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Getting a Puppy During Lockdown.

Have you been thinking of getting a puppy for some time? The lockdown might have provided you with the perfect opportunity. But there are many crucial things you have to consider before getting a puppy during lockdown.

Is this the perfect time to get a puppy?

Financially it can be difficult but timewise it’s perfect. You don’t have to take time off work to spend time with your puppy, and to learn to live together, and train him or her. I purposely didn’t say socialize him, as it is pretty much impossible.

How we did it.

We had a litter of Lakeland terriers recently and people came to see them just before lockdown set in. Once the puppies were old enough to go to their new homes we had to deliver them for the simple reason that collecting a puppy was not an essential journey. By the Kennel Club rules we were able  to deliver puppies to their new homes.

It was strange to social distance when we delivered them. There was a quick bit of information given and then we had to leave. It just didn’t feel right… but not much does these days I guess. I missed the little things like showing the new owner how to brush the puppy. Thank God for the internet so that we can Facetime and still help them as much as we can.

Getting a puppy during the lockdown.

It’s lockdown and you’ve got a new puppy.

Even though, to some extent, it’s nice to be at home with him all the time, it’s not going to be like this forever. The time will come when you’ll have to go back to work, to the hairdresser, or the doctor and it’s very important to prepare your puppy for such a situation.


Prepare your puppy for the real life.

You can start by leaving your puppy in a separate room for a short period of time after saying a quiet goodbye (not a big scene with a long speech about how sorry you are for leaving him or her). Fend off the tears and refrain from anxious hugging because your puppy won’t understand what’s happening and why you’re stressed and worried. Once you leave the room, keep quiet and still so that your puppy knows what it feels like to be alone. After a few minutes return to the room and this way your puppy will learn quickly that when you leave you’ll always return. Don’t forget that you can use Calming Floral Spray  on yourself and the puppy to help you to adjust! 

Noises & sounds.

If you can’t go out with your puppy yet, perhaps because he/she hasn’t had its second vaccination or because you are self-isolating, you can improvise when it comes to different sounds. I would recommend to get the COA Noises & Sounds CD. This CD contains everyday sounds from inside and outside the home. This is a proven technique for the prevention of sound phobias, recommended by vets and anima behaviourists. This CD has a wide variety of sounds and comes with a comprehensive training manual. 

Physical contact.

Just as sounds are important, so is physical contact – and I’m not just talking about stroking your puppy. One day your puppy will be handled by a vet, a groomer or a show judge and he/she needs to be prepared for it. While your puppy is on your lap, stroke her ears, flip them up and look inside. Touch the tail, vertebrae by vertebrae over the whole length and gently stroke the legs from the top to the toes. Softly massage the toes and look in between the pads. This applies to the mouth too. Gently open the mouth and check the teeth and gums.

Regular brushing & combing.

Lastly, regular brushing and combing has to be introduced from an early age. You can find a few useful tips in my blog “REAL puppy grooming tips”.


Are you a new puppy owner? Tell us what do you enjoy and what do you find challenging?




Natural Cleaners For The Win

Spending more time at home and having more time, in general, has allowed me to do a few jobs which I’ve been procrastinating about for a very long time and deep cleaning is one of them. You know, like sorting the cupboards and draws, getting everything out, cleaning it, checking the labels and then putting everything back in some kind of order. This time I’m sticking to the order… well, at least trying.

As a big believer of an ‘all-natural’ approach and a minimal waste lifestyle, I like to bulk buy these two natural cleaners which I use at home:

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.

Baking soda = Bicarbonate of soda.

Bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate), also commonly known as baking soda, is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has many uses around the house and I LOVE to use it to:

1) Deodorise the fridge.

Bicarbonate of soda is an incredible deodoriser. Whether you’ve left fish, meat or cheese in your refrigerator for too long, cleaning with bicarbonate of soda is sure to help. Just apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the inside of the fridge, rub and then remove with a dry cloth. You can also keep a cup of baking soda in the back of your fridge to absorb the most stubborn smells – just remember to replace it every 2-3 months.

2) Deodorise shoes.

If that nasty odour comes from your shoes instead of the fridge, baking soda can still help! Sprinkle a cup of it inside your shoes and let it sit overnight. Not only will the smell fade away, but this low-cost solution will also help kill bacteria caused by sweat.

3) Clean surfaces.

Kitchen and bathroom cleaning can take a lot of time – especially if you have to deal with sticky countertops, greasy drawers and delicate surfaces. You can clean them easily if you combine bicarbonate of soda with white vinegar. The fizzing action helps to break down stubborn messes and can power through coffee and rust stains.

4) Freshen the home.

While cleaning with baking soda can help remove smells in specific areas like the fridge, it can also be used to freshen your home in general. Use it as a DIY air freshener by placing small plates of it around your home to absorb bad smells. Just make sure it’s far out of reach of pets or kids!

5) Unblock clogged sinks and drains.

