Help Your Pet RELAX this 4th of July!

The 4th of July is almost here! 

Agnus the chihuahua sitting in an american flagWhile we’re sure our pets are just as patriotic as we are, they may not share our excitement for the local fireworks displays.

Pets can find fireworks terrifying. Fortunately we have a number of remedies that actually work well!


Starting out, it’s important to introduce our natural pet stress-relieving techniques a few days or even a week before they’re needed, to give your pet ample time to become comfortable with them. If your pet is afraid of the very thing meant to relax them, you won’t see good results. Plus, it seems like every neighborhood has that “one guy” who doesn’t wait until the actual 4th of July to celebrate with fireworks! So start your chosen treatment method before the fireworks actually begin. Once your dog or cat is stressed out, it can be difficult to calm them down. It’s important to remember that your pet is not only fearful for its’ own safety, but for yours as well! If you begin to worry about whether your pet will be stressed or anxious, it will only validate the fear and add to the anxiety.  It’s important to be calm during such times, as this will help your pet to relax and reduce the fear.

Flower Essences are a very effective tool for combating stress and anxiety because they function on an emotional level.

They’re remarkably simple, combining the energetic essence and effects of flowers in unique formulas.  We’ve found our pets are very “tuned in” to emotional energy, and they seem receptive to these formulas.  While they’re effective, they’re also very mild on the body and completely safe.  Flower Essences can be applied in a number of ways: dropped directly into your pet’s mouth, rubbed on their fur, added to their drinking water or even all of those methods at once!

Some of our most popular Flower Essences listed below are now 15% OFF:

Homeopathic Remedies can be effective, very mild and completely safe for your pets.

Homeopathic Remedies work by combining a number of ingredients in extremely small quantities that might seem like they would add to the stress; however these formulations in turn cause the body to react against the ingredients – which can produce a calming effect.  The typical daily dosage can be increased during times of stress (like during fireworks, or that wild party you have planned!).

Our most popular stress remedy, Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy requires 5-10 drops 3 times per day to treat general anxiety. During times of stress that dose can be increased to 5-10 drops every 15 min for the first hour, every 30 min for the second hour and then once again for the third hour (If your Fireworks show lasts that long, we’d appreciate an invite!).  Homeopathic Remedies should ideally be dropped directly into the mouth. However, if that is difficult they can be mixed with treats, food or water as well.

We offer several other homeopathic remedies for anxiety. One may be right for your pet!

Herbal Formulas are another great option, that tends to work over a longer period of time than homeopathic remedies or flower essences.

These formulas can keep your pet relaxed for an extended time with little to no interruption of the benefits!  Since the effects last a bit longer, herbal remedies are one way to reduce any sudden “spikes” of stress and create a sustained, relaxed feeling.  Herbal Remedies can be mixed with food, treats, water or given directly.

Other herbal remedies you’ll find on our website (Also now 15% OFF):

We have a few other solutions for relieving stress that don’t fit into one of the above categories as well.  Our Only Natural Pet Phero-Soothe is a simulated Pheromone spray that creates a feeling of safety and well-being in any environment.  Our pets have a powerful sense of smell, which helps make this product effective. The Thundershirt is a unique and creative product. It gently “hugs” your pet, which creates a sense of safety and security by making them feel less vulnerable. Both of these products can be combined with just about anything as well, so they’re a versatile choice that will complement any solution!

Treating anxiety, especially a rational anxiety like a fear of loud explosions, can take some trial and error.  We’ve found that combining two or more products is generally the most effective. So explore your options, find the right solution for your pet, and get ready to enjoy those 4th of July fireworks without stress for you or your pet!

