Camping is about getting outside and enjoying nature. Unfortunately, when we bring lots of waste and chemical-based products along with us, we can threaten the very nature we hope to appreciate. Green camping is a way of making our outdoor outings as eco-friendly and responsible as possible. As the saying goes: Take only pictures, leave only footprints. From reducing waste to preserving nature, here are 5 green camping tips.
Go Non-Toxic With Your Bug Spray, Sunscreen and Toiletries
Traditional, chemical-based products threaten the air, water and wildlife, not to mention your friends and family. Go with a naturally sourced bug spray instead, and when it comes to sunscreen and toiletries, make sure they’re non-toxic and biodegradable. Also shoot for recyclable or reusable packaging.
Leave Behind the Electronics
Other than your cell phone and a flashlight (and GPS if you need it) leave the electronics at home. You’re out in the wild, so appreciate it! MP3 players, handheld video games, tablets—leave them all behind. Consider going solar when charging your devices, too
Use Eco-Friendly Gear
Switching to more sustainable and responsibly sourced gear options is a big part of making your camping experience more green. Plastic tents, for instance, can sit in landfills for generations after their final use. For sleeping bags and tents, look for options made from 100% recycled materials. Nearly all tents come with some type of water-resistant coating as well as dyes, so aim for options that contain no toxic dyes and coatings that are solvent-free. If these options aren’t available to you, consider borrowing or purchasing used equipment to reduce manufacturing waste.
Dishes are another way to cut down on your environmental footprint. No matter how tempting, don’t resort to disposable plates and utensils—they’re super bad for the environment. Use reusable dishes instead, like lightweight titanium for example.
Ditch Plastic Water Bottles
Rolling up to a campsite with a few cases of plastic water bottles is just the worst thing ever. That’s a TON of waste, first of all. Second of all, if the campground requires you to carry out your trash, well that’s a whole bunch of stuff to pack out. Plus, plastic means chemicals are leaching into your drinking water—gross! Bring a reusable water bottle instead, along with a few gallons of extra water when you need a refill.
Take Care of Business—Responsibly!
Maybe this should have been #2 on the list, but either way, it’s time we all learned how to take care of our business in a way that’s respectful of the environment. If there’s no outhouse or composting toilet near your campsite, here’s what you need to do:
- Bring your own toilet paper (We like this one from Seventh Generation) and a bag to dispose of it in
- #1 or #2 it doesn’t matter, you need to find a secluded spot that’s at least 200 feet from the closest campsite or water source
- Dig a hole at least 6 inches deep, and promptly cover it after you’re finished
- Remember that bag you brought to dispose of the soiled toilet paper? Never leave that thing behind—make sure to camp it out or find a way to dispose of it properly
Fleas and ticks are horrible, annoying pests. They’re hard to get rid of, hard to live with, and just downright weird. Think about: They suck your blood, so they’re basically vampires, and when you look at them under a microscope, they look like aliens or some kind of twisted mutants. Turns out, the more research you do, the stranger they get. From amazing super powers to disgusting lifestyle habits, here’s 8 fascinating flea and tick facts you might not know.
Ticks Use Glue to Stick to You
Ever wonder why ticks are so good at sticking to their hosts? The answer is glue, or something very much like it. When a tick climbs onto a host to feed, their mouth secretes a liquid-concrete-like material called cementum. This same material helps the tick create a barbed feeding tube, making them even harder to remove. A tick’s saliva also contains a numbing agent with anti-inflammatory properties, which allows the parasite to feed unnoticed.
Fleas and Ticks Use Your Pet Like a Toilet
Fleas and ticks create a lot of waste when they eat. And because they feed on your pet’s body, guess where all that feces goes? You guessed it: Your pet. All those tiny black dots you see in your dog’s coat right around the bite site, yeah…that’s poop. Fleas produce tons of feces for their size, so much so that it’s actually the flea larvae’s primary source of food. Tick poop, while equally gross, is far more dangerous, as it can contain bacteria that spread Lyme disease.
