Calendula, used to sooth cuts and rashes and any kind of wound, is a homeopathic remedy that no first-aid kit should be without. Calendula is made from the Garden marigold (Calendula officinalis).  This flower has healing power that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. I’ve been using it at Save A Dog for a number of years and it works with amazing speed and efficiency.

I use it in the gel form (made by Boiron) on female dogs who have recently been spayed to help to keep the spay incision closed and clean. Also, if a dog gets a cut, I immediately run for the Calendula. The only caution about Calendula is to avoid putting it on a dirty wound because it’s healing properties will close up an open wound. So if you have a wound that needs to drain, like a dog bite, do not use Calendula.

It also comes on a little sugar pellet that you can pop in your mouth for generalized healing. For dogs, I like to mix it in water and then use it to rinse a dog’s mouth when they are recovering from dental surgery. Everything heals up so fast. Just drop a couple of the little pellets into 4 ounces of distilled or purified water, let it dissolve, then stir it briskly. Take a teaspoon and drop it onto the dog’s tongue or squirt it with a syringe all inside the dog’s mouth.

True story: The other night I noticed that my Jack Russell was limping. I picked him up and noticed that his rear pad was swollen and had two bright red cuts on it. I immediately reached for the calendula gel and squeezed a generous amount on his pad while my husband held him. We kept him off the floor for about 30 minutes before letting him walk on his pad. (He enjoyed hanging out on the sofa with us). Within the hour he was putting weight on his foot and by the next morning his pad was back to its normal size with just the faint hint of a tiny bump remaining.

Once again, Calendula saved me from an evening vet visit. I never cease to be amazed by this homeopathic remedy.


Safe Ear Mite Treatment

By: Shirley Moore

This is a great way to treat ear mites safely and effectively. Especially if you want to avoid chemicals altogether, for example if you have a pregnant dog or cat. I have used it on a pregnant terrier who had a terrible case of ear mites and it did the trick. During her spay surgery a few weeks later, I asked the vet to look way down inside her ears with a scope and there were no more mites. She stopped scratching from the first dose. Prior to that she was scratching and crying.

Step 1:

  • Mix 1 Tbsp Olive Oil with 2 vitamin E capsules (open the capsules and squeeze into the olive oil).
  • Stir and drop a couple of drops in each ear with an eye dropper. Try to get it in as deeply as possible. Massage the ear. This soothes the ear and smothers the mites. It also prepares the ear for step 2. Use a cotton ball to wipe any debris from the ear. The dog will shake his or her head and then you can wipe the ear.
  • Do this every other day for 3 treatments. You can cut it down to two but most directions say 3 days. Let the ear rest for two days before step 2.

Step 2:

  • Purchase some Yellow Dock Tea from your local health food store. It’s best to get this where they sell it in bulk. Put 1 tsp in a tea ball or strainer and immerse it in 1 cup of boiling water.
  • Let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea ball and let the tea cool.
  • If you can’t find the actual Yellow Dock Tea, you can purchase Yellow Dock Tincture instead. In that case you will mix one drop of tincture with 9 drops water.
  • With an eye dropper, drop a couple drops of the Yellow Dock Tea in each ear (then let the dog out as she will shake her head).
  • Do this every other day for 3 treatments.

That was all that was needed. No more mites, no more scratching, an no risk to nursing pups.



What Service Does your Dog Need during the Wellness Exam?

  1. A complete physical exam to detect any obvious health issues and to provide the vet a baseline for future exams.
  2. A heartworm/lyme test. Most vets perform a 3DX or 4DX snap test to determine is your dog has a tick- or mosquito-borne disease. The 4DX test is to test for Heartworm disease, Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis/Anaplasmosis.
  3. A blood test such as CBC for a basic chemical profile. This is especially helpful if your dog is a senior or if you suspect any underlying health issues.
  4. C6 test (if your dog tests positive for Lyme disease, you will want to know specifics on what the dog’s antibody levels are and this serves as a baseline for you to determine if treatment was effective or not). More below:

This test is called a Quantitative C6 and takes about 1 week for results. It actually quantifies the antibody level, or gives a specific number of antibodies. Based on this, we can determine if treatment is recommended. The Quantitative C6 also gives us a baseline for future monitoring, allowing us to determine if treatment was effective, or if it needs to be performed or redone in the future.

The key point about this C6 quantitative test is that the level correlates with the level of circulating antigen-antibody complexes, which are the components thought to cause the dog significant pathology, such as life-threatening kidney disease. The C6 test is about $115.

