It’s Kind of a Gross Story: Coconut Oil Review

The other morning I found myself explaining to my mother the “simple” bath routine that Theresa and I follow every Friday morning for the dogs (as long as the sun comes out at least). It goes like this: 1) wet dog down, 2) lather coat and underside with coconut oil and let soak for about a minute, 3) rinse off oil, 4) shampoo dog and scrub, 5) rinse off, 6) scrub again to get loose hair, 7) rinse final time, 8) ring out and dry. And because they both remain damp, Simon and Rosee get put out in the backyard to play and dry off completely, because honestly, no one really enjoys the smell of wet dog lingering around. So ends the bath routine of Simon and Rosee. (See also An Itch, A Scratch, and Shampoo for the old version of bath time.)

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Just because a bath makes her look pretty doesn’t mean she still won’t fight it.

Why such a drawn out routine complete with numbers and steps that go beyond lather, rinse, dry? Well, it’s kind of a gross story.

You see, Simon and Rosee get what I have always called hot spots. On their bellies and pretty much all along their entire undersides both pups end up with bright red dry spots that tend to pop up quite frequently when they have been indulging in the California sun a little too much. After our morning walks or running around outside for about forty minutes both dogs will start sporting these red spots, and so ensues the licking. In order to soothe the red dryness Simon and Rosee will lick non-stop as a way of trying to negate the lack of moisture. However, all this licking does is exacerbate the problem and leave them even drier and more angry-red looking underneath.

This past summer the red splotches got so bad that something had to be done. Rosee got cranky at being told to stop licking that she would hide in order to lick. Simon confronted all attempts to stop him with angry growls of frustration, and at one point he just completely refused to go to bed in his kennel at night because the residual warmth in it made his spots so uncomfortable. The poor boy and girl really were pathetic sights to behold, so Theresa and I set out to finding something, anything that could soothe the pups for good. The answer, thankfully, came quite swiftly and inexpensive.

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Any guesses?

One night after doing some research Theresa suggested coconut oil. Apparently, coconut oil is safe to give to dogs and to put on them topically. Now, I’ve been reading about the virtues and graces of coconut oil for some time, though I have to admit my reading has been for more personal care. I know that coconut oil is great to cook with, can be used on hair’s perpetually dry ends, and softens dry skin. However, I never thought that those same virtues could be put to use for the canines in my life. But boy (girl), has it made a difference on those named Simon and Rosee!

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Melted goodness.

Initially, both dogs’ undersides were just rubbed down with coconut oil multiple times a day so that the oil’s moisturizing properties could get to work quickly, reversing the worst of the red splotches. Soon, Theresa started slowing giving the pups tastes of the oil, working her way up to about a tablespoon each. It really wasn’t an issue though since both went crazy over the stuff. (They go so far as to recognize the jar alone, and it’s enough to get them salivating.) Simon and Rosee gladly accept their spoonful every morning, licking the ground for any ghost drippings. Finally, came the addition of coconut oil to their weekly baths. And let me tell you, not only does the oil keep their undersides moisturized, it makes their coats so incredibly soft and shiny. Both dogs have been prone to some flakes, which is why they are also bathed with an all-natural soap bar, but the addition of the coconut oil only makes the soap work even better so that there are no flakes, no redness, and no end of the week smell. Coconut oil truly has been a great addition to our lives.

IMG_2297IMG_2298Now, I don’t think there’s many rules as to what brand of coconut oil is best. All I know is that organic and unrefined is what you need. Something about being organic and unrefined having the greatest benefits to the uses my household has put them towards. In fact, the brand that Theresa and I have agreed on is the store brand from Target. Aptly named Simply Balanced, the oil is specifically designated as organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil. It’s relatively inexpensive at about $7 for 14 fluid ounces, always in stock, and seems to be of good quality. It smells like coconuts, melts easily, soaks in completely, and leaves everything it touches feeling nice and soft. In fact, Simon loves the smell of it so much he tries to lick it off of himself and won’t leave me alone until I’ve washed it off my fingers after putting it on him.

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They’re so in love!

It’s been about a month that the pups have been getting doused and ingesting the oil and their coats have never looked better. They feel soft, smell good, and it definitely helps keep angry red splotches at bay. The first jar of coconut oil we bought lasted about three weeks, quite a while considering it was used up on two good-sized babies that lapped it up like it was going out of style. So far coconut oil has become a great, natural, inexpensive, go-to remedy in our household and it’s worth looking into if you are trying to help your lovable canine’s coat look and feel better, both for his/her comfort and yours.

It Finally Happened

It finally happened.

It was the final nail in the coffin. The last straw that broke the camel’s back. The last straw…

I had to call Animal Control.

If you’ve poked around our blog before, you’ve probably seen more than one post about us being attacked, chased, or surprised by some dog we encounter during our daily walks. It’s not a new thing to us. In fact, the days me, Monica, Simon and Rosee don’t come upon a dog that may want to bite one of us are becoming rarer and rarer. I blame summer really, even though the season is practically over. It’s just that with summer more people are outside, which means that more people bring their dogs outside as well. I’m not talking about people walking their dogs more regularly because of the pleasant weather. Actually, I am all for people regularly walking their dogs. I’m talking about the people that think due to the pleasant weather that means they can just let their dogs run loose around their neighborhood, community park, or wherever they are. It’s the people that let their dogs run wild while not really paying attention to them, and when said dogs eventually run up to us and try to bite Simon and Rosee, their owners decide not to do anything, but stand there calling their dog’s name. That’s what gets to me. I don’t like that my dogs are subject to potentially dangerous situations and the ones responsible for the misbehaving dogs think that not taking responsibility for their dogs is alright. As dog owners we are responsible for our dogs. Just because my dogs usually turn out to be bigger than the attacking dogs doesn’t mean that they can’t be hurt. Just see Monica’s post about Rosee being attacked by a cat!