They Can Go Months Without Eating
One of the reasons fleas and ticks are so hard to control is because they’ve evolved to be extremely durable organisms. One feature of this durability is that both parasites can survive extended periods without food. Fleas are known to go up to 100 days between blood meals (flea pupae up to a year), whereas ticks are said to be capable of going several years without feeding.
These Parasites Carry Their Own Parasites
When fleas infest your pet’s fur, they’re bringing some nasty friends along with them. Did you know a single flea can carry upwards of 150 parasitic mites? These mites transmit everything from tapeworms and bacteria to diseases such as typhus and cat scratch fever.
Fleas Are Superhero-Quality Jumpers
We all know fleas are talented jumpers, but this is ridiculous. Not only can fleas jump over 110 times their body length (which is like a human jumping over a skyscraper), but they can jump over 30,000 times without stopping for a rest—which is just insane! Craziest of all, when a flea jumps, it accelerates 20 times faster than the launch of a space shuttle!
Fleas Can Lay up to 50 Eggs a Day
While 20 is more the average, it’s not uncommon for a flea to lay 50 eggs in a single day. Just think: If a female lays 50 eggs in one day, and half those eggs are females, you could be facing over 20,000 fleas in as little as 60 days. In other words, a flea infestation can get out of hand in no time.
Fleas Can Cause Anemia
In severe cases, a flea infestation can drain so much blood from a host that anemia can occur. This happens almost exclusively in young animals, and is quite uncommon. In rare cases, blood transfusions are necessary.
Tick Bites Can Turn You Into a Vegetarian
Well, sort of. In some cases, a bite from a lone star tick can trigger an allergy to red meat in both dogs and humans. Severe Itching, hives and a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction can occur in individuals suffering from this peculiar side effect. Worst of all, no one really knows how long this tick-caused allergic reaction may last.
In case our name didn’t give it away, cedarwood oil is the driving force behind our pest control products here at Cedarcide. So naturally, the obvious question is: How does it work? How does cedarwood oil (aka cedar oil) kill bugs? While the answer can get a bit technical, there are 6 basic ways cedarwood oil works to kill and repel pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, mites and more. Here’s a simple outline of each one.
Most bugs are extremely sensitive to moisture loss, which is bad news for bugs that come into contact with cedarwood oil. Cedarwood oil is extremely effective at leaching moisture from insects and other bugs, leaving them dried out and eventually dead.
It Disrupts Their Pheromones
Pheromones are chemicals that many bugs use for navigation, mating, searching for food, as well as to regulate bodily functions. Cedarwood oil disrupts these pheromones which not only disorients the insects but interferes with their fundamental bodily processes like breathing. The disorientation helps repel insects and other bugs, the interference with their bodily mechanisms kills them.
It Dissolves Them
Insects in earlier life stages—eggs, larvae, pupae—are extremely vulnerable, so vulnerable in fact that cedarwood oil can dissolve them on contact. In adult insects, arachnids and other bugs, cedarwood oil helps dissolve their exoskeleton. This allows the essential oil to penetrate their shell, hastening the oil’s pest control effects.
Emulsification, or the breakdown of fat particles, is another way that cedarwood oil works to control bugs. Like many organisms, bugs require fat to live. By helping disintegrate this fat into smaller, more fluid parts, cedarwood oil attacks bugs from the inside out.
As mentioned above, cedarwood oil can interfere with bugs’ capacity to breathe. Unlike mammals, bugs breathe through openings located on the surface of their bodies. When faced with the lethal effects of cedarwood oil, bugs attempt to limit their exposure by closing these openings, which prevents them from breathing. In other words, the bugs suffocate themselves.
It Messes With Their Body Chemistry
Like most every living thing, bugs must maintain a specific chemical balance to stay alive. Any drastic changes in this balance can have deadly results. Cedarwood oil neutralizes the acidity within bugs’ bodies, effectively throwing this balance out of whack. As a result they cannot properly function, and shortly die.
Cold, snowy weather can make dog walking a dicey and unpleasant task. But no matter what’s happening outside, our pups still need their daily exercise. By following a few simple tips, winter dog walking can be a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your canine friend. Here’s what you need to do:
Many breeds do well in winter—Huskies, Malamutes, and Samoyeds, for example—but many do not. If your pup wasn’t built for the cold (or if they’re older, younger or sick), make sure to bundle them up before heading outside. Coats, sweaters, vests—there are many options to choose from. Make sure to bundle up yourself while you’re at it.