  1. We also recommend a urine test to check for protein in the urine. This includes a full urinalysis and quantitative protein check if necessary. This is recommended as a screen for Lyme nephritis (kidney disease), especially in high risk breeds such as Labs, Golden Retrievers and Shelties. This test is about $55. This test also provides other valuable information on general health.
  2. Heartworm preventive pills (only available from your vet or by prescription). Generally Interceptor is recommended over Heartguard as it’s safer for Collie and Australian Shepherd breeds and it has a reach-back effect of up to 4 months.

If you’re worried about lyme disease, see the articles on Lyme Disease in this blog.

Before allowing your vet to administer any vaccines, be sure to read the other blogs on this Web site. Certain vaccines have adverse side effects that you may not see for a few months, but vets only consider it an adverse reaction if it happens within a day or so. My advice is to avoid bordetella, lyme, and lepto vaccines in general as all can lead to chronic disease.



Boarding your dog might be detrimental to your dog’s health, especially if you use a facility that requires the Bordetella or Distemper vaccines.

Bordetella, better known as “kennel cough” is not a disease that is preventable by vaccination. This upper respiratory infection is not much different from a human cold. You cannot protect your dog from kennel cough with this vaccine any more than you can protect yourself from the common cold with a vaccine. In fact, subjecting your dog to this vaccine actually suppresses the dog’s immune system. We learned this the hard way at Save A Dog. When we’ve had kennel cough in our shelter the vaccinated dogs got sicker and took longer to recover. The few dogs that developed pneumonia were dogs that had recently been vaccinated with the bordetalla vaccine.

Distemper is part of a combination vaccine called distemper/parvo, or DA2PP. This is a booster given to puppies in a series, or once if your dog is over six months. Once your dog is a year old, it does not need to be repeated again. In fact, all 27 Veterinary teaching hospitals changed their protocol for the distemper vaccine. Studies show that this vaccine not only does NOT provide additional protection after a year, but that it can cause damage to your dog’s health. Don’t be pressured into giving this potentially dangerous vaccine if your dog has already had it as an adult. Vaccine expert, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says that the vaccine is 98% effective at 15 weeks of age and that your dog’s immune system has a memory for vaccines, so one vaccine affords lifetime protection. He has tested this vaccine on many dogs with subsequent blood work (titers) and has not had to revaccinate any of his test dogs again. Ask for a titer test during your dog’s wellness visit and bring the results with you when you board your dog.

Subjecting your dog to any vaccine prior to boarding is a huge mistake, in my opinion. Vaccines suppress the immune system for approximately two weeks, so if your dog is vaccinated just before boarding, your dog might be going into a stressful situation in a compromised state of health. Stress breaks down the immune system even without a vaccine, so it makes no sense to have your dog subjected to these extra vaccines that aren’t even required by law. Pet owners might not be aware that vaccines contain cancer-causing ingredients such as aluminum hydroxide, formaldehyde, and mercury. Is it worth risking your dog to cancer for the convenience of using one of these boarding kennels?

So if your boarding kennel or doggy daycare requires these vaccines, run the other way. There are plenty of places and even in-home pet sitters who would love your business and your dog will thank you for it.

Read Vaccine Expert Dr. Jean Dodd’s Warning about the Distemper Vaccine:

Dogs’ and cats’ immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus (MLV) vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (ie: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper).

If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not “boosted” nor are more memory cells induced.

Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.”


“Puppies receive antibodies through their mother’s milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced.

Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system.

A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year, 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity.”

How to Prepare Your Dog for Boarding

The best way to prepare your dog for boarding is to strengthen your dog’s immune system.

  • Make sure you feed a healthy diet that will provide your dog with real nutrition. You can keep track of the best pet food and check up on the pet food recalls by going to the Web site: http://truthaboutpetfood2.com and sign up on their email blog.
  • Certain vitamins like the B vitamins, serve to calm nerves and act as de-stressors for your dog. Vitamin C helps to fight kennel cough. At Save A Dog we use Dr. Harvey’s Multi-vitamin powder. In addition to the basic vitamins, it contains bee pollen, spirulina, lecithin, and many other ingredients that boost the immune system to fight kennel cough and other diseases. We carry this in our shelter store.
  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a popular treatment for gastro-intestinal disorders and a host of other ills. We’ve used it to shorten the duration of kennel cough and we’ve seen the symptoms disappear in as little as 3 days. GSE is also an effective treatment of giardia, another disease often seen in kennels.
  • Probiotics and digestive enzymes will protect your dog’s intestinal tract to lessen your dog’s chance of intestinal distress and resulting diarrhea, which kenneled dogs are prone to get. We carry the NaturVet Digestive Enzymes with Prebiotics and Probiotics. You can also get probiotics at your local health food store.

Vote with your Feet!

Boarding kennel vaccine requirements are not based on science at all. The more pet owners speak up for against these vaccination requirements, the more the trend will change and more boarding kennels will opt for a more holistic protocol. You can offer to sign a waiver that you choose not to vaccinate. If your boarding kennel, day care, or groomer requires these vaccines, vote with your feet. If your boarding kennel or doggy day care does not require these vaccines, send me their name and I will recommend them.

Recommended Websites:








Lyme Prevention

By: Shirley Moore


(Originally published 04/27/2011)

The ticks are out in full force so I’ve been doing some more research on the best and safest preventive measure against Lyme disease. I’ve come to the conclusion that homeopathic Ledum is the best defense against Lyme disease (for dogs and humans alike).  Here’s a FAQ sheet on Lyme prevention.

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme disease is caused by infection with a bacterium called a spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) and is transmitted to humans by infected ticks (Ixodes scapularis and I. Pacificus).

Will Frontline prevent Lyme? No. Frontline will not prevent Lyme. It doesn’t repel ticks at all and the tick still delivers the spirochete before it dies.

But why does my vet tell me that Frontline prevents Lyme? In laboratory tests the tick takes 48 hours to infect the dog. The premise is that the tick will die before it has a chance to infect the dog. More proof is coming out that the local ticks deliver the spirochete faster, hence Frontlined dogs are contracting Lyme disease. It makes perfect sense that wild life is more robust in its natural environment than in a laboratory. It’s too bad it took so long for the medical community to figure that out. Historically, we’ve seen many dogs with Lyme disease who have been Frontlined, both with the Save A Dog volunteer’s dogs as well as our adopter’s dogs. It might be a hard sell to convince some of the high end veterinarians who sell the preventive to let go of that idea or of the revenue.

Is there anything I can put on my dog to keep the ticks off? There are virtually no benign drops or sprays available as most contain pesticides. It is a known fact that pesticides cause cancer. Therefore, in my opinion, using spot-on products is like burning your house down to get rid of ants. Read your ingredients as there are some oils and herbs that will deter ticks.

Is there something I can put in my dog’s food to keep the ticks off? Yes. Garlic and brewer’s yeast is well known as a deterrent to keep the bugs off of dogs. It’s safe and it’s been used for years. You can buy it in a tablet or get it in a powder from most health food stores. http://www.holisticpetinfo.com/conditions/immune_support.htm is a helpful Web site. They also sell Moducare, which is touted by holistic vets as building the immune system against Lyme and other diseases. Astragalus is also well known as a good defense against Lyme disease as it builds up the dog’s defense system against Lyme.

Isn’t garlic toxic to dogs? No, actually it’s onions that are toxic to dogs, but people sometimes confuse garlic and onions. See http://www.examiner.com/pets-in-denver/garlic-for-dogs-friend-or-foe for more information.

What can I put on my lawn that’s safe for dogs? There’s a product called  Garlic Barrier that you can spray on your lawn to keep the ticks away. It’s safe for pets. http://www.garlicbarrier.com/ and it’s sold at Home Depot .

What can I give my dog after they’ve been bitten by a tick? A really good defense against Lyme disease is homeopathic Ledum. Homeopathy strengthens the vital force and is very successful at curing diseases of the blood as well as chronic diseases. For a human, take one homeopathic pellet of Ledum 30c twice a day for 2 days following the tick bite. For dogs, give the same dose of Ledum 200c.   Since dogs aren’t as able to dissolve a pellet on their tongue, you can dilute it in 4 oz of distilled water, once the pellet dissolves, stir briskly, and give 1cc or several drops on the dog’s tongue. Discard the water after the second day.

What about the homeopathic nosode? The homeopathic nosode made from the Borrelia Bordorferi spirochete has been used successfully to prevent as well as treat lyme disease. It’s wise to use the nosode to prepare yourself or your dog when the ticks are not biting. Separate instructions for its use are available by emailing shirley@saveadog.org. The same nosode can be used in a 200c potency to treat Lyme, but you should work with a homeopath as the dosage needs to be monitored.

