Borax, Baking soda, Salt and lemon essential oils from Young Living. Borax and baking soda will kill the adult fleas, the salt will dry up the eggs and the essential oils will make your house smell absolutely divine! Plus if you use lemon or lavender scents, these are natural flea repellents so any possible unwanted visitors that you may have missed will stay away from your house.
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Want houseplants that are pet-friendly that also produce gorgeous blooms? Look no further than African violet. It comes in a range of purple and pink hues, is low maintenance, and thrives without bright light. Keep the soil moderately moist, and water African violets by letting them soak up water through the pot’s drainage hole to avoid damaging the leaves and petals. This flowering houseplant can brighten up even the smallest spaces because it stays less than 12 inches tall.
Tillandsia varieties make excellent pet-friendly, low-maintenance houseplants because they don’t need any soil to grow. Most air plants will stay smaller than 12 inches, and they thrive in bright, indirect light with a quick soak in water about once a week. However, cats and dogs alike will find their spindly, grass-like leaves tempting to chew on so make sure you keep them out of reach.
The variegated gray-and-green leaves of aluminum plant (part of the genus Pilea) make it an attractive, pet-safe houseplant. It stays shorter than 12 inches, grows well in medium to low light, and only needs water when the top inch of soil is dry. Since it tolerates low light, you can grow it almost anywhere that’s out of reach of your furry friends.
Unlike its dangerous holiday counterpart amaryllis, Christmas cacti are non-toxic plants to have around curious cats and dogs. You still shouldn’t let your pets chew on it (Christmas cacti can cause intestinal discomfort if eaten) but overall it’s a safer choice than many other festive plants. Christmas cacti can easily be confused with Thanksgiving cacti, but both are safe for pets and have similar care requirements. Both cacti stay relatively short (under 12 inches), but can spread up to two feet, and grow best with regular waterings and bright, indirect light.
Identifying ferns can be a bit tricky, as there are several plants with the word “fern” in their name that are not actually part of the fern family. True ferns such as Boston and maidenhair are fair game as indoor plants safe for pets. Just beware of toxic misnomers like asparagus fern, which is actually part of the lily family. Though their size can vary, most ferns have similar needs: They like indirect light, evenly moist soil, and high humidity.
The friendship plant (which is closely related to aluminum plant) is named for the ease with which it can be divided and shared. If you get one as a gift, rest assured it’s safe for your cats and dogs, even if they take a bite out of this plant’s fuzzy, crinkly leaves. Friendship plant tolerates medium and low light, loves humidity (it grows well in terrariums), and usually doesn’t grow taller than 12 inches.
Indoor herb gardens are an easy way to add fresh flavor to your home cooked meals. But not all herbs are created equal when it comes to pet safety. Standards like lavender and oregano are off-limits, but basil, sage, and thyme are all houseplants that are pet-friendly. Place herbs in a sunny window that gets at least four or five hours of direct sunlight every day, and water when the top inch of soil is dry.
Pretty lace flower vine is an easy, pet-friendly houseplant that grows best in hanging baskets, well out of reach of your cat or dog. But should an extra-persistent pet make their way into the pot, no harm will be done. Hang this pretty plant in a spot with bright, indirect light, and water whenever the soil starts to feel dry, and its trailing stems will grow to about three feet long.
This quirky plant has blooms that look like tubes of lipstick, and is safe for cats and dogs alike (other members of the Peperomia family are, too). A native of the tropics, lipstick plant thrives in bright light and loves being outside in the warmer months. It can grow up to 20 inches tall and likes to have consistently moist soil, so don’t forget to water!
Pet owners looking to add a small tree indoors may want to pick up a parlor palm. This pet-friendly, low-maintenance houseplant is also a good starting point for beginners. It grows best in bright, indirect light, but also tolerates low light. Water when the top inch of soil is dry, and your parlor palm could reach up to eight feet (though four feet is more common).
The common moth orchid (the one you’re most likely to see in the floral shop) isn’t harmful to pets. But one thing to watch for: Dogs and cats who love to chew may get into trouble in the potting mix, which often is made up of bark chips. The chips aren’t toxic but may cause tummy troubles if swallowed. Usually between one and three feet tall, this pet-friendly houseplant can tolerate low, medium, or bright light, and generally needs water once a week, or every other week.
Use polka dot plant to add a splash of pattern and color to miniature gardens, terrariums, mixed containers, and more. You can find this pet-friendly plant in colors like pink or white, and though it can grow up to three feet tall, it usually stays on the small side (under 12 inches) in containers. Place it in a spot that gets bright, indirect light and keep the soil consistently moist.
