Simple Ingredients to Turn Your Dog's Meal ( and your own!) into a Cancer Fighting Powerhouse

Simple Ingredients to Turn Your Dog's Meal ( and your own!) into a Cancer Fighting Powerhouse

 During my experience as the caregiver to the most badass cancer warrior dog in the world, my beloved Nola, I realized that cancer is so much easier to prevent, than it is to fight.  I only wish that I would have known, when she was younger, about all of the wonderful herbs and spices that build the immune system and prevent and fight cancer.  I am completely perplexed by how little nutrition is taught or utilized in western medicine for the treatment of cancer, arthritis or any other disease.

Let me simplify how cancer works in the body and explain why the following ingredients will help to turn the body into a cancer killing environment.  The following is true for both humans and canines because cancer is cancer.  Cancer thrives in an acidic environment and it feeds off of sugar.  Conversely, omega-3 starves cancer by oxygenating the blood and cancer cannot thrive or survive in an oxygenated, alkaline environment.  This information is a game-changer in your fight against cancer – knowledge is your secret weapon to controlling the disease.  To be clear, I’m not claiming that this is the next miracle cure for cancer and that it’s the answer to everything, but it is basic chemistry that can’t be disputed.  There is scientific evidence that proves that cancer can’t survive in an oxygenated, alkaline environment, so doesn’t it just make sense to do everything possible to create an oxygenated, alkaline environment in your dog’s body, as well as your own? 

As a senior dog, Nola’s body was showing many signs of an auto-immune disorder, but her symptoms were all diagnosed as “allergies” and treated with antibiotics, Benadryl and steroids, all of which are detrimental to an already compromised immune system.  As soon as I started enhancing her food with the following wonderful ingredients, after the cancer diagnosis, her rash cleared up almost over-night, her coat turned very thick and shiny and her dandruff went away – again, AFTER she got cancer her health actually improved with proper nutrition.  I later learned that these were all symptoms of auto-immune disease in dogs, and we were treating her immune deficiencies with antibiotics and steroids!  Learning this made me feel angry, ignorant, and mad at myself for not doing my own research earlier.  I put all of my trust in someone else to tell me what was best for my dog. MY dog, MY responsibility.  Once she got cancer, I started researching like a mad woman, literally spending hundreds of hours reading everything I could find on natural cancer cures.  Very early on, I had an epiphany that is so simple and so under-estimated by our mainstream health care system.  We should have been treating the cause of the symptoms instead of the symptoms themselves.  I can promise you that I will never make that mistake again, which is why I now add the following power ingredients to my healthy dogs’ food, as well as my own food, to help prevent cancer and arthritis and keep us healthy as we all age.   Yes, these are all great remedies for arthritis too, because arthritis works the exact same way in the body as cancer and is caused from inflammation and an acidic PH, just like cancer.

Garlic

 Let’s go ahead and address the white elephant in the room – you know, the fact that garlic shows up on the “unsafe food for dogs” list every time, but yet I am telling you to feed it to your dogs.  The reason why it shows up on the list is because garlic and onions contain thiosulphate, which is the substance that causes ‘Heinx Factor’ anemia in dogs and cats; therefore, they get grouped together as unsafe food for dogs and cats.  But onions have a much higher amount of thiosulphate than garlic, which has almost untraceable amounts when given properly, and therefore should not be compared to an onion with regard to toxicity for canines.  Cats, however, are much more sensitive to thiosulphate and should NOT have garlic or onions.  For dogs, garlic is a powerhouse of immune building, cancer fighting properties, wrapped up in a tiny little bulb and it is included into every canine cancer fighting diet that I have found in my research.  I had planned to eventually write an entire blog on the importance of garlic for dogs, but then I found this blog on the same topic, by Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer.  Her information on garlic is so comprehensive and well written, stating every single point that I wanted to drive home to you, that I decided to just share hers and save myself the trouble. 

 

The main properties that make garlic a force to be reckoned with, when fighting cancer and arthritis, is it’s powerful anti-inflammatory and alkalinity properties, both imperative in the fight against cancer and arthritis.  To fight cancer, I gave Nola, who was 80lbs, (1) clove with every meal – up to (3) cloves per day.  To prevent cancer, you can cut that amount way back.  I currently give my healthy dogs, who are medium size (30 – 45 lbs), (1/2) of a large clove or (1) small clove each, (which is approximately the equivalent to a teaspoon when finely chopped) a few times a week, to boost their immune systems and keep their bodies alkaline.  During the spring and summer, I increase it to a daily dose to help repel fleas & ticks as well as boost the immune system to fight spring allergies.  My dogs tend to get a runny nose at the peak allergy season, just like I do, and one dose of garlic clears it up for them.  Garlic is also a great natural antibiotic and it helps little cuts and scrapes heal faster.  My last thought to leave you with about the importance of garlic is this.  Remember when I mentioned that Nola’s rash cleared up almost overnight once I enhanced her diet?  Well, when I was tracking her food charts to see what I had done differently in the last few days that might have helped, garlic was the only thing different that I had added at that time, once I decided that it was safe.  I was immediately convinced that not only is it safe, it is powerful. 

 

Before pealing or chopping your garlic, always crush it first with the side of your knife.  Not only does this make it easier to peal, it also unleashes the powerful essential oils that make all the magic happen in the body. 

This is what I would consider a large garlic clove, crushed, pealed and ready to chop.

 

 

 

 

Once chopped, it equals approximately (2) teaspoons, which I split between my two medium sized dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger

This quote was taken from an article on the Natural Society website called Ginger Destroys Cancer More Effectively than Death-Linked Cancer Drugs by Anthony Guccairdi, “Ginger, a cousin spice of super anti-cancer substance turmeric, is known for its ability to shrink tumors.  Astoundingly, it is even more effective than many cancer drugs, which have been shown to be completely ineffective and actually accelerate the death of cancer patients. Commonly consumed across the world in small doses among food and beverage products, the medicinal properties of ginger far surpass even advanced pharmaceutical inventions.”

 

Like garlic, ginger is also an amazing anti-inflammatory and promotes alkalinity in the body.  A little ginger goes a long way and a small amount (1 tsp of fresh ginger, which is approximately 1/2” peeled and finely chopped) should be in every single meal. 

