, anxiety, and car sickness, to name a few. Not for use with cats.
  • Cardamom: Diuretic, anti-bacterial, normalizes appetite, colic, coughs, heartburn, and nausea.
  • Chamomile: Anti-inflammatory, non-toxic, gentle and safe to use. Good for skin irritations, allergic reactions, burns.
  • Spearmint: Helps to reduce weight. Good for colic, diarrhea, nausea. Helps balance metabolism, stimulates gallbladder. Not for use with cats.
  • Thyme: Pain relief, good for arthritis and rheumatism. Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, excellent for infections and other skin issues.”  As found on the Are Essential Oils Safe for Your Dog?

The essential oils safe for kitties below as provided by  Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Cats

  1. CEDARWOOD

Not only is cedarwood safe for cats, but it actually has been proven to be lethal to adult fleas. After you have given your cat a flea bath, try adding a drop or two of cedar wood oil into their collar in order to prevent future flea infestations. Additionally, you can use cedar wood in a spray for fabrics in order to kill the fleas as their hatching. We would recommend a spray with equal parts vinegar or alcohol and water in a glass spray bottle with around 10 drops of cedar wood oil per cup of liquid.

  1. SWEET BASIL

Is a fragrant plant used in many culinary dishes around the world and is also great at fighting odors with its natural anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is also great for helping migraines and healing cuts and abrasions. Sweet Basil essential oil is an effective essential oil to use as an air freshener and is safe to use around your cats.

  1. PEPPERMINT

Much like with cedar wood, peppermint essential oil is great for keeping fleas and other pests at bay without harming your feline friend. Try to fill up a glass spray bottle with water and mix in two to three drops of peppermint oil. Don’t spray it directly on your cat, but rather around the furniture, bedding, and carpet. However, you can dip a flea comb into the diluted mixture and then comb it through your cat’s fur.

  1. ROSEMARY

Rosemary baths can be wonderful for flea control. Most prefer to mix one or two drops into a pitcher of water and pouring the mixture over your cat and letting it dry without rinsing. However, if your cat isn’t fond of water or you just want to be on the safe side, consider using it alongside the cedar wood oil on your cat’s collar and in the spray.”

As you can tell we are really limited on the oils we can safely use on our fur babies. 

We will now explore using essential oils to keep them from scratching on our furniture or chewing up carpets and cabinets. You can use the following recipe to keep your cats from destroying things in your home.  “Fill a spray bottle with 8 ounces of warm water.

Add 10 drops of lemon- or orange-scented essential oil to the water. Cats dislike the smell of citrus and will most likely stay away from citrus-smelling objects. If citrus doesn’t work on your finicky feline, try cinnamon, lavender or eucalyptus oil. You might have to try different scents to find out which one works best on your cat.

Close the bottle, give it a good shake and spray some of the homemade cat-repelling potion on an unnoticeable area of the furniture that your cat likes to scratch. Allow the area to dry and, if there’s no damage, moisten the area you want to protect from your cat’s claws with the liquid.

Place a sturdy scratching post or other acceptable scratching item near the sprayed furniture. Hang cat toys on the scratching post or rub some catnip on it to lure your cat toward it.

Observe your cat to see if she stays away from the furniture and shows interest in the scratching post. If she does, your efforts are successful.

Spray the repellent on the furniture daily and move the scratching post little by little to an area that’s more suitable. When your feline companion seems to have forgotten about the furniture and is happily using her scratching post for about a month, reduce the frequency that you use the spray and eventually stop using it altogether.”  How to Stop Cats From Scratching Furniture With a Home Remedy Spray

To help train your dogs you can use the following suggestions from The Dog Notebook

 “Citrus

Dogs hate the sharp smell of citrus, and this easy homemade solution to your problem could be sitting in your fruit bowl. A simple squirt of lemon, orange or lime juice can go a long way toward keeping your dog away from items you don’t want chewed. You can make a citrus spray by steeping 2 cups of citrus peels in 4 cups of boiled water until cool. Spray this anywhere you think your dog is or will be chewing.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Just like citrus, dogs hate bitter apple. Commercial bitter apple sprays are available, but why spend your money on them when you can make one at home with some apple cider vinegar.

Combine two parts apple cider vinegar with one-part regular white vinegar in a spray bottle, shake well and apply it on the furniture your dog likes to chew.

Cayenne Pepper Spray

If citrus and apple cider vinegar sprays aren’t working, try cayenne pepper spray. Cayenne peppers aren’t harmful to dogs but be careful nevertheless since pepper spray liquids can irritate their eyes and nose, so you might not want to try it as a first option. Simply add 1 or 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper to a quart of room temperature water, shake and spray where necessary.”    I also found that I could buy an organic repellant from the pet store that contained cinnamon and lemongrass essential oils that worked fantastic to stop chewing.