Slow-moving drains in the bathroom and kitchen can be a nightmare. Unclog them by using a solution of bicarbonate of soda, water and white vinegar. First, pour a full pot of hot water down the drain, add a glass of baking soda and warm white vinegar and let it fizz. Then rinse with hot water again.

6) Refresh mattresses.

I also use bicarbonate of soda to deodorise mattresses. I sprinkle a full cup of bicarbonate of soda to freshen up a mattress. Then I let it sit for a couple of hours and then gently vacuum to clean.

Vinegar.

Vinegar is an aqueous solution of acetic acid and trace chemicals that may include flavourings. It typically contains 5–8% acetic acid by volume. The acetic acid is usually produced by the fermentation of ethanol or sugars by acetic acid bacteria.

Standard white vinegar is a clear solution generally containing 4–7% acetic acid and 93–96% water. Some types of white vinegar can contain up to 20% acetic acid, but these are strictly for agricultural or cleaning purposes and not intended for human consumption. I buy 5% or 12%.

Now for its many uses:

1) Clean fruit & vegetables.

I mix up a vinegar solution and use for washing fresh fruits and vegetables. The vinegar dissolves wax that may be coating the surface of fruits & veggies, and also removes pesticide residues. Then I rinse the vegetables and fruits thoroughly with warm water.

2) General cleaning around the home.

I use a solution of half white vinegar and half water (and sometimes only neat vinegar) mixed in a spray bottle to clean the interior of the fridge and many other surfaces throughout the house clean. A quick spray and wipe down removes odours, cleans the interior, and kills off mildew and mould spores and germs. I also use ti for cleaning kitchen surface, mirrors, tiles, and windows.

3) Clean up pet accidents

Remove odour and pet urine stains by dabbing the stain with a cloth soaked in 1/4 cup of vinegar diluted with a quart of water. Dab the mess repeatedly until the spot and odour are removed, let it dry and then test for a smell. If you still can smell it, repeat the process. The trick here is that you don’t want allow the stain to soak into the foam padding of the carpet or furniture. Once the foam is soaked, the odour is nearly impossible to get out.

4) To clean your microwave.

I easily clean my microwave with equal parts of hot water and vinegar. I place the mixture in a small bowl and microwave it for five minutes. The steam loosens any dried-on mess and makes it easy for me to wipe it away. You can also use a small bowl of lemon juice or lemon juice and water to get the same results and as a bonus, it’s the best way to remove any odours and leave it smelling fresh! And you’ll love your bright, shiny, clean microwave again.

Do you use baking soda & vinegar at home? Would you mind sharing your tips?

Stay safe,

Jitka xx

Home Grooming – We’ve All Made Mistakes.

Did you know that because of the current situation, home dog grooming is one of the top searched topics on various search sites?

People are needing to pay more attention to their dog’s coat, ears, eyes and nails more than ever before. Home grooming is more popular (and necessary ) as dog owners can’t just drop their dog off at their groomer. As a result, people will also come to realise that dog grooming is, indeed, a very skilled profession that requires not only skills when it comes to clipping, scissoring and hand stripping but also knowledge of a dog’s anatomy, behaviour and animal first aid. Us dog groomers also have fast reflexes because dogs can move really fast when they decide to and the sharp equipment, that groomers use, makes it quite dangerous.

I remember my first pair of scissors… they were small paper scissors with an excessively rounded tip – perhaps kiddie paper scissors and they were tiny and blunt as my mum and I were terrified of hurting our Miniature Schnauzer Ajo. I guess that’s where my grooming career began (even though I didn’t like it at the time and for quite sometime after).

There were a few reasons why I and my mum (as well as our dog 😂) found it very stressful:

1) We didn’t have the right equipment.

I’m talking mid / late 80’s in Slovakia. No proper hand stripping tools, scissors, shampoos or clippers. My first hand stripping tool was a special knife I bought in a pet shop and it was used for brushing angora rabbits. It was sharp and I didn’t know how to hold it properly so my thumb was always scratched and bleeding after hand stripping Ajo. 

The poor dog got scratched so many times and I won’t even mention the bald patches all over him 🙈. No wonder he never liked it and suddenly disappeared when he saw us getting the kitchen table and our equipment ready. Thank God he didn’t have as much coat as Schnauzers nowadays!!

2) We didn’t have the technique.

This was the main reason that he hated being groomed, why we hated doing it and why it was an all-day event for all three of us. Mum and I were exhausted at the end of it and Ajo wouldn’t come into the kitchen for the rest of the day. No one told me to stretch the skin, to pick only a little bit of hair up at a time or to hold it by the tip so I don’t pull out the undercoat. And in order not to scratch him… no one told me how to hold the knife correctly so that I don’t hurt myself by digging a hole into my thumb 🙄.

3) We didn’t bath our dog.