 

These images illustrate the amount that I split between my two medium sized dogs per meal.  This is a teaspoon represented in the photos.

 

Turmeric with Ground Black Pepper

Phytochemicals found in turmeric have been researched for their potential effects on cancer and other diseases.  Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine.  Always use turmeric in conjunction with fresh ground black pepper because the pepper increases the efficacy (absorption into the body) of the turmeric.  I highly recommend adding a teaspoon into every meal with several dashes of black pepper – I can’t say enough about the importance of this spice for a complete cancer fighting diet. 

 

Shown here is the approximate amount of fresh ground black pepper (right) I use along with a teaspoon of Turmeric (left).  This is about 8 to 10 cranks on the pepper mill.

 Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Promotes Alkalinity – Remember that cancer cannot survive in an Alkaline Body – ACV is nature’s anti-inflammatory.  Raw (unfiltered) organic ACV, like Braggs, has the “mother” which is full of enzymes and healthy bacteria that most believe is responsible for the health benefits of ACV.  You can tell that it has the “mother” if it is cloudy with bits floating around in it – be sure to shake well before pouring so that you get some of the healthy bits into your food.  If you use Braggs, then you will know that you are getting true, raw Apple Cider Vinegar, which is high in anti-oxidants and immune system support. 

 

To feed to your pets, mix (1) or (2) tablespoons right into their food or mix with (1) tsp of raw organic honey and bee pollen in a small amount of warm water.  You can utilize a food syringe to help your dog drink the water if they aren’t willing on their own.  If your dog is experiencing swollen lymph nodes due to the cancer or other infections, ACV works very well to clean out swollen lymph nodes too.  We experienced this with Nola one night after her amputation surgery, due to an infection that she had acquired, and the ACV worked within minutes.  To use yourself, you can throw it in a salad or put a tablespoon in a glass of water in lieu of lemon every once in a while.

 

Coconut Oil

The medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in organic, unrefined coconut oil are metabolized differently by taking a path through the liver on the way to the digestive tract and releasing a quick boost of energy.  MCTs are extremely beneficial to cancer patients.  This quote was taken from an article by The Coconut Research Center, “MCT are easily digested, absorbed, and put to use nourishing the body. Unlike other fats, they put little strain on the digestive system and provide a quick source of energy necessary to promote healing. There have been many other studies done on the use of MCT to shrink cancer tumors.  This is important for patients who are using every ounce of strength they have to overcome serious illness or injury.” 

 

By combining generous amounts of organic, unrefined coconut oil with necessary amounts of omega-3 (see Fish Oil below), we are basically supporting and following the guidelines of a Ketogenic Diet, without the fasting, which has been used to starve cancer cells for years. 

 

For a cancer dog, I highly recommend that you start your dog on (3) Tbs of organic, unrefined coconut oil (any size dog) throughout the day, every day, and even more if they like it and want it, within reason.  Coconut oil is one of those super foods that is simply healthy and you can’t over dose.  It can, however, give them a full feeling, since it saturates the liver on the way to the digestive tract, which might make it hard to feed them the necessary cancer fighting meals.  I waited until after Nola ate or mixed it directly into her food. 

I give my healthy dogs (1) Tbs a day mixed into their food for healthy immune support. 

Sometimes I use it as a healthy treat by lightly blending (1) Tbs coconut oil with (1) Tsp raw organic honey, which I call my Cochoneynut treat, and always make myself a serving as well.  This is what the Cochoneynut treat should look like once blended.

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Fish Oil

Fish oil is a great sources of omega-3 for dogs and vital in oxygenating the blood to starve cancer cells.  For my healthy dogs, I give them each (1) 1000mg Fish Oil pill daily – broken open and squeezed onto their food.  Fish oil will maintain a healthy coat and promote heart health as well.  When using it to treat cancer, I started Nola (80 lb dog) on (4) 1000mg pills a day and later learned that the recommended dosage is 1000mg for every 10 lbs, so I doubled her dosage to 8-10 1000 mg pills a day.  Toward the end of our journey, I had a conversation with a gentleman who was doing extensive research in the concept of the Ketogenic Diet, utilizing MCT and Omega 3, and he informed me that I could and should be giving Nola up to 20,000mg a day for an 80 lb dog, which is what we gave her toward the end of her protocol.  I did get the approval from our vet, Dr. Baker, prior to doubling her dosage for the second time, and she explained that it takes very large doses of omega-3, when using it to oxygenate the blood for cancer treatment.  Some dogs will get soft or runny stool if given too much and too quickly.  If this happens, just back off to a smaller dose and try to slowly increase it over time, finding that sweet spot for your dog.  We never had that issue with Nola and it might be because I increased it over time, but the increase wasn’t what I would call gradual, since I doubled the dose with each increase.  She was on each dosage for a couple months before it was doubled.  Her diet was packed with a lot of fiber from fruits and vegetables, which most likely helped to keep her from getting loose stool.  If you have issues with diarrhea, as I mentioned in my previous blog on canned pumpkin, you can add a couple tablespoons of canned pumpkin to their food, which works like a charm to firm up soft stool.

 

All of these ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find at your local grocery or health food store, and very little of each one will reap huge benefits to your overall health.  This makes it so easy to include them into your meals as well as your pets’ on a daily basis, even when living on a budget.  Don’t feel like you have to include every ingredient into every meal – mix it up and alternate them, so that you and your dogs are getting a variety of powerful cancer fighting sources on a daily basis. 

5 Reasons i feed my dogs canned pumpkin every day

5 Reasons i feed my dogs canned pumpkin every day

Before I go into all the reasons why I love pumpkin and its many uses, I want to mention that this blog is about canned pumpkin, specifically, because I am sharing what I feed MY dogs.  If you have the time to prepare fresh pumpkin and have easy access to it, then by all means, give them fresh pumpkin, including the seeds and flesh.  Fresh pumpkin will provide them with all of the same nutritional value that I am sharing here, and then some.  The reason why I choose PLAIN canned pumpkin (not the kind with sugar and spices added) is because I want them to have it every day and canned is convenient, versatile (I will explain this more later) and easy to find all year.  So, to recap, canned pumpkin is great, but fresh pumpkin is even better.  And pumpkin seeds are a very nutritious treat for pets and their humans and have been known to prevent urinary tract infections.  For dogs, I would grind them up and sprinkle them on their food, so that they get the nutrients from them before they pass through their short digestive tract.