All Stress and Anxiety Solutions at 15% Off

June 14 – June 26, 2013

Coupon Code: RELAX

Shop Now >

Top Ten Reasons Why Your Pet May Be Itching

Itching is one of the most unpleasant sensations imaginable – and a cat’s or dog’s never-ending scratching, biting, and licking can seem nearly as aggravating.  Watching your pet suffer with a chronic itch is an all-too-common experience facing pet parents these days. If your pet is constantly shaking their head, or scratching, rubbing, chewing or licking some area of skin, you can bet that there’s likely some agonizing itching going on.  Left untreated, areas of itchy skin
become vulnerable to damage from your pet’s scratching or licking, to hot spots (areas of oozing, dry or inflamed skin), and even to secondary infections from bacteria. What may be causing the itch, and what can you do about it?

We’ve compiled a list of the top ten itch-causing factors and some suggestions on what you can do to help your pet escape from that irritating itch. Before your pet is tearing up their skin, pulling out their fur, or forced to wear a cone-shaped (Elizabethan) collar, consider these common causes of itchiness in pets and work with your vet to get your pet some relief:

1. Poor Quality Diet – We’re not talking about food allergies here (more on that shortly). A surprising factor underlying a vast number of allergic itch reactions is simply a poor quality diet that inadequately nourishes a cat or dog. As we always say, a good diet is the foundation of good health. Even the best medication won’t eliminate allergic skin reactions when your pet’s immune system is unable to function properly due to lack of nutrients. If you’re still feeding a grocery store, veterinarian prescribed or commercial chain pet store food, we urge you to read our article, “What You Need to Know About Your Pet’s Food,” check the label on your companion’s food package, and find a natural food for your cat or dog. A good daily multivitamin is a great way to enhance the nutrient levels your pet gets
each day as well.

2. Airborne Allergens – Most cases of itchy skin are caused by the same things that cause human allergies (dust, grasses, pollen, etc.). While humans sneeze and have other respiratory symptoms, pets usually develop atopic dermatitis, showing their allergic reaction through their skin. While this is a major cause of pets’ itching, airborne allergies are tough to diagnose, and other causes usually need to be ruled out first. Remember that just like humans, pets can be allergic to both natural allergens like pollen and chemical irritants like pesticide residue and household cleaning products. Often, these allergies can be controlled but not completely eliminated; allergy support products and essential fatty acid supplements can be of help to many pets with airborne allergies.

3. Food Allergies – While making up only about 10% of diagnosed allergies, food allergies are considered by many holistic vets to be the primary cause of about 30% of allergy cases in pets. This is due to how allergies activate your pet’s immune system. Pets sensitive to one food allergen (commonly grain-based proteins called glutens) can become hyper-reactive to other allergens like dust or pollen. Fortunately, food allergies can be resolved with diligent detective work, eliminating all common allergens from the diet (beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, and milk), then reintroducing one at a time to see which ones cause an allergic reaction. Strict avoidance of irritants can resolve most cases of pure food allergy.  Grain-free and novel protein foods as well as raw food diets can do much to alleviate food-based allergies for many animal companions. Our articles, “All About Raw Food,” “Is Grain-Free Food Right for Your Companion?” and “The Role of Protein in Good Nutrition,” provide further details on this important topic.

4. Contact Dermatitis – Some cases of itchy skin in pets is caused by direct skin contact with irritating substances. Common causes of contact dermatitis include flea collars and topical flea and tick preparations, grooming products, and household cleaners that pets contact through their skin – especially through the pads of their feet. Consider natural insect control products and grooming products for your pet, use natural cleaners in your home, and remember that sensitive pets can be allergic to product ingredients generally considered safe. As with food allergies, removing suspect products from any contact with your pet’s skin can help determine what’s causing the itch.

5. Fleas, Mites and Insect Bites – The most common allergy that causes itchy skin in pets (usually around the base of the tail and hindquarters) is flea bite dermatitis, an allergic reaction to flea saliva that can be triggered by only one flea bite! This can be frustrating for pet parents because a single flea bite can cause a severe reaction, yet you may never see a full blown flea infestation. If you live in an area where fleas are present, always keep in mind that one flea can cause some furious itching in your pet. Your vet can help you determine what degree of flea protection you need to keep your pet safe and healthy, but remember that natural solutions for insect control are the safest way to go and are well worth a try if you live in an area known for flea problems. We also offer aids for flea & insect bites.