The following recipes from the Farmers Almanac will help you to disinfect and remove pet urine smells form your home naturally.  “Try these easy, effective, non-toxic DIY solutions to naturally remove pet odors from your home:

  • Disinfectant and Room Spray – Mix ¼ cup vodka, 1 cup water, 15 drops lavender essential oil, 10 drops tea tree essential oil, and 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake and spray lightly on pet bedding or use as a purifying air spray.
  • General Purpose Cleaner – Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 10 drops of your choice: tea tree, lavender, lemongrass, or rosemary essential oils into a spray or squirt top bottle. Shake before using. Use to clean and disinfect floor tiles, counters, litter box, and other pet items.
  • Diffuse essential oils in the home to eliminate odors, kill germs, purify the air, and add a fresh scent to your pet-friendly rooms. Use daily in the litter box room. Ultrasonic, cool water diffusers are available in most health food stores and online. Add a few drops of one or a combination of these air purifying essential oils to your diffuser: eucalyptus, lemon oil, rosemary oil, palmarosa, lavender, lemongrass, tea tree oil, grapefruit oil, or myrtle.

Pet Bedding, Carpet and Powder Cleaners
Pet bedding, rugs and carpets harbor germs and odors. To clean and deodorize, try these natural powder solutions. You’ll need a glass syrup dispenser with a slide-top lid (pictured), or a glass jar with holes punched in the metal top to distribute the powder.

  • Lavender Baking Soda Powder. Remove the slide-top from a syrup dispenser. Using a funnel, add 1 cup of baking soda to the dispenser. While putting the baking soda into the container, also add 15 drops of lavender essential oil to the baking soda. Affix lid and store until needed. To use, slightly slide the container top open and sprinkle over pet bed, rug, or carpet. Leave powder on pet pillow or bedding for an hour and then vacuum. Leave on carpets for 15 to 30 minutes, and then vacuum. This powder can also be used to clean a wet tub or sink after bathing Fido.
  • Lavender and Borax Powder. Add 20 drops of lavender essential oil to ½ cup 20 Mule Team® Borax, (available where laundry detergents are sold). Add powder to a slide-top syrup dispenser, and affix lid. Sprinkle over pet bed or carpet. Once the powder has been applied, keep your pet(s) away from the bedding or carpet. Leave on bedding for one hour and vacuum. Leave on carpet for 15 to 30 minutes, and then vacuum.   Bonus: Borax and lavender also rid pet bedding, rugs and carpet of fleas. When using this mixture to kill fleas, the powder should set on the carpet or area rugs overnight. Close off the room during treatment. If you have thick carpet, work the powder into the carpet with a broom.
  • Laundry Boost. Add ½ cup 20 Mule Team® Borax to the washing machine with laundry detergent when laundering pet bed liners, towels, and pet sweaters, etc. to disinfect and remove strong odors.

Removing Pet Stains From Carpets and Rugs
Accidents happen. And when they happen, not only can the carpet get saturated with urine, but it usually soaks through the carpet to the pad underneath, making it especially challenging. When puppy or kitty makes a fresh puddle on the carpet, lay cotton rags or paper towels on top of the urine and blot up as much as possible. Next, pour plain water directly on the soiled area and soak up the liquid again, blotting with additional paper towels. Repeat the process if necessary until the moisture absorbed into the towels is no longer yellow.

To discourage repeated offenses, you will need to remove the urine stain and scent from the carpet. Pour white distilled vinegar on the spot. Then, sprinkle baking soda on top. The mixture will bubble and fizz as the baking soda absorbs the urine. Place a basket or plate upside down over the treated spot and allow it to set undisturbed for at least one day. After a day or two, vacuum up the baking soda and hopefully the stain and odors will have vanished. Stubborn pet stains may require a specialized pet formula enzyme-based cleaner.

Baking Soda/Vinegar/Peroxide Method

For tough urine stains, try this method, as recommended by CarpetColorSolutions.com:

1. Place paper towels on the mess and tread on it to absorb as much liquid as possible.

2. Mix a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water and pour liberally on the stain and work the solution in with a brush to ensure it penetrates the carpet fibers below. Blot the area again using the paper towel method above. The vinegar will neutralize the ammonia in the urine. If you own a wet/dry vac, use that to remove excess moisture. Let dry. If the stain is older and dry, repeat the above steps, adding a few drops of liquid dish soap to the white vinegar and water. When the area has dried or nearly dry, sprinkle the area with a handful of baking soda.

