Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ask Lola : A slobbering advice column written by a dog for eco-minded dogs and their owners

Dear Lola: My dog keeps sneezing & scratching what could be the problem? What are some remedies to cure a sneezing dog?

Sincerely, MR. SNIFFLES

DEAR MR. SNIFFLES: We have all fallen victim to sneezing and sniffles due to the common cold. But even a bowl of Campbell soup won't keep those dust mites from tickingly your snout. Sadly, some humans are all too familiar with a runny, tickly & stuffy nose; watery & itchy red eyes and sinus pressure. For some allergy medicine & Kleenex are their best-friends. These people have mastered the art of blowing their nose & wiping their eyes. But, just like you there are so many reasons why dogs sneeze & get the sniffles. One of the most common causes is allergies which can irritate your dogs nasal passages or sinuses. Being a sensitive pup myself I have jumped on the occasional Ah-Choo train in my life time. If you are finding that your dog is itching, scratching, has a runny nose, or thumping their leg in a circular windmill motion then your dog may have allergies. With that said it could be something in their environment. Food, the great outdoors, or home surroundings can trigger an allergic reaction.

Who are the guilty culprits to blame for this crime against your dog? Well, it is dust, pollen, the black pepper on his fillet mignon and dirt of course. Although no dog wants to hear bad news, it can even be the food you put into Brewster’s bowl. But unfortunately there is no such thing as the "Sniffle & Tickly Nose Police”. If the sneezing persist or your dog has green or yellow nose discharge can signify infection so a check-up at the vet is in order. It is always good to rule out fleas , infection or other health problems. Like they say “better safe than sorry”.

Perhaps like me, your dog is allergic to certain ingredients in dog food. If this is the case a stricter all natural, raw, or organic diet can be key and help get to the root of the problem. Trust me, this has proven good for my health & well being not to mention I have gotten woofing reviews from my friends about my soft shiny coat. With a discerning palette like me, it is great to hear that there are a plethora of wonderful homemade doggy cookbooks filled with mouthwatering recipes perfect for any sensitive dog. Also, there are an assortment of organic, all natural, preservative & artificial-free commercial readymade brands on grocery shelves for dogs of all breeds, ages, sizes & special needs. Try to keep the diet as high quality as possible in order to avoid stress on organs and to help support the immune system. But always seek advice from your veterinarian on a diet that will work best for your dog. Don’t forget to do your research.

Keeping in mind your dog’s environment is important from where your dog plays, rolls, & flops to what you bath your dog with. Also, to what you use to launder your dogs bedding for that oh so fresh scent. Maybe, your dog is known to take a daily frolic or stroll in the flower bed which is home to pollen and weeds. With your dogs nose working overtime everyday he or she is bound to sniff out a dust mite. More so, your dogs sniffles could be caused by those potent chemical household cleaning products. From my past experience scented drier sheets, air fresheners, & laundry detergents can trigger a sneezing & scratching frenzy. Based on our experience my family and I have decided to go the all natural eco-friendly route when washing my bedding.

Air filters and purifiers are a great way to remove those pesky and sometimes invisible allergens in the air. Another great tip is to give your dog a good wipe down or bath from head to paw right after they have had along romp in the field or yard. This is a good way to rid the fur & body of pollen, dirt, dust & chemicals and keeps them from infiltrating your home. But, don’t be mistaken, there will always be a few that will creep their way in doors on your unsuspecting dog, your shoe and . So a daily dusting always is encouraged, dust mites beware!

There is a wonderful product that will help give your dog some relief, because not even Sparky wants to be the conductor on the ah-choo-choo train. So now you both can wave good-bye as it chugs off ! Garth’s Sneezing Remedy does work and lets your dog get back to doing what he does best -sniffing rears that is, but as we say in human terms being a social butterfly. With a few drops on his or her forehead it naturally silence your dogs sneezing . Garth’s Sneezing Remedy is designed to help dogs with sneezing or reversed sneezing problems. Its natural blend of oils aims directly at the sinus condition, soothing and halting the sneezing. It also aids in relief of anxiety and sinus problems. Formulated with pure, organic and ecologically grown essential oils in order to supply the best for your pet. Dog owners including my parents have been astonished at the results and so will you.

