June 25, 2014

Top 5 Summer Hazards for Dogs and Cats

Filed under: Cats,Dogs,Pet Health,Pet Safety Tips — Tags: , , , , , — 1st Pet Naturals @ 9:58 pm


Are you amping up to get ready for summer activities. Outdoor fun with hiking, water sports, and much more? Being outside and enjoying the sunshine is what summer is all about. Although summer can be a wonderful, carefree time of the year, it is very important that you look after your pet’s health during the heated months. Pets, just like us, are prone to many summer hazardous. Here are seven summer hazards that you should consider for your dog and cat.

1. Sunburn

One of the most common heat-related hazards are sunburns. The cause of sunburns is due to overexposure of UVA rays (ultra-violet rays) that penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. Exposed skin does not have the necessary protection to reflect these rays, as a result: the skin becomes burned.  Though our pets have fur, their skin still needs to be protected. You can protect your dog or cat;s fur by keeping their exposure to the sun under control. You can also rub coconut oil into their fur. Coconut is a natural sunscreen. Just make sure you reapply the coconut oil every forty-five minutes to an hour for as long as your pet is in the sun.

2. Dehydration

Dehydration results when the body does not have enough fluid. This can be a result of sweating in the sun due to lounging in the heat and also being active under the rays. Always have water handy for your pet no matter where you go. Keep their water bowl full at home and keep a water bowl handy in your car. It is important that water is always available to your pets in the summer heat.

3. Heatstroke

This illness results when the body fails to maintain proper internal temperatures. Heatstroke can often be prevented through staying hydrated and cool. If your pet show symptoms of dehydration,  their body will not have enough fluid to to sweat, which would cool down the body. If you suspect your pet is dehydrated, it is best to seek immediate medical attention.

4. Poison Ivy

Identification is the first step in preventing a rash from poison ivy. This plant is found just about everywhere in North America. It tends to grow along fences and the edges of forests and fields. The leaves are broad and have three leaflets per stem. The oil secreted by the leaves can be spread through direct and indirect contact. Be aware of what poison ivy looks like and avoid taking your cats into shrubs and bushes.

5. Insect Bites

And with plants, come insects. Ticks, mosquitoes, bees, and fleas are rampant in the summertime. Keep a pet-friendly pest repellent handy. If your pet is bitten by an insect, you can also find sprays and ointments that will help soothe their bites and irritation.

What are some of the ways you prevent summer hazards? Let us know in the comment box below.

August 19, 2013

Natural Sunscreen for Dogs and Cats

Filed under: Cat Skin,Dog Skin Problems,Pet Health,Pet Safety Tips — Tags: , — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 9:27 pm

Dog with hat and glasses in the garden

No one likes a sunburn and that includes your pets. Solar dermatitis, aka: Sunburn, can affect all pets, but is more common in those who are light in color. Side effects of sunburn include mild redness and hair loss, while too much sun exposure may also lead to disease, like skin cancer.

If your pet experiences a sun burn I recommend using Vetisse Rashaid. Rashaid can help soothe the sunburn on your pet’s skin. Another option for a rash aid is to use Calendula topically.

Many people opt to buy sunscreen for their dogs and cats. Just keep in mind that Epi-Pet Sun Protector is the only FDA approved sunscreen for dogs. Even then, labels should be read properly so that you can be sure of what you are applying to your pet’s skin.  A natural sun screen you can use on dogs and cats is coconut oil; it just needs to be applied frequently to protect your pet.






Dr. Loridawn Gordon



Do you have a comment, question, or concern for Dr. Loridawn Gordon? Let her know on Facebook, Twitter, or the comment box below.

August 7, 2013

Heat Stroke in Dogs

Filed under: Dogs,Dr. Loridawn's Lessons,Pet Health,Pet Safety Tips — Tags: , , — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 11:41 pm

Dog digging

We have all been there – waiting in the car while a friend runs into a store to “quickly” grab a last minute item you forgot before heading out for the day. But “quickly” seems to be the longest wait of your life. What could be less than a 5 minute wait begins to feel likes a daunting 20 minute wait. You begin to feel thirsty, wondering how long your friend will take, contemplating walking into the store to avoid the heat, and overall start feeling agitated. If you feel like this, just imagine what your dog would feel like being left in a car.

At least you would be able to open the doors, windows, or take a stroll in the parking lot. Your pet doesn’t have the same luxury, and as a result could suffer from heatstroke. Being trapped in a car on a hot summer day isn’t the only way that heat stroke can creep upon your dog, it can also be caused by:

  • Being tied up to a post with no way escape into shade
  • Excessive exercise in the sun without water
  • Being in the sun for too long

How is heat stroke created in the body to begin with? It is caused by your dog’s body heating up to the point that that the heat reaches their head. Once the heat reaches their head, it is hard for a pet to control their temperature, because their brain becomes impaired.

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Skin turns into a deep red shade
  • Gums turn bright red
  • Unusual breathing
  • Excessive drooling

You can overcome heat stroke in dogs by using cool water to rinse and cool him/her down. You should NOT use ice water. This will make the body shiver, which will increase the body’s temperature. You may also want to set up a fan that your pet can enjoy during the summer months.

My personal recommendation is to focus on the feet. You may have noticed that your dog digs during warm days – they do this because the cool dirt helps cool their feet. A dog’s sweat glands are located in the feet, so providing a cool bath to wade in or visiting a nearby stream will help cool their body down.  I also recommend using the homeopathic remedy, Belladonna. Of course, you should consult a professional regarding the use of this plant because if administered incorrectly, it can be very poisonous.  The best preventative strategy for heat stroke is to provide your pet with shade of lots of fresh water.





