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Fall Breeze and Autumn Leaves

The red, orange and dark green colours of autumn are somehow wonderfully calming…

Although autumn brings a whole lot of beauty, the colours, crispy mornings, warm jumpers and scarfs… there are however still a few things that can make the autumn time less enjoyable and perhaps, even stressful for our dogs. To name a few: harvest mites, fireworks, Halloween…

🍂 Harvest Mites

Harvest mites are tiny mites that live in dense vegetation and eat plants and other insects. However, in their six-legged larval stage, feed on warm blooded animals. And swarming as an infestation. They’re only a problem during this stage but can cause considerable discomfort to your dog as they attach to the skin. Harvest mites jump up and find the area of the body where the skin is the thinnest which is between the toes and on the belly. But also around the nose and on the ears as well as in the armpits. During this stage, and during late summer up to the first frost, the harvest mite LOVES your dogs as well as cats! They are not picky, they feed on any warm blooded animal.

What you should be looking out for…

Redness of the skin
   Crusting on the skin
   Orange dots and red ‘dust’ like particles on the skin
   Intense itching  

The itching is caused by the fluid that the harvest mite injects into the dog’s skin. It is actually a digestive enzyme that causes the skin to liquefy which then allows the mite to ingest the skin cells. Harvest mites will feed for 2 to 3 days before they drop off the dog.

If you suspect harvest mites on your dog, take him to the vet. Because the treatment of harvest mites in dogs requires medication to soothe the irritation and reduce any inflammation. In the meantime, you can give your dog a soothing bath and apply Vita Canis Skin Relief to reduce itching and irritation.

Harvest mites are a microscopic member of the same family as spiders and ticks – the arachnid family. Did you know that?And this family DOES NOT like Tick Off. Good for us and good for our dogs.

🍂 Conkers & acorns

We used to have a Horse Chestnut tree by our kennels. During autumn time I would frantically pick the fallen conkers making sure none of the dogs would eat them.

Even though serious cases of poisoning are rare, when ingested you can expect signs of drooling, retching, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.What’s even worse, in my opinion, is that they can also cause intestinal blockages. I went through that with Martha recently and it was a very stressful and worrying time. Dogs usually vomit any ingested conkers quickly but if not, treatment to control vomiting may be needed by your vet.

Exposure to acorns in dogs is common in the autumn and winter. The toxic ingredient is thought to be tannic acid which can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Signs are vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and lethargy. Ingested acorns can also cause an intestinal blockage, just like conkers.

🍂 Fireworks

As autumn nears, the thought of fireworks starts to spring into peoples’ minds. Especially those whose dogs are frightened by the loud noises and the flying lights and bangs. You’re not alone as there are a lot of dogs that suffer from the fear of fireworks. I’m very lucky that none of mine are scared of the fireworks. They actually get very excited, jumping and barking, trying to catch the lights. In the past though, I had 3 dogs that were terrified of fireworks and it’s heart-breaking to watch them go through this experience. This fear can lead a dog to run away, hide, bark, howl, or even be destructive and more.

How can you help your dog?

Firstly to help your dog deal with this stressful situation you can create a safe zone at home. Secondly close windows and curtains and leave a TV or radio on. Thirdly you can also distract your dog with toys and games. Moreover aromatherapy can help to calm and balance the nervous system and restore peace. Over the years, two products from Vita Canis have proven to be very helpful when it comes to the fear of fireworks. The Calming Floral Spray and Comfort Blend both have natural calming and balancing qualities providing ultimate relaxation for stressed dogs.

🍂 Thanksgiving & Halloween

Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK I like the whole idea of it. Having family and friends around, sharing nice hearty food, and being grateful for all we have is something we should all make a priority.

How to help your dog dealing with the visitors?

Having people coming through the door can also be stressful for some dogs. First of all, if your dog isn’t easy going or doesn’t like too many people you can place him in a crate or in a separate room. Keep him away from the crowd and place a few drops of Comfort Blend on his/her blanket and give him some chews and toys. A soft bed will also help to make your dog feel safe and relaxed. Secondly if you’re planning a particularly big and loud family get together, you can even ask your neighbour, a dog walker, or pet sitter etc to look after your dog during the celebrations.