Topping out at six to eight inches, prayer plant is ideal for small spaces like bookshelves and end tables. Its red, cream, and green leaves curl up at night, giving it its name. What’s more, it’s one of the easiest houseplants you can grow that’s also safe for pets. It grows best in medium or low light, and you can let soil dry out a bit between waterings.
This pet-friendly houseplant is one of the easiest you can grow. It’s also super simple to grow more spider plants from the babies that the mother plant produces. Spider plant grows best in bright, indirect light, but it can tolerate low light, too. Let the soil dry between waterings, and your plant can grow up to 12 inches tall and 24 inches wide, and produce multiple baby plants.
Many of the most popular succulents, including hens and chicks and echeverias, aren’t problematic, but with so many varieties on the market, it’s best to research each individual plant. Jade, for example, while similar to other succulents, is actually dangerous to pets. Most succulents stay just a few inches tall when grown indoors. They will do best in bright light, and only need watering every couple of weeks.
The problem begins with some scratching here and there. Maybe you spot some tiny specks around the house that you might’ve missed before. Maybe that beautiful hair that was so thick is looking a tad thin these days. Before you know it … yep. It’s confirmed.
Fido has fleas. And you’d better check Fluffy the Cat, too.
More than 2,500 different species of fleas exist throughout the world, yet one is the most common among American dogs and cats. It’s called Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea.
That’s right. If your dog has fleas, they’re most likely cat fleas.
Every pet owner should be aware of the signs of a possible flea infestation. They include:
Your dog (or cat) is scratching. Even if you don’t catch fleas red-handed, if you see your pet scratching or biting at its fur, fleas may well be the culprit. That’s because not only can fleas cause a sharp pain when they bite, their salivary glands give off a substance that’s irritating to many dogs and cats.
You can see them. Adult fleas are about an eighth of an inch long. They’re reddish-brown and very thin. It’s hard to really see what they look like without a microscope (though it’s easier on a light-colored fur), but they do have big back legs. They can jump, by some measurements, upward and outward at least 12 inches in a single leap. And one estimation finds that for every adult flea found on your pet, there are at least 100 immature ones hanging around.
You can see what they leave behind. It’s called “flea dirt,” and it looks a little like pepper. You can spot it on your pet’s skin, or your pet could leave it someplace, like:
That favorite chair he’s been sleeping on even though you’ve ushered him off it a thousand times
The specks are actually bits of dried blood that will turn from black to brown, and finally back to red if you rehydrate them on a wet paper towel.
You can see other suspicious stuff around your home: Fleas lay eggs on your pet — tiny white ovals — that mostly fall off into the environment around it (your bed, the dog bed, the carpet, that favorite chair), only to hatch a few days later into flea larvae.
You can see larvae, too. They’re little, squiggly, worm-looking things with brown heads that will feed on all those specks until they wrap themselves up into a cocoon called a pupa. From larva to pupa takes about 3-4 weeks. After that, they’re fully grown fleas, looking for a ride and a little of your pet’s (or your) blood.
If you see tapeworms — internal parasites that are white or pinkish white and look like small pieces of rice that often show up by slipping out of your pet’s rectum — that’s a sign your pet may have been having it out with fleas.
Your dog (or cat) is losing its hair: It’s not from the fleas themselves, but from all the itching and biting. Fleas often gather at the neck and shoulder blades of your pets. The base of the tail and along the back of the legs is a favorite hangout for them, too. Those are also places animals will bite to get to the fleas. That can take its toll on a pet’s coat. With full-blown infestations, fleas are visible in the bare areas of a pet’s belly, too.
Their skin looks irritated: If you can get past your pet’s fur and look at the skin, fleabites are usually small, raised red dots. Again, look for bites on the back and neck and on the base of the tail. Another problem with fleabites is they can lead to flea allergy dermatitis, also known as fleabite hypersensitivity. If your pet has this, their skin can become itchy, red, and scaly. It can lead to secondary skin infections, too.
Their gums are pale: With a large infestation of fleas, some pets (especially smaller kittens or pups) could be in danger of anemia, or a loss of red blood cells. Fleas can take in up to 15 times their body weight in blood. Pale gums often signal anemia.
Fleas are, in the strictest sense of the word, pests. But they can be way more than that. They can transmit disease (to humans, too) and cause life-threatening problems for your pet. If you see any signs of fleas, ask your veterinarian what to do.
Stuffing: Thanksgiving dressing is often made with onions, scallions or garlic. These ingredients are extremly toxic for pets and can cause life-threatening anemia. This is the destruction of red blood cells.
Ham: Ham and other pork products can cause pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Pork is also high in fat, which can lead to obesity in pets. Even a small amount of ham can contribute a very large amount of calories to a small dog or cat’s diet.
