Melaleuca (alternifolia) essential oil, aka tea tree oil, is a staple in our family’s medicine cabinet for the pets as well as the humans. I use it primarily for its antiseptic purposes, but it also benefits the skin, in general, and supports immunity. Best of all, it is completely natural and highly effective, which, in my book, makes it a much better choice than traditional over-the-counter topical medications. I don’t know what I’d do without it!
One challenge in treating pets with topical solutions is that if they can reach it, they’ll lick it. And it feels like they can reach just about every part of their bodies. You know what I mean?
Melaleuca oil is a great fix for this problem because it won’t harm them if they lick the treated area. It also tends to “soak in” and stay where is is supposed to, so even if your pooch or kitty decides to take matters into his own paws…er…tongue, the treatment can still be effective.
Though melaleuca oil is a natural way to heal and care for pets, it is strong, so it usually needs to be diluted. Any carrier oil will work, but I would highly recommend coconut oil for it’s lightness and innate benefits to the skin. Some applications recommend another type of carrier oil, such as olive oil or jojoba oil.
Always be sure to test a small area of your pet’s skin with a highly diluted mixture to be sure he is not sensitive to melaleuca oil. Cats tend to be more sensitive to it than dogs, so start testing felines with a very diluted mixture.
The following solutions can be used as a guideline:
So how can melaleuca oil help your dog or cat?
Arthritis: Though your arthritic animal should be evaluated by a veterinarian, you may be able to provide some immediate relief by combining 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil with 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil. Gently massage the affected area, and, if your pet will tolerate it, apply a heating pad (on low setting to prevent burning). You can also use this method for minor sprains.
Cuts and minor skin abrasions: Melaleuca oil can be applied (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”) 2-3 times a day directly to the wound to aid in healing. This also helps prevent infection. If the wound has already become infected, keep applying the oil for seven days. Alternatively, your pet’s wound can be bathed with an antiseptic wash. Just add 2-3 drops of melaleuca oil mixed with 3 drops of the carrier oil. Add to a warm bowl of water and stir well. The wash can be applied with a cotton ball twice a day.
Flea repellant: Mix 3-5 drops of melaleuca oil with 1 1/2 cup of carrier oil (jojoba is recommended so that it doubles as a coat conditioner). Store the mixture in a dark glass container in a cool place. In between bathing, sprinkle a few drops over the coat, especially around the neck and either comb through or sponge over the fur.
Dermatitis: Small areas of dermatitis can be treated with the solution mixture recommended above, (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”).
Ear infection: Mix 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Warm the mixture (be sure it’s just warm…not hot), and, using a dropper, apply 1-2 drops inside the ear (do not insert the dropper in the animal’s ear). Massage the affected ear, and try not to let your pet shake his head, or the drops may come out. Do this twice a day until the infection is gone.
Ear mites: Mix 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Using a cotton ball, apply a couple of drops by wiping the inside of the ear. This can be done once a week for ear mite prevention, if you pet is prone to ear mites.
Hot spots: Hot spots can be effectively treated with the solution mixture recommended above, (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”).
Insect bites & stings: If a stinger is present, carefully remove it. Apply the solution mixture recommended above (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”) with a cotton swab.
Mange or rash: Apply the solution mixture recommended above (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”). This will help with itching and inflammation. Apply twice a day.
Matted coat: Should your pet’s coat become matted, which can often happen in animals with long, fine hair, wet the matted hair with 1 drop of melaleuca oil mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of carrier oil. Rub the solution into the matted area and try to de-matt with a comb. Try to gently pull the matt away from the skin so it can be cut without creating a bald spot or damaging the skin.
Mouth sore: Combine 3-6 drops of Melaleuca oil with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and warm water. Apply directly to the sore for faster healing and to alleviate pain. This is most effectively done with your finger, in my opinion.
Warts: If your animal tolerates diluted melaleuca oil, you can apply 1-2 drops of straight oil directly on a wart with a cotton swab. This can help with pain and itching, if it is present. This can be done for several weeks…patience is required. Some types of warts will not respond to melaleuca oil, but if the wart is bothersome, it’s certainly worth a try.
High-quality Melaleuca oil is available from most reputable herbalists and natural health stores, and anywhere quality essential oils are sold. I purchase the highest-quality T36-C5 oil from Melaleuca, the wellness company, where excellent discounts can be had with a preferred customer membership. Many of the recipes I use regularly come from R.M. Barry’s Melaleuca: The Wellness Guide.
Though I don’t shun traditional medicine completely, holistic healing is the first route I take for my family, including my pets. Melaleuca oil is at the foundation of our methods, and is something I recommend to my friends and pet sitting clients with confidence.
How have you used Melaleuca oil to help heal your pets?
On the second Wednesday of each month, I contribute an article on holistic pet care at Hybrid Rasta Mama, a fantastic blog that offers information and insights on conscious parenting, natural living, holistic health, real food, and coconut oil. This post was featured last month.