Do not bath your dog! We heard this so many times in the past and the truth was that shampoos were not as good as the ones you find these days. I remember there being only one shampoo in pet shops and it was an antiparasitic shampoo that smelled nasty like the smell of petrol or something similar. God knows what nastiness was in it! Because of this we only bathed our first dog when he rolled in something disgusting or if he had fleas.

I think that the old shampoos also stripped the coat of its oils which resulted in dry skin. Luckily, nowadays the choice is amazing ❤️. It’s still important though to do your research before buying one or if you need some advice to perhaps ask your groomer. 

4) We didn’t have any tick and flea repellents.

I don’t remember using any repellents on our first dog. I remember the flea killing shampoo, mentioned above, and that we had a flea comb which we used to keep checking the coat on a regular basis. If we found any (which wasn’t very often) we gave him a bath.

And ticks? We found these quite a lot and we’d check him after each walk in the woods. If we found a tick, we’d pull it out and flush down the toilet. We didn’t know about transmitted diseases back then and we didn’t know that fleas can be hatched in a carpet. I cringe now when thinking about it 🥴.

5) We brushed every day.

Talking about it now, our home grooming sessions seemed like one big disaster but at least we did one thing right – we brushed our dog every single day and every single evening. I or mum would sit on the floor and put a few tiny dog biscuits on our lap. While Ajo munched away, we brushed and combed him. He didn’t like it (and that’s why we had to bribe him) but he never ever turned on us and never tried to bite us – he just didn’t like it. Life would have been much easier and less stressful if we had had Calming Floral Spray back then lol.

What I’m trying to show you is that we all started somewhere and we’ve all made mistakes. At least we learn from them (we definitely should). Perhaps now that you have to groom your dog at home more often you’ll even discover a new passion or a set of new skills and maybe you’ll start thinking about a new career? Why not?

If dog grooming is something that you’re interested in check the Summit website for a suitable grooming school in your area. To be honest, I’m not sure how this will all play out but we’ll figure it all out.

Keep Calm…on This Wedding Day.

Meet Jacqui, the wedding day dog specialist.

I remember, in detail, when I met Jacqui for the first time. It was Premier Groom grooming competition in 2014 and I was launching my products when this tall, stylish, model-like woman came to enquire about calming products that she could use in her boarding kennel. She was also interested in the dog grooming training I was providing as she was looking to gain more training and perhaps become qualified too.

Over time we became friends, sharing the same interest in dogs, rural lifestyle, self-development and a similar sense of humour. I was amazed when she told me about her new business adventure called Quintessential Wedding Dogs for the first time. I remember thinking that is was such a great idea!

So far, as you’ll all agree, weddings and any other events have not been very fortunate this year and that every single aspect of our lives has been affected. The thing is, is that we need to carry on and we need to support each other. There’s always something to be grateful for and something to look forward to like perhaps your or your friend’s wedding next year or perhaps in a couple of years? To be honest, I didn’t know that weddings are planned so far in advance lol!

I had a brief chat with Jacqui and this is what she had to say…

I’m interested in knowing why you started this business and what the impulse was that brought it on?

I started the business because I love dogs and I love weddings – they’re two of my favourite things! It seemed like a fun thing to do in addition to my existing business as a dog groomer and a boarding kennel owner. The impulse was when my daughter, Rachael, got married and wanted her dog Spencer to be the ring bearer. Spencer did a brilliant job and was a perfect Hound of Honour. It was then that I thought it would be a great business idea as lots of couples want their dog to be a part of the day, even if just for a few photos. Imagine having a wedding dog specialist to take all the stress off?

When did you start?

I started the business just over two years ago and it’s proved popular with many couples.

What was the first wedding you did?

The first wedding I did was with a handsome Cockerpoo called George. He looked very smart in his bow tie and was loved by all.

What is involved?

My role as a wedding day dog specialist is to make sure that the couple can enjoy their dog on their special day without a worry. How it works depends on what the couple’s expectations are for the dog but this is all discussed in our first consultation. I get to meet the dog then too and assess any behavioral challenges. 


I offer a Bronze, Silver or Gold package which can include dog grooming before the wedding, transportation and overnight boarding plus dog chaperoning duty at the wedding. It’s so much fun to see the guests greeting the dog on the day and to see the wedding couple pose for photos with their dog. I also help attract the dog’s attention for the photographer with a squeaky toy and as an added extra I make a little video of the wedding dog’s day too. 

How do you make sure the dogs behave?

It’s important to make sure that the dog is relaxed and happy and that’s why I use Vita Canis products before, during and after the wedding. I spray Calming Floral Spray in the car on the way to the wedding so that both the dog and I can benefit from the relaxing scent – this way we always arrive calm and collected. I also take all the usual bribes in my bag such as liver cake treats (these are a must for getting the dog’s attention) which I make myself. Poo bags and a water bowl are essentials plus a secure lead with a harness or collar.


