Upset stomach? Diarrhea? Vomiting?

Upset stomach? Diarrhea? Vomiting?

Most dogs develop upset stomach or vomiting and less often diarrhea, from time to time.

Pets with vomiting or diarrhea should be fasted for 12 to 24 hours because food can cause stomach irritation and prolong the condition. That means absolutely no food and no treats! Water consumption should be controlled in dogs with vomiting, but offered freely to dogs with diarrhea.

When food is re-introduced, a bland diet should be fed for several days. The bland diet consists of 50% canned 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) plus 50% boiled fat-free ground turkey or turkey breast. The turkey is boiled to remove as much fat as possible and then rinsed to remove any surface fat. The reason we are concerned about the fat content of the meal is because fat can exacerbate pancreatitis and gastrointestinal symptoms. We use pumpkin instead of white rice in our bland diet because the pumpkin is rich in soluble fiber, which coats the gastrointestinal tract and slows gastric emptying time. Pumpkin is also more species appropriate than rice. The bland diet should be fed in 2 to 3 small meals a day for about 72 hours, and then the dog gradually weaned off of the bland diet and onto the regular diet.


We generally add a bit of slippery elm powder to the bland diet, as well as to the regular meal for a few days after coming off the bland diet. Slippery elm is an herb prepared from the inner bark of the slippery or red elm tree and is well known for its ability to protect and lubricate the gastrointestinal tract. Slippery elm is a very safe herb that can be used in dogs of all ages. The usual dose is ½ teaspoonful per 10 pounds of weight, added directly to the food.
The causes of diarrhea in dogs are varied, but can include dietary indiscretion, intestinal parasites, and a variety of other conditions. Diarrhea can also be a side effect of some medications. Vomiting is often benign in dogs and can result from eating indigestible substances, overeating, eating too fast, exercising immediately after eating, motion sickness, stress, and parasites, as well as a variety illnesses, some serious. If these conditions last more than 24 hours or your dog shows signs of pain or severe lethargy or has repeated bouts of diarrhea or vomiting, you may want to seek the advice of your veterinarian. Of course, if you know your dog has consumed a toxic substance, do not delay in getting him to the vet. Blood in the stool or vomit also suggests a trip to the vet. The combination of vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign of intestinal obstruction, which is a medical emergency.


Natural Treatments for Cough and Whooping Cough

Natural Treatments for Cough and Whooping Cough

This post focuses on the human side of the human-pet partnership. So far this year, more than 10,000 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) have been confirmed in the US. Whether or not you choose to vaccinate, you may still be confronted with caring for a child or adult with whooping cough. Antibiotics are the treatment of choice for whooping cough in conventional medicine, but have little effect on symptoms. There are numerous holistic approaches to managing cough and whooping cough that can be used alone or in conjunction with traditional therapies.Sick Kiddo

Whooping cough most commonly affects infants and young children but can affect adults too. Initial symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, and a mild cough. As the disease progresses, the cough becomes more severe and takes on the characteristic ‘whooping’ sound. The most severe cases may require hospitalization for assistance with breathing.


There are numerous holistic treatment options that may be helpful for cough and whooping cough. I’ve summarized a few below. It is always helpful to consult with a practitioner knowledgeable in holistic or integrative medicine before using some of these approaches.

  • Diet

o   Avoid mucus-forming foods, such as milk, flour, and eggs. Avoid sugar too.

o   Eat light foods such as vegetables, soups with garlic, and herbal teas

o   Keep well hydrated

  • Life-style

o   Keep your living-space well ventilated and free of smoke

o   Use a warm air humidifier

o   Rest and avoid exertion

o   Arrange pillows so the child or adult is more upright while sleeping

o   Keep skin hydrated by massaging with coconut oil daily

o   Use a foot bath. Boil fresh ginger in water for 20 minutes. Add the water to a foot bath and soak feet for up to 20 minutes. Make sure the water is not too hot before using, particularly in children and the infirm.

  • Homeopathic remedies

o   For treatment of pertussis use Coccus cacti and the nosode Pertussin

o   Consider Drosera for coughing fits followed by gagging, retching, or vomiting. This can also be helpful for cough that is triggered by exertion or if symptoms worsen during the night.

o   Consider Cuprum for coughing fits followed by gasping for air, difficulty breathing, or coughing fits that end in exhaustion.

