Thursday, May 22, 2014

Essential Oils and Pets

     It should really be no surprise to those of you who have even ever met me when you see the title of this post. I am that lady. The crazy cat lady, the rescue lady, the lady who refers to her pets as her "furbabies". I'll own it. Because I am a rescue fanatic, I also have a few sickly "furbabies". It comes with the territory. I cannot (though my husband probably could) tell you how much money we have spent over the years trying to not only solve whichever ailment became most pressing, but also and more importantly trying to identify the cause and best prevention. We have battled everything from allergies to severe anxiety, to multi-night "pet hospital" stays for bladder retention/stones.
     About a year ago, we started using coconut oil for everything in our house. My husband I both just really enjoy the taste in our baked goods and when used for browning meat, veggies, etc. and it also helps that we know we are putting something healthy in our bodies. About six months ago, I started allowing our eldest and chronically sickest cat, Sidney, to lick the remaining coconut oil off the spoon after I had spooned out the amount of coconut oil needed for cooking (**disclaimer: we DO own a dishwasher**). Coincidentally, Sidney's allergic symptoms which included runny eyes and nose, sneezing, frequent respiratory infections, and skin dermatitis, substantially improved. I started doing a little research and found that it wasn't really so coincidental, and many other people have had and shared similar experiences with their pets.
    I am currently waiting for my full Young Living Essential Oils kit to arrive, but in the meantime, my mother-in-law left me with Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, and Valor. I noticed that Sidney has been frequently climbing to wherever I have been storing the oils and sniffing the bottles. I wondered, is it safe to let him sniff these things?! I did a little more research and talked with my mother-in-law who provided me with a suggested list of safe oils and uses for pet care. Turns out, it's ok to let Sidney and any of my other animals sniff Lavender, and I can even put it on them! Sidney's allergies have improved, his anxiety has improved, and I am now experimenting with letting some oil dry on my dog's collar before putting it back on her in the morning to assist with anxiety while we are away.
   Here is a list of some oils and their uses for pet care. This is not an all-inclusive list of what can and cannot be used for pets, so please consult other more reputable (ha-ha) sources prior to using anything else. And, as always, a small little medication disclaimer. **Please do not discontinue your pets prescribed medications without consulting with a veterinarian and, be smart about it. If you live in a flea or tick infested area, don't stop your pet's flea/tick medication cold turkey. Try adding some of these oil recommendations to the existing prevention method instead, and slowly taper off the other medications if desired.**

Happy oiling!

Homemade Flea Collar: 1 drop Cedar wood, 3 drops Purification, 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Citronelle, 1 drop Thyme, 3 drops Orange. Mix oils and soak COTTON collar or cloth in mixture until all oil is absorbed. Allow the material to dry completely before putting on the dog. NOT safe for CATS due to the Orange.

Homemade Ear Spray: 1 TBS. carrier oil (I like coconut), 7-8 ml Thieves spray, 3 drops Lemongrass, 4 drops Copaiba, 5 drops Purification in a glass spray bottle. Spray on outer ear three times per day. Rub it down the canal, but do not fill the ear canal.

Frankincense: Great for small pets. Uses: wound care, tumors, infections, fungus, behavior immune support.

Panaway: Best for pain. Uses: Osteo-arthritis, post surgery, muscle aches and pains. Dilute for cats.

Valor: Great for courage and calming. Uses: Fear, training and behavior issues, skin mases, itching, allergies, infections.

Peace and Calming: Good for hyper younger pets. Uses: Fear, anxiety, behavioral issues, excitement, builds confidence.

Peppermint: Great for cooling overworked or overheated dogs and horses. Uses: Pain relief, fever reduction.

Purification: Best for flea repellent. Safe for cats at 75% dilution.

Lavender: Very gentle. Uses: Calming, repelling insects/parasites, fights infections, wound care.

Lemon: Use with carrier oil. Uses: anti-parasitic, great for skin conditions, focus when training.

Thieves: Best for infection. Uses: pain relief, anti-parasitic, antibacterial, antiviral, wound and oral care, infections.

Digize: All digestive issues: Uses: Anything gastrointestinal, even used on colic horses successfully!

RC: Uses: Respiratory and urinary support. Great for cats who need bladder fortification.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Essential Oils/Young Living - Reformed Pill Popper?

          Like many women I know in their mid twenties, I have started to pay more attention to my health and lifestyle choices in recent years. Gone are the days I can indulge in greasy foods, sweets, and adult beverages as frequently as I would like to without seeing some type of effect on my body. Sometimes I see the results in the form of unsightly bloating, skin imperfections, a sour mood, or low name a few. A few years ago, I started making healthier choices. I made the usual swaps in terms of wheat vs. white, "always choose water" - no excuses, Coconut oil instead of the alternatives, and tried to stay pretty active.
        The problem for me has always been consistency. With aging comes maturity, but what people forget to tell you is that with age also comes a slower metabolism and seemingly less time to do anything about it! The one thing I have remained consistent about over the last several years is paying attention to what vitamins and supplements I put into my body. In addition to taking a women's multi-vitamin daily, I also take a probiotic consistently and have "green smoothies" and hot tea quite frequently. However, what I also take daily, is a boatload of likely unnecessary Motrin, Benadryl, and other various over the counter meds.
        When I moved to Jacksonville, I met a girl named Megan (who also happened to end up being my best friend). She was the total opposite of my 5'9, brunette haired, pill-popping frame. Megan is a tiny ball of energy who chooses water over Diet Coke and essential oils over prescription or over the counter medications whenever possible. Megan taught me about oils and some of their uses and it has been amazing to watch her use them on her baby. I also have a friend named Audra who sweetly talked to me about them and then sent me a few specially selected oils for a particularly stressful time this year. I credit Audra for helping me find a stop to my insomnia, and for sparking my initial interest in the oils.
        Fast forward to this week when my mother-in-law made an unexpected but welcomed visit to see us, and to tell us about her journey and success with Young Living Essential Oils in recent months. I won't bore you with details of names and stories of family members and friends you won't ever meet, but I will say that when someone shares success stories with you involving people you know well, you listen. And when that same person is someone you trust both professionally (she's a nurse) and personally (I'm married to her son ;) and tells you to take a capsule of lavender, lemon, and peppermint for your bad allergies - you do it! Just in the few days my mother-in-law was here visiting, Tyler and I used oils for our allergies and for his snoring and for the first time in the twelve years we have been together, I have to poke him to make sure he's alive as he is sleeping soundly and quietly through the night.
        Do I believe that oils cure everything? Not really. Do I believe that people should stop taking all of their prescribed medications cold turkey and switch over immediately? Definitely not. Do I believe some people will think I'm crazy for "buying into" essential oils and their effectiveness? Most definitely. But, am I also a reformed pill popper? You betcha. Because learning about what I CAN put into my body and how good it is for me makes me think about what I am CURRENTLY putting into my body and why. Mindfulness is a beautiful, healthy thing.