Halloween 🎃

For some dogs, banging on the door, laughing kids, lots of noise and scary costumes can be terrifying and literally spooky. Some of these dogs come to us during the fireworks and Halloween season for boarding as we don’t have fireworks here and we can hardly hear them from the town. The added care with Comfort Blend, tuning forks or massage is always available for extra comfort.

🍂 Golden paste

It’s that time of the year when we have to pay a bit more attention to supporting ours and our dogs’ immune systems. Sneezing, coughing, colds and sore joints all start creeping into our lives round about now. 

One thing you can share with your dog is turmeric – it’s like the sun in powder form☀️.

Do you know the benefits of turmeric?

Powerful antioxidant
  Protects liver from toxins

Curcumin is the most researched component of turmeric, and it also has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. In addition it helps in the fight against cancer, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems.

Make your own Golden Paste!

½ cup of organic turmeric powder – the organic one contains more curcumin
1 cup of filtered water
1 ½ teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
¼ of organic cold pressed coconut oil
How to make it:

Mix water and turmeric in a pan Also you may need more than 1 cup… maybe up to 1½ Then keep stirring on low heat for about 7- 10min until you achieve a dense paste Once you have the paste, add pepper and coconut oil and keep stirring until all the ingredients bond together. Then leave the mixture to cool down and place it in a jar with a tight lid and keep it refrigerated.
Make a fresh batch every 2 weeks.
Most dogs don’t mind the taste. And you can also add it to their food.

Small dogs: ¼ teaspoon per day
Medium: ½ teaspoon per day
Large: ¾ teaspoon per day
Giant: 1 teaspoon

You can even make cute treats out of the paste 👻
Jitka xx

Oh the Joy a Book Can Bring

I love reading and always have. I think I got it from my mom because every spare minute she got (and still gets) she’d grab a book, a cup of coffee or tea and would dive into a story.

We have like a zillion books in my parent’s flat and I’m not even exaggerating! Novels and best-sellers written by various famous (and not so much famous) authors. They have books about animals (especially dogs and horses), plants, art, folklore music, science books… you name it and if we can’t fit them in the flat we take them to our cottage to expand the library there. You definitely can’t throw away a book… IT’S A BIG NO NO IN OUR FAMILY!

Because of space issues, I had to get rid of some of my books. I knew I wasn’t going to get around to reading them but couldn’t throw them away so I took the books to a charity shop knowing that one day they’d find a lovely family.

I’ll admit I’ve actually taken a liking to a Kindle but my heart still lies with a proper, solid, paper book. It’s just easier to take a Kindle on holiday than to fill half your suitcase with books. What if you finish them too? Then what? Nothing to read 😮? I don’t have that problem since travelling with Kindle.

And then there’s audiobooks. When I first heard about audiobooks I’ll admit that I had originally thought that they were for lazy people. “Can’t people make the effort to read?” I thought. Well, how wrong I was! John introduced me to audiobooks on our holiday in India two years ago. My first audiobook was, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero and I got hooked! It’s still one of my favourites. This humorous book opened a completely new world for me… the world of self-help books. It explains how we all screw up from time to time and suggests…

📖 If we want a change we have to decide
📖 Respect yourself instead of caring about being liked and fitting in
📖 How our friends and people around us influence us and suggests getting rid of naysayers
📖 Sometimes it’s better to be happy than right (this is the tough one)

Since this first purchase made I’m officially hooked on audiobooks! I listen to them when I drive, clean, walk dogs and every other spare minute that I can find to feed my brain. How cool is that?!