These are the five reasons why I always have canned pumpkin in the house and feed it to my dogs every day:

1. Nutritional Value - Pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene, anti-oxidants and fiber.  Just a couple tablespoons mixed into your pet's food daily (use a teaspoon for small dogs or cats) will greatly improve their nutrients and fiber intake, which is especially important if you are only feeding them kibble food.  Even if you are feeding a top quality kibble with limited ingredients, you should still enhance it with additional nutrients, because processed pet food is just like processed human food - not very nutritious on its own.   Most dogs love the taste too, which makes them feel like they are getting a special treat.  I have not had the opportunity to feed it to a cat, so all of you cat owners out there will have to leave a comment about your experience once you've tried it!

2.  Healthy Stools - okay, I couldn't resist making #2 about healthy stools.  After having a cancer dog who had to take a lot of supplements, I have become a little obsessed with my dogs' poop and I promise you that a little pumpkin daily will give them the perfect poop every time.  What is so great is that pumpkin will clear up diarrhea from an upset stomach AND it will also take care of constipation!  I'm telling you, it is your magic potion for perfect poops.  This works for humans too!  If I had human children, they would also be eating lots of canned and fresh pumpkin.

3.  Weight control - if you have a porky piglet for a dog or cat, that loves to eat, it may be for the same reasons that humans over eat, because they aren't eating nutritious food.  Their bodies want more and more because they aren't getting necessary nutrients to feel satisfied - much like when we inhale a bag of chips and still want more.  I hope that you are purchasing the best quality dog/cat food that you can afford, and even if you are, enhancing it with foods like canned pumpkin will help your dog/cat to feel more satisfied and full after they eat.  This allows you to feed a little less kibble food, while giving them more satisfaction, thus, managing their weight.

4.  Stimulates appetite on a sour stomach - Our little Suri has the most finicky stomach of any dog I've ever owned.  Many times, in the mornings, if her stomach is too empty, she simply will not eat.  I will hear her stomach gurgling and begging for food, but she won't touch it.  I have found that all I have to do is give her a spoonful of canned pumpkin, sometimes with a little Milk Kefir mixed in, and she is good to go.  She starts gobbling up her food within the hour.

5.  Medicinal Properties - I saved the best for last because the medicinal properties of canned pumpkin is my favorite aspect of it.  The first thing I do, when researching the nutritional value of food, is refer to my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) charts to learn the energetics of the food and what paths it takes in the body.  This gives me a better understanding of how the body uses it and what kind of medicinal properties it has.  This type of knowledge helps me to use food as medicine in many different ways.  I mentioned in the beginning that canned pumpkin is very versatile and I already shared a couple other ways that I use it medicinally, for healthy stools and upset stomachs, but pumpkin has a few other very important medicinal uses that is important to share.  According to TCM, one of the paths that pumpkin takes in the body is through the lungs, and the conditions that it helps in the body are blood circulation, cold conditions (chronic cold body temps), damp conditions (the body's failure to burn off or transform moisture), and phlegm.  So what does this mean?  This means that if you or your dog are sick with a head cold with lots of phlegm, congestion and chills, then have some pumpkin.  The other paths that it takes in the body are through the large intestine, stomach and spleen, which explains why it is so helpful for healthy stools and digestion.

Every year, late winter, Suri and I seem to get the same symptoms at the same time.  We get a runny nose with chest congestion, which I treat with ginger and lemon and it knocks it out very quickly for both of us.  The only problem is that I can't get Suri to drink the tea on its own.  Knowing that pumpkin is easy to feed and more importantly, that it takes a path through the lungs and helps phlegm conditions, I decided to mix a little of the tea (including some bits of ginger) into some canned pumpkin for her and the combo helped her pretty much over night, saving us a trip to the vet or prescription medications with no nutritional value.  I like to use food to remedy the symptoms before they turn into full blown illnesses that require further medical attention.

My last and favorite tip on how to use canned pumpkin medicinally is to use it to administer supplements, in the same way that I used it to feed the lemon and ginger tea, since canned pumpkin is so easy to feed to your dog - even the hastiest dogs.  This probably works for cats too, but I don't have a lot of experience hand feeding cats, so I'm not sure how easily they are to spoon feed.  I would say that it is definitely worth a try.  Hiding supplements into your pet's food will work for some, but if your pets are like my dogs, who only eat what smells good, then that isn't going to fly and it is going to waste a lot of bowls of food that they won't eat.  Instead, you can empty the contents of the capsules into the pumpkin and spoon feed.  Put one scoop at a time into their mouth and gently hold their mouth closed, which will make them immediately swallow the pumpkin - it just slides right down their throat.  I try to use as little pumpkin as possible so that it isn't more than 1 to 3 spoonfuls at a time.  The sweetness of the pumpkin also helps to counter the bitter taste of some supplements.  Feel free to put a little raw honey in, to make it taste even better and add additional medicinal properties.  If you make it tasty enough, you will turn "medicine time" into "tasty treat time" and have a much happier experience.

Don't be afraid to think outside the medicine cabinet and go to the fridge for your cures, because food IS medicine!

When my dog, Nola, was diagnosed with cancer I began a journey of holistic healthcare and proper nutrition.  This blog is a forum for me to share ways that pet owners can live a healthy lifestyle alongside their pets.  Most natural remedies yield the same results for animals and their humans, so it makes sense to incorporate them into both your diets.  The biggest lesson I learned during Nola's battle with cancer is it is much easier to prevent cancer than it is to fight it.  Mother Nature gives us everything we need to combat most all diseases and learning about medicinal herbs and spices is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.  

Choose Your Future -Self Wisely

Choose Your Future -Self Wisely

One of my least favorite questions in life has always been, “Where do you see yourself in five years?  Ten years?”  You know, that cliché question every interviewer feels they have to ask, in order to really understand the level of your ambition.  That’s fine, I get it.  I don’t disagree that the varieties of answers do say a lot about people’s goals.  I’ve never had an issue with dreaming big, setting high goals, stepping outside my comfort zone – sometimes I feel a bit too comfortable outside my comfort zone, as someone who bores easily.  The main reason I’ve always disliked that question is because I was thinking, “Where do I start?  The sky is the limit!  I want to experience all of it!”

