Fresh Wave Lavender Odor Removing Packs in a basket with an assortment of essential dog supplies

Scare Away ‘Dog Smell’ With This Lavender Sachet

I am a huge fan of FreshWave. They make a complete line of all-natural home odor control products (air fresheners, vacuum beads, pet shampoo), and today in the grocery store I saw their new Lavender scent Odor Removing Packs.

All natural products are important to me as I like to minimize the amount of chemicals in the house, especially around the dogs.

FreshWave has a unique blend of  natural extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and cedarwood, they combine to achieve their signature odor removal.

 

Lavender Oil has long been used as an aromatherapy technique to soothe anxious dogs, and reduce their anxiety. I was intrigued to see it in a sachet that is easy to manage, is long-lasting (up to 60 days!) and from a brand that I regularly trust. I use their Pet Shampoo regularly, and pay full retail price for the products that I show here.

Fresh Wave Lavender Odor Removing Packs in a basket with an assortment of essential dog supplies

FreshWave Lavender Odor Removing Packs have a ‘natural’ home in our basket of dog supplies.

As soon as I arrived home from the store, I opened the packages, smelled how pure the scent of the oil is, and found a home for them in the ‘dog basket’. This basket is in the Family Room where we spend most of our time in the evening, and where the dogs spend their days while we are at work. The packaging says the sachet is designed for small rooms, but this is more of a medium sized, so I expect the scent to more more diluted than designed. That being said, the scent is pleasant, understated, and fresh. It doesn’t ‘hit you’ when you walk into the room, but you know that the room smells good.

Since one of our dogs is a shih tzu, known for being loud alert dogs, I am hoping that the mild lavender will keep him calm and relaxed. Please note that I won’t be placing the sachets in the same space as the dogs, or applying the oils directly to them. This article from Chargin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic has great advise about how to properly use essential oils around pets.

The packaging says that the only ingredient is “plant oils”, so you certainly can’t get any more simple or natural than that!

According to the Fresh Wave website, they have been making all-natural odor-removing products for over 20 years. While they source their oils from around the world, all their products are manufactured in Rising Sun, Indiana.

Speaking of lavender, I came across this blog post from Barking Botanicals what shows 6 Ways To Use Lavender In The Car To Calm Your Dog. They have some unique suggestions such as making a vehicle spray, buying a portable essential oil diffuser, and treating your dogs collar.

 

Top Therapy Dog Stories 8.31

It’s great to see dogs integrated into new and an increasing number of places. The Ashland Gazette is reporting that Ashland-Greenwood Schools are placing a therapy dog in the classroom for students! They are hosting a breakfast to introduce Rizzo to the community.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet Rizzo, Ashland-Greenwood Public School’s first therapy dog, during the first Bluejay Breakfast of the 2018-19 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 12 in the middle school/high school cafeteria. – Ashland Gazette

 

Part of a recent post about therapy dogs coming to airports, was this one from The Dallas Morning News (turn off adblocker to read the story), We are becoming increasingly familiar with explosive detection dogs in airports, but now it’s great to see them being available to soothe and comfort stressed-out passengers.

“The goal of the program is to make the traveling experience less stressful and more pleasant,” airport official Ken Whittaker said in a statement.

 

With students going back to school around the country, Huffington Post is reporting on an increase in therapy dogs showing up to relieve the stress of students. University of South Carolina is just one of the many to implement a canine program to help students of any year.

As students returned to the University of South Carolina this year, they were greeted by Indy, a therapy puppy who will soon be a consistent presence on campus, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Once Indy’s training is complete, she will participate in pet-a-puppy events and hold office hours at the university’s Student Health Services.

 

Finally, Nancy Partridge from the Los Alamos Daily Post writes about Medical Detection Dogs and how they can help detect cancer in patients; as well as the benefits of exposure to animals.

In one study, a Labrador retriever trained in cancer scent detection correctly identified 91 percent of breath samples and 97 percent of stool samples from patients with colon cancer. In another study, a German shepherd identified ovarian cancer malignancies form tissue samples with 90 percent accuracy.