Because dogs’ paw pads are sensitive to cold temperatures, and because the snow can hide hazards like sharp objects and toxic de-icing salts, booties should play a role in nearly every winter dog walk. But before strapping them on your pup’s feet and heading for a walk, get them accustomed to wearing them first. It usually takes dogs a few days to get the hang of wearing them.
Metal poses several risks to dogs during winter walks. Firstly, if your pup were to lick or walk across an ice-caked metal surface they could become stuck and harm themselves. Secondly—and this is the scary one—coming into contact with frozen metal items like lamp posts or electrical boxes could actually electrocute your pet. Winter’s moist conditions, abundance of street salt, and tendency to interfere with electrical wiring all make for a dangerous combination. Just to be safe, steer clear of metal and metal surfaces when dog walking in winter.
Don’t Let Your Pup Eat Snow
There’s no telling what’s in or underneath the snow you come across during winter walks—which is why letting your pup eat snow is a big no-no. Antifreeze, toxic pesticides, harmful de-icing salts, animal waste, sharp objects—all could be lurking in the snow your pup tries to lick or eat. Even plain old snow can make your pup sick. Winter blap disease, which happens as a result of abundant snow consumption, can cause intestinal distress like vomiting and diarrhea.
Drink Plenty of Water
One way to keep your pup from eating snow on walks is to thoroughly hydrate them beforehand. Winter’s frigid temperatures have a way of drying out your pup. Not to mention that winter gear like sweaters and booties can rob your pup of much needed moisture. Always give your dog access to plenty of water before and after winter walks.
Look Out for Ice
Even the smallest sheet of ice can spell trouble for you and your pup. In addition to sharp edges potentially cutting your dog’s paws, a fall by either of you could cause injury to both of you. Take it slow, and always watch out for places where icy surfaces might be hiding.
Bag the Poop
Somehow somewhere dog owners got the idea they didn’t have to bag their pup’s poop during winter. This is not a good idea, nor a healthy one. While snow might hide the mess momentarily, dog poop becomes a problematic issue once the weather heats up again. Bacteria, pests and disease can all result from improperly disposed of dog poop. Keep your community safe and clean by always bagging dog poop—especially in winter.
Use the Sidewalk
As we’ve mentioned, snow can hide items that could harm your pet—like ice, sharp objects or chemicals. Considering this, we suggest sticking to sidewalks when doing your daily winter stroll. Plus, the dryer your pup stays the warmer they’ll stay, too. Playing in snow is certainly fine if you know the area and understand the safety concerns. But if you’re looking to maximize your dog’s exercise, sidewalks are the way to go.
Have Towels Ready
A dry towel by the front door after a winter walk is a must. Not only will it spare your carpet mud, snow and other messes, it’ll help warm your pup up after a chilly walk. Ice, snow, and salt can easily get lodged between your dog’s toes and throughout their coat when playing in the cold. Thoroughly toweling them off afterward is an important final step in keeping your dog safe and warm.
Flea and Tick Protection
Remember: Flea and ticks still bite in winter. Protect from bites by applying a naturally-sourced insect repellent to both you and your pup before starting your daily walk.
No matter how bundled up your pup is they’re going to get cold at some point, which is why paying attention to their body language is key. Watch closely, looking out for signs that your dog is becoming too cold or uncomfortable. Failure to notice such signs could have serious consequences, such as hypothermia or frostbite. Here’s what you need to look out for:
- Barking, whining or any other verbal sign of discomfort
- Suddenly stops playing or moving—Your dog could be uncomfortable, or their pads might be hurting from snow or ice exposure
- Signs of Hypothermia in dogs: Intense shivering, lethargy, shallow breathing, loss of appetite, muscle stiffness, weak pulse
- Signs of Frostbite in dogs: Red, gray, blue, white or pale skin; shriveled skin; pain in the ears, tail, paws or other extremities; skin that remains cold to the touch
The coldest days of the year are here—and this can be a confusing time for dog owners. “My dog loves playing in the snow, but is it safe?” “How do I protect my dog from the cold when we go outside?” “How cold is too cold?” Many questions arise when it comes to our dogs and potentially dangerous weather. Let us help clear things up. Here’s a quick primer on how to manage your pup in freezing temperatures.