  • Supplements

o   High dose vitamin C daily for 7 days

o   Wild cherry bark lozenges to soothe the throat

  • Essential oils

o   Use a warm air humidifier with essential oils such as basil, Cyprus, marjoram, thyme, wintergreen, tea tree, camphor, lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or eucalyptus.

o   Mix a few drops of essential oil in a carrier such as coconut oil and massage into the chest or back.

o   Heat a pan of water to just boiling and add a few drops of oil of thyme. Create a tent with a towel and have the patient breathe in the steam, taking care to avoid burns. (This approach may not be appropriate for very young children.)

  • Energy-based therapies

o   Acupuncture – The benefits of acupuncture in whooping cough are recognized by the World Health Organization.


Bones for Recreational Chewing

Bones for Recreational Chewing

Gnawing on a raw meaty bone is a good source of nutrients for your dog and a wonderful way to keep his teeth clean and shinny, not to mention a great recreational activity!

We addressed the recreational feeding of bones in our January 2014 Step by Step post ( The topic came up again in a recent article in Dogs Naturally, where they provided additional helpful information about types of bones, potential complications from feeding raw bones, and selecting the correct type of bone based on the size of the dog and how aggressive a chewer he is. If you want to feed your dog recreational bones we suggest you take a look at this link to their full post. (

It should be noted that the entire bone is not intended to be consumed when fed for recreational chewing, as the bone is in addition to a full and complete diet. It is for that reason bones such as deer ribs are not recommended for large dogs – a large dog is likely to consume the entire deer rib.

Image Source: Hungry Hound

Image Source: Hungry Hound

We often are asked what specific types of bones are appropriate for recreational chewing. Dogs Naturally posted a quick reference list of bones that might be appropriate for dogs of different sizes. We’ve summarized their list below. Keep in mind, this list might need to be modified for some dogs. Bones should ALWAYS be fed RAW!arf_bones



Why DNA Testing Won’t Necessarily Lead to Healthier Dogs

Why DNA Testing Won’t Necessarily Lead to Healthier Dogs

Breeders of purebred dogs are faced with a conundrum. By striving to produce dogs possessing consistent and reproducible physical characteristics through line-breeding, they may be losing genes important for the dog’s basic function and health. When the practice of line-breeding is combined with the practice of eliminating dogs from their breeding program based on the results of DNA testing, you have a formula for disaster.

In this post, Carol Beuchat, PhD, vertebrate biologist and founder of the Institute of Canine Biology, explains why the use of DNA testing when making breeding decisions won’t necessarily result in healthier dogs. This post builds on a previous Healthy Dog Blog post by Dr. Beuchat entitled Using Genetics to Breed Healthier Dogs.

While it is true that genetic testing can prevent producing offspring with specific genetic disorders, genetic testing is not the way to healthier dogs. All dogs have recessive mutations (and so do we), and these little genetic accidents cause no harm as long as an animal has a copy of the normal gene. So we can pass these harmless DNA errors on to offspring just like any other gene, usually with no consequences because any particular mutation should only occur in just a few animals in a large population. But if an animal should happen to get two copies of a mutated gene, the normal gene is absent and whatever that gene is supposed to do won’t happen -a step in development, the production of some enzyme for digestion, a fatty acid needed to form cell membranes, a hormone to start lactation – the mission of that gene is thwarted and the animal has a genetic disorder.DNA

Now, enter the breeder, who wants to breed for particular traits in their dogs. The easiest way to do this is to breed dogs that have those traits, and even better if the dogs are related so they have the same genes. This will make litters more uniform and increase the chances of getting the puppy you want with all the right traits. Inbreeding and line breeding are the tried and true ways to do this.But all dogs have mutations, and breeding to get the good genes from a relative will also give you the bad ones. Breeding to dogs with the same genes will produce puppies that are homozygous for those genes, whether they are good or bad. This is why genetic disorders in purebred dogs are increasing: as they become more inbred (more similar genetically), the chances of getting two copies of a mutation will increase. There’s no way around it; it’s just math.

So here’s the conundrum. Breeders should test their dogs for known mutations, so they can prevent producing puppies that will suffer from those disorders. But if after all testing is done, the breeder selects as a mate a closely related dog, they have eliminated the risk of one disorder that is known, and substituted a risk for a disorder that is unknown. Doing your DNA testing religiously then inbreeding is working at cross-purposes, and the closer the breeding the higher the probability you will get some problem that you really don’t want.