Effective Treatments For Dog Ear Infections

While the title of this post isn’t that appealing, ear infections are common for many floppy-ear dog breeds such as shih tzu, poodle, pit bull, cocker spaniel, and Shar Pei.

Infections generally fall into two categories; bacterial, or yeast. WebMD says the main contributing factors of ear infections are: ear mites, excessive hair, moisture or wax, foreign bodies, allergies, and hypothyroidism. Not adequately drying or airing out ears after swimming, or exploring overgrown areas outdoors can expose your dog to the contributing causes of ear infections.

Infected ears can be uncomfortable for your dog, both because of the irritation in their ear canal, but also excessive scratching can cause cuts and increase the redness, as they attempt to scratch the itch away.

From time to time I have had to treat ear infections in my dog at home and found the following to be helpful to treat both kinds. When the non-prescription products don’t work after a few days, then a trip to the vet is necessary. I have found that often my grocery store pharmacy can order pet prescriptions. If you know you have a prescription coming your way from the vet, it is helpful to call the grocery store pharmacy to check their pricing to ensure you don’t overpay at the vet. If your pet prescription requires refills, you might as well save a stop and get them at the same time as your prescriptions (if any), or your groceries!

The five medications I have at home to treat my dogs ear infections are:

Prescription Non-Prescription
Otibiotic Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry
Otomax VetOrganics EcoEars
Virbac Epi-Otic

Effective medications for treating dog ear infections

 

Otibiotic is made by VetUS (Henry Schein Animal Health) and comes in a 15g tube, with instructions to administer 5 drops in the ear each day, for 14 days. The ingredients are gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole and they are mixed in a mineral oil paste. It controls bacteria and fungus, and is an anti-inflammatory. It has the same active ingredients and proportion of ingredients as Otomax, however it is less expensive.

Otomax is made by Merk Animal Health and was the original prescribed product we had received to treat both the bacterial and fungal ear infection. It contains gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole, and is mixed with a mineral oil paste to aid in application.

Epi-Otic made by Virbac is a clear rinse that helps remove cellular debris and wax from the ears and contains an anti-irritant. The active ingredients are diethylene glycol monoethyl ether, salicylic acid, and chloroxylenol. It is applied by filling the ear, massaging for 60-90 seconds, then allowing the dog to shake out the excess. After that, a cotton swab should be used to wipe out the remaining, along with any debris or wax that has been loosened. Any following medication should be applied after the Epi-Otic has dried.

EcoEars is a natural product made by VetOrganics in the USA. The ingredients are: deionized water, witch hazel extract, denatured grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, polysorbate 20 (food grade), boric acid, tea tree oil, ionic silver solution, organic mullein leaf extract, rosemary extract, and fingerroot extract. It is a clear liquid that can be administered directly in to the ear, or for squirmy dogs, a cotton ball can be soaked and the liquid squeezed into the ear.

The VetOrganics website goes into further detail to describe how each of the ingredients work to clear up the infection. I have found that it works well as a maintenance product. The label recommends using it twice per day for 10 days, or longer as necessary; weekly as a maintenance product. I found that the prescription medications show a visible improvement in the appearance of ear cleanliness and smell within hours of applying them.

Finally, Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry is another natural formula made in the USA (Texas, to be exact) and contains Calendula, Clove Oil, Aloe Vera, Chamomie, Tea Tree Oil, Silica and Echinacea. It too is a white paste that dries to a powder which helps absorb moisture which can cause bacterial and yeast growth. The recommended application is to squeeze into the ear canal and let dry. This should be used before and after bathing or swimming, and can be used regularly as a maintenance product. I find this especially useful after baths because I know there is often water remaining inside Dexter’s floppy ears.

Some of the product links above are affiliate links to the product pages on Amazon.

Benebone and Other Great Made In America Dog Toys


Originally started through crowdfunding, Benebone has become very popular and I can speak from experience, that my dogs love them! Made in New York of USA-sourced nylon with the flavor from real bacon, peanuts, and chicken; they are durable and highly addictive! Starting with their ‘wishbone’ shape, they have since branched off into several different models and flavors. Check out the original bacon Wishbone here.

