A Memorial Day Salute to Our Four-legged Heroes

Memorial-Day-Military-DogsWhile Memorial Day is a great excuse to take a long weekend to go the beach, throw barbecues and enjoy other types of fun, let us not forget to take a moment to honor our courageous service personnel who have given their lives to ensure our freedom.

In addition to paying well deserved homage to the brave humans who have fought so valiantly to protect our country, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the many canines that have selflessly served our nation since its inception.

Dogs have in fact been serving alongside humans in battle for thousands of years, as scouts, sentries and in other capacities. They have many times sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

So I would like to personally salute the many brave canines who have so selflessly fought to ensure our freedom. You are heroes, in the truest sense.

God bless you one and all.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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Safe Flea and Tick Remedies for Pets

Ultrasonic-Flea-and-Tick-Shield
Devices such as the Love2Pet Ultrasonic Flea & Tick Shield are now popular alternatives to chemical products. Photo from Love2Pet

Flea and tick season is just around the corner. As there are many products on the market that can be harmful or even fatal to dogs and cats, it’s very important for pet parents to thoroughly do their homework when it comes to the products they use.

Beware of Spot-On Flea and Tick Products

Among the most problematic flea and tick products for pets are the spot-on varieties. The Environmental Protection Agency conducted a five-year study that was released in March 2010, following literally thousands of complaints from pet parents claiming that their animals suffered from everything from GI ailments to seizures and death following exposure to these.

As a result of these findings, the EPA insisted on more stringent labeling and guidelines for these products. However, the Natural Resources and Defense Council did not think this was enough, and filed a complaint against the EPA in February 2014, demanding an outright ban of the use of the chemicals propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos in pet flea and tick products.

I personally know of one cat who died from these products: my cousins’ beloved Kitty Boy, who developed a cancerous tumor on his neck from years of wearing flea collars. He was just one of many, as pet parents, veterinarians and other animal services providers reported upwards of 600 pet deaths in 2008 alone, according to the EPA study.

A Natural Approach to Flea and Tick Prevention

As pet parents become more educated and demand safer products, there is now a greater emphasis on natural, holistic flea and tick remedies such as:

  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Essential oils with cedar, geranium, lemongrass, tea tree oil, peppermint
  • Garlic … and more.

Diatomaceous earth in particular has generated a lot of excitement. This is a powdery substance comprised of the fossilized remains of marine life that contains such minerals as the crucial trace element silica. This helps to control fleas in pets via piercing the insects’ hard outer shells, causing death from dehydration. This can be sprinkled around the home, on pets and in bedding. Just make sure that this is food grade, not the stuff that’s used in swimming pools, which is toxic to pets.

There are also devices that cats and dogs can wear on their collars that emit ultrasonic sound waves, such as the Love2Pet Flea and Tick Shield, which are said to repel said insects.

Otherwise, pet parents are advised to use natural products for flea and tick control under the strict supervision of a holistic veterinarian, as some of the natural products may not always be suitable for certain animals. For example, some essential oils can be toxic to cats. So be sure to do your homework, and seek guidance whenever using any new products on your pets.

Do you have any recommendations or questions about safe flea and tick products for pets? Feel free to post these in the comments section below.

DEA Warns of ‘Stoner Bunnies’ if Pot is Legalized in Utah

Rastafarian-BunnyWhile Utah lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use, a special agent for the DEA warned that this could result in the state being overrun with buzzed bunny rabbits.

If passed, Senate Bill 259, which was recently introduced by Sen. Mark B. Madsen, would enable people with medical conditions that could benefit from the use of cannabis to use, grow and cultivate pot for medicinal purposes.

Meanwhile, DEA Special Agent Matt Fairbanks – who is a member of a special marijuana eradication team – warned a Utah Senate Panel that this measure could result in out of control stoner rabbits.

Fairbanks experienced the effects that pot has on cottontails while raiding backwoods marijuana growers in the mountains of Utah, where he came into contact with, “Rabbits that had cultivated a taste for marijuana.”

He added that wasted bunnies tend to become overly gregarious. “One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone.” (Hate to break it to you, dude, but I think the little guy just wanted his stash back.)

Despite Fairbanks’s warnings, the Senate Committee passed the measure by a 3-2 vote.

If fully passed, I expect the rabbit population of Utah to be sporting Bob Marley T-shirts, listening to Grateful Dead albums and depleting the state’s carrot crops due to a wicked case of the munchies.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons