I’ve been taking tracking lessons with my darling four-month-old Weimaraner puppy Wanda, working with Kathy Jo Morgan, who is widely known as a tracking and Schutzhund trainer and competitor.
Lucky for me, she leaves her Florida home base (where she also breeds Belgian Malinois and Corgis!) and spends her summers teaching and training near where I live in Vermont. Kathy Jo tells me Wanda (and her rescued big sister Weimaraner, Maisie) both have “exceptional abilities,” but maybe she tells that to all dog Moms?! So now it’s up to me to find the time to make the pans of chicken liver bait you have to set out in your practice tracks!
But I got a surprise bonus with health advice when I showed up with Wanda one morning, who had a bit of goop coming out of one eye. I asked Kathy Jo’s advice about whether I should stop at the vet on the way home and get antibiotic ointment, which I used to have on hand for when any of my dogs had discharge from their eyes.
I was hoping for a different remedy, knowing that Kathy Jo has decades of experience with All Things Dog, and that she is firmly rooted in the holistic/acupuncture world of dog health. Sure enough, she cautioned me away from routine use of medicated ointments for basic eye goop and instead said that all the holistic practitioners she knows depend on Halo’s herbal eye wash. I thought I must have mis-heard her. “‘My’ Halo?!”
I asked, thinking I was imagining that she was referring to the company I love for its philanthropy, that I blog for and whose kibble I feed to my dogs. “Yes, exactly,” she said. “I know you work with them. I thought you knew about their Cloud Nine Herbal Eye Wash? Everybody I know in the holistic world swears by it.” I was amazed and delighted – I knew that Halo had an all-natural eye wash, but I had no real experience with it. I couldn’t wait to try it!
And let me tell you: it is truly remarkable! By the following day Wanda had goop coming out of both eyes in the morning, so it was clearly a necessary intervention. I opened the little box and inside were two tiny bottles marked “#1 Everbright concentrate” and “#2 Goldenseal Concentrate.”
I felt like Alice in Wonderland as I followed instructions to put 12 drops of #1 into the eye dropper bottle provided, fill halfway with distilled – or boiled – water, and apply 3 drops to each eye. I was to do this twice a day for three days, refrigerating and then warming the contents between applications – and then was to switch to concentrate #2 and do the same. Then I had to return to potion #1 and the whole cycle of Anitra’s acid/alkaline swing would be complete.
By the second day, the discharge that seemed to have increased in both eyes had begun to resolve, and by the time I was on the #2 drops, both eyes were totally clean in the morning. The directions also mentioned that after a few days the dog might swallow after the drops were applied, indicating that the tear ducts were open and flowing properly: sure enough, Wanda did just that.
My sister was visiting during this time with her two Brussels Griffons (both of whom eat Halo Small Breed kibble with all the human food that gets slipped to them!) and the littlest one, Sprout, had the regular occurrence of discharge from her eyes because of the smushed in (brachycephalic) face of the breed as well as all the hair around their eyes. Little Sprout started on drops #1 as Wanda graduated to drops #2, and it was a race to the finish line to see which would have healthier eyes sooner.
I will say that one thing you should teach a puppy or any dog to get used to is having ear drops and eye drops or ointment applied. You do it with the usual de-sensitization and positive association of getting used to being held still and then accepting having a dropper come towards your eye or ear and get a treat for being calm. Optimally you should practice this periodically so that when you need to restrain your dog to apply drops, they will not panic or resist but submit and wait for the treat as a reward.
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.