I agree with the top reviews on Amazon that all of the Benebone products are durable even for the heaviest of chewers. They come in several sizes so be sure to select the one that is appropriate for your dog.

Pros:

  1. Very durable. Will provide a very long ‘chew time’ even for big dogs.
  2. Made using Real Flavors from real bacon, peanuts, and chicken.
  3. Come in a variety of shapes and sizes to appeal to any dog.

Cons:

  1. Can be too hard for some dogs. Make sure you select the correct size and monitor your dogs usage of this product.
  2. Cost. They can be more expensive than other nylon toys, but consider the size and amount of engagement your dog will get from Benebone versus another nylon product.

Overall, these toys are great for all sizes of dogs, just be sure to select the correct format.

Another great nylon product Made in the USA is from Nylabone.

There is a reason that the Nylabone website starts with “For Every Reason To Chew, There’s A Nylabone”. This long-standing company makes hundreds of products for heavy chewers. Treats, bones, toys, and chews; they make it all. All sizes, shapes, and flavors, you will find a Nylabone product that your dog will find irresistible.

Pros:

  1. Comes in every combinations of size, shape, and flavor you can imagine.
  2. Products for all states of life (puppy & adult).
  3. Covers all price ranges, from value to premium.

Cons:

  1. Can be overwhelming to find the ‘right’ product. Be sure to use their Custom Product Finder on their website.
  2. Scent can be weak or fade quickly. Some reports from these toys say that the scent can be weak. Be sure to keep the package sealed until ready to share with your pup!

Overall, the track record of this company is stellar and they are sure to have a toy to exactly match your dogs engagement level, but don’t stress over finding the perfect toy; use their product search feature to find a few your dog will like!

West Paw designs and manufactures their toys in Bozeman, Montana. Their in-house team carefully designs and tests their toys to ensure they will be loved, and loved for a long time. They come in fun colors and are environmentally friendly, and non-toxic. They have an ever-expanding list of toys available and all kinds of fun an innovative shapes.

Pros:

  1. Fun, colorful, designs. Very unique shapes for fun and stimulating play.
  2. Good size product range for a lot to choose from specific for your dogs play style.
  3. Money back, or product replacement guarantee.

Cons:

  1. Some reports of quickly destroyed toys. Be sure to take advantage of their guarantee.
  2. Limited availability – mostly independent pet stores, but check for them on Amazon.

Overall, West Paw is a highly engaged company that puts a heavy emphasis on creativity and ensure long play time with their fun and durable products. Contact them if – for some reason – your dog destroys the toy quickly.

 

Palo-Alto

Brent-Wood Products has introduced small to extra-extra large Bow Wow dog houses. They are made from upcycled wood, and built in Los Angeles. The image above is their Palo-Alto model. Using the sizing guide on their website in the link above, or call them directly at 800-400-7335 and they will help you select the right house for your dog.

Pros:

  1. Made in the USA using upcycled wood.
  2. High-design models built buy hand.
  3. Direct customer service number to plan your house with a consultant.

Cons:

  1. Limited retail outlets to see models and order in person. Check out their website for the list of retailers.

Overall, this custom product will provide a stylish and spacious outdoor home for your dog.

Buying American has many benefits including ensuring that jobs are created and stay in our economy. That also has the secondary benefit of keeping money in communities where those people live. By creating products and adding value to physical goods that we modify and build here, we are increasing our GDP, a measure of our global competitiveness. Everything that we build and keep in our country reduces our reliance on importing foreign goods. When someone in your community builds a product, you know they will stand behind it and offer a high level of service after the sale. You can also know that they are aware of the components of that product and there is an increased likelihood that the output is safer than an unknown product.

Top 5 Reasons I Groom My Dog At Home

I used to go to the big box groomer every six weeks to have Dexter washed, cut, and nails clipped, but after some research online, watching some videos, and buying some inexpensive things from Amazon, I was able to successfully start grooming him at home.

Home grooming isn’t “hard” but it does require some preparation and precision. When I first started, I was glad that he didn’t have to go to school like a child, or his friends would make fun of him. It was bad. Over the last year that I have been doing this, my technique has improved, I am able to follow the same grooming process, and the result is a dog who is presentable in public.