So the road to breed health is not genetic testing. DNA testing alone will not – cannot – make dogs healthier. Breeding practices that increase homozygosity – breeding to close relatives, will relentlessly, unavoidably, and inevitably destroy the health of the purebred dog. There’s no way around it; it’s just math.

Carol B ICBCarol Beuchat, PhD is Founder and Scientific Director, Institute of Canine Biology ( ) and member of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California Berkeley. To connect with Carol on facebook go to:!/carol.beuchat.9?fref=ts


Rabies Vaccine – What are the Most Common Short-Term Adverse Events?

Rabies Vaccine – What are the Most Common Short-Term Adverse Events?

Adverse events to the rabies vaccine are probably more common than you think. An article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association summarized reported adverse events for rabies vaccine given to dogs between April 1 2004 and March 31, 2007.

A total of 217 adverse event reports were submitted during this time, but remember, these are just the adverse events that were reported and therefore only a fraction of those that actually occurred. All of the reported events appear to be short-term events, or those that occurred immediately after of within a day or so of vaccine administration. Long-term adverse events leading to chronic health conditions were not included in this review. The percentages reported in the paper are the number of each adverse event divided by the total number of adverse events and DO NOT reflect the incidence in all vaccinated dogs. So as not to be misleading, I will not report those numbers here. If you are interested in seeing them, they can be found in the original publication ( ). The only value of the percentage reported by the authors is to show the relative frequency of each type of event. The next time your dog receives the rabies vaccine, look for these types of reactions and report them to your vet if they occur. They should also be reported to federal agencies (eg, the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics ) and the vaccine manufacturer. If reported to the manufacturer only, the report may not be passed on to federal regulatory agencies.

The most commonly reported adverse event are shown here in decreasing order.


Also of note, the article reported that 2 rabies vaccinated dogs developed confirmed rabies during this period. Other studies have also reported failure of the rabies vaccine, but the failure rate is unknown.


Stomach Bloat – Gastric Dilation Volvulus in Dogs – Holistic Approach by Dr. Dobias

Stomach Bloat – Gastric Dilation Volvulus in Dogs – Holistic Approach by Dr. Dobias

Bloat is life-threatening – I know first-hand because my first dog, a Great Dane we called Emily Sue, had bloat.  Bloat has a mortality rate of about 50%.

The first stage of bloat is characterized by gastric dilatation, in which the stomach becomes filled with fluid or gas and dilates or distends. The second stage is called gastric volvulus or torsion in which the enlarged stomach rotates or twists. This rotation blocks the entrance and exit from the stomach and prevents the release of its contents. The trapped contents of the stomach ferment and cause further distention. In this informative blog post from Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM, he discusses stomach bloat, its causes, and strategies for prevention. Please visit Dr. Dobias’ website to learn more about him at You can also follow him on facebook here

Recently I conducted a survey on the incidence of GDV in dogs. What I have learned is that dogs that are fed processed food are about five times as likely to suffer from a bloat than dogs that are fed raw or cooked food.

Most veterinary textbooks state that gastric dilation volvulus is a serious life threatening condition which is caused by general breed predilection, fermentation and gas formation in the stomach and is often caused by stomach twist or torsion due to increased activity and exercise after eating.

This is all true, however, when I started to observe the patterns and energy flow changes in the body of affected dogs, I discovered a few very interesting findings that can be used in GDV prevention and I would like to share them with you.

Avoid processed and especially grain-based pet food

The digestive tract of a canine evolved to digest the carcass of prey. Dogs have teeth that are used for ripping, shearing, crushing and crunching meat and bones. Dogs do not have grinding molars which are the hallmark of herbivores. Their digestive tract is ideal for digesting protein and also resisting bacteria due to the very, acidic pH of their stomach.

When processed dog food is fed, it turns into porridge. The stomach doesn’t really kneed too much and over time, the stomach muscles become very weak in the same way as if you didn’t exercise.

A weak stomach is much more prone to dilation in cases of fermentation and gas buildup happens much more often with purely digested carbohydrate foods. A strong stomach on the other hand would be able to expel fermentation gas much better because of its strong musculature which is also useful in twist prevention.