Turkey Bones: Bones can cause severe indigestion in dogs and cats, potentially causing vomiting and obstructing the bowel. Bones may also splinter and cause damage to the inside of the stomach and intestines. In some cases, turkey bones may even puncture through the stomach and cause a potentially fatal abdominal infection.
Mashed Potatoes: While potatoes are safe for pets to eat, mashed potatoes usually contain butter and milk, which can cause diarrhea in lactose intolerant pets. Additionally, some recipes call for onion powder or garlic, which are very toxic to pets.
Salads with Grapes/Raisins: There are many salads served at Thanksgiving that include grapes or raisins as an ingredient, from fruit salad, to waldorf salad, to ambrosia. However, grapes and raisins are very virulent and potentially deadly. Grapes can cause severe, irreversible and sometimes fatal kidney failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all dishes that include grapes and raisins away from pets.
Desserts: While pumpkin pie is the most famous Thanksgiving dessert (canned pumpkin also has many pet health benefits), many people offer a variety of chocolate desserts at Thanksgiving. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, yet dogs love the smell and taste of it. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Keep all chocolate desserts out of the reach of pets to prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian.
If your pets ingest any of these foods this Thanksgiving, be sure to call your veterinarian immediately.
INSIDER asked a group of pet experts about some of their best advice for those who have animals.
Socializing your pets is great for their mental and physical health, according to animal expert Larissa Wohl.
It’s fairly common for dogs and cats to become obese, so it’s important to keep an eye on your pet’s diet and weight.
Owning a pet is a huge responsibility and although it can be rewarding, it’s not always easy. Fortunately, there’s a lot of handy advice out there that can benefit you and your pets.
Here are some useful things for pet owners to know, according to experts. Allpets should be seen by their veterinarian at least once per year, even if they seem healthy
You may be tempted to skip your pet’s annual exam if they seem healthy, but Katy Nelson, host of “The Pet Show TV” on WJLA in Washington DC, said she recommends staying on top of wellness check-ups to ensure your furry friend is as healthy as they appear.
She told INSIDER that annual check-ups can help you catch health issues “early on while you still have time to intervene,” which can save you money and keep your pet feeling as well as possible. Obesity is quite common in cats and dogs, so it’s important to keep an eye on what your pet eats and how much they weigh
“Being overweight is devastating to our pets and overlooking it by calling them cutesy names like ‘Chunky,’ or ‘Fluffy’ is doing them no favors,” she said. “Adipose cells, known as fat cells, are hormone factories, producing dozens of inflammatory cytokines that increase your pets risk of diabetes, heart disease, joint disease, and even cancer.”
She said she suggests individuals speak to their veterinarian about their pet’s diet, their eating habits (including treats), and exercise patterns. She also encourages owners to try to keep their pets active.
“Find creative ways to exercise your pets like hunting feeders for cats or doggy daycare [or] anything that you can do to get them moving is a move toward getting healthy and fit,” she told INSIDER. Instead of telling your pet what not to do, try to direct them toward engaging in proper behaviors
“Your dog may be chewing on something inappropriate, like a piece of furniture, and you quickly tell them to stop. They do for a short time but then they go right back to that same undesired behavior,” said Paciotti. “Why? Because you told them what not to do, instead of telling them what to do. The appropriate action would have been to give the dog something they were allowed to chew on.” If your dog is pulling on its leash, you may need to change how you act before and during a walk
Paciotti said one of the main behavior issues many dog owners complain about is that their animal pulls when it is on a leash. She said that sometimes owners are the cause of the problem, not the dog.
“Stop and see if you are actually setting your dog up to do this. Are you one who gets your dog all excited to go? Or are you one who knows your dog is distracted by other dogs and you proceed to walk them when everyone in your neighborhood walks their dogs?” said Paciotti.
“Or, maybe you have a puppy and want them to walk with you. A 6-foot leash and a new puppy are two things that should not go together. The pup must learn to focus on you and not the surroundings,” she added. When teaching your dog a new command, try speaking in plurals and using a high-pitched voice.
Another tip that Paciotti shared is that you should try to be mindful of the tone and pitch in your voice when talking to your dog. She said that speaking in plurals and even changing the tone of your voice can help you train a puppy in a lot faster.
“For example, if you want your dog to sit, say ‘sitting,’ and if you want your dog to lay say ‘laying,'” she said. “Dogs hear tone and pitch in our voices. The tone of our voice will change and peak the dog’s ears to pay attention.” Whenever your pet’s behavior changes, you may want to go see a veterinarian as it can be a sign of something more serious
As tempting as it may be to use the internet to diagnose changes to your pet’s behavior, Steve Dale, a certified animal-behavior consultant and host of several pet radio shows, said that a veterinarian should always be consulted to rule out a possible medical explanation for behavioral issues.