Getting to the place where I decided to start grooming my shih tzu at home wasn’t quick. At first I didn’t think I could. I thought that dog grooming was best left up to the people at the pet store. After a while, though, I realized that they didn’t have any fancy equipment that I couldn’t build or buy, and the only thing I needed to invest was time rather than money.

Top Five Reasons I Chose to Groom My Dog At Home Are:

  1. Reduces Stress On My Dog
  2. Be In Control of the Process
  3. Reduced Investment of Time for Me
  4. Cost
  5. Learning A New Skill

Reducing Stress on On My Dog – The biggest motivator for me to look into grooming at home was the stress I could see in Dexter when he returned home. He would run around the house to get caught up on all the smells, then he would pass out from exhaustion. He is a shih-tzu/terrier mix; a high-energy alert dog. He needs to know about every noise that happens, and has big enough burst of energy to continually bark or chase whatever he alerts to, real or imagined. I knew that spending most of a day at the grooming salon was keeping him on edge the entire time. There were so many dogs, people, and sounds that he couldn’t relax.

Be In Control of the Process – While I trust the grooming salon and the pet store completely, my dog is almost like a child to me. He is a member of the family and I want to ensure that I do the best I can to place him in situations where he will be well taken care of. I was fully confident leaving him with them, and had done so for several years, but even then you hear of stories on the news where something happens to a dog in their care. The rational part of my brain says that these stories are the exception, and there are thousands of successful grooming sessions for every one mistake, but I knew that I could eliminate even that small chance by taking over this responsibility.

Also, I can control the how he looks at the end. Rather than describing the look I want to the groomer then leaving it to them, then potentially having to stay later to have them fix any issues, By doing it myself I could cut his fur to the length I desired the first time. If his tail wasn’t coming out correctly, or his face was too long, I could fix it on the spot as I went. I could control which shampoo was used, I could control the length of the grooming session, I could control the environment, I could control the final look. I wouldn’t have a problem going back to a groomer, but I also like being able to pick and decide each step of the way as well.

Reducing My Investment of Time – The pet store grooming salon is about a 15 minute drive from my house. Not only would I have to drive there and back once to get Dexter to them, but also there and back again to pick him up. Give the amount of time it takes for them to complete the wash & groom process, and the comparative amount of time it takes me to do errands in that same area, it involved a lot of driving. Literally, I would spend an hour of the day just driving to and from the groomer. On top of that, I would be tied to my phone waiting for their call that he was ready. He could be ready at 4pm, he could be ready at 6pm depending on a lot of factors (drop off time, the number of other dogs, etc…). I might be in the middle of a project at that time. I could be just not in the mood to go back out for him; the timing was just unpredictable. In the time it took me to drive to drop him off and pick him up, plus the uncertainty of when he would be done, I would rather schedule my own time and invest an hour to an hour and a half to do it myself.

Cost – Cost is certainly a factor in any decision. Looking at prices around me, some of the national chains pricing ranges from $29 – $131 for a bath and cut. Exact pricing depends on the size and breed, but even a small, easy to groom dog requiring grooming every 6 weeks would need eight sessions per year at $30, so the yearly cost would be $240. I will list below what I use. Most of them are one-time expenses, and they add up to less that $250, so there is an immediate savings. Granted, some of what you are paying for is the training and experience the groomers have, but with enough practice I feel confident that grooming your dog of any breed at home is attainable.

Learning a New Skill – Last, I am a curious person by nature. I like to know how things work and I like to build my skill level wherever possible. Taking up the challenge to learn about dog grooming was something that fascinated me, and that I took with and ran. Do I feel like I would want to do this for other people’s dogs? No. Would I ever consider leaving my job and doing this full-time? No. What I do have, though, is the satisfaction of not knowing anything about this, and becoming okay at it. And continually improving!

Below I will list the supplies I use when grooming my dog at home. Following that I will link to some videos from Wahl that demonstrate how you can groom many dog breeds yourself.