It’s about finding the right balance and not allowing the dog to upstage anybody but to be included when the time is right. Sometimes, we go walking around the wedding venue and come back when it’s photo time. It’s also knowing when it’s time to leave and let the party continue. This is when man’s best friend and I make a safe exit and I take care of my charge until the next day. A few drops of Vita Canis Comfort Blend on the dog’s bed at night helps him to settle but after an exciting day and an evening meal, he’s usually ready for bed.

Where can people find more details about your unique business?

Details of my packages are available on my website www.quintessentialweddingdaydogs.co.uk and you can find us on FB & Instagram @QuintessentialWeddingDayDogs too.

Would you consider gifting a nice gift card from Jacqui so that your friend can have his/her dog/dogs at the wedding with no hassle, stress and worries?

Email Jacqui for more details info@qqltd.co.uk if this sounds like a good idea!

Clip or Not to Clip?

Should we clip a dog when the weather is hot?

Have you ever asked yourself: Should I have my dog clipped when the weather is hot? And the logical answer would be yes. If we help our dogs to get rid of their “winter accessories” they will feel better in this warm weather. We too get rid of our thick winter coats when it gets warmer…
However, the coat of an animal has many more functions than just keeping the animal warm. It also protects the skin and the whole body from all the effects of the weather: cold, wind, heat and sun radiation.
Simply said – if we remove a dog’s coat, he/she will be hotter than if we leave the coat.

Why?

The cover of the dog’s body is its coat, which is composed of individual hairs. The stronger hair we call guard hair; the finer, shorter hair is called the undercoat. The hair, the coat, acts as a protection against trauma, UV radiation, external weather conditions and various chemicals. Dependent on the attacks of the external environment, over time the ends of the hair tend to become damaged and collapse. The coat is replaced by the normal recovery process called moulting. Moulting allows the hair to stay in good condition. The cycle of moulting is affected by many factors including hormonal activity, length of daylight, heat, radiation, stress, and genetics. It is more pronounced in autumn and spring. Serious illness, stress and pregnancy can also cause a dramatic, total but temporary change of hair.

Temperature & conductivity.

Most mammals try to keep an average skin temperature of about 29 degrees Celsius. The sun can warm the hair up to 66 degrees Celsius!
Very important in this case is conductivity. This is the speed taken for the temperature of the skin to equal the temperature of the surface of the coat. The lower the conductivity, the longer the skin stays cool. If the coat is long, for example, 15 cm, the conductivity will be 10.8, and the dog’s skin will remain cool for a long time, but if the same hair is cut to 2.5 cm, the conductivity will be 65 and the skin will be heated very quickly. And if the same hair is clipped to 3mm, the conductivity will be 520! The temperature of the skin will instantly be the same as the ambient temperature.

Dogs must be brushed regularly, to improve the circulation of air between the skin and the dog’s coat.

Double-coated breeds should never be clipped.

Their coat features as an excellent insulation for both heat and frost. Air is a natural insulator, and the air “trapped” between the hair is really effective to maintain the body temperature in equilibrium. Breeds with these types of coat must be regularly brushed, especially in the spring season, when the undercoat is quickly released. This dead mass of hair can interfere with the circulation of air between the skin and the dog’s coat.

Dogs don’t sweat like we do.

An important fact to realise is that dogs are not cooled by sweating like humans or horses. The coat does not stop/prevent a dog’s thermoregulation. Dogs are cooled with intense panting, and they sweat only on their paws.

What about black dogs?

It is true that black or dark colours attract sunlight more than light colours, however, the trimming of such a coat does not eliminate this fact. Black remains black, and we also risk sunburn or even skin cancer by clipping it. The skin of the dog has only 6-10 layers; therefore, it is more prone to sunburn than human skin with its 16-20 layers.**

Unless there are skin issues (e.g. hot spot, skin infection, surgery), or the coat is solid matted… dog’s coat should not be clipped off.

For a dog’s well-being we do best when we brush and comb him/her on a regular basis.

As a dog groomer I can’t stress this enough the importance of regular and thorough brushing and combing. Especially when it comes to breeds like Shih-tzu, Llasa Apso, Poodle, Bichon and also popular “low maintenance” crossbreeds like a Cockerpoo, Poochon, Labradoodle and other doodles and poodle crosses.
It’s common knowledge that dogs with a coat like the poodle don’t moult… Well, they do still lose the dead hair, however you won’t find these on your carpet or sofa, they stay in the coat. These curly and wavy hairs easily tangle with the other hairs. And if they are not removed, they cause matting. Then the coat gets matted, the air can’t move freely within the coat and fulfil its function as a natural insulator. And in the end, if the coat becomes very matted the only humane and discomfort-free option for your dog is to clip it off. 

Have a look here at some coat types, how much they shed and how much work you need to put in to keep the coat healthy. I’ll try my best to consider you all 😊

Are you coping with the brushing?

Love, Jitka xx

** Silvia Antalikova and MVDr. M.Stourac, CSc., Pes pritel cloveka, August 2017

Skin and Its Itches.

Many factors are responsible for itchy skin in dogs.

