Category Archives: Pet Safety

Essential Oils and Pets

Aromatherapy for Pets

Veterinarians, rescue groups and clients all ask me how I manage to work with nut-case rescue dogs and aggressive dogs. For almost 30 years I have been working with essential oils which is NOT to be confused with what I call “smell pretty” junk. Luckily, in the past decade or so, true essential oils became available in the United States, which meant that I did not have to travel out of the country to get them. One first has to understand the difference between the types of oils and not the trendy versions that started in the late 1990s and have escalated to untold and untrue proportions.

There are three types of oils and only ONE defined essential oil in the true sense.

  1. Perfume grade
  2. Smell-pretty grade
  3. Therapeutic grade

Perfume grade is obviously your perfume. Smell-pretty grade is the stuff you plug into your walls or use for your laundry, like dryer sheets.

Most oils are cut with the same ingredients they use in dry cleaning chemicals. Not only are they dangerous but smell nothing like real essential oils and offer no therapeutic benefits and they feel greasy. When I do classes I ask people to bring whatever oils they have, almost the entire class brings in their lavender oil. Whether you purchase them from the grocery store or health food stores here is the 99.9% reality. They are fake oils cut with commercial chemicals. Every bottle of lavender oil I have ever seen in my classes says the same thing. Not for internal use or do not ingest. True 100% therapeutic grade essential oils are good enough to ingest (with certain oils excluded). People do not, please do not be sucked in by the ads on television!

Because of their protein-like and lipid-soluble structure our body’s cells and blood can immediately absorb them, since they are so much alike. The three things both therapeutic grade essential oils have in common with the human and animal body are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The average single oil, as opposed to a blend which has more, have anywhere between 75 and 400 chemical constituents. There are many types of oil properties such as anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and so on.

Having run Denver Afghan Hound Rescue for almost 30 years, you rarely get in normal dogs. They have been poorly bred in breeder puppy mills, abused, neglected and any other thing you can imagine. Most of the dogs I have taken in were not dogs that could be placed, a rescue cannot keep them all and killing all the ones that had issues was really not a great option. Consequently, that sent me on the path of how can I try to “fix” these kids. The same is true with grooming and training dogs. Whether they were never properly groomed trained or the pet caretakers always let the dog get away with being aggressive the outcome would be the same. The vet always said the dog had to be drugged. Not only is that really dangerous but that also teaches the pets to be fearful and never teaches them anything else.

Pure therapeutic grade essential oils have properties that the fake ones do not. They can alter the DNA structure and brain wave patterns. Combined with flower essences, it is an unbeatable combination. Now, by law, I have to state the following. Not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any physical or mental issue. Not approved by the FDA. Not being approved by the FDA makes me give a great sigh of relief considering that many of the pharmaceutical drugs they approve start killing people and the FDA pulls it off the market. But Hey! I thought you all tested and approved it!

Pure essential oils have been known to work on not only emotional issues but physical issues as well. People are now realizing that everything from aggression, (not brain damage induced) to fear of thunder and separation anxiety can be treated without the use of toxic and damaging drugs. You can use lavender to help stop bleeding, Deep Relief or Panaway for bone injuries, Peace and Calming for doggie nerves and hundreds of others. Deciding what oils matched with what flower essences can sometimes be time consuming at the very least you know you are using healthy, non-toxic methods. One of the best parts is that essential oils and flower essences can cause no harm. The only possible danger is using them incorrectly such as essential oils on your hands then touching your eyes so you should always consult a trained professional as well as always keep your veterinarian informed on what you are doing.

In people, therapeutic grade essential oils have been known to assist in fighting off bacterial and viral infections, lung infections, skin conditions, blood conditions, mild depression, anxiety and even has kept many cancers in remission. If there is a physical or emotion issue, there is a therapeutic grade essential oil. For example, if you are getting the cold or flu the first thing to take is Thieves and oregano internally. If you cannot sleep you can take a capsule of lavender or vetiver. In the kitchen, if you are cooking and do not happen to have the fresh lemon in your fridge, you grab your therapeutic grade lemon essential oil and keep on cooking. I, as well as my kids, and now many of my patients, take therapeutic grade essential oils daily.



Coyotes Can be Found In Colorado Dog Parks – Be Alert

Coyote and Dog

Other than the wolf that is sadly disappearing, no animal that co-exists with humans is more graceful, full of mystique and poetry in motion than a coyote. Regretfully, as with the rattlesnakes their homes are being invaded by God-awful looking developments with equally if not more so God-awful looking cookie-cutter homes. This leaves the coyotes trapped in an urban environment of which they would rather not be in. As with any wild animal, if there is an attack on a human, which is rare, the first reaction of the humans is to kill rather than trap and relocate. As with the wolf, coyotes are revered in many cultures, in the Native American culture they are known as God’s dog.


Whether you frequent off-leash state park areas or even the middle of the suburbs you will run into coyotes. There are a number at Cherry Creek State Park, off Quincy Avenue in Cherry Hills on the Highline Canal and various other places. When at Cherry Creek off leash dog area many people think they are cute, which they are or more often than not when warned about sightings respond with, “my dog can take on a coyote”. WRONG! Coyotes kill dogs and cats.