Cut to 2016 and three-ish years into my own personal health revolution.  Now, when I’m asked that question, I have a completely different answer.  My answer is simple, “I see myself healthy, relaxed and hopefully feeling even better than I do right now.”  At the end of the day, our health (both mental and physical) is the only thing that matters and is the only thing we can really control.  When I had my epiphany one day, during my research for holistic cancer remedies for my dog, Nola, I realized you really can choose to be healthy.  Isn’t that thought EMPOWERING?  Your future-self sure thinks so.

When my precious girl was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her right front leg, my revolution began.  I learned so much from her during that time.  I learned to live in the moment, pray, meditate and most of all, EAT HEALTHY.  For the love of all that is pure and natural, please eat healthy food, because being sick sucks.  Cancer, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, thyroid issues, heart disease, dementia…ALL OF IT is preventable with proper nutrition and it is all so much easier to prevent than it is to fight.

So, now I’m asking you that cliché question. When you look at yourself in five or ten years, what do you see?  If you don’t like the image, change it.  Stop making excuses like, “High blood pressure runs in my family, so diet change isn’t going to help.” Sorry, but that is bullshit.  You know what is typically hereditary?  A poor diet…diet gets passed down through generations.  So break the chain and empower yourself and your family – make sure family includes your pets too!  They age much faster than we do and need even more attention paid to their diets throughout their lifetime – canine and feline cancer is more common now than ever before, because of cheap, unhealthy ingredients in our pet food, much like all of our highly processed human diets.

I invite you to make a life-style change today, right now, and take back your life.  Don’t know where to start? Start by cooking real food that doesn’t have a shelf-life and check out my blog on simple ingredients to include into your (and your pets!) diets to prevent cancer and other diseases.  Take a vegan cooking class – even if you have no intention to become vegan or vegetarian.  It’s a great way to learn about using food as medicine and how simple tweaks made to your diet can have a huge impact on your overall health.  For instance, did you know you can use avocado in place of butter for baking any recipe – substituted 1:1 – and it will work the same?  Avocado is nature’s butter, but it’s also a very healthy fat that nourishes our body and brain and helps to prevent dementia and heart disease. (Avocado is NOT safe for dogs, however, so save that one for your human family members).  Organic, unrefined coconut oil is another healthy fat that IS safe for all pets and should be added to their meals as well as replace all of your other cooking oils.

Educate yourself on why we are all fighting so hard these days to ban GMOs from our food supply, which are being directly linked to many cancers.  Learn more about eliminating toxins from your everyday household items – my friend Heidi Straub (Health Insite by Heidi Straub) holds classes on this topic.  You can follow her on Facebook too, where she shares a lot of valuable information about the harmful ingredients to look for and how to read your labels.  Lastly, try picking the furthest parking spot in the lot, or take the dog for a walk as a family.  Small changes will snowball into huge results…I promise.

Wondering how to get your family on board? Reach out to a health coach, like my friend Dawn Parker, who specializes in integrating a healthy lifestyle into your entire family’s lives and has written an entire cook book on healthy chocolate recipes,  The Healthy Chocoholic.  Your kids will think you have lost your mind, encouraging them to eat more chocolate as part of a healthy diet!  I guess I will also include a shameless plug of my own book, My Dog Has Cancer. What Can I Do?, which is a great resource for cancer prevention for your entire family – pets and humans.

Good luck!  I have faith in you!  I can see your future-self now, kicking ass and taking names!

Spice Up Your Medicine Cabinet

Spice Up Your Medicine Cabinet

No matter what is ailing you or your pets, you can typically find everything you need to recover, in the kitchen.  Mother Nature provides medicinal food, herbs and spices that rival any OTC pharmaceutical cold, flu, congestion, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, urinary tract, thyroid, diarrhea, digestion, probiotic and sinus medication, on the market (did I leave anything out?).  Make no mistake, Big Pharma works very hard to emulate what our Mother Earth has always provided naturally.  Think about it, hundreds of years ago, doctors used holistic medicine as their main practice, before the pharmaceutical companies took over our healthcare system and became mainstream Western medicine.  Natural remedies also provide nutritional value and boost the immune system, which heals the body, rather than masking the symptoms with drugs that have unhealthy side effects. 

 

Now, before you freak out on me, let me be clear. I’m not saying Western medicine doesn’t have its place in health care, as I know it is very important and necessary at times.  I just think pharmaceuticals are way over-used and should never be your first choice for a cure.  In our household, Big Pharma is our last resort and rarely used anymore.  We are all (pets included) far healthier than we were when we used to reach for the medicine cabinet before the spice cabinet.

 

My Aha moment, while studying the medicinal properties of food, was when I was introduced to the energetic properties of food, herbs and spices, explained through Eastern Medicine.  Understanding the Energetics of Food & Herbs, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is the first step to knowing how different food/herbs/spices react in the body and what path they take throughout the body.  This information helps you to understand why these natural remedies work and how to use them to treat various illnesses. 

 

As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, my research in holistic medicine began when my dog, Nola, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (incurable bone cancer) and we chose to treat her cancer holistically, since chemo and radiation would not cure her cancer.  Our goal was to keep her body strong and build her immune system, so Nola could remain healthy and comfortable for as long as possible.  Our vet, Cindy Baker, owner of Bargersville Veterinary Hospital & Wellness Center, practices both Eastern & Western medicine (which is why she is so amazing), and is the one who originally introduced me to the “energetics of food” concept and how it plays a huge role, when using food to fight any disease.  I purchased two charts from Dr. Baker, one Energetics of Food and one Energetics of Herbs, which are invaluable to me.  I reference my charts first, when seeking remedies for our various forms of sniffles, coughs, aches and pains.

 

Following are my favorite remedies I use the most, but there are thousands of natural remedies you can try.  It’s fun and rewarding when you create new concoctions that really work.  The more you learn, the easier it gets!

 

Cough, congestion & sinus inflammation:  GINGER!