Most mites are nearly invisible, and are commonly found in and around pets’ ears and head. Severe mite infestations known as mange can be diagnosed through skin scrapings taken by your vet. Even mosquito bites can cause severe itching in sensitive pets, so keep a natural insect repellent handy during bug season to help your pet stay bite-free. For more information, please read our articles, “The Natural Approach to Flea Control,” and “Ask the Vet: Natural Treatment for Demodectic Mange.”

6. Skin Infections – Three main types of skin infections can cause itching in pets. Bacterial infection, known as Pyoderma, is often a secondary problem created by a cat or dog scratching, licking or biting an already irritated area of skin. These skin infections can be painful as well as increasing the itch factor. Ringworm, a fungal infection, is not uncommon – and it’s contagious to humans! Ringworm commonly appears as areas of broken or crusty skin, with hair loss, usually around the head, face, or extremities. A vet can test your pet if ringworm is suspected. Another fungus problem is due to a yeast infection on the skin, known as Malessezia Dermatitis. This chronic itch problem commonly occurs on the paws or in the ears. Please see our articles, “Chronic Ear Infections,” for more details. Minor skin infections and hot spots may respond well to natural healing products we offer.

7. Genetic Factors & Breed Predisposition – Unfortunately, some breeds of cats and dogs are more prone to sensitive skin, or are more likely to develop allergic itching due to skin folds and ear shapes. Siamese cats, and many breeds of dogs including Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and many Terrier breeds are more prone to allergies that cause itching skin. Dogs with skin folds and floppy ears are more likely to develop itching from yeast or bacterial infections due to the ideal environment their anatomical features offer to these opportunistic microbes. Another related factor is temperament, with sensitive, high-strung breeds being more prone to reactive health conditions like allergies. The mind-body connection operates in pets as well as humans! If yours is a sensitive breed, please check out our Anxiety and Stress articles in our Holistic Healthcare Library for tips on reducing your pet’s stress, and consider a holistic anxiety remedy to help ease your pet’s emotional reactivity.

8. Vaccine Reactions – Although still controversial and not uniformly acknowledged by all pet health professionals, incidences of over-vaccination, and even single dose vaccine reactions are becoming more recognized and well-documented in pets. Vaccines are designed to cause a reaction in the immune system, and for some pets, the protein base of the vaccine serum can cause pets to develop allergies. In other cases, multiple vaccines administered together can overwhelm the immune system, resulting in “vaccinosis,” a condition commonly known to trigger allergic symptoms like itchy skin. Please read our article, “The Truth About Pet Vaccinations,” for more details on this important health issue. The homeopathic remedy, Thuja can be helpful for pets that may have vaccine-related issues.

9. Glandular/Hormonal Imbalances – Several glandular imbalances can cause skin problems that contribute to itching in some pets. Two of the most common are related to thyroid and adrenal gland functioning.   Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is more common in dogs than in cats, but cases are found in both species. Hypothyroidism can cause the skin to become greasy, foul smelling, and in some cases very itchy. Cushing’s Disease (more correctly called Hyperadrenocorticism) is caused by adrenal gland overactivity, and commonly occurs in older dogs, where numerous skin problems that can cause itching may occur. These are serious health issues that require vet treatment, so always check with your vet when unusual skin issues or other symptoms arise. Our article, “Thyroid Disorders in Cats and Dogs,” provides additional information.