Please visit me there today to read ThunderShirt Helps Dogs Find Anxiety Relief the Natural Way. Leave me some love! XO
Disclaimer: This article is not meant as a substitution for veterinary care or professional holistic animal care. Please consult your veterinarian or pet care health professional before embarking on any new treatment plan.
Remington is a big part of my life. I met him when he was just a puppy, and he’s been sweet and sour ever since. Part Winnie-the-Pooh, part devil, this guy has a big heart that has a tendency to grow anxious in certain situations. His anxiety comes out in the form of destruction. He has actually, truly eaten through a metal crate, and he has eaten most of a wall, and he has torn through a friend’s couch, and some other stuff (we’ll spare him the embarrassment of exposing the full extent of his deeds). His worst enemy: being alone or confined, or worst of all, alone and confined.
His family loves him dearly, so when they embarked on a new canine anxiety-producing adventure, I really wanted to help, both him and them, so I called up my friends at ThunderShirt. They were eager to help me help Remington.
I’ve been helping Remington’s mom open Square Roots Preschool out of her home, so I’m intimately familiar with Remington’s new position: being confined to the master bedroom during school hours. His family set him up for success, yet he still floundered. Here are a few examples of his work since the first day of school:
Before Remington’s ThunderShirt arrived, his family tried music and a gentle lead,* which kept him busy, but didn’t really seem to reduce his anxiety level:
He eventually just laid down and stared at me, as if to say, “help.”
I tried to spend time with him, but school duties called.
Since I’d experienced the success of the ThunderShirt with other dogs, I was very anxious for Remington’s ThunderShirt to arrive. I introduced it slowly, at first, as the directions suggested. We offered up his favorite treats, using his new ThunderShirt as a plate:
He took to it quite nicely, so we tried it on. That’s where we hit a bit of a speed bump. Remington was unsure, so he tugged and pulled and twisted.
With a bit of calm encouragement and supervision over several days, he has become more comfortable with the idea of the ThunderShirt, and we’re hoping he’ll be able to wear it for all anxious occasions very soon.
If you’d like to read more about my experiences with the ThunderShirt, please check out the following:
Disclaimer: I was provided with a ThunderShirt in exchange for my honest opinion.
* I do not promote or recommend using a product for a purpose other than for what it was originally intended by it’s manufacturer.
When I heard that Hybrid Rasta Mama was looking for a writer to contribute posts about natural pet care, I had a feeling it would be right up my alley. So while I acted all cool on the outside, on the inside, I was stretching my hand in the air screaming “pick me! Pick me!” Well, guess what?
She picked me!
I’m super excited and honored to be starting as a contributor on Hybrid Rasta Mama. Our ideas align in so many ways. She’s a wealth of knowledge that I know I will benefit from (and of course pass along to you). The Hybrid Rasta Mama blog is all about “conscious parenting, natural living, holistic health, real foods, and more.”
I’m just tickled to be helping her add a natural pet care facet to her amazing body of work. Please check out her site, especially on the second Wednesday of each month when I’ll be featured. Come visit me there!
A few months ago, I borrowed Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet from the library, and once I hit the maximum number of renewals allowed, I hung onto the book and paid the overdue fees until a purchased copy was delivered to my doorstep. I couldn’t be without it.
As an aspiring vegan for reasons of health, animal protection, environmental preservation, and, well, hell, the love of a good challenge, I find myself turning to The Kind Diet on a daily basis. Silverstone’s book provides coaching, inspiration, and damn good recipes, all free of judgement.
The first half of the book shares Silverstone’s opinions and research about why being vegan is a good choice and how it makes her feel. It is often funny. It’s thought-provoking and approachable, as if you’re chatting on the couch with a girlfriend. I mean, she talks about farts. Good stuff. She discusses the benefits of particular foods and coaches the why and how of making a transition to a vegan lifestyle. I’ve called myself a flexitarian because I’m making mostly vegan choices but still can’t tear myself away from an occasional juicy burger. Since being a vegan can seem extreme and the lifestyle has it’s share of critics, it’s helpful that Silverstone outlines three levels of vegans, and how to qualify: “flirting,” “going vegan,” and “becoming a superhero.” There’s something for everyone!
The second half of the book is full of delicious recipes. Silverstone has introduced me to some new ingredients I never knew existed, which is really exciting. Some of the recipes are quick and simple and have become staples for my family, such as “Christopher’s Cauliflower Steaks.” Some are definitely more time-consuming and labor-intensive, but since Silverstone talks a lot about experiencing the joy and sensuality of cooking, this makes sense. I have to plan ahead a bit more for these recipes, but they are worth it.
I’ve implemented many of the basic tips from The Kind Diet and am working my way through the recipes in the book as a huge part of my journey toward becoming vegan. Plus, it’s a fun read. Everything about it is kind. To learn more about The Kind Diet and the vegan way of life, check out Silverstone’s Web site, The Kind Life.