 

Fresh Ginger Root is my first stop for almost everything, especially everything from the chest up.  I typically don’t have to go any further, as fresh ginger pretty much takes care of the symptoms before they become severe enough to call on Big Pharma.  According to my Energetics of Herbs chart, ginger takes a route through the Lungs, Spleen, Stomach, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Heart and Uterus – so, pretty much your entire body.  It is a warming herb, which takes the action to help cold, phlegm, & wind cold (illnesses such as common cold, influenza, & laryngitis).  Ginger also promotes Qi Circulation, which is probably its most important aspect, because the Qi keeps energy flowing through your body and doesn’t let germs stay around long.  Do you now see WHY and HOW it works?  It isn’t voo-doo or magic – it is BASIC SCIENCE!

 

My homemade, natural version of Dayquil or Nyquil:  One inch fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped medium sized chunks, half a fresh lemon with rind (or lemon essential oil – about five drops, or more if you want), two tablespoons raw organic honey and a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper or cinnamon.  Bring them to a boil in approximately two cups of water.  I only let it boil for about a minute or less, cover and let it steep for an additional ten minutes.  For a “nighttime” Nyquil version of the tea, add a shot of your favorite whiskey. There is a reason why a hot toddy really works! 

 

Following is how/why my remedy above works for chest & sinus congestion as well as other symptoms from the common cold and flu:

·        Ginger - all the reasons mentioned above, plus sooths an upset stomach.

·        Lemon – all citrus breaks up phlegm and take a route through the lungs as well as a great source of vitamin C.

·        Raw Organic Honey – boosts the immune system and calms your cough

·        Cinnamon & Cayenne Pepper – both are great for cold conditions, take a route through the lungs, and enhance Qi & Blood circulation.

·        Whiskey – sleep aid and I’m pretty sure it kills germs on its way down too.

 

The ginger tea is great (without the alcohol) for our pets too!  My dog, Suri, has congestion issues at the peak of allergy season and it works like a charm.  I add the tea to her food, a small amount of canned pumpkin to spoon feed (which also breaks up phlegm and moves through the lungs) or I feed it to her with a food syringe.

 

Probiotic:  Milk Kefir!

Instead of popping a probiotic pill with no real nutritional value, try drinking a few sips a day of milk kefir instead.  I talk more about this in my blog, Got Milk...Kefir?

 

Inflammation:  Natural NSAIDS! (NSAID = non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

 

Garlic & Ginger:

Garlic & ginger are both excellent anti-inflammatories and they both have natural anti-biotic properties, which help to fight infection.

 

Turmeric with ground black pepper:

Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine.  Always use turmeric in conjunction with fresh ground black pepper because the pepper increases the efficacy (absorption into the body) of the turmeric.

 

Bozweilla:

Bozweilla Extract is easy to find at any health food store and works really well, especially when blended with other natural NSAIDS like Devil’s Claw, White Willow Bark & Yucca.  This combination works well for pain relief from inflammation and is common to find a variation of the blend together in one pill. 

 

Keep in mind, when fighting inflammation naturally, it is important to combine various remedies that create synergy for healing throughout your body.  If you combine all of these remedies together, you will get the best results.  Not to mention the amazing boost you will give your immune system.

 

Diarrhea and/or constipation:  Canned Pumpkin!

I learned of this remedy for dogs & cats first and, let me tell you, it works amazingly well and it works for humans too.  I talk more about the benefits of canned pumpkin for your pets in my blog 5 reasons I feed my dogs canned pumpkin every day.

 

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI):  Uva Ursi & Juniper Berries!

If you treat a UTI early, your chances of healing it naturally are much greater.  A UTI can be very painful and the remedies I mention in my blog, Natural Remedies for a Urinary Tract Infection, work well to relieve pain as well as clear the infection.   These remedies work for your pets too, but if symptoms are not gone within a few days, a trip to the doctor or vet may be necessary.  Especially for your pets, since they can’t tell you how much pain they are experiencing.

 

I hope I’ve opened your mind, even a little, to cure yourself in the kitchen and leave your medicine cabinet for toothpaste and eye cream.

 

Please share your favorite holistic remedies too!  I bet your grandma has a few!

Natural Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Natural Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary tract infections can be common for dogs with cancer for various reasons.  Since we know that cancer doesn’t thrive in an alkaline environment, we work hard to create alkalinity in our pets’ bodies, by giving them a lot of alkaline foods & herbs.  Unfortunately, PH levels that are too alkaline can cause crystals in their urine, leading to an infection and a lot of discomfort.  On the other hand, cancer causes PH levels to be more acidic when the proper foods/supplements are not given to help with alkalinity and a PH level that is too acidic can also cause crystals to form.  Having a balance of alkaline and acid foods is the key to a healthy PH level. 

A healthy PH for a dog should be between 6 and 6.5, which is slightly more acidic than a healthy PH for humans.  It is very easy to check the PH with PH strips that you can pick up at any health food store or pharmacy.  The important thing to understand is that there are certain times of day that the PH will range to seem more acidic or alkaline, depending on mealtime, supplements, first pee in the morning or many other variables.  The key is to check it several times throughout the day, if possible, and then take an average.  The best time to check it is a couple hours before or after meals and supplements.  Since it isn’t always possible to get your pet to urinate when you need them to, the more you can test it, the better. 

A more accurate option is to test PH levels with a blood test, which is very expensive.  Nola’s vet, Dr. Baker, explained to me that it is only taking a snapshot of the blood PH at that moment and it was not the best use of our money when there were so many other things that Nola needed with our limited funds.  I found the PH strips to do a great job of showing me how different foods affected her PH and how the overall environment in her body looked, with regard to alkalinity, throughout the day.  Of course my neighbors must have thought I was crazy, following my dog around with a pee strip and putting my hand down there every time she went to the bathroom.  And expect to get peed on a lot too.  It just goes along with the program and nothing that any parent wouldn’t do for their kids, right? 

Thankfully we never had to deal with UTIs during Nola’s journey, but our other healthy dog, Suri, recently showed symptoms of a UTI, so I started her on some of the following remedies right away - her symptoms went away before it turned into anything serious.  I believe that Nola’s diet and my regular monitoring of her PH levels helped us to dodge that bullet, while fighting cancer.  The earlier you can catch a UTI, the better your chances and results will be to fight it naturally.  If the symptoms do not go away within a few days of natural treatments, then it is important to get your dog to your vet as soon as possible.  I seldom advocate antibiotics, especially for cancer dogs, but there are times when they are necessary, so that your dog is not in distress or that it doesn’t lead to something worse.  UTI’s can be very serious and must be attended to immediately.  They can also be a sign of something else transpiring from the cancer, so it is always smart to keep your vet informed of their condition and let them know what you are giving your cancer warrior at all times.  I kept a very detailed journal of Nola’s diet that I updated regularly and gave a copy to Dr. Baker every time it changed.

