Flying Pests, Canine Feet And Ears

Flies are eating my dogs’ ears and bats have invaded my roof. Some of the remedies are the same.

What nature inflicts nature can cure.

The pink ointment used as a base for some foot dope contains zinc oxide and artificial thuja oil. A cheaper and better base is the generic diaper rash product sold in pharmacies, typically 40% zinc oxide. Take that and add real thuja oil and other repellent and healing oils like rosemary, lavender, lemon, camphor, cinnamon leaf, citronella. Neem oil is a non-volatile nut oil that is claimed to be a natural pest control, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial. Combine a mix of these, whatever you have or can readily obtain to make  a thick paste to smear on the dogs’ ears. If you add too much essential oil to the zinc oxide cream it will be runny and hard to apply in warm weather. Neem has a high melting point but slightly unpleasant and musty smell.

The same kind of essential oils are also effective for mold and mildew remediation, the so-called “thieves blend” of antiseptic property oils.

Thuja is a form of cedar but a particular kind, the North American variety called Eastern (or Northern) White Cedar used by the Native Americans for many purposes including the ribs and planks of birch bark canoes.

Botanical Name: Thuja occidentalis
Common Method Of Extraction: Steam distilled
Parts Used: Leaves
Note Classification: Top
Aroma: Sharp, fresh, camphoraceous
Largest Producing Countries: Canada and USA

Traditional Use: Used for its disinfectant properties in pharmaceutical products.

Properties: Antirheumatic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, insect repellent, stimulant, tonic, vermifuge

Benefits: Disinfectant. Not recommended for use in aromatherapy. May be used in room sprays or cleaning agents.

You might have noticed that in the Latin/botanical name occidentalis means western. In relation to Europe North America is west but within North America the range of this species is the eastern States and Provinces of Canada. Western red cedar is a different North American species. Eastern white cedar was also called arbor vitae, tree of life, because of its recognized health benefits/virtues.

 For cuts and raw skin avoid the oils that sting, like thyme and peppermint.

The right combination can work for foot ointment as well as treating ears attacked by biting flies.

This photo from 1917, the St. Paul Winter Carnival Winnipeg to St. Paul race shows a musher  from Gimli, Manitoba doing his dog’s feet (not so clear in this version but evident in the original) with Noxzema and leather booties. The Icelander fishermen from that area used Labrador type sled dogs for travel, hauling their nets and transport of the fish.

Hans Gatt says that powdered sulfur is good to dry up fissures in dog feet in the snow season. I have not had a chance to try it but I do know that in those cases powders stick better than ointment to weeping sores or cracks.

Peppermint and menthol are strongly disliked by rodents such as squirrels, mice and bats. If you mix these oils in warm water and a bit of liquid soap, the fragrant solution can be squirted with a pump sprayer into the places these  little pests frequent or where they nest. I like to add some of the other oils for good measure and for good smell. Bad odors usually accompany infestations of rodents. Be cautious to stay a distance away from bats or you might be bit like my neighbor who then had to endure the course of injections. He did not know there was a bat hanging under his dog truck when he opened the door one morning to go to the big city. Then he had another reason to go, because the local rural hospital and clinic did not have the rabies vaccine.

In the US and Canada the best sources I know for essential and carrier oils are

Mountain Rose Herbs http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/

San Francisco Herb Company http://www.herbspicetea.com/

San Francisco Herb is usually cheaper, though not as many certified organic items, and for herbs and spices to eat I prefer the quality of Mountain Rose Herbs at a higher price. For the essential oils the prices at herbspicetea.com are convincing. They only sell dry herbs by the pound, Mtn Rose sells 1/4 and 1/2 pound qty as well as one pound.

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