10. Detoxification Effects – The skin is an important organ of elimination, and one of the ways that pets may  remove toxic residues from their systems is through their skin. If your pet has a temporary bout of itching, it may be a simple healing process as the body rids itself of residues its been storing up. This is a very common phenomenon when pets change from pharmaceutical to holistic remedies, or when their food is upgraded. Typically, a period of itchy skin, change in stool odor, consistency and volume, and/or runny nose can occur as part of a healing crisis when pets are going through a natural and healthy detoxification process. These periods generally don’t last long, and should resolved within 1-4 weeks, depending on the state of health your companion. We carry an excellent homeopathic detoxification aid, Newton Homeopathics Detoxifier, which may be of benefit to pets eliminating toxins in conjunction with changes in diet or medications. Please see our articles, “Sixteen Steps to Detox Your Pet,” and “When Is It Time to See the Vet?” for more information.

While our Top Ten Causes of Itching is not an exhaustive list, it does give you a place to start with the most common causes of itchy skin. We encourage you to review our other articles on Allergies and Itching in our Holistic Healthcare Library that may be helpful, including:
Ask the Vet: Seasonal Allergies & Itching

Itchy Skin and Allergies

Alleviating Your Pet’s Itchy Skin

Ask the Vet: Food Allergies & Diarrhea

Sixteen Steps to Detox Your Pet

by Cynthia Holley-Connolly, ONP Staff Writer

Most likely, you have a general idea what toxins are. We often hear things described as being “toxic,” and we know that means potentially damaging, and perhaps poisonous. Toxins can cause, worsen, or accelerate many health problems in people and pets. Sadly, many of the toxins that can profoundly affect our pets’ health are hidden, and we may unknowingly contribute to the load of toxins our pets’ have in their bodies. While toxins are bad for us, they can be devastating to our pets for several reasons.

First, pets are generally smaller than we are, with smaller organs of elimination (e.g., liver, kidneys, lungs). When exposed to toxins, their bodies have to work much harder than ours do to eliminate them. Second, pets have a shorter life span. They don’t have the luxury of time that we have for their bodies to eliminate toxins as gradually. Also, our pets can’t talk to us to let us know when something in their food or their environment is making them feel sick. They can’t switch their own food or decide to stop using a household cleaner that irritates their sinuses or lungs. Our pets rely on us 100% to reduce the number and amount of toxins they encounter.

So what can you do to minimize the toxins in your pets’ lives and help them eliminate the toxic load they have in their bodies?

Click here to continue reading this article online and find out the Sixteen Steps to Detox Your Pet.

Please Don’t Give Pets as Gifts!

‘Tis the season for giving, and that means shopping for special, unique gifts for our loved ones. Who doesn’t have visions of a spouse, friend, or niece or grandchild opening a beautifully wrapped box with an adorable kitten inside, or of covering their eyes and leading them into a room where a puppy or a cat wearing a big bow is waiting. We aren’t to blame—we have these very images of holiday serenity lingering from our own childhood as well as sentimental TV commercials. In a pet, it seems we can give the gift of unconditional love, especially to a child.

Now, here’s a dose of reality: right now, animal shelters are getting ready for a flood of animal surrenders right after the holiday season. The intended happy surprise turns out to be  just a surprise—and not necessarily a pleasant one. The solution to the problem for many families is to get rid of the unwanted pet. What’s up with that?

•    The holidays are already hectic; it’s not a good time to bring in a new pet that needs to feel safe and secure in its new environment, and more importantly, needs quiet one-on-one time with its new family.

•    The recipient—even though he or she may have said that they’d love to get a pet, doesn’t actually want such a serious commitment in an already-busy life, especially a schedule- and travel-disruptor like a pet that needs to go outside on time.

•    A household member may be or become allergic to the new pet.

•    Some children become frightened of the strange new creature, which in turn spooks the new pet, creating an air of distrust for all involved.

•    Even though children ask for pets, the parents must be involved in the decision; not all kids are ready for the responsibility, and the parents may not want to get stuck with it either. Ultimately, no one takes care of the pet, and it ends up shut in a basement, tied up in the yard, abandoned, or relinquished.

•    Although the previous guardian’s paperwork might say the pet was good with kids, its actual socialization might not have included what the next child wanted from a pet when begging for a live Christmas present (playing dress-up, putting in a stroller, etc.).

