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Outdoor Summer Fun and Comfort with Pets

Three_girls_hike_on_mountain_with_their_dog_VN-BWBy Larry Plesant

Pets are in the news! And also in our stores, offices, cars, laps, camping grounds and hiking trails. How about some actual straight talk about natural pet products for a change?

Herbal bug repellent sprays last about a half an hour, so actual value may be overstated, unless you get the bonus size. Better still, apply the oil blend onto a bandana and tie it around your pet’s neck. Some natural pet companies make special collars and ready-made blends for this. Vermont Soap makes an oil-based Camping Lotion that can be rubbed onto your pet or pet’s cloth. The scent lasts about four hours in this form so you have a shot at decent protection with that product.

Pet shampoos often make or imply bug-off claims based on their essential oil scent. Sure, I will bite (pun intended). But the herbal repellent benefits are probably good for only a limited time, say, four to four and a half hours. Keep that in mind if you are going on day-long hikes.

DEET-based products can last longer and thus may work better than herbals in some situations. However, adverse health claims about DEET continue to persist, particularly regarding smaller-body- mass animals and children. As always, the question of safe-nontoxic-natural vs. chemicals is up to the owner’s value system.

Aromatic repellents work by ADDLING an insect’s sensors. They became confused and act “addled” for a half hour or so before they adjust to it. Presumably you and your pet are long gone by then.

”Hot Spots” or weeping pet eczema is a brutal, painful condition that effects hundreds of thousands of dogs. Several companies make “hot spot” soothing oils including our own Vermont Soap company in Middlebury. (And yes, that statement was an act of completely shameless self- promotion). Treat hot spots with anti-inflammatory herbal salves or herbal oils specifically designed for this heart- wrenchingly painful condition.

Outdoor summer activities do not have to be a source of anxiety if you use your common sense and your products properly.

This is the Soapman wishing you an enjoyable warm season.

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