Feed the right bones

Feeding your dog poultry, lamb or other small to medium size RAW ONLY bones makes the stomach wall and muscles stronger which also prevents it from distention. Any gas buildup is much easier expelled or moved downwards into the intestines. Feeding bones is, from my point of view, one of the most important steps in preventing GDV. Just remember that they have to be raw. To read more about which bones to feed and which bones to leave out read the blog here

Fruit is a possible predisposing factor

Some people are surprised when they learn that fruit should never be fed together with the protein meal. The main reason is that fruit and protein digests very differently. Fruit digestion time in the stomach is relatively short and it will ferment and produce gas if it stays in the stomach longer. Some people even joke that the fermentation process causes alcohol production which can make your dog drunk. I have never seen this.

If you feed a protein meal together with fruit, the digestion time of protein is longer and fruit fermentation is more likely to happen. That is why I recommend feeding fruit at least one hour or longer before a meal and at least four hours after eating.


The general consensus is that dogs should not exercise after eating. This applies to either raw or processed food. When the stomach is full, it is more likely to flip and twist when there is a sudden movement, jump or turn. You should never exercise the dog vigorously within 3 to 4 hours after feeding.

Providing the right nutrients

This is another important part of treating any condition. Vitamins and especially mineral deficits may have a negative effect on muscle function and digestion which can lead to GDV. Here are the canine essentials that every dog should get. If you dog has a tendency to stomach upsets, you need to switch to better, ideally raw or cooked food and take your dog through a cleanse.  You can also use Stomach Support Glandular supplement that has a positive effect on stomach function

Promoting the spinal energy flow

I have saved this topic for the end of the blog and it is my own take on GDV prevention. If you have read my other blogs, you may remember those where I talk about the energy flow along the spine. Some call it prana, Chi or energy meridians.

I imagine this netrwork as the body’s “watering system” where the spine provides the main “water” supply and the branches lead to various “garden beds”, the body’s organs.

You know that if you constrict a hose in your gardens watering system the carrots or lettuce will not thrive as well because of lack of water. Your dogs body is not much different in the way that if one of the branches of the spinal energy channel gets impinged or blocked, it will affect the organ that relates to that segment. These impingements or blocks can be recognized by a spinal exam or a hand scan where I notice changes in the energy flow.

After years of observation, I started to see, which spinal segments relate to each other and the patterns present in a variety of different conditions and used the Chinese traditional medicine principles in creating a simpler, yet pretty accurate body map.

While creating this map, I have found a very close connection between the stomach and spinal point at the thoracic lumbar junction; the transition between the last thoracic and the first lumbar vertebrae.

I have noticed that dogs that have a tendency to stomach problems are in general more prone to congestion, inflammation and sensitivity exactly at the T-L junction (thoracic-lumbar junction) – see the picture above at the beginning of this article.

When I asked several emergency vets, they didn’t seem to be aware of this connection between this spinal segment and GDV. Then I asked if they saw any signs of vertebral degeneration, arthritis or spondylosis in this region when they took Xrays of bloated dogs. Indeed they confirmed that those changes are frequently present in dogs that get bloated. I saw this as another sign of energy flow reduction.

That is why I urge you to pay attention to your dog’s spine. A regular monthly back care and assessment of any dog is one of the most important parts of disease and also GDV prevention.
I find many modalities helpful – physiotherapy, chiropractic , massage or intramuscular needle stimulation treatment ( IMS) and acupuncture are good examples.

What exercise is right?

I am not a huge fan of frequent ball throwing, sprinting, jumping up because. I’ve seen many dogs getting injured and their spine go out of alignment. My goal is to increase your awareness of this issue and I definitely will be writing more about it in future blogs.

What to do if you suspect a bloat

First I would like to say that simple panting is not a sign of a bloat. Panting is commonly the “canine way of sweating” and is considered normal in most cases when your dog looks otherwise comfortable.

However if you see signs of severe distress, your dog’s gums are pale, he or she is salivating excessively and the stomach is distended, rush your dog to the nearest vet or emergency clinic immediately. If you have a 24 hour facility nearby, do not wait for a call back of your regular vet, just go if you can’t get hold of her or him right away. THIS IS A TRUE EMERGENCY!!!

Most likely, a light sedation (of safe) and a stomach tube will be the first step or a possible gas pressure release by using a large needle in the stomach region of the abdomen.  X-rays will follow and in some cases, an emergency surgery is the only option..

As a first aid measure on the way to the hospital, I recommend giving a homeopathic remedy – call Nux Vomica 200 C or Carbo Vegetalis 200 C.