Not to mention that there are a lot of all natural herbs out there can be a found at your local health & wellness grocery store. If you are unable to find these herbs you can contact a holistic vet and he or she may be able to point you in the right direction Right from nature these herbs can give your dog allergy relief. These herbs can be used topically or internally. The benefits of many of these herbs is that it strengthens your dogs immune system, live & kidneys and helps other organs function better.

Oat & Yellow Dock can be applied topically on your dog fur & body. Oat can be used to ease itchy skin. Nothing is more soothing then giving your dog an oat bath regularly. For all you ladies out there we all know how rejuvenating it feels to get a facial oat mask or body wrap which cleanses your face and body from those yucky toxins. So what you do is boil about one pound of organic oat straw in 2 quarts of water and add this to your dog's bathwater. Make sure the water is lukewarm before you throw Spot in the tub.

Alternatively, make a rinse from dried yellow dock. Add one tablespoon of the herb to 2 cups of boiling water. Let it sit and cool down. Strain off the herb and use the liquid as a rinse.

But there are also herbs that work to help your inner dog battle those allergens cleansing the body of unwanted toxins. As stated dogs develop dog allergy symptoms because they have a weakened immune system or there is improper functioning of their main organs. Herbal remedies are effective in strengthening the immune system and other major "waste-disposal organs" (the liver, skin, kidneys). Here are a few herbs that can be used internally as supplements to fight against dog allergies:

Burdock cleanses the blood and helps eliminate toxins in the urine and sweat. It is good for dry and scaly skin. Burdock root is very safe for our dogs and can be used as a daily dietary supplement.

Dandelion aids the liver which of course is a main toxin-removal organ. It cleanses and tones the liver and enhance its proper functioning.

Yellow Dock is another herb to help the liver to eliminate toxins.

Echinacea is the herb for enhancing the immune system.

Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which is similar to corticosteroids. Glycyrrhizin helps stimulate the adrenal glands to produce its own natural corticosteroids which give anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, immune-supporting effects on the body. As a result, licorice root can give relief from the itching and inflammation without seriously compromising the autoimmune system.

Nettle is used in many herbal treatments for allergies. It stimulates blood circulation, has antibiotic properties and is effective in treating such skin problems as eczema.

The antibacterial actions of sarasaparila make it effective in treating chronic scaly skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

Some of the best hidden secrets are found in nature. Always keep in mind that sometimes Mother Nature knows best!

Barkingly yours,

Lola the eco-dog

You can find this and other eco-friendly products at If you have a question or need advice from Lola the eco- dog on ways you & your dog can go green just Twitter or email her at . Lola the eco-dog is here to help!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Nothing Says Happy Mother's Day Like a Bouquet of Fresh Organic Vegetables Planted in the Garden!

Yesterday was a fun day at grandma’s house celebrating mother’s day by planting and gardening the organic & natural way. Nothing beats saying "I Love You" to the moms in our lives with a garden tribute. But a Hallmark card never hurts! The Leidhecker clan got to together for what we call FSA (Family Supported Agriculture), a new twist on CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  We rodtilll, fertilized and prepared the garden for this summer’s vegetable bounty. There is nothing finer then fresh juicy rip tomatoes, golden & red potatoes, bean sprouts, beets, cabbage and corn straight from the earth. You name it we are going to plant it. Since I have a green paw and digging is my specialty I felt right at home.  

Organic gardening means no pesticides, herbicides, chemicals fertilizers or artificial supplements. This is great because when me and mom go vegetable picking for the dinner menu and are in the kitchen cooking up organic doggy food I can rest assure no chemicals were used in the process. Let nature do its thing and organic gardening will be less costly and give you peace of mind. A lot of people are worried, especially doggy parents, about the chemicals that are routinely used in food production. Sometimes these chemicals get into the waterways. Organic gardening means your kids and the family dog or cat, can play in the garden safely in a chemical free zone.

Composting is a great way to get organic all natural fertilizer without the chemicals and a great way to rid of garden & kitchen waste. Now that’s Reduce, Reuse, and Re-waste.!  But don’t be intimated it not as hard as it sounds, you just need to know what you can use to compost.  It is amazing how banana peels, potatoes, vegetable peels; coffee grinds can turn in to organic fertilizer.