What about the lyme vaccine? The lyme vaccine causes heart disease and heart attacks – don’t be fooled into this deadly vaccine as we’ve seen more than a few of lyme-vaccinated dogs whose lives have been cut short as a result of heart disease. The only protects 17-34% of the dogs and is not worth the risk of heart disease and painful arthritis. Your dog will have better protection with a strong immune system. If your dog has already been vaccinated with the lyme vaccine, you can treat them herbally with hawthorne and dandelion. A good product is available at http://www.heartwormfree.com/hawthorn_dandelion.htm .

What if my dog has Lyme disease? If your dog has Lyme disease, you should work with a homeopath as the treatment is individualized depending on a number of things, one being the advancement of the pathology. This will determine the course of action. At the very least, ask for a C6 test so that you can get a baseline of the number of antibodies in the dog’s blood. This will be your yard stick for determining if the disease is progressing or is on its way out of the body.  Dr. Stephen Tobin of  Meriden, CT, has successfully treated thousands of lyme-infected dogs and horses. He advises giving the lyme positive dog Ledum 1M three times a day for three days in a row. More information on treating Lyme Disease with homeopathy, read The Homeopathic Treatment of Lyme Disease by Peter Alex.

What about giving Doxycycline? More information is now out there that doxycycline does not  stop the disease from progressing. It seems to lower the numbers of antibodies for awhile, but Lyme disease progresses nevertheless. Many homeopaths agree that doxycycline and other antibiotics will prevent the immune system from fighting the disease, so it’s a double-edged sword. The numbers look good for awhile, but it comes back with a vengeance. I’ve personally seen this over and over with friends and volunteer’s dogs, and with people too. Also, since the lyme spirochete confers no immunity, once a dog has lyme, they can be reinfected every time exposed. Once you treat for lyme, you have to wait six months before having another C6 blood test done.


Summer Heat Safety

By: David Bernier

Here it is, July 14th 2013, and it’s looking to be a hot summer. An average summer for Boston has 10 days that have temperatures 90+. We’re only half way into July, and so far this year Boston has already had 10 days of 90+ temperatures, two official heat waves, and there’s another 4 days of 90+ weather in the forcast. Being close to the ocean, at least Boston has the possibility of a sea breeze to cool things down. We here in Sudbury and the Metrowest area aren’t as lucky. It’s already over 90 today, and the forecast is in the 90s for the entire week. It’s going to be hot! And if we’re hot, just imagine how our dogs are feeling!

Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe and cool during the heat:

Never leave your dog in a parked car. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. When the outside temperature is in the 90s, this occurs even faster! In these temperatures your dog can quickly die from heatstroke or suffocation.

Don’t rely on a fan. Dogs respond differently to heat than humans do. Dogs can only rid their body of heat while panting. They do not have sweat glands – as humans do – except for a few on their feet. Panting alone is not enough when the temperature soars. And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people. So make sure you provide plenty of fresh drinking water for your dog. Better yet, go swimming with your dog, run through the sprinkler or play fetch with one the many water toys out there. This way both of you can keep cool! If you’re out walking or running with your dog, go someplace where there are streams or a lake, so your dog can cool off!

Limit exercise on hot days. Remember to adjust the intensity and duration of your dog’s exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with dogs with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed dogs, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your dog’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. If you are out running or hiking, treat your dog the same way that you treat yourself. If you need to stop to take a drink, so does your dog. If you are feeling hot, your dog probably is also, so pour some water on their head and neck. (The best places to cool a dog down are on the neck, pads of the feet, and belly.) If your dog wants to slow down, assume that there is a reason and allow it. Remember you are the human, so you need to be the one to anticipate the dangers and not take a chance. If you are far away from help, the results can be tragic.

Never leave your dog outside unattended!  Go out with them, and when you start to get hot, it’s time for you both to go back inside. Watch for signs of heatstroke including heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

Those dogs at a higher risk for heatstroke are those that are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds, such as boxers, pugs, boston terriers, shih tzus, and other dogs with short muzzles, will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

Stay cool, and stay safe!


The EPA is still reviewing 44,000 complaints that were filed in the past few years concerning potentially dangerous – and sometimes deadly – “spot-on” flea and tick products for pets. Please use the links provided below to read up on the situation and to protect your beloved pets!

Worried about your dog getting Lyme disease? Does your dog already have Lyme disease? You should read our post on Lyme Prevention and Treatment