Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sweater and Jacket Choices for Dogs Who Need Them

I grew up on a farm. Dogs needing sweaters did not cross my mind. After all, the outside dogs had a barn or shed, straw, and the warmth of the livestock to protect them from the cold. But things change and so has my thinking. I now live in an apartment with two small dogs. We love being outdoors during all types of weather. And my little Daisy definitely needs a sweater to help keep her warm. Would your dog benefit from a sweater too? 

Protect Your Dog Now That Cold Weather Has Arrived

Any dog that remains outside during cold needs to have a shelter, warm and dry bedding, and plenty of food an water.  But what about my little dogs that live inside. They become accustomed to heat and haven't become acclimated to the elements.

My little Daisy is a Rat Terrier. She is small with very short hair. She is nearly hairless on her belly.  It is because of her thin build and short, sparse coat that I looked for her sweaters and jackets when we went for a hike in the woods today.

Daisy in the woods today - protected from the cold wind

Daisy has two different types of outdoor wear.  She has a sweater and a jacket.  

I think jackets are preferable when we are in the woods, when we are hiking for some distance, and if there is no snow.  The jacket is less likely to pick up burrs than the sweater is. The jacket also provides more ventilation while she is exercising. Sometimes, in the sweaters, she becomes over-heated.

I think the sweaters are preferable when it has snowed and we plan on being outside for a shorter period of time. When Daisy's belly is going to be exposed to the snow or when it is bitterly cold, I prefer that she wears her sweater for increased warmth. During snowy weather, I make sure I have two sweaters on hand.  I can put her into a dry sweater while the one that is wet from the snow during a previous walk has time to air-dry.

Both styles can be easy on-off.  Her jacket is an example of straps with velcro that make getting her in and out of it an easy process. Her sweater has long slits (as opposed to actual "sleeves") for her legs. These slits make it easier to get an excited dog in and out of the sweater. I've been very pleased with a variety of dog sweaters and jackets. In my opinion, the most important feature of a good dog sweater is the access opening for the leash.  Sweaters or jackets without those openings are difficult.

Dog Sweaters & Jackets: Things To Consider

These are the things that I keep in mind when purchasing a sweater or jacket for my dog:

  • size of my dog
  • length and thickness of the dog's hair
  • activity level - what will the dog be doing while wearing the sweater or jacket
  • how the sweater or jacket fastens
  • how thick the sweater or jacket is
  • whether or not the sweater/jacket has an opening for the leash
  • is the sweater or jacket washable
  • health of the dog - old dogs, dogs recovering from illnesses, and other situations that make dogs more vulnerable make a sweater or jacket a worthwhile investment

*graphic design courtesy of FotoJet

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Reviewing Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap

Dr Bronner's Castile soap
I have been without Dr. Bronner's organic castile soap for some time. Yesterday, with an unrelenting migraine torturing me, I went to the local pharmacy to replenish my supply. I was desperate to use some of the peppermint soap hoping for some migraine relief. Fortunately, there was a bottle in stock. I will review some of the reasons Dr. Bronner's pure-castile soap is highly recommended.

Reasons I use Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap

There are many reasons I like Dr. Bronner's soap. I initially purchased a small bottle many, many years ago for a camping trip. I understood at that time that the soap was better for the environment if washing and bathing outdoors. Since then, I just use it because I like it so well.

I have tried some of the other scents, but Peppermint is by far my favorite.  These are just a few reasons it is a personal favorite:

  • is reportedly safer for the environment
  • leaves me squeaky clean
  • the peppermint makes my skin tingle in a refreshing way 
  • does not dry my skin
  • often (the peppermint soap) eases stubborn migraines
  • none of the scents I have used (which are strong undiluted) have triggered a migraine
  • contains essential oils - and I'm a fan of essential oils
  • is concentrated and can be diluted to meet your needs
  • lasts over a long period of time

Other Popular Uses for Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap

I think there are as many reasons that people like Dr. Bronner's soap as there are people who use it. After reading many reviews, I am listing some of those reasons here. Please keep in mind I am only repeating what others have written and I cannot verify whether or not these claims are true (however, I am pretty optimistic they are)

  • organic with no GMOs or chemicals - good for people with sensitivities
  • "castile" soap is made from vegetable-oil soap (other soaps are animal fat-based soaps) which meets the needs of Vegans and Vegetarians
  • hand wash and body wash
  • home and laundry deodorizing
  • household cleaner 
  • insect repellent spray
  • flea bath for dogs
  • no-poo shampoo
  • MANY scents to choose from: Citrus, Eucalyptus, Almond, Lavendar, Rose, Unscented, Peppermint, & Tea Tree

On second thought, I'll just refer you to the Dr. Bronner's FAQs page so you can read the recommendations, information, and cautions for yourself. See the section below for some of the many examples of scents and sizes - from 8 oz bottles to gallon-sized jugs there is something for everyone.