It was a serene afternoon in the cool breeze.  Aunt Judy was the Garden Police making sure that we all did our part in the garden and dictating task. I must say I got in trouble a few times trying to chase a bee or Peter Rabbit and trampling over the beets. I can still hear her saying “Lola don’t step on the beets”.  Oh how I love my auntie Judy she’s quite a lady and she loves to garden.

 In the garden my mom was in charge of preparing the ground from being infiltrated by unwanted pests. Undesirable weeds that is, that appear to grow in places you don’t want them and make a home in your garden.  Sometimes I wonder how they get here! Well my mom wikied and did some research and explained that weed seeds exist in all gardens and sometimes their seeds are spread by wind, water & animals and by things we use to help gardens grow.

But for all of you newly planted gardeners take hope in this there are many ways to fight and prevent weeds from overtaking those innocent bean sprouts.
  Here are some helpful tips:

1. Prevention is the best medicine- so make sure you provide the best healthy environment for plants to grow.
  Improper watering, soil compaction, insect damage and disease are the gardens way of bringing out a Welcome mat for weeds. Like unwanted guest they get comfortable and never want to live.

2. Hand weeding is key when you see one of those garden offenders get down on your needs and start pulling.
  No one likes their roots to be pulled so after a while they will get to hint they have overstayed their welcome.

3. Use barriers- Many people use plastic around the plants to block weeds from growing.  An eco-friendly alternative is recycling old newspaper by shredding them up and is cheap and a good organic solution. All you have to do is layer the shredded newspaper ¼ thick around the vegetables and to keep it from flying away and littering the streets wet it down.  Then afterwards cover the newspaper with straw.  Trust me your warm weather-loving crops such as melons, pumpkins, eggplants and tomatoes will love you for it.

  You can even make your own mulch from mixture of pine needles and grass clippings.

5. Also you can arm yourself with the weapon of choice, a natural pest killer with things right in your kitchen or pantry. All you need is cooking oil, dish soap, water and a recycled spray bottle. Now that’s something to woof about!

 Let me leave you with some barking words of wisdom:

For all you city slickers out there don't be sad you can have an organic garden to, a small patch of land will do. My parents and I live in the city and we are going to be planting a little convenient garden right in our tiny non existent back yard. We just can't resist a fresh salad every night for dinner. So you see, you can eat your organic veggies and plant them too. Although going to the local farmers market for organic produce is fun and exciting planting your own garden is so rewarding and a lot less costly in the long run. Besides you get to have neighborhood DIY bragging rights! Perhaps you can even sell your hand grown produce on the side of the road or at a farmers market. 

For all you parents out there having a hard time getting your kids to eat vegetables you can get them excited about bean sprouts & spinach by getting them involved  in organic gardening too. Encouraging them to take an interest in how food is made will perhaps give them  a whole new outlook on eating a whole and natural meal. Also, they will have a blast helping with the compost making and thinking up ingenious ideas on how to remove bugs. Most of all, they'll enjoy eating the delicious food that comes from organic garden they helped plant & grow.

Barklingly yours,

Lola Rose (Woof, Woof!)

Friday, May 9, 2008

National Pet Week - What are you doing for your dog?

It's Nat. Pet Week. Fido loves you, so love your pup back with a walk, some extended playtime or with some doggy goodies from
Enter coupon Code: PETWEEK5 for $5 off $25 or more purchase.

Lola's getting a pretty pink new hemp earthdog collar and leash.
She wants her pup pals to also get something nice.

We're gonna take her to the park and have some quality play time.

Woof Woof

Please click the Ask Lola button on if you need help choosing anything or if you have any questions at all.
-Adam, Wendy & Lola (Woof Woof)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ask Lola the eco-dog: A slobbering advice column written by a dog for eco-minded dogs & their owners.

Dear Lola: If you haven’t guessed it, spring-cleaning is here. Time to clean out the attic, throw a yard sale, dust the shelves, mop the floors and scrub the counters to get rid of dirt, grime and those sneezing dust mites. But I find after a good cleaning with traditional products that my skin becomes itchy & irritated and I smell like I’ve emerged from a bleach bath. Not to mention the smell is so overwhelming. Are there any reliable house cleaners our there that I can safely drizzle down the drain, use around my kids and pets, and feel secure about having on my skin?