•    Resident animals in the home also get the short end of the stick. If any significant holiday activity was going on in the home, i.e., family staying over, holiday parties, etc., resident pets (especially cats) were already having tough time adapting their sense of “stable-sameness” to the unusual activities. Add another animal, especially of the same species, and—more often than not—disaster is imminent.

•    Winter is not puppy or kitten season; the young animals that are available at Christmas time very likely come from puppy or kitten mills—and may continue to surprise the new guardian with serious health and behavior issues. This is virtually guaranteed to be the case if the puppy is a breed that was recently featured in a movie, such as 101 Dalmations, Marley and Me, or Beverly Hills Chihuahua. To avoid pets from mills, never ever buy a dog or cat from a pet store.

Now you know the reasons not to surprise family and other loved ones with animals as gifts, the good news is that there are many ways to bring four-legged love home for the holidays without such risk.

For a creative surprise, give a gift certificate for pet supplies; or present them with a collar and leash or a package of cat toys. When the recipient looks confused, you can reveal that the real present is a trip to the shelter plus the adoption fee, to choose a furry friend.

Many animal shelters have gift certificates you can buy to place in a box instead of an animal. These generally cover the cost of adoption, and may include spay/neuter and initial vaccines (but be sure to read our article on vaccination first!). If your local shelter doesn’t offer gift certificates, make one yourself. That way, the next day or next week—or whenever the time is right—your loved one can look for a new companion.

Nowadays, many shelters have websites with pictures of their adoptable animals, so the whole family can go online and check out the choices. Or browse Petfinders, the original online adoption site. There is also empowerment in a child in going to a shelter and picking out his or her own companion. It’s also a perfect time to let them know that caring for a living being requires responsibility. It’s never too early to instill the concept of stewardship.

It is essential to introduce everyone who lives in the home, from children to housemates to other pets, to the new pet before adoption. In fact, many shelters require this. There’s nothing to lose, but important lessons to gain. For instance, the adoptive family may discover that the resident dog requires a bit of work on the “down-stay” so that it doesn’t relentlessly pursue the new addition. A housemate’s allergy may or may not act up in the presence of specific animals.

This method also allows time to prepare the home itself before bringing a new pet in.

Remember, no surprises are good surprises when it comes to animals this holiday season. Have a great one, and congratulations to all of you who bring a homeless pet into your heart and home this year!

Senior Pet Month

Supporting Senior Pets

As with senior people, senior pets have well documented physical changes that we can anticipate and prepare for. Although we live with our pets, their accelerated life span often takes us by surprise. It’s easy to overlook changes associated with aging and assume that the behavior change results from a pet’s lack of interest or change in mood. Your pet may lose interest in activities or have mood changes, but often these result from physical impairments that cause pain or discomfort. Healthy pets can retain kittenish or puppy-like traits well into their senior years if they are feeling well. Here are the top seven things you can do to support healthy aging in your pet:

Keep Them Moving: If your once playful cat or fetch-fiend dog loses interest in play activities, consider their joints, and don’t assume that they have simply lost interest in their regular play routines. We hear many stories from pet parents whose pets regain interest in playtime once joint pain is addressed through the right supplements to support joint health. Joint support can begin before any age-related deterioration is detectable. Supplements can help your pet’s body keep joints supplied with the right joint building nutrients, which can slow joint deterioration considerably. Pets with more severe joint issues benefit from antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory remedies for discomfort. We’ll have more to say about this in our article newsletter at the end of this month.

Keep Them Comfortable: A dog or cat that slept anywhere comfortably when a youngster may suffer on the floor or be less comfortable in their usual sleeping and resting spots. Many contemporary beds are both eco-friendly and non-toxic, and though they can’t tell you directly, your aging pet will be very grateful for a comfy bed, blanket, or sleeping mat to provide extra skeletal support and warmth. Also, consider elevated feeding bowls, a walking support harness, and even a pet ramp to provide your aging pet with access to car, bed, furniture, etc., to let them comfortably go wherever they are used to going.