How Cold is Too Cold for My Dog?
In this regard, there’s no straightforward answer—it depends on the type and size of your dog, along with several other factors. What one dog might find uncomfortably cold, another might consider toasty. The spectrum is wide. As you might have guessed, smaller dogs with thinner coats are in general more vulnerable to cold temperatures. Here’s a few more rules of thumb: Starting at around 45°F, you need to more closely monitor your pet’s behavior for signs of discomfort (we’ll talk more about those signs later). Once you hit the 30s, those with smaller, older and less-healthy dogs should consider seeking warmth. And below that, all owners should start prepping their pups to return home, no dog should remain in such low temperatures for extended periods of time. But again, these are broad parameters, and each dog will react to the cold differently. Other things to consider: Coat type, weight, age, fitness, breed, wind chill factor, moisture.
For a visual guide, check out this chart by Veterinarian Dr. Kim Smyth:
How Can I Protect My Dog From the Cold?
First things first, closely supervising your pet is essential in cold temperatures. Be on the lookout for any behavior that’s out of the ordinary. If you and your pup engage in activities that require extended exposure to colder weather, consider purchasing him dog booties and a winter coat (the booties will also protect his paws from ice and de-icing salts). Playing in the snow is also usually fine, with one exception. If the snow is topped with a hard icy crust, we advise skipping the snow play. These surfaces can harm your pup’s pads, or even cut his legs.
You can help also prevent frostbite by quickly removing ice and snow from your dog’s paws after he’s been outside (pay special attention to any snow or ice balls that may have formed in between the toes).
How Do I Know if My Dog is Too Cold—What Are the Signs?
The following are signs your pup could be getting too cold:
- Barking, whining or any other verbal sign of discomfort
- Suddenly stops playing or moving—they could be uncomfortable, or their pads might be hurting from snow or ice exposure
- Signs of Hypothermia in dogs: Intense shivering, lethargy, shallow breathing, loss of appetite
muscle stiffness, weak pulse
- Signs of Frostbite in dogs: Red, gray, blue, white or pale skin; shriveled skin; pain in the ears, tail, paws or other extremities; skin that remains cold to the touch
What Do I Do if My Dog Gets Too Cold?
If you see any of the hypothermia or frostbite signs mentioned above, consult your vet immediately. For hypothermia, you can help raise your dog’s body temperature by placing warm water bottles wrapped in towels under their armpits and chest. Wrapping them in a blanket warmed in the dryer is also effective. (Never use hair dryers or electric blankets, though, as these can cause burns to hypothermic animals). If you’re worried your pup might have frostbite, apply warm—but not hot—water to frostbitten extremities to provide relief. Be careful not to rub or massage areas suspected of frostbite, doing so can cause irreversible damage to the body. If you’re worried your pup might be a little too cold, but they don’t have frostbite or hypothermia, simply bring them inside, wrap them in a blanket and monitor them until they warm back up. If at any point you become concerned about the health of your dog, again, consult a vet immediately.
Do Fleas and Ticks Bite in the Winter?
Yes! While these pests thrive in humid, warm conditions, they can also live (and bite!) throughout the winter. It’s true they cannot endure freezing weather for extended periods, but they often find ways to survive anyway. In fact, some species of tick are most active in winter. Adult blacklegged ticks, for example, take their first blood meals during late fall or early winter. The winter tick is another especially durable individual, living exclusively during the year’s coldest months.
How Do Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter
Whether hiding in leaf litter, attaching to a warm host, or overwintering in a garage or animal den, fleas and ticks have several methods for surviving freezing conditions. While fleas cannot hibernate or enter a dormant stage, ticks can. Going dormant on a host or under brush is actually a tick’s primary means of remaining alive through winter. Fleas, however, mostly seek warmth in shelters or hosts—like inside your home or on your pet.