DEAR SQUEAKY GREEN: yes, like you, the spring-cleaning bug has bitten my parents. Many people using cleaning products in the home figure if it’s available on store shelves then it must be safe. So It is important to read the labels, anything that says the words “Danger”, “Poison”, or “Warning” can’t very well be good for you. Just keep in mind that traditional cleaning products may contain toxins. They can be found on the clothes you wear, the plate Fido licks off, and the carpet he lounges on with his favorite chew toy.

Now a day lemons in the produce section are challenging Lysol in the cleaning section (aisle 9 to be exact) as people choose the natural route. Like the saying goes when you are given lemons you make lemonade or in our case a natural cleaner & polisher. Even your dog’s bed, your clothes, sheets, curtains, and towels can get the royal washing without the chemicals with soap nuts (a natural nut shell with soap properties grown in India).

My parents and I are also very sensitive to harsh cleaners and have found our skin (in my case fur) gets itchy & irritated. The worst part is that I lack opposable thumbs, which makes it nuisance to itch those hard to reach places. So we decided to retire our commercial cleaning products and upgrade to more down to earth products. We wanted a more healthier and natural way to rid dust mites with the help of natural products (aka green cleaning). Green cleaning is using products that don’t harm you, your children both two & four legged, or the earth. So I helped my parents sniff high and low for products that would do just that. With so many green solutions you no longer need your dogs licking expertise to get the dishes & floors spic & span. Being a dog myself, I love to follow the crumb trail, and I am a little saddened to be out of a job. But I guess this world is big enough for a dog’s maid service and those squeaky green products out there.

Many people think that going green means spending the green, but rests assure there are many economical & eco-cleaning solutions out there that are all natural, chlorine, bleach-free & contain no harsh chemicals. But most importantly they are effective, so fear not all you germophobes out there. The best part is that you don’t leave your house smelling of a strong odor or like a freshly sanitized hospital.

For all you Martha Stewarts out there, by the way I am a tail-wagging fan, it’s time to get in the kitchen. In fact, some of these eco-solutions can be found in your pantry or cupboards, they are easy to pronounce & are edible. With just a few ingredients & a snap of a paw you can brand your very own cleaner that costs mere pennies. Hey, I must say like mad scientists my parents and I are always having fun in the kitchen concocting new ingredients, so Martha if you’re reading I hope we’re making you proud. Magically, they can really stretch the budget by keeping the house clean and smelling fresh at the same time. Not to mention there many added great benefits:

Lemon - Dissolves soap scum and hard water deposits. It also cleans and shines brass and copper. If mixed with vinegar and baking soda it can be made into cleaning pastes. If mixed with vegetable oil it makes furniture polish. Hey, while you at it you can make a pitcher of lemonade.

Vinegar - Naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner. Add one part water to one part vinegar and you have a solution that can clean most areas of your home. Vinegar disinfects and deodorizes. The strong smell of vinegar goes away after it dries. Both vinegar and baking soda have the added bonus of being incredibly cheap. Perfect for heftier residue and can work as a drain de-clogger. With all those baths I am bound to clog a few drains along the way.

Baking soda - Use to scrub surfaces similar to commercial abrasive cleansers like Comet or Ajax. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer, just ask your fridge & freezer, those leftover Chinese takeout containers leave odor that lurks in the dark. This is great for bathtubs, drains, ovens, tile floors or countertops.

But for those of you who don’t have the time to make green cleaning products from scratch here are some wonderful alternatives. Many of these ready made eco-solutions currently on the market can be found on your local store shelves, online, or a health food store. With a little elbow grease your house will be clean as a whistle and Fido may be caught off guard by his handsome reflection on those shiny hardwood floors.

Many of these eco-solutions are backed by a Green Seal rating, which means they meet the cleaning product environmental standards. Some of these products include: Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose Cleaner, Seventh Generation, Method, Ecover, EcoQuest, BioKleen and Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. When purchasing green cleaning products pick multi –purpose; this creates fewer items in the home, less packaging, less waste, and less money spent. Also, look for biodegradable products and post consumer recycled packaging.

So now you are probably wondering how to break the news and get rid of your unwanted guests, no we are not referring to your in-laws, but those traditional cleaning products. When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you.

So roll up your sleeves and welcome spring with a squeaky green yet clean house!

Barkingly yours,

Lola Rose

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