Easy Fixes for 5 Common Pet Care Problems

November 14, 2014

Help! My Dog Rolled In What?

In 1972, we owned our first Great Dane, a big fawn male my husband named Clyde. We lived in a somewhat rural area, and our property backed up to a farm. If Clyde escaped, he headed under the back fence, not to be seen for hours.

Even though Clyde was neutered, he had a girlfriend over on the farm. We all knew where he went because one day, he brought her home to us, a gorgeous Golden Retriever   She stayed several days with Clyde before her owner saw our post at the local market.

A couple weeks later, Clyde got loose again and flew under that fence. When he returned at dinnertime, he was filthy and reeked of something dead. Trying to rid that dog of the odor of what was most likely the rotting carcass of a dead cow was worse than trying to remove the smell of skunk from an animal. It took several baths of tomato juice, strong shampoo, and a night in the garage before we could stand to be near the big guy.

Clyde was back to normal, only to get too close to a skunk. If you have dealt with this problem, you know how difficult it is to remove those pungent animal odors. Bathing the dog several times in tomato juice is the most common remedy but it doesn’t always work.

Skunk spray is a biological oil, so an oil cutting shampoo is required. Spray the dog with a hose and then spray with white vinegar. Be sure to protect the dog’s eyes. Wait a few minutes and rinse. Follow this procedure with a regular bath using a shampoo meant to cut grease and oil. This step may be required several times before the odor is gone.

Another idea is to mix a regular bottle of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ Cup of baking soda and 2 Tbsp. of liquid soap. Wet the dog thoroughly and rub the mixture into his body, making sure to protect his eyes. Rinse and repeat. (www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-the-Skunk-Smell-On-Pets) This last suggestion sounds good, but I would be sure to use Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, since it is used to clean seabirds after an oil spill. Work quickly and wear latex gloves to protect your hands.

Ticked Off

Most parents and pet owners are faced at some point with the task of removing a tick from a child or pet. It isn’t always easy to accomplish. I used tweezers to dislodge these disease-carrying critters, but there were other and possibly better suggestions from those I queried.

One idea was to place a hot match on the back of a tick so one could grab the head as it pulls out of the skin. Others suggested covering the tick with petroleum jelly or nail polish to suffocate it so the head would detach from its host. My favorite was to soak a cotton ball with liquid soap and cover the tick with the solution. Again, the idea was to encourage the tick to pull its head out.

The Center for Disease Control says the goal should be to removed the tick as quickly as possible and says to avoid the above mentioned remedies. In fact, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says that if a tick is removed within 24 hours of attachment, the chances of Lyme Disease transmitting to the host are much lower.

The FDA suggests using tweezers with a fine point to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Tug gently to dislodge the head from the skin. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly with soap and warm water and wash your hands as well. Clean the tweezers with a disinfectant. I always swabbed the skin where the tick had lodged with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.

Be sure to treat your pet year-around with the flea and tick preventative of your choice.

Detangle Matted Pet Hair

Years ago, my little Yorkie required daily brushing to keep his fur soft and silky. I used the same product on him that I used on my daughter’s long hair to keep the knots out. Today, they sell products specifically designed for use on dogs or cats.

With long-haired cats, I find a tool called the Furminator™ works best if used regularly. With proper use and daily brushing, it’s easy to keep the animal’s fur free of tangles.

If you must de-tangle a very matted dog or cat, be prepared to bring out the scissors. Some mats just won’t come loose and must be cut out. Sometimes a comb or slicker brush will help remove knots and mats. Just be sure to remove the problems before the animal is bathed.

A professional groomer may have better luck combing out the knots and mats.

Kitten Bites & Scratches

Experts say you should ignore little bites and scratches and reward good behavior. Perhaps that works in some cases. I found that what worked best with 3 of our kittens was a tap (only a tap) on the nose combined with a firm “no bite” or “no scratch.” Cats do not like the tap and catch on quickly. You could also keep a spray bottle of water handy when you are playing with your kitten. When she bites or scratches in play, a quick spray with a firm “no” might stop her. Just be consistent with whatever method you use.


You may not be able to cure your pet of arthritis, but adding a joint supplement can certainly make his life easier. We give our pets Maximum Motion by PureZa for Life. Just add it to the animal’s food twice a day. Gator’s mobility has noticeably improved in the 8 weeks he has been taking Maximum Motion, and I’m grateful for that. This product is safe for cats and dogs.

Irritable Digestive System

If your dog or cat often has a fussy tummy, Extreme Enzymes from PureZa for Life may be the solution. It helps with hairball issues, chronic stomach upsets, nervous digestive systems and more.

Hopefully, these 5 tips will make life with your dogs and cats a bit easier.

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