Do I Still Need to Treat for Fleas and Ticks in the Winter?
Absolutely! Regardless of your environment, we suggest protecting your pets, your home, and yourself from fleas and ticks year-round. The risks are simply too great. Halting pest prevention, even for just a few weeks, can have frightening results. A single flea slipping through the cracks can lead to a full blown flea population in no time. Ticks are another matter entirely—we all know how dangerous they can be. We don’t even need to mention the diseases a tick bite can spread (but we will! Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, American boutonneuse fever, Powassan virus, tularemia, Colorado tick fever, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, tick paralysis and more).
How Can I protect Myself and My Pets from Fleas and Ticks
Prevention is your best friend. First, you need to ensure your home and yard are inhospitable to fleas and ticks. Remove all sources of clutter and debris from your lawn—this is where fleas and ticks will likely hide during cold snaps. A monthly preventative yard treatment with a naturally-sourced outdoor pesticide is also recommended (we do not suggest using traditional, toxic-based pesticides on your lawn or garden for the safety of your pets and family). For more detailed instructions on safeguarding your yard from pests, click here.
For indoor prevention, regularly spray possible entry points—like doorways, window sills, baseboards, attics, basements, etc—with a non-toxic indoor pesticide to create a repellent barrier against fleas and ticks. For more tips on preventing fleas and ticks from entering your home, click here.
For you and your pets, simply reach for a naturally-sourced insect repellent, like Cedarcide Original. Make sure to apply it before enjoying outdoor activities like hiking or visiting the dog park.
Every year, over 100,000 horses are transported out of the U.S. for slaughter. After learning more about this atrocity, we at Cedarcide could not sit back and do nothing. So, in 2016, the Cedarcide Horse Rescue was born. Our mission is not only to save horses, but to increase awareness and spread our own passion for animals in the hopes of promoting change. The Cedarcide Horse Rescue began with Piglet (aka Cowboy) and Legacy, two graceful and gentle geldings, but has since grown to a team of six beautiful horses. With the continued support of you, our customers, we hope to save even more horses in 2018.
While the hard work of our employees and generosity of our customers gave us the means to build and maintain the rescue, for us the Cedarcide Horse Rescue is all about the horses, each unique personality in the bunch. Today, in celebration of National Day of the Horse we’d like to introduce you to our awesome crew of horses! (Some of the horses are still getting settled in, so they declined to be interviewed for this blog post).
Piglet (aka Cowboy)
A quirky ten-year-old gelding, Piglet is the charismatic jokester of the Cedarcide Horse Rescue. With his playful attitude and positive spirit, he always finds a way to keep his fellow horses and the Cedarcide staff on their toes. Piglet is the type of horse that warms to new people quickly, wowwing everyone he meets with his keen intelligence and infectious enthusiasm.
If there’s an alpha in the group, Legacy is the man. An eight-year-old gelding, Legacy spent several years on the race track, winning over $150,000 during his illustrious career. Draped in a stunning rusty-red coat, Legacy moves with a powerful and regal stature that instantly commands respect. Sharing a carrot with this vegetable connoisseur is the quickest way to Legacy’s heart.
Beaming with curiosity, Starboy is the most charming horse in our rescue. Voted “most popular” by his peers, Starboy lives for two main purposes: apples and meeting new people.
Mystery and cool surround Rusty, the “lone wolf” of the Cedarcide Horse Rescue. As a mature, twelve-year-old gelding, Rusty’s just as peaceful and contented as you might expect. Rusty is wise, savoring life through casual grazing and leisurely strolls through the rescue grounds. He might seem aloof at first, but once you’re in his good graces you’ve got a horse companion for life.
From large family gatherings and comfort food to holiday decorations and crackling fireplaces, winter is an amazing time of year. But amid all the gift buying and meal preparation, don’t forget about your pets. Winter might be a magical time for us, but it presents unique hazards for our cats and dogs. By making yourself aware of these dangers and planning accordingly, you can save your pet a terrifying visit to the vet—and maybe even save their life, too. Here’s 6 winter dangers every per owner should watch our for.