Dr. Loridawn Gordon


Do you have a comment, question, or concern for Dr. Loridawn Gordon? Let her know on Facebook, Twitter, or the comment box below.

July 12, 2013

Dehydration in Dogs and Cats

Dehydration in Dogs and CatsLike other living animals, your cats and dogs need water to survive. A lack of water and other fluids, as well as diarrhea and vomiting, leads to dehydration. This is especially common in the summer months, due to the tendency of the body to overheat.

Signs of dehydration in dogs and cats include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Less playful
  • Gums become dry and sticky
  • Saliva is thick
  • Eyes appear sunken
  • Pet is in shock

To determine if your pet is dehydrated, lift up a piece of their skin and see if it returns to its normal position. If it doesn’t, your pet may be dehydrated. You can also have your vet perform a blood or urine test. A urine test will detect whether the kidneys are affected or not.

There are several ways to replace fluid loss. This can be done orally, or by injection – either subcutaneously (under the skin), intravenously (in the vein), and in the bone. Orally, I use electrolyte mixes, and for other routes I use balanced solutions and specialty fluids.


One homeopathic remedy I use to treat dehydration includes a plant called China (aka: Peruvian Bark), which you can mix into water. It seems to alleviate the symptoms od dehydration quite well.

A common mistake that some pet owners will make in an effort to get their cat or dog back to their normal states, is to give them a lot of fluids However, doing this could cause your pet to vomit, and will result in increased dehydration.. The best way for your pet to take fluids when they are dehydrated is in smaller doses over a longer period of time.






Dr. Loridawn Gordon


Do you have a comment, question, or concern for Dr. Loridawn Gordon? Let her know on Facebook, Twitter, or the comment box below.

April 23, 2013

3 Ways to Protect Your Pet From Medication Poisoning

Filed under: Dr. Loridawn's Lessons,Pet Health,Pet Safety Tips — Tags: , — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 9:00 am

Animal Poison ControlThere are several household items and products in your medicine cabinet that could be harmful to your pet without you even knowing it! With all kinds of medications and health aid products (both human and pet), pet owners need to be informed – and cautious. Medication poisoning can even occur as a result of using very common products, such as flea treatments and shampoos. To help ensure your pet’s health and safety, I have listed 3 great ways you can protect the four-legged members of your family!

1. Know which medications are not safe for your pet:

As obvious as it may seem, it is vital to remember that your pet is not human. Their body is different from yours. And so it’s important to not give them over the counter products that could result in them falling ill.

Three medications to never give your pet:

Advil: It can result in kidney failure and serious stomach and intestinal ulcers.
Lunesta: This can result in your pet being agitated and, in cats, may cause liver failure.
Tylenol: In dogs, this popular brand can lead to liver failure. In both cats and dogs, it can cause damage to red blood cells.

Not sure which medications are safe? For more information on medications to avoid, take a look at Med Help.

2. Keep a watchful eye on your pet:

It’s common knowledge that your pet will lick and or eat just about anything. Similar to precautions you would take with having a young child in your home, make sure that your own medications are placed in a safe place, out of reach and out of sight.

3. Check out your pet products and medications before purchase:

As I previously mentioned, even certain pet shampoos and flea medications can make your dog or cat seriously ill. Always check the ingredients, and don’t be tempted to buy a product just because it is on sale. In the end, it may not be such a good deal! In my opinion, natural is the best way to go. Remember your pet deserves the best, and avoiding those nasty chemicals will benefit their long term health!

How would you know if your pet has been poisoned? Observe your pet. Do you notice any changes in his/her behavior? Are they more aggressive? Are there any changes in their eating habits?

In the case that your pet is experiencing medication poisoning, I recommend giving them Ipecac syrup. Ipecac is a natural way to help induce vomiting, which could help prevent the severe consequences of medication poisoning. If you decided to use Ipecac, make sure that you are educated by a professional on how to properly administer it to your pet.
If your pet has been poisoned, you should also immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) at 888-426-4435.

Dr. Loridawn Gordon




Dr. Loridawn Gordon


If you have a question, comment, or concern for Dr. Loridawn Gordon, let her know on Facebook, Twitter, or the comment box below.

February 26, 2013

Top 5 Poisonous Plant for Pets: Beware

Filed under: Pet Safety Tips — Tags: — 1st Pet Naturals @ 11:00 am

Even if you have a green thumb, you need to keep an eye on your pet when it comes to certain plants. Our pets are a part of our family, so keeping them safe from comPoisonous Plantsmon every-day plants is extremely important.

Here is a list of five plants to keep your pet away from:

1. Buttercups: Though beautiful in your lawn, they are toxic to both dogs and cats. They can lead to depression, vomiting and diarrhea.

2. Carnations: These flowers can result in mild dermatitis or skin inflammation.

3. Apple and apple trees: Their stems contain cyanide that may result in breathing difficulties or your pet going into shock.

4. Avocados: Though this fruit provides health benefits to humans, in horses it can result in colic, in cattle it can result in decreased milk production, and in dogs and cats it can result in vomiting and diarrhea.

5. Cherries: Their stems, leaves, and seeds contain cyanide which can result in your pet going into shock or have difficulty breathing.

You can check out more poisonous plants at ASPCA. If your pet ever ingests any one of these plants, immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) at 888-426-4435.

We’re social! Have a comment or question? Let us know on FacebookTwitter, or the comment box below.

Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.