My latest audio purchase was Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis. I love this book. It’s eye-opening and makes you stop, think and re-evaluate because so many of us aren’t living up to our full potential. We so often feel a tugging on our hearts for something more, but we’re afraid of embarrassment, being far from perfection or not being enough. THIS BOOK IS A WINNER! One of my favourite quotes from it is…

“I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”
 At the moment I’m reading, The Biology of Believe by Dr Bruce H Lipton on my kindle. It’s a fascinating book about his ground-breaking work in the field of new biology and when you read it, it will forever change how you think about thinking.
Through Dr. Lipton’s research, as well as other leading-edge scientists, stunning new discoveries have been made about the interaction between our mind and body and the processes by which cells receive information. It shows that genes and DNA don’t control our biology and that instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our thoughts. He uses simple language, humour and illustration which makes it easy to understand.
The last novel I read was a captivating story by Tara Westover called Educated. Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. It’s a fascinating story about the struggle for self-invention.

    I’m already looking forward to our holiday in January where I can read for hours and hours 😍!
What book would you recommend and why?

Jitka xx
My latest book by Marie Forleo – Everything is Figureoutable.
I am looking forward to have this book signed next month. Yay!

Goodbye Itch

A few of my previous blogs focused on environmental allergies. How they impact our dogs’ lives and how we can help them the natural way.

I wrote how bathing your dog at home is very effective. It is a cheap and sensible thing to do in order to remove the allergens from the coat and skin. Bathing provides immediate relief and the guideline is to bath your itchy dog at least once a week.
Find out what to look for when you are choosing a shampoo and how to make your own rinse here. Environmental allergies are not limited to a certain season of the year anymore. For example, spring and spring pollen. We’re now seeing more and more all-year-round allergens 🤧.

Does your dog suffer from environmental allergies?

Here are few tips on how you can look after his/ her home environment.

I created Vita Canis Skin Relief exactly for this. To help the dogs suffering from environmental allergies and to help them deal with the symptoms.

Skin Relief is a 100% natural treatment for dogs suffering from the discomfort of itchy skin.  It aims to combat itching and provide fast relief to allergic reactions.

I carefully selected the following ingredients…

Calendula oil – because of it’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Aloe Vera – There’ve been numerous reports that have explored the role of topical aloe vera administration in skin conditions. And also in wound healing management, including the treatment of psoriasis, dermatitis, surgical wounds and as a home remedy for burn injuries.

Essential Oils – German Chamomile has excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and cicatrizant (healing properties, such as when our bodies form scar tissues) and relieves itchy skin.

Peppermint hydrolat & essential oil – When peppermint oil is applied it causes local depletion of cold receptors. Therefore suppresses sensitivity of sensitive nerve endings and induces a pleasant feeling of coldness. This overlaps unwanted perceptions such as itching, burning and minor pain. The local anaesthetic action is significant, and when applied, dogs’ stop scratching or nibbling pretty much immediately. ❤︎

I’ve also been getting a lot of nice feedback for Skin Relief and this is the latest one:

My 14-year-old Westie has suffered with allergies resulting in itchy skin and yeast build up for most of her life. Although well controlled with a non-steroid medication and an antifungal shampoo. These past couple of years have been quite bad – especially for her little paws which became swollen and infected.

I was reluctant to get yet more antibiotics and I was recommended Vita Canis and after reading about the products I decided to try the Skin Relief. I have to say I was worried that she might be allergic to one of the ingredients. So I tried it on one paw first, putting it on with a cotton pad and using a cotton bud to get between her toes.

It gave her instant relief and within 3 days the improvement was remarkable. The swelling has gone down and her skin has healed and looks so much healthier. She’s no longer struggling when walking and is back to her happy frisky self. I use it once in the morning and once at night after washing her feet. And I have also started to use the Paw Butter at night which seems to soften and keep the yeast build-up in check. I honestly cannot recommend this product enough, it’s such a relief to have found something that works.

Emily Mathewson, UK

I absolutely LOVE hearing from you all!! And about where and when my products have helped. If any of you have anything you’d like to share with me please take 2 minutes to pop me a message about any of your experiences.