Hypothermia (or extremely low body temperature) is one of the most serious dangers your pet faces during winter. Coma, organ failure, and even death can result if not promptly treated. Sick, underweight and older pets—as well as those with little fur—are especially vulnerable to hypothermia, and should be kept indoors during winter when at all possible. It’s important to monitor your pet during winter, as early detection is crucial to tackling hypothermia. Here’s the common symptoms to look out for:
- Intense shivering
- Difficulty breathing/shallow breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle stiffness
- Weak pulse
If you fear your pet may have hypothermia, contact your vet immediately. To help raise your pet’s body temperature, you can place warm water bottles wrapped in towels under their armpits and chest. Wrapping them in a blanket warmed in the dryer is also effective. (Never use methods such as hair dryers or electric blankets, as these can cause burns to hypothermic animals). To prevent hypothermia, never let your pet endure cold weather for extended periods of time, and consider bundling them up in warm clothing whenever the temperature drops.
Freezing of the skin and tissue, commonly known as frostbite, is one of winter’s scariest threats. Exposed to sub-freezing temperatures and chilling winds, your cat or dog can succumb to frostbite in only a matter of minutes. From permanent tissue damage to loss of limbs to death, frostbite should be at the top of every pet owner’s mind as fall and winter roll around. Frostbite symptoms include:
- Red, gray, blue, white or pale skin
- Shriveled skin
- Pain in the ears, tail, paws or other extremities
- Skin that remains cold to the touch over long periods of time
You can help prevent frostbite by quickly removing ice and snow from your pet’s paws after they’ve been outside (pay special attention to any snow or ice balls that may have formed in between their toes). If you worry your cat or dog may have frostbite, contact your vet right away. Applying warm—but not hot—water to frostbitten extremities can provide relief. Be careful not to rub or massage areas suspected of frostbite, doing so can cause irreversible damage.
From small spills to slow vehicle leaks, antifreeze can kill your cat or dog. And unfortunately, due to its sweet smell and taste, animals often confuse the substance for something edible. If you suspect antifreeze poisoning, and your pet seems disoriented, is excessively drooling, or simply acting abnormal, consult a vet immediately. Remember to always store antifreeze out of reach of your pets, regardless of the season.
In winter, cats and smaller dogs will occasionally seek warmth near running vehicles. While most will curl up next to the exhaust, some kittens have been known to work their way under the hood of a vehicle for added heat and shelter. To guard you and your neighbors’ pets from possible disaster, check your car before taking off each day. You might just save a little life by doing so.
Salts used to melt snow and ice pose several health risks to pets. If ingested, these substances can cause mouth burns, painful gastrointestinal distress, and in rare cases even death. More commonly, these salts will irritate or damage your pet’s paw pads and skin. Thankfully, there are ways you can help protect your pet from such injuries:
- Place waterproof booties on their feet before walks in snowy or icy weather
- Using warm water, wash your pet’s feet, legs and underbelly after winter walks
- When treating your own sidewalks and driveway, choose pet-safe de-icers—like sand, gravel or kitty litter
- On walks, avoid areas that tend to be heavily salted
- Contact your local city officials about switching to pet-friendly de-icing methods
As the cold returns and pests move indoors, homeowners commonly arm their houses with rodenticides, poisons intended to control rats and mice. Sadly, rodenticides represent one of the most common sources of pet poisoning during the fall and winter months. For the sake of your pets (and family), we suggest going natural with your rodent control instead. Regardless of what direction you choose, never place rodenticides in areas accessible to your cat, dog or other pets. (Similarly, we suggest going non-toxic with your insect control, too).
What Are Chiggers and What Do They Look Like?
Red bugs, mower’s mites, berry bugs, harvest bugs, chiggers—the arachnids scientifically known as trombiculidae mites go by many names. Ranging in size from 0.3mm to 0.4mm (1/60 of an inch), chiggers are nearly microscopic organisms known for their extremely itchy “bites.” Most active during spring, summer and fall, chiggers have four life stages: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. But only the larval stage individuals—in other words, the babies—are parasitic.