I used to think supplements unnecessary. I make sure my family eats healthy, nutritious food, so why should we need anything more?
I learned that due to the depletion of minerals in our soil, the foods we thought were so nutrient-rich–and should be–sadly, are not. Even whole, organic, natural foods don’t pack quite enough punch. So I put my family on the best supplements I could find with maximum absorption. The whole family takes multivitamin & minerals, calcium, and omega-3s, and us oldsters also take joint supplements so we don’t get all crotchety when we try to run around.
But what about N.A.S.H.A., our dog? She just turned eight, yet still acts like a puppy. Would she need to supplement, too? I feed her the highest-quality food. But then, taking what I know into consideration…she’d probably need to get on board with the rest of the family.
I discovered Ultra Oil, a skin and coat supplement, a balanced source of omegas for pets. Ultra Oil is designed to compensate for the deficiencies found in our pets’ foods. It is heart-healthy and helps with immunity and overall organ function as well as itchiness and skin dryness.
Although N.A.S.H.A. is healthy overall, she has that wiry fur that easily tangles, and she has seasonal allergies that cause her to lick and chew her paws at various times of the year (like, now), depending on what’s in the air and on the ground. Since pets absorb everything they step on through their paws, it’s easy to understand why it’s common for pets to pay so much negative attention to them.
Tony Klabunde from Ultra Oil describes the supplement:
Ultra Oil gives you everything you need from a fish oil supplement with the omega-rich, low mercury sardine & anchovy, but we don’t stop there. We add hempseed oil (nature’s most balanced source of omegas) along with flaxseed and grapeseed oil. This allows for the complete profile of healthy fats, including omega 9s, in the right balance to be optimally absorbed. We believe this is why our supplement is so much more effective at healing allergic breakouts, itching, and hot spots that fish oil alone just can’t touch. After people see the effectiveness of this balance on even the most serious skin irritations, they keep coming back, but the #1 thing that causes people to originally switch from fish oils is the fact that Ultra Oil doesn’t have that stinky odor.
And, it’s true! I really stuck my nose in there, and the stuff has no odor whatsoever. N.A.S.H.A. is a super picky eater, so I thought for sure she’d reject her altered regular food when I put the Ultra Oil on it, but I have seen no change in her eating habits whatsoever, so she either likes it or doesn’t notice it. Based on her weight, all she needs is one pump per day. Administration instructions are on the bottle, so you’ll know how much your pet needs.
After being on Ultra Oil for a month, now, I have noticed a reduction in the amount of time N.A.S.H.A. spends tending to her paws. There is an occasional lick, but, for the most part, the Ultra Oil has alleviated her allergic reactions. Though her fur isn’t like that of a mink, and she’ll always be prone to dreadlocks, it seems softer to me and tangles less.
I love the fact that Ultra Oil is non GMO and completely human grade. The farmers from which they source their seed oil use sustainable farming practices. So I can feel good about giving it to my pet.
Though we’ve seen some benefits in N.A.S.H.A., I’d love to see first hand how the stuff works on a dog with extreme allergies and hot spots. Stay tuned for future reviews!
Ultra Oil is available for individual use and wholesale applications.
Disclaimer: I was provided Ultra Oil in exchange for my honest opinion.
Fireworks. Spectacular celebratory tools of our nation’s independence, or an annual source of terror?
Fireworks can be so stressful for some dogs that their owners are house-bound during one of the best get-out-and-enjoy-summer events of the year, the 4th of July. And the fireworks don’t even have to be nearby. Some dogs completely freak out over fireworks miles and miles away that we humans can’t even hear. Remember that their hearing is more sensitive than ours.
I’ve posted first-hand accounts about the success the ThunderShirt had for Jack and Rex. Rex donned his ThunderShirt on the 4th of July last year and slept through a massive fireworks show less than a mile from his home. Jack will try his for the first time this year, but I believe his owner is so thrilled with the results they’ve achieved so far, that she might just dress Jack in his 4th of July party suit and head out for a night on the delta (so we may have to ask the neighbors how he did).
The ThunderShirt calms pet fears by “hugging.” It seems silly and too simple, but it works. Why can’t you just hug your pet and save yourself some money? Because you are anxious when your pet is anxious, and your own anxiety is transferred to your pet. So you’d just be compounding the problem.
Check out this compilation of before & after results…amazing!
Again and again, the steady pressure of the ThunderShirt seems to work for so many. What a wonderful natural alternative to “doggie downers,” which so many pet owners have had to resort to. Considering that the shirt comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, it seems silly not to give it a try this 4th of July.
You can order ThunderShirt online, or you can purchase it in most pet stores in time for the fireworks.
I started my inquiry about the ThunderShirt because I’d simply heard so many positive things about it, and I wanted to see for myself. The more I experience the Thundershirt, the better I feel about it. Have you used ThunderShirt? I’d love to hear about it!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ThunderShirt in exchange for my honest opinion.