Skin, the largest organ of the human (and a dog’s) body, is truly fascinating and has many functions. Have you ever had the thought that it holds everything together so that all our content doesn’t ‘spill out’? It also protects us from other mechanical, bacterial and chemical dangers.

The skin has two layers – the epidermis on the top and the dermis underneath the epidermis. When we apply anything onto our (or our dog’s) skin we are applying onto the epidermis.

Sensitive skin.

Over the years of grooming dogs, I’ve noticed the increasing number of dogs with sensitive skin and skin prone to allergic reactions. Sensitive skin is linked not only to the disrupted barrier function of the skin but also to environmental and psychological stress. Thinking about it, I’ve realised that I scratch my back when I’m stressed. If I don’t stop myself consciously it goes on and on and on and my skin eventually becomes irritated, red, even sore.

Have you noticed that dogs do the same sometimes? When stressed, they start scratching or nibbling their paws. My Rosie, when upset (because in her opinion I hadn’t given her enough treats) starts scratching her armpit. Martha, on the other hand, starts nibbling her feet when she hears the farmer’s dog outside and I don’t let her out to chase it next to the fence. Have you noticed this behaviour with your dog?

Itchy skin.

Itch (or pruritis) can be caused by many different factors. It can be histamine related, like an insect bite or an allergic reaction or non-histamine related like dry or sensitive skin, scars, pregnancy and the side effect of some medications. In dogs, it can be full anal glands. They not only rub their bum on the floor when the glands are full but they can also nibble the base of their tail or back legs. Back in Slovakia, Blondie, one of my Hovawart girls, used to scratch her ears when her glands were full. Isn’t it fascinating how everything is connected?

What helps itchy skin?

Itchy skin can be caused by many factors.

Several clinical studies have shown that no matter what’s causing the itch that peppermint oil or menthol is helpful. This is why Skin Relief works in so many cases for itchy skin in dogs (and humans). Peppermint relieves any kind of skin irritation or itching and its local anaesthetic action is significant. German chamomile essential oil in Skin Relief is one of the most popular oils used for skin inflammation. Find out here why I added geranium essential oil to improve Skin Relief. https://www.vitacanis.co.uk/geranium-is-magical/

Skin Relief helps break the frustrating circle of itching and scratching thanks to this synergetic blend of essential oils, calendula oil and hydrosols. Even my 91-year-old dad started using it after reading some feedback from Jenni Owen.

Vita Canis works on itchy skin. My mums suffers from sever back, neck and toe itchiness. It can drive one wild…well as wild as an 89 year old clan go but seriously it causes a severe level of discomfort. We have tried every “ usual “ remedy on the market. We have been using Skin Relief and Soothing Antiseptic Spray on her back and the Vita Canis Hand Butter on her feet for three days now and the itchiness has stopped. Deep joy in this Derby household. We will carry on for another week and give an update and I am certain we will become regular users. I love the hand butter and have been using on my severely cracked heels…. thank you Vita Canis.”

And if you are not sure why your dog is scratching check these 5 possible reasons why https://www.vitacanis.co.uk/5-top-possible-reasons-your-dog-is-itchy/

Keep safe!

Jitka xx

Insect Repellents: Why to Avoid Commercial Ones.

When I decided to develop insect, flea and tick repelling products I wanted them to be safe. But not only for our dogs and us but also for the environment. Commercial repellents contain synthetic ingredients that repel insect, fleas, and/or ticks however many of them have been linked to skin irritation, negative respiratory effects and rashes as well as having a negative effect on bees, fish, birds and the environment in general.

So, what’s actually found in commercial insect repellents and how does it affect the environment?

Fipronil

Fipronil is a broad use insecticide that’s used to control ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites and other insects. The effects on your health from a brief exposure to fipronil depends on how you’re exposed to the chemical.

Direct, short-term contact with skin can result in slight skin irritation.

Fipronil is also toxic to fish and creatures in the water without backbones (invertebrates) such as shrimp and water fleas. It’s highly toxic to sea and freshwater fish and highly toxic to sea and freshwater invertebrates. Other studies find out, fipronil is highly toxic to some birds. This insecticide you can find in Frontline Spot on.

Imidacloprid

Imidacloprid is an insecticide that was made to mimic nicotine. Nicotine is naturally found in many plants, including tobacco and is toxic to insects. Pet owners have been known to sometimes develop skin irritation after they’d applied flea control products containing imidacloprid to their pets. Animals have also sometimes vomited or drooled alot after oral exposure to imidacloprid. If animals swallow enough imidacloprid they may have trouble walking, develop tremors and can seem overly tired. Sometimes animals have skin reactions to pet products containing this insecticide too.

Also imidacloprid is very toxic to honeybees and other beneficial insects. And it can last for months or years in the soil. One advantage is that imidacloprid is only a flea product.