Some of the main symptoms of a UTI are frequent urination with very little success (dribbles instead of a steady stream of urine), urinating in odd places, excessive drinking, blood in the urine, fever, lethargy and excessive licking down there.   If you have ever experienced a UTI, you know how miserable they are and these remedies will help to treat the bacteria and soothe the uncomfortable symptoms.  By the way, they work for humans too.  I am including my favorite natural UTI remedies below, but I have also included links that have more information on UTIs and natural remedies that I recommend you read.  All of these herbs can be purchased at your local health food store.

Juniper Berries – Juniper berries work well on even a severe UTI because they increase the rate in which the kidneys filter out impurities and increase urine production.  They are safe for dogs and cats when used in moderation.  You can use the berries to make a tea, which is how I use them, or you can get a certified food grade juniper berry essential oil and dilute it with water.  I followed the directions for making the tea and dosing my dogs per Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

(20) berries for every cup of water.  Steep in a tea pot or other pot with a lid and only steep for 5 to 7 minutes to preserve the volatile oils needed from the berries.  I use (1) to (2) Tbs of the tea in their food per day for no longer than four weeks for a medium to large size dog.  Small dogs should have only (1) Tbs per day.

According to my Energetics of Herbs chart for Traditional Chinese Medicine that I purchased from Dr. Baker, Juniper takes the path through the kidneys and bladder, which confirms the theory that it is a great option to cure a urinary tract infection.

Uva Ursi – According to Modern Dog Magazine by Dr. Loridawn Gordon, a naturopathic veterinarian, “Uva Ursi leaf is one of the most powerful natural astringents available. Holistic veterinarians use it to attack a variety of pathogens that are often the cause of UTIs. It can stop bleeding and reduce the inflammation associated with these infections.”

The article in Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer also recommends the Uva Ursi as a good remedy for UTI, so I followed their dosing recommendations, which are similar to the Juniper Berry, other than you do NOT want to use this longer than THREE DAYS at a time.  Like the Juniper Berries, I used the Uva Ursi leaves to steep and make a tea.  You can and should steep the Uva Ursi leaves longer than the Juniper Berries - per the directions you are to steep until the tea is room temperature. 

Goldenseal - Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer recommends Goldenseal because it is antibacterial and antifungal.  According to my Energetics of Herbs chart for TCM, Goldenseal takes the path through the bladder and it is a cooling herb, therefore confirming that it is another great option for a UTI.  You can use this in a dry herb form or tincture, so you should follow the dosage recommendations on the bottles and confirm them with your vet.  Goldenseal should not be used on small puppies and kittens or pregnant or lactating dogs or cats.

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar – Is there anything that ACV doesn’t cure? It truly is nature’s wonder drug and typically my first choice for everything.  You should already have this as a staple in your cancer warrior’s diet, to aid in alkalinity and inflammation in the body.  If your pet’s UTI is caused from over alkalinity, however, then you may want to back off of it for a couple days and try the other remedies first.  ACV has great antibacterial properties and can be used diluted in water to wash the exterior of the urinary tract, which is also important to keep clean during a UTI.

Cranberry or Blueberry -  Quoted from Modern Dog Magazine, “Cranberry or Blueberry will prevent the bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract and is great for the prevention of recurrent infections.

Parsley - Dr. Loridawn Gordon also mentions in Modern Dog Magazine, “Parsley leaf is an effective diuretic that can aid in the elimination of waste and, in addition to being highly nutritious, parsley leaves have antiseptic qualities that are great for treating urinary tract infections.” 

Like ACV, Parsley should already be a part of your cancer dog’s regular diet because it has great cancer fighting properties and it helps with alkalinity.  According to my Energetics of Herbs chart for TCM, parsley takes the path through the bladder and kidneys, confirming that it is another great option for a UTI.

There are a lot of natural products on the market that combine several herbs, including the ones that I have listed above, as well as others that have been proven to successfully treat urinary tract infections.  Since I have not used any of them, I have chosen to not include information on them, but with a little research you can quickly find a lot of resources from which to choose.  As I have mentioned before, don’t fall into the trap of buying the “next best thing” – when in doubt, stick to the basic ingredients.  Your holistic vet should be able to recommend their favorite remedies as well.  

Got Milk...Kefir?

Got Milk...Kefir?

Probiotics are very important to include into your daily diet regimen because they provide your body with "good" bacteria that maintains a healthy gut, aides in digestion and boosts the immune system.  This is just as important for your pets, especially since many of them only eat dry kibble food and don't get the type of bacteria that their bodies might get while hunting in the wild.  Some signs that your pet may need a probiotic added to their diet are diarrhea, vomiting after eating, lack of appetite, or vomit consisting of a slimy, yellow colored substance, which is basically phlegm. Other signs are indigestion, much like our heartburn, causing them to hack, like they are trying to clear their throat, which is from that burn that we are so familiar with, if you have ever experienced heartburn.  Of course, it is important to consult your veterinarian if your dog has any of these symptoms longer than a couple days, as it could also be signs of something more serious.  Another important time to include probiotics into the diet is if you or your pets have recently taken antibiotics.  Antibiotics rob the body of healthy bacteria and can really throw the eco-system off very quickly.  Many times women will experience yeast infections after a round of antibiotics, if they aren't balancing their diet with probiotics.  Just make sure that you don't take them at the same time, for obvious reasons.  A PRObiotic and an ANTIbiotic will cancel each other out.

There are probiotic supplements that you can purchase at any grocery or health food store, but as with anything, my opinion is that it is more beneficial to get your probiotics through food - in this case, fermented food.  My favorite source of probiotics for myself and for my dogs is milk kefir, which is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains.  In case you are nervous about feeding a dairy product to your dogs or cats, since dairy can be hard on their digestive system, don't be.  The fermentation process pre-digests the lactose, making it very easy on their digestive system and milk kefir contains more strains of bacteria and yeast than yogurt or water kefir, therefore less of it is needed to reap great benefits.  I choose milk kefir as my own probiotic source, over yogurt, both so that I can share it with my dogs without any reservations and to provide myself with the biggest bang for my buck with regard to healthy bacteria and enzymes.  Yogurt is not going to hurt your dog or cat either, when given moderately.  I know of many people who feed their dogs yogurt when they have an upset stomach, but I am of the opinion that milk kefir is going to provide them with more healthy enzymes to build their immune system, especially when made with raw goats milk.  Another benefit to goats milk, especially for dogs, is that it digests within 20 minutes as opposed to cows milk, which can take up to 24 hours.  Since dogs have a much shorter digestive tract than humans, and most of their food passes within a couple hours, it is important to focus on giving them food that is easily broken down and digested in a shorter period of time.  Otherwise, the food will pass through them before their bodies can absorb all the nutrients.  This is also why stray dogs can sometimes eat rotten food without getting food poisoning.

You can purchase milk kefir at your local health food store, but you have to be careful about what you are actually purchasing.  There are many on the market that are sold as a kefir "smoothie" with sugars added and this is not going to be good for your pets, plus I don't believe they have the live bacteria cultures that you need to heal your gut.  The great thing about milk kefir is that it is easy to make at home, giving you full control over what exactly goes into it.  It is best to make it with raw goats milk, but in a pinch you can also use raw organic cows milk since raw goats milk is not always easy to find.  Once it is fermented, you can flavor it with raw honey, berries and cinnamon, which are all very healthy for your pets too, but I mostly give my dogs plain milk kefir and add it to their food.  They don't need a lot, only a couple tablespoons a day, but if they love it and want more, let them have as much as they want within reason.

If your dogs or cats aren't used to eating raw or fermented foods, it may make their stool soft until their system gets used to it, so don't worry if this happens.  Starting with a tablespoon a day and working your way up will most likely alleviate this problem.  My dogs have not ever had this issue, but I gradually introduce all new food into their diet.  My two medium sized dogs only get a couple tablespoons, twice a day, added to their food.  If your dog is suffering from diarrhea or upset stomach that is caused from an unhealthy gut, then the milk kefir will actually help to heal their gut and eliminate these symptoms.  I read a story when I first began researching the benefits of milk kefir for dogs, which I thought I saved in my research files and would have loved to share with you, but since I can't find it I will have to give it to you in a condensed version.  The story was about a dog who had horrible digestion issues and the poor thing could not eat anything, not even the smallest amount of food, without having horrible diarrhea and vomiting.  They were worried that their dog was not going to survive because it simply could not keep anything down and nothing seemed to be working to remedy the problem until, you guessed it, they tried milk kefir.  The lady's neighbor made her own milk kefir and told her to try it and sure enough, the dog lapped it up and she claims that it solved the problem almost overnight.

We have a similar story with our little dog, Suri, only not as severe.  Suri is what I would classify as a "puker," but she does it more as a way to cleanse her system.  She doesn't throw up her food, rather when her stomach is empty she will eat grass and then regurgitate it, very methodically.  She was doing this every day, but never acted sick otherwise.  Her stools were healthy and her appetite was great, so I didn't worry too much about it, but I still felt that she needed something that she wasn't getting.  During this time, we were out of kefir grains and therefore we weren't giving our dogs any kind of probiotic and it occurred to me that this may be exactly what she needed...duh.  Once we finally got back on the kefir making train, she stopped her regurgitating regimen immediately.  If we miss a day of the milk kefir, she goes right back to eating her grass like clockwork.

So order those grains and start fermenting!  Your gut will thank you and so will your pets!

Buzz Off! Natural Flea & Tick remedies that actually work.

Buzz Off! Natural Flea & Tick remedies that actually work.

It’s that time of year again.  Ah yes, summertime.  For some of us mid-westerners, it is the symbol of rebirth, growth & victory for making it through another long winter; however, along with sunshine, fresh cut grass and gardening comes those pesky bugs.  If you are a pet owner, the peskiest bugs of all are fleas & ticks and the war against them is never won until winter rears its ugly head again.

So, what are our options?  Letting our pets get infested with fleas or sick from Lyme Disease is never an option, so does that mean that we have to use oral or spot on flea and tick treatments that have harmful chemicals that are dangerous for our pets, potentially making them sick?  No, it doesn’t because there are natural remedies that actually work, if used properly, and they are completely safe for you and your pets.

After I lost my dog, Nola, to cancer, I have been on a mission to find natural flea and tick remedies for my healthy dogs that actually work.  When I was told that my cancer dog should not have ANY toxic flea & tick medications (which are all of them on the market, except natural remedies) because it was so harmful to her immune system, I thought, then why the F@#! do I want to give them to my healthy dogs?  Finding the natural solutions that work was not as easy as I had hoped, though, until I found this blog 6 Ways to Naturally Prevent and Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs and learned about the use of lemons as part of my protocol.  I did not find that everything on the list in this blog worked for us, but lemons were a game changer with our war against fleas and ticks.  The reason why lemons work is because lemons contain D-limonene, which is a natural flea repellent as well as an organic insecticide.  I was already using the apple cider vinegar, but found that it did not work at all, until I added the lemon juice.  Once I read the article linked above about lemons versus vinegar for fighting fleas and learned that vinegar actually attracts fleas, it became painfully clear as to why it wasn’t working and most likely making the situation worse.  But the lemon juice works, my friends!  You can see it killing the fleas when they come into contact with it, right before your eyes!

I use the lemon juice in a few different ways.  First, I follow the directions in both of the blogs linked above to create a lemon juice tonic:

(2) cups of water

(1) lemon cut into 4 pieces (with rind)

Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and add the lemon to the hot water (I squeeze the lemons into the water before adding them to get the juices flowing), cover and let steep for 6 to 8 hours.  I typically make mine at night and let it steep over night.  Remove the lemons and seeds and now you have a tonic that will work better than any toxic flea killer on the market and it is 100% safe for your pets.  It is a lot safer for you too, when you are hugging and kissing all over your fur babies.