Bath:
FreshWave Dog Shampoo
AquaPaw – hand-held pet shower
Soggy Doggy Towel
Andis hair dryer (use the Low setting)

Grooming:
My DIY Grooming Table
Scissor set from Amazon
Wahl Pro-Series Pet Clippers – Read my review here

(The Wahl set comes with a pair of scissors and a plastic comb, but both are of okay quality. I opted to buy a separate set of scissors because it included stainless steel scissors, and a stainless steel comb)

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Dexter with his FreshWave shampoo and the AquaPaw connected to the shower.

These videos from Wahl are clearly from decades past, but the techniques they demonstrate are time-tested.

 

This is the video the designer of the AquaPaw produced when it was first introduced to demonstrate its use.

Top Therapy Dogs 08.12.18

Check out these great stories of therapy dogs for the week ending August 15, 2018

Children Read to SwedishAmerican Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs from SwedishAmerican Hospital gathered at Klehm Arboretum where little children were able to bring in their favorite book to read to the dogs. The dogs spend their time visiting cancer patients at the hospital. Check out the video on the 23WIFR site!

Baltimore PD’s new K-9 Is A Therapy Dog

It’s great to see that dogs are taking a more active role in policing, not only in catching criminals, but also comforting law enforcement! Their work is stressful and emotionally draining, so having this cute goldendoodle to comfort and calm them will be a huge benefit.
Check out the video at the site above how Dugger Union School brought on a certified therapy dog, Maggie, to help ease the anxiety of reading in front of others, or to help calm nerves.
This is a bittersweet moment for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Max is a crisis and therapy dog working for the Prince George RCMP’s Victim Services Unit. In fact, Max was the RCMP’s first professional therapy dog in Canada. The RCMP recently hosted a retirement party for Max. Check out the article above for Max’s accomplishments and the details of his celebration!

Follow Bark4Treats on Twitter for more uplifting stories!

Dog Toys (And More!) Made In The USA

Last article featured mostly dog treats and food Made In America, but this time In this we look at some durable toys and durable products that your dog will love.

Not only will these products improve the lives of your puppy, but when you buy American, you support our domestic economy. Keeping money here helps create and maintain jobs in our communities. It helps fund schools and has a ripple effect because the money you spend to buy the product is spent again in a community close to home; by the men and women building and creating the things your dog loves. Not only will these products give your dog a warm heart, but yours too!

Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff BallsThese ultra-durable balls are made of non-toxic, 100% recyclable materials right here in the USA. The company even offers a guarantee if your dog destroys it. I can say that after several years of owning one of these, that it takes a lot of abuse and still looks brand new. It has an incredible bounce to it too, so it will keep your pup really engaged while playing. Check out some of their holiday themed balls as well!

American Mutt – American Mutt has a wide assortment of products all Made in America. They are one of the few companies I have seen that makes a dog bed 100% in the USA. Check out their CoreBlu bed which is Waterproof, Fungal-proof, and has an incredible 5 Year Warranty! With that commitment, you know the company and employees put care and attention into what they make. There are several styles of bed to choose from, including a bolster bed that is raised off the floor!

SaltSox – Protect your pups paws from summer heat, dirty sidewalks, hot sand and much more. The built-in heat barrier reflects radiant surface heat and the breathable mesh fabric allows for natural cooling. Perfect for when the temperatures soar! Check out their versions for temperatures both hot (LavaSox) and cold (SaltSox). Both varieties are made in Chicago, IL! The bottom of the sock even has a grippy sole to improve traction indoors and out. This is the perfect gift for dog lovers who live in cities, or the suburbs where regular walking on pavement and snow can cause injury.

AquaComb – This innovative tool is made in Sarasota, Florida. It connects to a hose (garden or otherwise) and the patent-pending fingers direct water beneath even the thickest of dog coats to help deep clean dirt and dander. The fingers come in two lengths for short and longer coats, so there is one that is perfect for your pet. It comes in four models as well, made specifically for dogs, made for grooming horses, and models for cleaning pool and spa filters. This product is great for 4-H clubs and others who spend lots of time washing dogs, grooming horses or ponies.