Methoprene

Methoprene is available in over 500 pesticide products and it’s an insect growth regulator that prevents insects from reproducing. It is moderately toxic to some fish, but highly toxic to freshwater invertebrates. And also slightly toxic to crustaceans such as shrimp and crayfish. It appears to be low in toxicity to adult bees, although bee larvae may be more sensitive. And it is relatively non-toxic to birds.

Frontline Plus contains methoprene.

DEET

Deet is an insect repellent that is used in products to prevent bites from insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas and small flying insects. Scientists don’t know exactly how DEET works on all insects. However it has been shown that insects exposed to DEET aren’t able to locate a person or animal because they cannot detect them.

People that have left DEET products on their skin for extended periods of time have experienced irritation, a rash and swelling. Tests were done to find out if DEET could affect fish or insects that live in the water. It was concluded that for freshwater fish and insects, DEET was toxic at extremely high levels.

Have you or your dog had a reaction to a commercial insect repellent?

Ref: https://www.animeddirect.co.uk/advice/5-key-facts-active-ingredients-flea-treatments/

Natural Flea and Tick Treatments for Dogs

Choose the Best Product – Part 2

We’re on lockdown while I’m writing this blog but we’re still allowed to walk our dogs. I hope that you agree with me that it’s the best therapy and hopefully, with warmer months coming, we’ll spend even more time outdoors. It’s all lovely until the insects and ticks starting joining us though. They don’t respect social isolation at all, do they?

Essential Oils – Natural Insect Repellents

If you’re like me and don’t want to expose your dog, yourself and the environment to more unnecessary chemicals, you reach for essential oils. They not only smell nice but are also effective against insects, fleas and ticks.

When we use natural insect repellents they need to be reapplied more often but why? The active ingredients in essential oils tend to be highly volatile so they may only be effective for shorter periods of time. Frequent reapplication is often necessary.

Insect Repelling Citrus Spray.

That’s what I experienced in India with Insect Repelling Citrus Spray. I sprayed myself just before we left our hut but took the bottle with me and then sprayed myself a few times during the evening. I even sprayed the table cover in the restaurant to keep the mosquitos away and to be honest, I didn’t mind as it smells nice like a citrusy perfume or air freshener.

Ticks and Fleas.

When it comes to protecting our dogs it’s mainly fleas and ticks that we worry about.

Both fleas and ticks have different strategies on how to land on their host. As soon as a young flea hatches she looks for a host. Fleas notice vibration and body heat and as soon as the potential host approaches they’ll jump straight on, bite and then feed on the blood whilst being hidden in warm fur.
 
Ticks don’t jump like fleas they have a different approach. They wait patiently in the grass or bushes or other vegetation and when their target approaches they just drop themselves on. They’ll then suck on the blood for weeks until we find them, or if not, once they’re full, they’ll just let go and then lay their eggs in a nearby suitable area.

100% Natural Flea Repellent

Insect Repelling Citrus Spray is 100% natural and has a refreshing, bright and fresh aroma. The high-quality essential oils used in this spray are intolerable to fleas, mosquitos, horse flies, wasps and even ants. It’s suitable not only for dogs but also for large animals and humans.

🍃 Lemon essential oil is one of the best essential oils for fleas. Its strong smell and powerful active ingredients can repel not only fleas but also flies, midges, mosquitos and ants.

🍃 Grapefruit essential oil smells delightful and repels insects, particularly fleas.

🍃 The bright and sunny, spirit-lifting aroma of sweet orange essential oil is not pleasant to insects at all.

Tick Off

Vita Canis Tick Off contains high-quality essential oils and hydrosols which naturally repel ticks. This 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free formula is safe for dogs, horses and other large animals as well as humans but intolerable to ticks, fleas and harvest mites. Tick Off also contains non-synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

Ticks and Essential Oils

Ticks operate mainly by using their sense of smell. They don’t jump or fall from trees, instead, they do something called “questing.” That is, they climb to the top of a blade of grass or plant and stick their front legs up in the air waiting for the scent of a victim walking by. If you find one on your head then it crawled there (ticks don’t jump). Their front pair of legs have what are called Haller’s organs, which detect smell, temperature, movement and carbon dioxide and this is how they know you’re coming. They love warmth and moisture and are just waiting for a warm, moist environment to call “home”, such as your dog or you.

The great discovery is that, for some reason, they aren’t attracted to the scent of some essential oils. The smell of certain essential oils is so disgusting to ticks that they would rather go hungry than come any closer to your dog, your horse or yourself! These include geranium, grapefruit, cedarwood, rosewood and lemongrass all of which are in Vita Canis Tick Off, of course 🙂. For example, the cedarwood oil kills ticks in 6 different ways: death by dehydration, neutralization of bodily fluids, encapsulation and/or emulsification of bodily fats, prevention of breathing, pheromonal interference that interrupts processes necessary to metabolism, movement, reproduction and feeding, and dissolving insect larvae.