Found in moist vegetation worldwide (like grassy lawns, bushes and forests), these red-orange mites attach themselves to a host—a reptile, rabbit, insect, or human for example—in order to feed on their skin. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not bite or burrow into their hosts; instead, they inject digestive enzymes into their host’s skin in order to create a hole from which they can feed. After sucking up this liquified skin meal, the baby chigger drops to the ground, where it matures into its next life stage.
What Do Chigger “Bites” Look Like?
Appearing 6-48 hours after the chigger has fed, chigger “bites” consist of red bumps infamous for their intense itchiness. These irritating lesions usually occur in clusters in or around areas where skin and clothing are in close proximity—like the waist, ankles, armpits, crotch-area and back. While the first several days are the worst, these bumps can persist for weeks, even months in a milder form.
How Do You Prevent Chigger “Bites?”
Like with mosquitos and ticks, you need to use a repellent when venturing into chigger territory. Because of the toxicity of traditional bug sprays, we recommend using only non-toxic pesticides and repellents. For the sake of your pet’s well-being, treat them to repel chiggers, too. For additional protection, we recommend wearing long clothing when walking in suspected chigger areas, being sure to tuck pants into socks, and shirt into pants. After returning from these areas, bathe immediately in warm, soapy water. All possibly infested clothing should be promptly washed in warm/hot water, too.
How Do You Get Chiggers?
This a two part question: (1) How does one get bitten by chiggers? And (2) How do chiggers get into our lawns. Walking through a wooded area, tall grass or weeds, or on lawns not treated with pesticides, is how most people pick up their first chigger “bites”. This is also a common way chigger populations are introduced into our yards, as chiggers readily hitch a ride on our clothing only to be dropped somewhere near our homes. Other common hosts such as rodents, turtles, small birds, and more also contribute to the spread of chiggers—which is why a regular outdoor pest-control regimen is encouraged during the warmer seasons.
What To Do If You Have Chiggers
If you fear chiggers have invaded your lawn, or if you want to prevent that from happening, you’ll need to treat your lawn with a naturally sourced outdoor pest control solution. In the heavy chigger months between spring and fall, we recommend treating your entire yard at least once per month to help keep your yard chigger-free.
If you’re anything like us, leaving your dog at home when traveling is hard. The thought of being away from your best animal friend for a week or longer is enough to give any serious pet-owner separation anxiety. Luckily, there’s an easy solution: bring your dog along for the ride, or flight. Vacationing with pets is the absolute best, but without adequate preparation and careful planning, it can be the absolute worst. Follow the tips below to make sure you and your pup share a safe and memorable traveling experience.
Pack the Necessary Gear
Traveling with your dog, while rewarding, can be quite a handful. Remembering to bring all the necessary gear will make the experience much simpler, and ultimately much more fun. At the minimum, do not forget the following items:
- Food and treats, enough for the entire trip
- Filtered or bottled water (For the sake of our planet, try to avoid plastic bottles)
- Food and water bowls
- A dog-specific first aid kit
- A carrier crate
- A leash or harness
- Health certificate from your vet, and other necessary medical records.
- Poop bags
- Naturally sourced flea & tick spray (apply daily, and before walks or hikes)
- Your dog’s favorite toys and blankets.
- Necessary medications
- Spare set of current ID tags.
- Cleaning materials in case of of accidents (wet wipes, paper towels, natural cleaner, etc)
Prep Your Pet For Travel
The quality of your dog’s travel experience will depend largely on how well you prepare them for the trip. Since they’ll be spending lots of time in their crate over the coming days, it’s vital that you acclimate your pet to their travel crate. In the weeks leading up to your trip, get your pup used to their carrier by serving them meals inside of it, and encouraging them to nap or spend the night inside at least once, too. Do not force the carrier on your dog if they’re not crate-trained; doing so might make them afraid of it. Instead, allow them to explore the crate for themselves, encouraging them with treats and positive reinforcement when necessary.
If you’re driving instead of flying, take a few test drives with your dog secured inside their travel crate. This will accomplish two things: First, you’ll help them get used to riding inside a car while in their crate, and second, you’ll learn how well your dog handles car travel—in terms of motion sickness, accidents, general behavior, etc.
Before Traveling, Visit Your Veterinarian
Because not all dogs are good candidates for air or road travel or both, it’s important to schedule a checkup with your vet beforehand. Most airlines require a health certificate from your vet dated within 10–30 days of your scheduled departure, so be sure to acquire the proper paperwork during your visit, too. Pet health requirements vary based on airline and location, so contact your chosen airline and the foreign office of your destination country before your vet visit.
Choose Pet-Friendly Lodging
Some hotels only allow certain sizes and breeds of dog, while many do not allow any pets at all. Doing some preliminary research on pet-friendly lodging will save you a lot of headache in the long run (tip: BringFido is a good resource for planning pet-friendly vacations). Even within pet-friendly environments, remember to respect fellow guests by keeping your pup as quiet and calm as possible. Also, never leave your dog unattended in a hotel or motel room—dogs in unfamiliar locations often become anxious, and will bark loudly or possibly even damage their surroundings.
Choose the Right Crate
While the size and shape will depend upon breed and age, there are in general two types of carrier crates: soft-sided and hard-sided. In terms of flying, soft crates are better for carry-on, and hard-sided are better for cargo travel. Regardless, use a USDA-approved shipping crate with plenty of ventilation that’s large enough for your dog to stand up, move around, and lie down in. It’s extremely important to tag your crate with your dog’s name, the words “live animal,” and your final destination, personal phone number and address. To make your pet more comfortable, we recommend lining the crate with bedding and including some of your dog’s favorite toys and blankets in the crate, too. If you’re driving instead of flying, always keep your dog inside a secured carrier when on the road.
Protect Your Dog From Biting Insects & Other Pests
Even though your dog is always at risk of contracting illnesses or bites from bugs like mosquitoes and ticks, he or she is especially vulnerable when traveling. For your dog’s safety, apply a naturally sourced, pet-safe repellent to your pet daily and before outdoor activities such as hiking or visiting dog parks.
Prepare For Your Flight
First, always contact your chosen airline before flying, as each one has their own rules and stipulations regarding pets and how they should travel. Next, book you and your dog’s flight at the same time and as early as possible—most airlines have limited space for pets, so early booking is essential. For the safety of your pet, make sure to fly a direct, non-stop flight, and try to aim for a weekday departure. Airports are typically less busy on these days, which should help limit potential complications and travel stress. To prevent accidents, do not feed your dog for 4–6 hours before flying, and make sure to take them for a walk as close to departure time as possible. Lastly, make sure your pup has access to water during travel—risking an accident is better than risking dehydration!
When Driving, Adhere to the Following Guidelines
- Even with cracked windows at only 85°F, the inside of your car can reach 110°F in just 10 minutes. Please, please, please never leave your dog in the car unattended.
- Reconsider letting your dog hang their head out of the car window. The ASPCA warns this can lead to inner ear damage and even lung infections.
- The AAA estimates that over 30,000 auto accidents are caused by unrestrained dogs each year. Always have your pet in their crate and secured when road-tripping.
- Plan out your trip in advance, making sure that all scheduled destinations are pet-friendly and can sufficiently accommodate your pup.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends pet owners stop every 2-3 hours to allow their dogs to walk around, grab a drink, and go to the bathroom.
- Keep cool, filtered water close at hand to ensure your pup stays hydrated between pit stops.
- Keep your pet’s medical records handy, as you might need to show them to authorities when crossing state lines.
- Keep your car well ventilated during road trips—this will guarantee your pup’s carrier receives plenty of fresh air.
Try Soothing Supplements
Natural supplements like CBD oil and essential oils are becoming a popular approach for keeping pups calm during travel. In fact, a 2006 study confirmed that lavender essential oil helped alleviate travel-induced anxiety in canines. Cool, huh?
Go for a Long Walk Once You Arrive
Once you reach your final destination, but before checking into your hotel, take your dog for a long, exploratory walk. This will give your dog the opportunity to become more familiar with their surroundings, while stretching their legs and going to the restroom. A nice long walk will also exercise your dog and relax them a bit, making them more receptive to the unfamiliar experiences they’ll encounter over the next several days.