3. Then, mix 1/2 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of the dish soap. Using gloves, slowly pour the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap solution over the baking powder (use only as much as needed). Work the dissolving baking soda well into the carpet, first with your fingers and then with a brush. Allow the area to dry completely and then vacuum thoroughly.

Important: Only use 3% hydrogen peroxide and test your carpet for color fastness in an area that won’t show.

Further Considerations:
Avoid using cleaners containing ammonia in areas where pets frequent indoors. Ammonia has a scent similar to urine, and pets may urinate in the area where it was used.

Tea tree oil can be toxic to cats, thus should never be applied directly to their skin. When cleaning cat bedding, lavender essential oil, diluted in a spray solution, is a safer choice.”

So, there are many things we can do with essential oils to make our fur babies happy and keep our homes fresh and pest free.  I use many of these recipes in my own home and find them very useful to keep my home an order and chew free zone.

Self-Care Is Never Optional

I have been absent from my blog for a few months due to the responsibility of taking care of my parents, helping with the family ranch and working my Balm & Fizz business. As a result of these things I will only be writing a blog monthly.   It was brought home to me over the holidays that if a person does not choose to take time for themselves they will reach a breaking point in their health, emotions or just life.  This thought process made me think about making one of my main goals for 2019 to make sure to take time for self-care.  In this blog, we will look at ways to get self-care and what the true meaning of self-care is to a person, work or a family.

We will start with the definition of selfcare per the Webster dictionary…

” self-care noun

noun: self-care; noun: selfcare

  1. the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.

“autonomy in self-care and insulin administration”

  • the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” 

I am a very strong-willed person that does not always take time for myself because I enjoy helping others around me.  This can be both bad and good.  As a child, mother, wife, friend, client, business person and my own person the lines often get smudged and I begin to feel closed in and wonder if it will ever be about me.  That’s when I know it is time for some selfcare time.  I choose many different outlets that work for me from coffee with a close friend, repurposing an object, reading a good book, binge watching TV shows, cooking, massage, gardening to a weekend away with hubby.   What works to settle my mind, body and soul may not work for you.  It is important to find your outlet that works for you.

What parts of us need selfcare? 

  • Physical – The need to exercise our body through walks, gym, nap, or activity you enjoy
  • Mental- Can be broke down into – What are my Thoughts and How can I make these thoughts work for me?
  • Emotional- Emotional are your feelings in motion can be directed for good
  • Pleasure- comes from many areas from eating, touch, mental connections and many more areas
  • Sensory – The area of sight, touch, hearing, and taste
  • Social – It is always important to choose friends that uplift you and don’t become a your very own emotional vampire.  Family can give you socialization but should not be your prime source.
  • Spiritual – Your connection with God or Higher Power.

This list will help you to find what things will help you practice selfcare in your life so that you can be your best self.  As a massage therapist I know that massage can address many of these areas for those that need to relax and just let go of all of life’s troubles.

I have made my goals for 2019 around the above list of selfcare areas.   I am looking forward to 2019 ending with my being totally rejuvenated from a rough season of not taking time to reflect on selfcare.   My business focuses on giving my clients away to practice care in their lives.  I look forward to meeting you and helping your year be fabulous.

To Ice Or Not To Ice Is The Blissful…

There is a time and place to ice your muscles that will make your muscles feel blissfully happy. As I always tell my massage clients Ice, Ice Baby, is your friend after a massage, exercise or after a muscle injury. I know heat feels so awesome and amazing on your aches and pains, however, it is not making your muscles better. You can do more harm at times with heat than good.

So what does ice really do for my muscles? Ice will decrease the flow of blood to your muscles this, in turn, decreases swelling, inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms.

Ice is used by all professional athletes after a workout or injury. Yes, they first soak in a hot water bath of Epson salt and then move to a bath of ice. They have more will power than I do. I suggest soaking in a tub with as hot as water as you can stand without burning any essential body part with Epson salt that has eucalyptus and peppermint oils. These two oil work as a natural pain reliever as they soak into your muscles. You should soak until cool about 20 minutes. Epson salt draws out lactic acid that makes your muscles hurt. The hot bath soak should be followed by 15 mins of ice pack on the affected area. 15 mins off the area and then another 15 mins of ice on the affected area.

In conclusion, ice is always your friend if you use it in a controlled setting and not for extended periods of time. The use of massage, Epson bath soaks and ice will make your right as rain. So book your massage today.