Keep Them Engaged: If your pet seems to be less connected to goings-on in your home, find ways to keep them engaged in activities that they enjoy. If they don’t have the strength, flexibility or stamina for games they enjoyed when younger, modify the game to make it easier for your pet. Pets that are stimulated with toys, games, and experiences stay “tuned in” to their daily life much more than pets that are allowed to slowly disengage. If your pet experiences hearing and/or vision loss due to age, don’t stop trying to connect with them. Clever pet parents can work around these age-related deficits and keep senior pets vitally connected to daily life – prolonging the joyful time they have with their beloved companions.

Address Digestive & Metabolic Issues: It’s a fact – our pets’ digestion and metabolism usually deteriorate with age. Diminished digestive strength may show up as vomiting or changes in stool consistency. Decrease in pancreatic functioning is a common problem, as the pancreas has a limited supply of enzymes to help your pet break down and process food. As most cooked (dry and canned) pet food has nearly zero percent enzymes present, it’s helpful to supplement your pet’s food with digestive enzymes to help them break down food properly and absorb the nutrients it contains. Digestive supplements can also help. Changes in diet may be needed, but stick with holistic foods if you can (see the information below on the benefits of natural foods for seniors).

Support the Immune System: Pets’ immune function deteriorates with age, which manifests in many ways. Your aging pet may be more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, demonstrating poor immune response to pathogens. It’s also common for aging pets to have abnormal cellular functioning, which may result in benign or cancerous cell growth, and increased cellular break down due to free radical damage. We offer a wide array of immune support products to help your pet with strengthened response to infections, increased cellular health support, and antioxidant support to reduce free radical damage.

Watch for Behavior Changes: So many senior pet health issues are caught early and corrected by vigilant pet parents. Watch your pet closely, and note on a calendar any changes in behavior that deviate from the norm. Our companion animals are very much “creatures of habit,” and even slight variations from their normal behavior can indicate health issues. Changes in movement behavior may indicate joint problems, circulatory, ear or eye issues; changes in elimination patterns often indicate kidney, blood sugar, digestive, hormonal or metabolic issues. Paying close attention to your pet’s patterns, and noting variation from normal activity can help you and your veterinarian determine whether organ systems may be compromised and help you address or accommodate changes.

Take Action: Many normal age-related health concerns can be improved, slowed, or even reversed through the use of natural remedies and supplements. We always suggest that you consult with your (holistic) veterinarian to diagnose your pet’s health concerns and plan treatment. Check with your vet if your pet has a diagnosed health issue to see whether natural remedies and supplements may be beneficial to your pet’s heath regimen. Click here to see some of our natural supplements for senior pets.

For more information on supporting your aging pet, please see our articles on aging pets in our Holistic Healthcare Library, and in particular the article, “Supporting Your Aging Companion.”

New Freeze-Dried Meals & Treats from Only Natural Pet Store!

Only Natural Pet Store is excited to announce the addition of our new freeze-dried meals and treats! Freeze-Dried Fresh Filets and All Meat Bites are each made from free-range meats that were raised antibiotic and hormone-free. They’re grain-free too so they make a great option for pets with grain allergies.

Give your companion the benefits of a raw food diet without the mess or fuss with Only Natural Pet Freeze Dried Fresh Filets.

  • Freeze-dried patties
  • Made from free-range, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats
  • Same health benefits of a raw meat diet
  • Easy-to-serve portions in a resealable bag
  • NO grains, preservatives or fillers
  • Available in two flavors: Chicken with Organic Veggies and Beef

Treat your pet to the ultimate in pure, natural taste with Only Natural Pet Freeze Dried All Meat Bites.

  • Great as a training treat or crumbled food topper
  • No fillers or preservatives
  • From free-range meat sources
  • Grain-free & Gluten-free