The nickname of Wiley did not just come about with the cartoon Wiley Coyote, there is a reason, a reason that would put military around the world to shame. Animals have been around much longer than humans and have learned to adapt in a fashion humans could never attempt to achieve. Animals are the consummate hunters using ploys, scouts and ambush to a science. Coyotes and wolfs are masters of illusion and deception. If horses and deer fear coyotes, people with pets should follow that example. Coyotes are extremely territorially and mate for life. Below is Coyote/Dog etiquette.

  1. Always keep you leash with you! A pet has no idea that a coyote is not a playful dog and no matter how well trained your pet is, as with a rattlesnake they are going to want to find out what that “new” animal is. When you see a coyote, immediately put your pet on a leash.
  2. Do not let your pet chase a coyote. Below is not a very calm coyote when approached by this Airdale Terrier, nor a very smart person who allowed it. Although coyotes in some places are solitary most travel in packs of 2 or more. Coyotes are very territorial and use scouts or dummies as ambush. While you and your pet are thinking, it’s only just one, that one coyote is usually used as bait to lure the pet closer, while the others are waiting where you cannot see them. Equally, they carry all types of illness that you do not want your pet to get such as mange, heartworm, distemper and possibly rabies.
  3. Outsize a coyote by making yourself look larger than you are. Extend your arms out to the side, yell with a harsh voice. If there is something handy, throw it in the direction of the coyote, (not directly at them).
  4. Be mindful, not mindless. Many pets disappear at Cherry Creek never to be found again mostly because most people pay no attention to their surroundings. When you are out at an off leash area such as Cherry Creek, people are yakking on the phone, talking to others and have no idea where their dog is. Unfortunately the last thing they are doing is being responsible by paying attention to their pet sometimes being half a mile away, then stopping and asking where is my dog. Always keep your pet within visual and vocal distance. If you cannot run to them in 10 strides, the dog is too far away from you. Always look ahead of you, behind and to either side. Coyotes do not announce their presence with, excuse me, do you mind if I sneak up on your blind side?
  5. Never, ever if you see pups let your pet or yourself go near them, mom and dad are not far away and will defend them to the death.

How do you tell from a distance the difference between a coyote and just another dog running in the park?

As with humans, dogs have an upward bop or bounce when walking. If you stand under a piece of plywood above your head you will not hit your head. As soon as you take a step your body lifts upwards and you will knock your head on that piece of plywood just as a dog would. Coyotes when walking or running look as if they are floating on air in one sleek, smooth flat motion as pictured below. There is rarely a bop or bounce. Many times their heads are not up but level with their backs when moving and tails are not upright. You cannot bank on behaviour or the colour and markings since many look almost like mixed mutts. Last but not least, please respect their home since they were here first. They are beautiful beings that have a very important place in the ecosystem and have just as much right to be here, if not more so than humans.


How to Distinguish Between a Rattlesnake and King Snake in Colorado

Although helpful to any, this information is basically for all former Californians since Colorado natives (few and far between) plus folks that have lived here for years already know about CO snakes.

There are two off-leash state parks in the Denver/Metro area, one is Cherry Creek State Park the other is Chatfiled State Park. The other leash park is Roxborough State Park very near Chatfield. Also known for rattlesnakes frequently in people’s backyards. Rattlesnake problems happen a great deal to people who have moved here from California illustrated by the following story. Continue reading

Rattlesnake Emergency Care

Where and when do rattlesnakes hang out in Colorado?

Most snakes prefer the same type of weather we do. If it is too cold they will find a spot in the sun. If it is too hot they will find a place in the shade. When you are at any of the aforementioned parks or any areas like that or open plains pay special attention and do not let your dogs sniff in certain spots. Better yet, don’t go during the snakey season. Keep them away from under or around rock piles, under or around fallen trees, tall grassy areas and in some cases even what looks to us as the smallest bush or shrub is perfect for a snake. Continue reading

Pets and Summer Heat

Please Keep Your Furry Friends At Home!

Below are a few hopefully helpful reminders about the 95 – 100 degree heat we get in the Denver area in regards to your pets. But first please read very carefully the next paragraph.

I spend a great deal of my time in the summer actually not grooming. Last year in a five-day span, I kicked in 7 car windows to get the dogs out of locked cars in parking lots with windows left open only 4 inches. Three died after I got them out. If you happen to walk out into a parking lot after being in a nice air-conditioned “shopping mall” and you come running and screaming because someone is kicking the window out of your car. Continue reading

Protect Your Dog From Theft

Steps to Prevent Dog Theft

I am not even going to try to put this politically correct as is the norm today. People, PLEASE DO NOT be stupid! Dog theft season is here again so PLEASE try and follow at least some of the below ideas.

  1. Do not leave your pet outside without someone with them. If all you have is a chain link fence, your pet is a very visual target.
  2. If your pet starts barking and you are inside, immediately go outside to ascertain why they are barking. Continue reading