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Today, turned out to be one of those days. It didn’t start out that way. Our daily walk with the dogs was going pretty well actually. We passed by numerous dogs and people while walking past our local courthouse and public library, and both dogs handled everything perfectly fine. They were model citizens in fact. It was an enjoyable walk so far—just the way a walk with your dog should be. Then, we came upon the last few blocks until we reached our final destination. Everything seemed normal. We passed by houses that we regularly go by, and nothing was amiss. Yet, as me and Rosee (who I was walking, while Monica was walking with Simon behind us) got to the second to last house on the corner of one street before we turned right I noticed that something was, indeed, wrong. This particular house’s side fence, which is usually closed, was wide open and the resident’s dog was loose. Now, normally, I wouldn’t be so nervous about seeing a loose dog because not every loose dog we come across wants to bite one of us. However, every time we’ve passed this dog in the past, he’s always acts quite aggressive at his back fence (it’s a cyclone fence so he can see out and we can see in, by the way). Not only does he bark non-stop, but he bites at the fence like he’s trying to attack the fence itself.  So when I saw that he was loose, I admit, I got a little nervous.

In these types of situations, me and Monica sort of have a strategy. It goes like this: whoever is walking Rosee (we regularly switch off) keeps going to try and put as much distance between her and the loose dog. We do this because Rosee is still getting used to seeing and being around other dogs due to her lack of socialization as a puppy, and unless she is in a very controlled situation, we don’t take any chances. We want her to associate positive feelings towards other dogs, and having one charge at her is certainly not positive. So, Rosee and whoever’s walking her keep going, while Simon and whoever’s walking him sort of get in the middle. You see, Simon is pretty much the friendliest dog ever. He’s pretty good at greeting other dogs, and letting them sniff him. He doesn’t freak out, and is even sort of timid. Typically, any loose dog that comes rushing over will immediately calm down around him and just sniff him at first, which gives the other person time to put space between the loose dog and Rosee and things usually (thankfully) don’t escalate. Of course, it is at this point that most dogs try to bite Simon’s back legs, but we can usually push the loose dog away and pull Simon in an opposite direction and continue on our way. Do I like that this happens often enough that me and Monica actually have this strategy? No, I don’t. On the bright side (if I want to try and put a positive spin on things) most of the loose dogs we come across are small. As a result, even though these small dogs try to nip at Simon’s back legs after sniffing him, they eventually get frightened and run away. However, I have to say, their size does not excuse them from their bad behavior! This day though, the loose dog was not small or even medium. He was about the same size as Simon, and certainly not backing down.

Being that I had Rosee, I knew I couldn’t freak out. She can be quite sensitive, and if I started feeling anxious, afraid, or upset, then she would react badly as well. Therefore, I did my best to keep a level head and continued to walk by with Rosee, and for the moment things were okay. Unfortunately, the dog ran for Simon, but instead of stopping to sniff he barreled into his side and tried to bite him. Monica yelled, “NO,” and he sort of backed off. By this time though, Rosee had taken notice and was not too happy with another dog attacking her brother and let out something between a roar and a bark. Don’t get me wrong, she was still walking along with me, but that didn’t mean she was going to do it quietly. Luckily, her roar-bark was enough to scare the dog off and all of us quickly walked away. I’d like to say this is where our ordeal ended. However, the dog was still loose and running around the neighborhood, and pretty much stalked us all the way home.

Once we got home, I knew that we had to do something, and so I finally did it. I called our local Animal Control and made a complaint. To be honest, I never thought I would ever be pushed to this point. Most situations we encounter are not serious enough to prompt a call to Animal Control. I guess, I always wanted to believe in the goodness of people as dog owners, if that makes any sense(?). I want to believe that if someone’s dog tries to attack mine, that that person does feel some sort of remorse for their dog’s actions. In this case though, I had to think about my dog first.

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At the time it was the right thing to do. I mean, the dog was still loose, and his owners (who were home by the way) weren’t even the least bit concerned with him. Otherwise, they might have come out of their house when Monica was yelling or Rosee was barking. Yet, all was quiet on the western front. I do have to say that what really irks me about this whole incident is that the dog’s owners never had to take any sort of responsibility. The owners aren’t the ones that are going to get punished for being bad dog owners. They didn’t have to live through a somewhat terrifying ordeal. No, they just got to go about their daily business like nothing was wrong, and that is what really burns my bacon (if you will). I can’t even think that they’ll be upset at all that their dog was caught by Animal Control because, in my humble opinion, I don’t think they even cared about him. He was always left out in the backyard, he didn’t have a collar, he had no interaction with anyone or anything whatsoever, and he looked like he wasn’t taken care of very well since his coat was dingy and pretty shaggy.

Still, I can’t help but feel somewhat bad that my complaint may have proved to be the end of this dog. It doesn’t seem fair that this dog, who was set up to fail thanks to his neglectful and uncaring owners, should pay for his owners’ irresponsibility. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not forgetting or excusing the dog for attacking Simon. Frankly, I’m extremely thankful for Rosee’s boisterousness, which ultimately scared him off. Usually, I complain about how much she likes to “talk.” Yet, I know that all the blame should not be put on the dog, and I guess I’m frustrated that the other responsible parties won’t be reprimanded as well.

Ultimately, I was finally pushed past the point of no return. Everything about what happened is unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that Simon was attacked, that Rosee couldn’t have a positive dog experience, that a dog had such uncaring owners, and that I had to involve the authorities. I want to remain positive though, and honestly hope that this won’t happen again. **Fingers Crossed**

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P.S. Wish us luck.