Now that you have the tonic, you can use it several different ways:

1.     Combine it with your favorite non-toxic pet shampoo and use it as a flea bath. I love and trust Ava Anderson products and use their natural pet shampoo & conditioner in one.  If you are interested in purchasing or learning more about Ava Anderson products, or non-toxic products in general, please check out my friend Heidi Straub with Health Insight by Heidi, who has made it her life’s mission to spread the word and educate about harmful toxins that are in most products on the market and what to watch out for.  During her quest for safe products, she stumbled upon the story of Ava Anderson and eventually became a sales rep for Ava products because she was so impressed by their grassroots approach and dedication to education and creating safe and affordable products.  Using Ava Anderson products brings me a peace of mind that I am using a product that is non-toxic and completely safe for me and my pets.

2.    Pour some of the tonic into a bowl and dip your flea comb into it while flea-combing your pet – this way you don’t just catch them, but you kill them as well. By the way, a flea comb is a necessary item when fighting fleas and ticks naturally.

3.    Put the rest in a spray bottle and use it as a flea spray.  You can either keep the spray bottle in the refrigerator or change it out often.  Lemons are a natural substance, so it will go rancid after a few days if you don’t keep it refrigerated.  This is something that you want to reapply to your pets daily during peak flea/tick season, so you should be making weekly batches anyway.

Very similarly to fighting cancer naturally, I have found that fighting fleas naturally is more successful when several natural treatments are combined, creating a synergy between them.  A little of each treatment every day is more effective than one big dose once a week or once a month.  If you consider that you only treat your dog once a month with the toxic chemical treatments, which means that the poison lingers in your pet’s bloodstream for an entire month and it is so powerful that it will kill a flea or tick if they bite your pet, then you have to wonder what else it is killing in your pet’s body?  It should make you pause and question if this is the best option for your pet.  I’m not going to sugar coat it, fighting anything naturally is not easy and it takes diligence, but isn’t your pet’s health worth the extra effort?  Of course it is.

Organic, food grade essential oils can be another excellent addition to your natural flea spray or bath.  You must use caution when using essential oils on your pets and dilute them in water or coconut oil.  A dog’s sense of smell is approximately 10,000x more sensitive than ours, so you can imagine how strong some of these oils can be to them, if they are very fragrant to us.  Only one or two drops at a time are all that is needed to create your own flea killing concoctions.

There are many essential oils that have been proven to both repel and kill fleas & ticks and this link has a nice list of the ones to try, as well as other natural remedies that you can try.  We have tried all of them listed, but didn’t have success with some of them, such as the food grade Diatomaceous Earth – this does not mean that they aren’t worth trying for yourself, though, because I have heard others say that they have had great success with the DE for flea control.  I do still add food grade DE to my dog’s food every so often, to kill parasites from the inside, but this has not made it into our main protocol, by any means.  I typically use it as a preventative if they get into old food or something questionable in the yard, but I also make sure they get daily doses of garlic for this same reason.

My dogs are extremely sensitive to the smell of the essential oils, so there are only a couple that I have had success with.  One that passes their approval and is also a natural insecticide is cedarwood oil.  I add a few drops into my spray bottle with the lemon tonic to spray onto their coats daily as a flea spray.

I have found two natural bug sprays on the market that work great and are made from essential oils.  The first spray that I found at Petco is made by Sentry, Natural Defense Flea & Tick Spray, worked very well as a mosquito repellent on myself, but the scent was so strong that my dogs would only allow me to apply a couple squirts to them before they would run off, carrying on as if I had sprayed it right up their noses.  After a couple attempts, they began running as soon as they saw the bottle, so I ended up only using it on myself as a bug spray.  It really did work great as a bug spray and I loved knowing that I was only spraying essential oils on my body and not a nasty, toxic bug spray.

The second spray that I recently discovered, once I discovered Ava Anderson’s non-toxic products is the Ava Natural Bug Spray that is made from all natural, organic ingredients, including many essential oils that have been proven to repel and kill fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, flies and ants.  I have only recently started using this spray, but I can happily announce that my dogs will allow me to apply this one without a lot of drama, which is the first step to it actually working!  I have also used it on myself as a bug spray and so far I find it to work really well against flies & mosquitoes, so I am hopeful that it is working as a flea & tick repellent on my dogs too.  You can purchase the Ava Natural Bug Spray from Heidi Straub with Health Insights by Heidi for you, your kids and your pets and they are sold in sets of (2) bottles, which I also love, so that you can keep one on your porch and one in your car for those impromptu hikes through the woods.

Another natural pet product that I have recently discovered is made by another friend of mine (I have a lot of really cool friends who are passionate about living naturally) Melanie Pool with Nature’s Proportions Soaps & Such.  Among her many amazing, homemade natural soaps are her Deodorizing Dog Bar Soaps, which not only make your dog smell great, they also have eucalyptus essential oil, which is one of the oils that are used as a natural flea repellent.  Melanie’s body scrubs and lotions for humans, made from organic ingredients, are absolutely divine, making you feel like you are treating yourself to a day at the spa every time you use them.  Her packaging and presentation are so beautiful too, that you almost don’t want to open them, which makes them great gift ideas for family and friends.  Do yourself a favor and check her out!

Fighting fleas & ticks from within is the last step of my protocol.  I learned in this article about natural heartworm prevention that a healthy immune system actually tastes bitter to mosquitoes and other blood biting bugs, such as fleas and ticks.  Foods such as garlic & turmeric are great for creating a bitter bloodstream that will help to deter these pests.  PLEASE NOTE THAT CATS SHOULD NEVER HAVE GARLIC, but one clove a day for your dog has many health benefits, as does turmeric, and I cover more information on the topic in my blog Simple Ingredients to turn your Dog’s Meal (and your own) into a Cancer Fighting Powerhouse.

This is the natural flea, tick and mosquito repellent protocol that I have come up with thus far, but I am always looking for more natural remedies to try, so please share your favorites, with which you have had success, in the comments section below!  The more natural remedies that you can combine together, the stronger your fight and the more successful your outcome will be.  As with anything, it is best to stay in front of it by starting early in the season and dedicate yourself to daily (or at least every other day) treatments so that you can kill any eggs that might have been recently hatched before they can hatch and multiply.

Good luck in your quest to tell fleas, ticks & mosquitoes to BUZZ OFF, naturally!