Preventive surgery – Gastropexy

Gastropexy is a commonly recommended preventive procedure where the stomach wall is attached to the inside of the rib cage to prevent the stomach from flipping. While this prevents gastric torsion, I am not that comfortable about attaching the stomach and restricting its natural movement and function. Any surgical intervention affects the body’s energy channels and the unnatural stapling of the stomach to the rib cage decreases its mobility.  The best prevention of bloat is to follow  the precautions of this article. In more than 15 years, I have seen only 2 bloat cases in my practice, which is way bellow average in dogs on processed foods.


On the basis of my practical experience as well as the survey that I conducted recently, I believe that the best way of preventing GDV is to feed natural, non-processed food including raw bones, provide the right nutrients, feed fruit separately from the protein meals and ensure that the spinal energy flow is good.

With gratitude,

Reblogged with permission from Dr. Dobias.


2013 and 2014 Feline Vaccination Protocol – W Jean Dodds, DVM

2013 and 2014 Feline Vaccination Protocol – W Jean Dodds, DVM

Many dog lovers also have felines in their lives. We are happy to reblog a recent post from Dr. Jean Dodd’s summarizing her recommendations for feline vaccine administration.

Post by Dr. Jean Dodd (original post):

Dr Dodd1Approximately seven years ago, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) sponsored and conducted a groundbreaking study on feline vaccines. The panel – which included Dr. Dodds’ colleague, Dr. Ron Schultz – divided the vaccines into core and non-core. Just this year, the AAFP published updated feline vaccination guidelines. Dr. Dodds agrees with the panel’s findings, with the exception of giving feline leukemia vaccine to kittens that will be kept strictly indoors. She also prefers a more minimal and delayed vaccination schedule to offset potential adverse vaccine reactions and feline vaccine injection site-associated sarcomas. Additionally, Dr. Dodds considers factors such as presence of maternal immunity, prevalence of viruses or other infectious agents in the region, number of reported occurrences of the viruses and other infectious agents, how these agents are spread, and the typical environmental conditions and exposure risk activities of companion animals.

2013-2014 Feline Vaccination Protocol
 The following vaccine protocol is offered for those cats where minimal vaccinations are advisable or desirable. The schedule is one Dr. Dodds recommends and should not interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It’s a matter of professional judgment and choice.

8-9 Weeks Old:
Panleukopenia (feline parvovirus), Calicivirus, Rhinopneumonitits Virus (feline herpesvirus-1)

12-13 Weeks Old:
Same as above

24 Weeks or Older (if required by law):
Rabies (e.g. Merial Purevax™, recombinant)

1 Year:
FVRCP booster (optional = titer)

1+ Year:
Rabies, same as above but separated by 2-3 weeks from FVRCP

Perform vaccine antibody titers for panleukopenia virus every three years thereafter, or more often, if desired. Vaccinate for rabies virus according to the law, except where circumstances indicate that a written waiver needs to be obtained from the primary care veterinarian.  In that case, a rabies antibody titer can also be performed to accompany the waiver request. Visit Rabies Challenge Fund.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Re-blogged with permission from Dr. Jean Dodd


What is the Rabies Challenge Fund?

What is the Rabies Challenge Fund?

RCF13Protection against the rabies virus is an important part of US public health policy. However, the vaccine is not without risks. The rabies vaccine is associated with a high rate of adverse reactions that can lead to substantial illness and even death in some of our pets.  Because the risk of adverse reactions increases with each dose of rabies vaccine administered, the Rabies Challenge Fund is working to scientifically demonstrate that fewer life-time doses of the vaccine will provide at least equivalent protection compared with current immunization schedules.  Fewer rabies doses over a pet’s lifetime will reduce the risk of adverse reactions and reduce costs to pet owners.

The Rabies Challenge Fund is a Charitable Trust whose goal is to extend the legally required interval for rabies boosters to 5 years and then to 7 years based on the results of rabies challenge studies being conducted at the University of Wisconsin. Two well-known and respected individuals are guiding this project – Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet and Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin.

This research is important because of the high potency of the rabies vaccine and its association with a number of serious adverse effects. These include damage to the nervous system, leading to muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of the nervous system  control of tissue and organ function, lack of coordination, and weakness; a variety of autoimmune diseases (an autoimmune disease is an abnormal immune response causing the body to attack its own healthy tissue) such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia and autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; serious allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and tumors called fibrosarcomas at the injection site. Because most of these are delayed reactions occurring months or years after administration of the rabies vaccine and because these reactions can have multiple causes, their association with the rabies vaccine is often missed.