The active ingredients found in lemongrass essential oil are also very unpleasant for fleas. It won’t kill fleas but it can convince them to leave a pet host and stay away from your house.

How do you choose between Tick Off and Insect Repelling Citrus Spray?

I use Tick Off when walking my dogs in the woods, fields and parks and during the high season, I spray myself as well. The midges are bothering me already on our daily walks but not so much my dogs. I then use Insect repelling spray to spray my hair and coat to repel them. I spray my dogs with Insect repelling spray if we go socialising with other dogs, which is very rare to be honest, apart from the pups.

Which one have you tried?

Jitka xx

Choosing the Best Product -Part 1

I’m often asked if people should rather buy Calming Floral Spray or Comfort Blend and my standard reply is to ask what the problem or issue is. Both products are calming and relaxing but they aren’t the same. Some of the essential oils I’ve used are the same but most of them are different and have different therapeutic properties and benefits. Basically, one size doesn’t fit all. 

So which product should you use – Calming Floral Spray or Comfort Blend?

My brief explanation of both products comes down to this. Calming Floral Spray is calming and uplifting and Comfort Blend is calming, relaxing and more sedating. In stressful situations, I’d recommend that we use Calming Spray

Stress.

We’re all talking about stress and stressing about stress. What actually is stress? Stress is defined as a negative differential between a series of demands and the ability to cope with them. Simply said, if we, or our dog, are put out of our comfort zone, stress will quickly appear. Not all stress is bad. Some stress is necessary for personal growth, development of successful coping tactics.

Demands & stressors.

Calming Floral Spray aids in coping with these demands in a natural way. Let’s use if you want your puppy to get used to the car, as an example. If you just put the puppy in a crate or on the back seat, shut the door and then drive for half an hour. Your puppy will more than likely cry, drool, shake and even get sick or maybe pee and poo. Don’t you think that there’s too many demands, too much pressure, noise and motion perhaps? A bit much, isn’t it? After an experience like this, how would the puppy feel when approaching the car next time? Stressed, right? Other stressors in your dog’s life can be visits to the vets, groomers, fireworks.

Stress is a response to a specific stressor, in this case, the car journey, and stress typically goes away when the stressor disappears. The opposite should now happen when you train your puppy to be relaxed in the car and eventually he/she will enjoy the journeys, especially when something special is waiting for him, like a walk on the beach, in the woods or treats at grandma’s house 😊

Essential oils that are useful when it comes to stress (and that are safe for dogs too) are:

Petitgrain
Roman chamomile
Lavender
Sweet orange and
Ylang-ylang

And guess what?! You can find them all in Calming Floral Spray.

Why not just one oil then?

Not because more is better, but because well-chosen essential oils work together in harmony and synergy. They interact together and the combined effect is greater than the sum of their separate effects.   

Anxiety.

I designed the Comfort Blend specifically for separation anxiety, however, it also works for doggie dementia and grief, etc. Anxiety has no identifiable root and sometimes we have to dig deep to find the cause (which is not always successful). It tends to stick around for longer than stress, and it’s more difficult to treat. It’s an uncomfortable inner feeling of fear, worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. We’ve all experienced anxiety at some point in our lives… it’s a normal human reaction to some stress, disaster or bad luck, however, some people are constantly anxious to the point where it’s abnormal and interferes with their life.

Now, what about dogs?

A reaction to a short-term, active stressor like an unexpected bang is normal but when those behaviours become routine, they may become… you guessed it… anxiety.

Signs of anxiety in dogs are:

Dilated pupils 
Panting and trembling
Pacing and fidgeting
Whining
Avoidance of eye contact
Hiding, shutting down and avoiding interaction


Comfort Blend, with useful oils for anxiety such as neroli, bergamot, basil, and ylang-ylang, helps in many of these cases and can bring dogs like this peace and help them to relax.

Work on your dog’s coping skills.

Can you see why it’s important to work on a dog’s coping skills from an early age? Perhaps leave her alone for a short period of time, play a bit of loud music here and there, drop something on the floor, take your puppy to as many different places as you can and expose them to as many different situations as you can. 

A well-adjusted dog finds his home safe and usually a stress-free environment. Just like many other animals dogs will scan the environment for potential threats and if there aren’t any, he’ll relax. If you find that your dog is doing this excessively or seems to be alert all the time, anxiety might be the cause.

An anxious dog might be unable to sit still or relax and it’s really hard to watch. The relaxing and sedating properties of the blend helps those who are emotionally intense and even agitated. Ylang-ylang, which is found in the blend, is known for its ability to slow rapid heartbeat and breathing down which are symptoms associated with anxiety.

Feedback about Comfort Blend.

I received some great feedback about Comfort Blend from Alexa Page this week. This is what she had to say…

“I have fibromyalgia and anxiety and I use Comfort Blend to ease my muscle pain and it works miracles as well as keeping my new rescue girl calm and settled. Thank you!”

