Dawn of the Dog and Other Home Remedies

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There, I saw it.

Crawling its evil little move up and over the ends of my dog’s hair to dive back down into his thick auburn colored fur. I dislike those tiny obnoxious creatures ever so much, and I know I’m not alone.

Siphonaptera, more commonly known as fleas, crawl around unsuspecting animals creating torment with their wicked blood-sucking bites. This world is made for all creatures big and small? I don’t think so. These guys have gotta go.

Time for a bath I tell Rocky, and his ears go down. And while I search out his special towel and grab his brush, I return to find the room empty, Rocky nowhere in sight. Looking at me from the corner of another room, ears and tail at half mast, he knows the inevitable is about to happen. I take him outside.

“For heaven’s sake it’s a nice warm day,” I tell him and set up the hose only to realize I forgot the shampoo. Back inside, I realize more: I am out of flea shampoo. I roll my eyes … and then remember a home remedy.

Well, I call it home remedy: Dawn soap kills fleas on contact. As I search out Rocky again with the blue soap in hand, I start thinking of all the little remedies I use that work just as well or better – and for the most part are much healthier – than the product normally used.

Take for instance distilled white vinegar. I use it instead of bleach, as chlorine can cause irritation and is a caustic agent. The vinegar keeps colors nice and bright and whites from yellowing.

Which leads me to think of hydrogen peroxide. And though hydrogen peroxide is a good bleaching agent (yep for hair, teeth, and dirt stains on clothes) it also is a disinfectant. It makes a great vegetable wash or soak to kill bacteria. Put a little on a dishrag to wipe down a table or counter, avoiding the use of harsher chemicals. It’s also good for killing bacteria on a cutting board.

Back to Rocky – who, by the way, is not appreciating the attributes of the wonder soap as stands stoically and unmoving as I suds him up from head to tail, giving him I think the best back-scratching ever. Now his eyes that roll.

Soon a rinse-down commences. I have to keep the movement going because even a slight pause is an all-points bulletin for him to let fly. Of course, I pause during my musings and he let me have it with a shake and a spray of water worthy of any hurricane. Now I’m a wet dog, too.

Finally, with the bath over and me far enough away for his last shake, I grab the brush and apply drops of the essential oil of lavender to it. What a great way to keep the wet dog smell at bay and small little bugs like mites from irritating his skin. The smell is wonderful to my nose even though Rocky has to sneeze through its aroma for a while when I brush through his damp fur.

I like the fact that lavender is also a great wound healer with its disinfecting power and tissue healing abilities, not to mention its calming attributes, which I utilize by putting a few drops on my pillow at night.

But my favorite of all favorites as a home remedy is goldenseal powder for cuts and wounds. Though it definitely has many uses, I like its ability to heal the skin like no other product I have encountered. For instance, the other day after breaking up the hard dirt in my garden with a spade, I got a nasty blister (yes, I know, they’re called gloves) And when the skin peeled back the nice bright pink patch of skin was exposed, did that stop me? No. Dirt and all, my hands kept digging.

Later I washed my hands with soap and water and grabbed my lavender oil and goldenseal powder. Couple drops of lavender spread on it and then I covered it with goldenseal powder and placed a big Band Aid over it. Later, no infection and skin nicely healed.

There are lots of home remedies – the Internet is the handiest place to learn what’s out there. Beer for slugs and snails? Try it if you have these nasty pests in your garden. It’s all good to do things the simple way with simple things I think to myself.

And as I put away the Dawn, thoroughly exhausted but incredibly happy, I find my dog all fresh and flea-free, bouncing around in that after-bath boogie. What a woof-ball, I tell him. And with a bark he lets me know he’s a clean one at that.

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