The Rabies Challenge Fund is a grassroots effort. They need your financial support to continue their important work. Visit to learn more about the Rabies Challenge Fund and click here to donate – every penny helps!


Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier than Purebred Dogs?

Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier than Purebred Dogs?

Many people believe that mixed breed dogs are healthier than their purebred counterparts. An understanding of what makes for a healthy dog suggests this is an over generalization. We know that, while genetics are very important, there are many other factors that also play a role. Using our knowledge of epigenetics (see HDB post The Only Difference is What Their Mother Ate!), we have a better understanding how things such as nutrition, vaccines, toxin exposure, and joyful living, including exercise, can alter genetic expression. The result is a dog that is either more healthy or less healthy than the genes he was born with might imply.

A-lot-of-dogs-dogs-13788806-1024-768While we may be able to modify their expression, is there any evidence that purebred dogs are at higher risk for genetic disorders? In a study recently published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (, 27,254 dogs with an inherited disorder were examined in a case-control study. There was no difference between mixed and purebred dogs in expression of 13 of 24 common genetic disorders studied (eg, hip dysplasia, hypo- and hyperadrenocorticism, cancers, lens luxation, and patellar luxation). Ten genetic disorders were more common in purebred dogs and one was more common in mixed-breed dogs. While these data are interesting, keep in mind that analysis of a different list of genetic disorders would have yielded different results.

Bluey, an Australian cattle dog and the oldest dog on record, lived to be almost 30 yeas old!*

Many believe the ultimate measure of wellness is longevity. There is no good evidence that mixed breed dogs live longer than purebred dogs of similar size. In my research, I found that the oldest living dog on record was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog. Bluey, who worked with cattle and sheep for nearly 20 years, lived to the age of 29 years 5 months!


So, what is the bottom line? In many ways, the health of your dog lies as much in your hands as in the genes he was born with. Pet ownership is a big responsibility. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make the best decisions you can for the health of your dog, whether he is a purebred or mixed breed dog.



Lawn Care Safety for Pets and People

Lawn Care Safety for Pets and People

kid dog lawnHonestly, even “natural” lawn care practices can cause you, your children, and your pet some amount of harm. This is particularly true of pets if they ingest grass, yard clippings, or the product itself right after application.  You can still have a luscious, green yard by using the least harmful products and incorporating a few new habits.  The most important step is to keep your pet and children off of the newly applied yard for the recommended amount of time.  This may mean applying product on one part of your yard while keeping your pet and children on an untreated area and then reversing the process.  You can always plan to walk your dog for the day or two after treatment to decrease the potential for harm if a whole yard treatment is your easiest option.

Suggestions for yard maintenance that should be low impact to your pet and family as well as to the environment include:

  • Soil test your yard

Many states have Cooperative Extension offices that will complete a soil test for you at no or little charge and offer a straightforward summary of the results so you only put what is needed on your yard.

  • Research the types of grass that thrive in your region

This is more helpful for those with a dirt patch that they want to fill with grass rather than those over seeding an already established lawn.  Think about how you are planning on using and maintaining the space while you read over the descriptions of available grasses.  You may even decide to plant shrubs or other groundcover that does not require weekly maintenance.

  • Redefine your definition of a weed

Some clover isn’t bad and people do even add dandelion greens to their salads.  Depending on the weed, if you catch it when there is only one, pull it out quickly before it goes to seed or snap off the flower head before it goes to seed.  Much easier to do on a small postage stamp size  yard than an acre or hundred, but it is effective and does not involve chemicals.

  • Feed the soil

This item ties back to soil testing.  Soil that is full of nutrients leads to a healthy root system for the grass.  If the grass is healthy and full, there will be no room for weed seeds to take hold.  Think about making compost tea.  You can spray it on the yard using an apparatus that attaches to a garden hose, like those used to apply liquid fertilizer.

For more information, take a look at the following sites:  search “lawn care”  Nice article – Organic vs. Chemical Lawn Care: Which one leads to healthier grass?  quick wit and good, practical solutions  search for “21 Expert Organic Lawn Care Tips”  short and to the point

Invited post written by Jeanette Miller of 42morrow

Be Green Today…

….For a Greener Tomorrow