Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Treating Dog Dermatitis with Coconut Oil

by Christi Pugh
for Nature's Gift

I wrote about my dog Lexi’s dermatitis problems awhile back & many of you contacted me with further suggestions.  Although using the Cade Oil diluted DID help the irritated & dry skin patches, I knew she needed an “inside/out” solution so I changed her food to a completely raw diet.  (I use the organic hormone & antibiotic free freeze dried chicken from a smaller artisan dog food company.)  I also began giving her our Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Cream Oil several times per day.  The recommendation for a dog her size (under 20 pounds) is about a teaspoon but for the initial period, I gave her more.  

The results are impressive.  This combination is the only one that has offered great improvement over several weeks with no new outbreaks & much healing to the existing irritation.  She is much happier & more like her old self. 

After her abscessed tooth, infection, & oral surgery, I believe her immune system was lowered, so any little thing has attacked her system.  She’s always had some allergies but the weakened immune system let them play havoc with her skin! 

Both of my dogs love to lick the coconut oil & think of it as a treat.  Their coats are also shinier & overall skin is softer than ever before and we used Salmon Oil internally with them for years without these type results.  Amazing! 

I keep telling her, “No Mas!,” as in the Beverly Hills Chihuahua movie. “No more!”  

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is available in two jar sizes: 4 or 16 oz.   For more about this and other aromatherapy products, see our website: 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Going to the Dogs

 Christi and I share a subscription to The Whole Dog Journal because occasionally there are articles featuring essential oils or hydrosols, and because we want to take the best possible care of our furkids.

A client mentioned seeing Rose Oil mentioned in the Journal, and sure enough, the July Edition has an article by CJ Puotinen called "Coming Up Roses."

Wonderful herbal recipes for those who have  a source for fresh or dried organic rose petals... Rose Tea, Rose Vinegar, powdered Rose Hips and Rose Flower Essence all may be used for healing irritated skin, upset tummies, and to help calm and adapt to separation anxiety and other stressors. 

All of the above suggestions are for the gardeners and herbalists among us...  but ah, the real focus of the article - and what excited us, is the sections about using Rose Otto, and Rose Hydrosol, and Rose Hip Seed oil  to help our canine kids.

In discussing the many uses of Rose Oil, CJ quoted Kristen Leigh Bell's Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals, and me!  I was tickled to see my love for Rose Oil and its myriad uses shared in the magazine.  I learned some new uses for my beloved Rose.  I had read that Rose Geranium oil could repel ticks. According to CJ, "ticks turned somersaults to escape from it."  So will Rose, and perhaps Palma Rosa.  Of course the other two oils are much less costly than rare Rose Otto, but you could use as little as 5 drops of rose oil in 8 ounces of shampoo.

CJ also discussed using a nebulizing diffuser to create a "calming, uplifting environment" expecially for dogs recovering from emotional trauma, illness, or injury.  Because of the expense of Rose Oil I would never recommend diffusing it, but adding a touch of rose to another blend of oils might give you the same effects.  Or, you could follow CJ's formula for a Rose Room Spray: Fill a spray bottle with 4 to 6 ounces water (1/2 to 3/4 measuring cup_, add 4 drops of rose oil. Shake well, spray into the air. 

She goes on to recommend Rose Hydrosol as a tick repellant, and cold pressed Rose Hip Seed oil to heal scars, wounds, abrasions and nails that split or break.  She suggests using the Rose Hip Seed Oil to condition your dog's skin and coat. (She also recommends further diluting the Rose Hip Seed oil in Argan Oil as a hair conditioner.  

I'm just thinking...Rose Hip Seed Oil, in Argan Oil,  with a single drop of Rose Otto added?  Oh yes, LilBit, if you are a VERY good girl I may share a bit of this with you!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Natural" Preservatives

Natalie Woodman of Western Australia wrote this week (and gave me permission to quote the conversation in case it might help someone else):

I often read with interest information on your website. Very informative! Thank you!

I have been making my own skincare for a year and, over that time, have experimented with a number of preservatives. Preferring to use safe ingredients I have found that GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT seems to work well as a preservative, however I am interested as BENZOIN gum as an alternative.

On your website I read information from Martin Watt, UK.CERT. PHYT. MEDICAL HERBALIST "As a herbalist and essential oils educator, give me a well tried and tested synthetic preservative any day to a natural one, particularly when the safety of the natural one has not been adequately tested. Natural is NOT inevitably safe as many seem to think"

Can you give me some on advice grapefruit seed extract vs benzoin gum as a preservative? Or perhaps another good preservative?  I appreciate any information you can provide.

Yours sincerely
And I wrote back:

Natalie I am not comfortable with either... benzoin is not a true preservative..I think Martin may be a bit 'over the top' with his warnings...although there ARE some people who will react to benzoin every time...  it is not an effective preservative for products with a water phase.  And grapefruit seed extract has been proven all over again to have synthetics added. We just posted a newly released study about it on our FB page...I'll see if I can find the link..

New series of tests on Grapefruit Seed Extract repeat results from a decade ago; it's still adulterated, but with different synthetic preservatives.

We have our lotions and creams made for us by someone who specializes in that, because the whole area of proper preservation makes me nervous...and we don't have the time or energy (or spare person ;) to really become expert on I 'subcontract' to someone who IS an expert.

Two people to contact... Angie at  is a reseller of ingredients... among them a full range of preservatives.  Her website is CRAMMED with information.  I would start reading, and go to her w/ questions. She's a marvelous resource.

The other is a microbiologist in Colorado... Cindy Jones at Sagescript... she does MY product microbiology testing...    something you need to look at. She also makes her own products, don't think she sells ingredients tho..

at any rate...  in my experience and study, I don't believe there is such a thing as a 'natural' preservative.  one goes with the least harmful one can... (ie, avoiding formaldehyde donors, and parabens...)  but a contaminated product is going to do far more damage than 0.5% of a synthetic chemical..  I would LOVE to be able to offer '100% natural" creams and lotions, with totally natural and pronounceable ingredients.  But I prefer to offer products that I know are not going to grow bacteria.  One woman who has had an 'all natural' skincare company for nearly as long as I've been in business buys some of her ingredients from me.  In the past I bought her products.  And recommended them.  Until the day I opened a jar of cream that I hadn't used for a few days...and it had green furries on top.  THAT convinced me that 100% natural wasn't the wisest goal...

hope this helps some!!!

- - - - -
Another comment, not part of the discussion with Natalie. I often see Vitamin E, (mixed tocopherols) and Rosemary CO2 extract mentioned as preservatives.  They are *not* true preservatives. They are anti-oxidants. As such, they may extend the shelf life of shortlived fixed (carrier) oils. They will do nothing to protect your products against mold or bacteria.