So I asked her if she inhales it or rubs it on her skin, to which she replied…

“I rub it on my skin but obviously the scent is so beautiful so that’s soothing too. I can’t believe how much better it makes me feel and Lexi absolutely loves it.”

I’m so happy that I could have helped Alexa and her dog!

Was it helpful?

I hope this has given you some insight into the two different products. If I’m asked which one of these products I’d recommend for your dog I’ll always try to get as much information as I can and do my best to choose the best suitable product.

What’s your experience with our calming products?

Jitka xx

Keep Calm with Calming Floral Spray.

Crufts is over now so life is pretty much back to normal. We had an amazing time, even though the show was considerably quieter this year because of the virus, and it was so enjoyable talking to people about my products and listening to their experiences, feedbacks and suggestions.

The best seller? You guessed right… Calming Floral Spray.

I launched the 30ml ‘pocket-size’ bottle on Thursday which is perfect for handlers and dog trainers, or anyone for that matter, who needs to keep Calming Floral Spray handy. It comes in use especially at shows like Crufts which are busy, buzzing, and noisy. Calming Floral Spray is almost a necessity in situations like these, especially for young dogs like our Preston.

Preston the Airedale Terrier

Preston is a 17-month-old Airedale terrier, who won Best of Breed on Sunday. Bless his little heart, he performed really well, considering it was only his 3rd show. John got to the show really early so that he could find a good spot and also give the dogs a chance to get used to the environment (all four of them having been sprayed with Calming Floral Spray to help them to adjust 😉).

The Airedales started as the first breed in the ring so Preston was in pretty early at about 9:30. Before he went to the ring he spent about 20 min on the grooming table getting ready and soaking up the atmosphere. While on the table, John sprayed him, once again, with the spray and he walked into the ring happily and confidently which is just what we wanted. It was so lovely to see him on the green carpet, showing his head off and after winning Best of Breed, he had a well-deserved rest in his crate.

Best of Breed… what’s next?

As a breed winner, he had to wait all day for the group judging and we made our move towards the collecting ring just after 17:00 as the group judging was planned to start at 18:00. The collecting ring at Crufts is so busy! It’s packed with handlers and their helpers, show staff, dogs, trolleys, photographers and I don’t know who else. The preparation area is also so small so when we were getting the dogs ready we kept bumping into each other all the time.

As soon as we took Preston out of the crate I sprayed him with Calming Floral Spray straight away because the expression on his face was “where the hell am I… and what the hell am I doing here?! 😂”. Shame it had been a very long day for him and he was tired but a few sprays of Calming Spray helped him to deal with the noise, the lights and the crowd. Calming Floral Spray is not only calming but also uplifting, so it helped in more ways than one. In fact, after I spayed him, other handlers were actually turning towards us asking what that nice smell was! I think they could all do with a small bottle of calmness as even pros get excited and nervous.

The arena is waiting.

We gave Preston one last spritz just after Clare Balding shortly interviewed John and then off he went into the arena. I didn’t have a chance to actually watch him in the arena and only caught it live on the TV in the collecting ring but I was so impressed with his performance! He made us all proud! When John got out of the ring, Preston started pulling toward his crate, ready for a nap.

After Crufts I received this lovely feedback from Natalie Griffiths ❤︎:

When we got home from the hospital with our new arrival it was clear that Perri, one of our miniature poodles, maternal instincts kicked in and went into overdrive. She was immediately acting like a mother separated from her pups and just wanted to care for the ‘naked puppy’. She has a history of being so motherly, even to the point that she has produced milk for puppies that aren’t hers even before she had a litter and has mothered every type of animal she could. She was panting, pacing and unable to relax for long at all. She could whine for England!

We tried other herbal remedies we had at hand for a previous anxious dog and nothing worked at all. She stopped eating and stressed herself into overheating too. Her stress was starting to impact the other dogs and she just couldn’t unwind. No matter if we worked off her energy with a walk and she wasn’t even interested in her usual mind games or call games. We also couldn’t offer long-lasting treats and chews too often as they gave her an upset stomach. 
 
As soon as the spray arrived I gave the bed a spritz and put some on her coat and the change was instant. She just got on her bed and fell asleep. She stopped panting and barely whines now, started eating again and she only does a bit of whining if the baby cries. We have now been able to positively reinforce her calm behaviour. I honestly can’t recommend this enough to people.

Here’s a link to a video which was pretty much how she was the first few days, she got worse and even more amped. The pictures are how chilled she’s been after the spray.

Click here 👇https://www.facebook.com/NatalieJAGriffiths/posts/10156691309161493?comment_id=10156691347496493&reply_comment_id=10156691349036493&notif_id=1583844400073997&notif_t=mentions_comment

I absolutely love getting feedback like this! Thank you for sharing Natalie and I’m so glad that we could help!

What is your experience with Calming Floral Spray?

Jitka xx

What People Say...

Amazing products and amazing customer service. If I could give more than 5 stars I would. Thank you Vita Canis!
Michelle Stockman