Jitka xx

Broccoli: Nature’s Superfood

More Herbs, Less Salt Day.. who knew?

When I was scrolling [https://www.cute- calendar.com/calendar/]cute calendar the other day looking for inspiration for my newsletters, I came across another unusual day… More Herbs, Less Salt. Yip… you read right… and it’s celebrated on the 29th of August. This day should then inspire us to use more herbs and less salt – obvious from the title, isn’t it?

Personally, I love using herbs, especially fresh herbs 🌿. It’s so easy to pop some fresh thyme, oregano, marjoram or sage into your dish to make your meal taste and smell delicious – even with a simple dish like cooked broccoli. I LOVE broccoli, and so do my dogs (even, most recently, John). I used to steam it until the broccoli florets were al-dente, which was ok but a bit boring. I’d remind myself of all the benefits of eating broccoli and would try to ignore the bitter taste. I also thought of it only as a side dish so was happy that the flavours on my plate wouldn’t clash.

So, what are the benefits of broccoli? There are so many of them, but here are few that impressed me:

🥦 Broccoli is rich in dietary fibre, amino acids, vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B6, B9, C, E, K and important minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium and phosphorus – impressive, isn’t it?

🥦 A 100 gm serving of broccoli has approximately 34 calories (YAY!)

🥦 Broccoli florets have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects

🥦 Broccoli combats the ageing process with the help of a compound called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) present in it. NMN promotes the production of a compound which triggers metabolism and hence prevents genetic changes that lead to premature ageing. Antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, and collagen also play a key role in delaying ageing (BRING ON THE BROCCOLI)

🥦 Broccoli derives its purple and green colour from antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, copper, choline zinc, and phosphorus. These compounds present are really great immune system boosters and they can protect you from numerous infections

Organic Facts is a great website to read all about this and more! It’s taught me so much. 

A few weeks ago I decided to ditch the boring steamed broccoli when I found this sautéed alternative
(Glow15 by Naomi Whittel)❤️
🥑 3 tablespoons of avocado oil (or olive oil, or coconut oil…
🧄3 garlic cloves,
🥦Chopped 1 head broccoli, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
🥕125ml vegetable stock (sometimes I replace it with a teaspoon of vegan bouillon & hot water – if I use this I don’t add more salt)
🧂 ½ teaspoon of sea salt
🍋 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
🌿 Fresh herbs – depending on what I fancy that day
🥘 In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 seconds then stir in the broccoli and cook until bright green.  This should take about 3 minutes.
Add the stock, season with salt and herbs, add lemon juice. Cook the broccoli until it’s tender, for about 3-5 minutes.
Serve on its own or as a side dish… but for me, this can be a complete meal! I sometimes sprinkle a bit of nutritional yeast over or even grated vegan cheese.

My mom likes it with canned tuna and John enjoys it as a side dish (even though the broccoli is taking a bigger part of his plate now). Sneaky, I know 😂.
I don’t use much salt in this recipe and the herbs I use are beneficial for my dogs as well. Go have a look at my previous blogs – What herbs and spices can you share with your dog Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 to read up more about it.
If there’s ever any leftover broccoli in my house, my dogs are happy to help. They LOVE broccoli in any shape and form! It’s not a surprise as they’d eat pretty much anything I give them or anything they can find 🤣. Broccoli has a special place in Richard’s life especially. As a fussy eater, at one stage of his life, he would eat anything if I added broccoli to it and it was also his favourite treat for some time. Sometimes I even give them a few florets of steamed broccoli or I cut the leftover stalks for them to munch. It’s a fabulous quick teeth clean 😉.

As it goes though… everything in moderation. Broccoli may cause an upset stomach in dogs so don’t give it to them too frequently. The reason why there’s a high risk when overfeeding broccoli to your dog is because of the substance called Isothiocyanate. This substance, found in broccoli, can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, or in other words, severe upset stomach and let’s be honest… nobody enjoys that!

Do you have any other ideas on how and where and when to use broccoli in your house? Please share!

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!
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