“Don’t assume, don’t wait, and don’t depend on [search engines]. Until a time comes when [the internet] can do blood work or heart your pet’s heart online, seeing your veterinarian is the right thing to do,” added Dale. Declawing a cat is considered to be inhumane and it’s not necessary
“A declaw is an amputation no matter how you slice it … the veterinarian amputates the end section of the last bone which contains the growth plate along the nail,” explained Dale. “It’s a procedure that we now know may cause long-term pain, including phantom pain.”
“Socializing your animals, particularly dogs, is so important. We get so busy with our own day-to-day responsibilities that oftentimes [we forget that] our animals sit at home for the entire day,” said Whol. “The dog may get a walk in the morning or night, but socializing the animal with other animals helps them mentally and physically and helps them play nicely with other animals.”
She suggests dropping your canine off at a doggy daycare location a couple of times a week or scheduling a play date with a friend who has a dog. And, if you have a social cat and are prepared to adopt more pets, you may want to look into adopting another feline for it to socialize with throughout the day. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links.
Elephants and naked mole rats are two animals that rarely get cancer. Scientists believe these two creatures may have genetic mechanisms that allow them repair damaged DNA (which could otherwise precipitate tumors). Unfortunately, household pets (especially cats and dogs) are not so lucky.
Why are so many pets getting cancer?
Indeed, these beloved creatures are experiencing higher rates of cancer than even humans. For instance, today one person out of five will get some form of cancer in their lifetime. But one out of every two dogs will develop the disease at some point.
All told, at least six million dogs and six million cats will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Veterinarians often explain these alarming stats by telling owners that it’s because their pets are living longer than ever before and tumors are almost inevitable in old age.
However, it’s not just advanced age that seems to be a problem. In all probability, inflammatory diets, toxic pet care products, and environmental factors are contributing to the epidemic of cancer that is afflicting cats and dogs.
How to keep your pets cancer-free
With that in mind, here are seven likely carcinogenic culprits that you’ll want to keep your pet away from as much as possible.
1. Heat-processed pet food
Animal lovers have been horrified to learn about some of the stuff that turns up in many brand name pet foods. Part of the problem is that the FDA hasn’t made the health and well-being of cats and dogs much of a priority.
Another problem with conventional pet food is that it is heat-processed and loaded with preservatives. All this is meant to extend the shelf life of the product, but these methods can subtract years from your pet’s life. That’s because heavily processed foods tend to stimulate compounds called cytokines, which promote inflammation in both the gut and throughout the body.
Chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for cancer and other diseases. For instance, it can precipitate a condition known as leaky gut syndrome, which can upset your pet’s hormonal balance while triggering an overactive immune system.
Increasingly, scientists believe that intestinal integrity is one of the keys to avoiding and preventing cancer. Many veterinarians do recommend conventional pet food brands, but the evidence suggests that both humans and pets are better off eating more nutritionally-rich raw foods.
Of course, cats and dogs have unique dietary requirements, which generally includes consuming excellent protein sources such as meat (along with raw veggies, grains and fruits).
2. Secondhand smoke
Cats exposed to secondhand smoke are 2.5 times more likely to get lymphoma than felines from smoke-free homes. Similarly, dogs exposed to secondhand smoke are at much greater risk for respiratory and nasal cancers. Smoking isn’t good for you, but it’s especially bad for your pet. Now, you have another good reason to quit the habit!
3. Preservatives in food
Artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin have been linked to a variety of health problems and are suspected carcinogens to boot. Pet food companies could opt for all-natural preservatives such as tocopherols (vitamin E), citric acid (vitamin C) and rosemary extract, but they don’t because that would cost more. To avoid artificial preservatives you can look for organic brand pet foods that specify that they have no artificial additives or preservatives.
4. Flea and tick control products
Many popular flea and tick control remedies include suspected carcinogens like fipronil and permethrin. These chemicals have been shown to cause tumors in laboratory studies and have been linked to thyroid problems as well as cancers of the lung, liver and thyroid too.
At the very least, you should limit using conventional flea and tick products to the months when these pests are active. For an even better solution, it’s very easy to make your own apple cider vinegar flea and tick repellent spray.
5. Commercial pesticide sprays
A recent study has linked the chemical dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (also known as 2,4-D), which is used in many lawn herbicides sprays, to an increased risk of cancer in dogs. The scientists at Tufts University who conducted the research explained, “Specifically, the use of professionally applied pesticides was associated with a significant 70 percent higher risk of CML (canine malignant lymphoma).”
Earlier studies have found a link between lawn sprays and bladder cancer in pets. Eradicating dandelions and other weeds may provide aesthetic benefits, but there’s a tradeoff that may impact your pet’s health. At the very least, try to keep your pets away from lawns that have been treated with toxic herbicides and pesticides.
6. Cleaning agents and household items with formaldehyde
Formaldehyde has long been suspected to be a carcinogen and a health hazard to both humans and pets. Unfortunately, this chemical is used to treat and persevere everything from cleaning agents to cosmetics to furnishing (like sofas and carpets).
To reduce exposure, scrutinize product labels and avoid shampoos, laundry detergents and other household products that specifically include formaldehyde or any of the following ingredients: Quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin and Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.
It’s hard to avoid carpeting and other furnishings treated with formaldehyde, but thankfully the chemical begins to break down when exposed to fresh air. Therefore, keeping your home well-ventilated can help reduce the health hazards from formaldehyde exposure.
By the way, dogs and cats have very different types of skin than people. So, never use a shampoo intended for humans on your dog or cat. To avoid a shampoo with harmful preservatives (like formaldehyde), try making your own with these simple DIY recipes for dogs and cats.
7. Electromagnetic radiation
There is not a real lot of evidence tying radiation from cell phones, TV screens and computer to cancer in pets, but it’s well known that other forms of radiation (including ultraviolet light and x-rays) can damage DNA.
Cats and dogs love warm places, but allowing them to fall asleep directly under the TV, on top of a computer or near WiFi routers is probably not a great idea. It’s hard to avoid electromagnetic pollution these days, but keeping your pets at least several feet away from common devices can help reduce their exposure.
Those of us with furry, barking friends may wonder whether tomatoes are safe to share. There’s a lot of confusing information out there on the topic, so here’s what you should know about each part—the ripe fruit, stems and leaves, as well as the flowering plant.
Can My Dog Eat Tomatoes?
Dogs can absolutely have the tomato fruit. If you want to give a tomato to a dog, small amounts won’t hurt them a bit. Many dogs love them for the same reason people do; they’re tasty!
While they are nontoxic, don’t feed too much tomato to your dog because it can cause stomach upset. Tomatoes are notoriously acidic, which could definitely cause problems in a dog with a sensitive stomach.
Be sure you start with small amounts to see how your dog reacts, just like you would when introducing any new food.
Cooked Tomatoes and Tomato Pomace
Cooked tomatoes are safe for dogs, just like ripe ones, and tomato pomace is a common ingredient in many dog foods.
Tomato pomace is made from the ripe fruit and incorporates skin, pulp and seeds. It’s a frequent byproduct of human food production.
Why Do People Think Tomatoes Are Poisonous to Dogs?
The tomato is a member of the nightshade family of plants. Since some other members of this family are known to be very toxic, it raises doubt as to whether the more commonly consumed plants are truly healthy for dogs.
Toxic Tomatine in Tomato Plants
There is a potentially toxic substance found in tomatoes—called tomatine—that can be very harmful when consumed in large quantities.
However, ripe tomatoes contain such a small amount that, even if your furry friend consumes far more than you ever intended, it’s not really a concern as far as toxicity goes.
Unripe tomatoes contain slightly more tomatine, but the difference is probably not significant.
Tomatine is found in greatest concentration in the tomato plant itself—more so in the flowers and small stems, but also in the leaves and the stalk.
Even so, the flowers, stems and leaves don’t actually present much of a threat to dogs. The likelihood of a dog consuming enough of the plant to cause serious harm is very slim.
Mild gastrointestinal upset is the most likely outcome when dogs eat tomato greenery. Large, grazing animals are the main concern when it comes to toxicity from tomato plants due to the volume of plant material they consume.
That said, if you think that your dog has eaten a large amount of tomato plant, call your veterinarian for advice.
Do Tomatoes Have Health Benefits for Dogs?
Since we know tomatoes are not poisonous to dogs, it’s natural to wonder whether they offer any health benefits. Tomatoes can absolutely be good for dogs, which is why so many pet food manufacturers use them in their formulas.
Tomatoes have lots of soluble and insoluble fiber. The pomace form has more fiber than whole tomatoes since the liquid is removed from the pomace, leaving behind only the fibrous parts of the fruit.
Fiber helps to support healthy digestion and maintain your dog’s steady blood sugar levels.
Tomatoes also contain antioxidants and several important vitamins and minerals, like potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K. The amount of these nutrients in the tomato or tomato pomace will depend heavily on the quality of the fruit.