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Grass Pollen Allergy in Dogs

Grass pollen allergy  in dogs is fairly common, and you would think that since grass pollen is an inhaled allergen, the symptoms would be similar to us as humans…. However, dogs do not suffer as much from runny noses or sneezing but most commonly break out in skin-related reactions.

Symptoms of canine allergies can include ear infections, red raw hot spots and hair loss, as well certain behaviours exhibited by your dog such as scratching, rubbing its face and ears on  the floor and chewing on its paws.

To determine that grass pollen is the offending allergen, your dog will need to undergo Vet tests, including a physical examination, blood tests and intradermal testing.

Intradermal testing involves injecting various potential allergens into the skin to determine the offending allergen.  Unfortunately, grass pollen is difficult to control. Owners are recommended to keep grass cut short, rinse the dog’s feet and legs after going outside and to have the dog stay inside when pollen counts are elevated. Your dog would benefit from wearing protective boots, as these will keep the contact to the paws at a minimum. We would use the Paws rubber boots  or therapaws boot available at Zoomadog Dogs Health UK.

Prevention

  1. Keep the grass in your garden mowed short and limit the dog’s exposure to tall grasses and weeds. If possible, create an area for the dog that is primarily gravel or sand to reduce his/her interaction with grass.
  2. Wipe down the dog’s body with a damp cloth before bringing him back into the house. This will help remove some of the grass pollen that can cling to his fur, and help reduce the amount of irritation he experiences.
  3. Monitor your dog at all times when she is in an area filled with grass. If you see the dog rolling around in the grass, use a training command to stop the action. Over time, this may help deter the behaviour and prevent future rolls in the hay.
  4. Vacuum your home and wash any dog bedding frequently to help remove grass pollens carried in by pets and people.

If you dog displays symptoms of grass pollen allergy, Dermagic products will work wonders to relieve the symptoms and calm the skin. Our Dermagic skin rescue lotion will soothe and protect the affected areas, as well as offering instant relief to your dogs itching. If your dog has hot spots from the grass, use our Dermagic Hot Spot Salve, this will clear up the raw patch over a couple of days as well as creating a barrier to protect the affected area.

What is the Difference Between Atopy and Allergy in Dogs?

Very often when our dogs suffer an allergy it is said to be atopic. So what does this mean? Is it the same thing as an allergy? The answer is not simply yes or no.

Atopy is the genetic predisposition of an dog to produce high quantities of IgE in response to allergens in the environment (pollens, house dust mites, moulds, cat dander, foods etc).  Genetic factors are very important in Atopy, as it can be passed down from generation to generation.  Atopy is silent; so atopic dogs do not necessarily display symptoms when they come across allergens. The only way to identify Atopy is through allergy tests which measure IgE for various allergens.  So Atopy is a condition for the development of allergy but is not itself allergy!

Allergy, in Vet terms, means that the dog develops symptoms upon contact with allergens to which he/she is sensitised.

So your dog needs to be atopic to become allergic but if he/she is atopic they will not necessarily progress to an allergic state (not all atopic dogs start developing allergy symptoms). It is not clear what causes atopic dogs to behave differently. It might be that some environmental factors added to atopy (the genetic predisposition to allergy) stimulate the progression towards allergy or, as suggested by some new research data; it might be that expressing allergy requires an atopic predisposition and also other inherited genetic factors not related to production of IgE.

A simple way to think of Atopy for dogs would be simply saying that the pet inhales an airborne allergen but instead of sneezing and sniffling, the pet gets itchy skin. In fact, the situation is probably far more complex. The allergen is not only inhaled but is in contact with the skin and it is no longer considered accurate to think of Atopy as an inhaled allergy. Exactly how we get from particles floating in the air to itching and scratching is not entirely understood but the important issue is that the allergen comes from the air.

Airborne particles (pollen, dander, etc.) are harmless to someone who is not allergic to them. Allergy develops in individuals who are genetically programmed to do so.

Breeds predisposed to develop Atopy include: Dalmatian, Golden retriever, West Highland white terrier, Shar Pei, Labrador retriever, Cairn terrier,  Lhasa Apso,  Shih Tzu,  Boxer, and  Pug.

Features of Atopy

There are many reasons for pets to itch: parasites, allergy to flea bites, food allergy, secondary infection and the list goes on. The following findings in the history and examination of the patient might lead to a diagnosis of atopy.  Atopy usually produces a seasonal itchiness though after several years, the duration of the itchy period extends. Finally, the pet is itchy nearly all year round.

Seasonality
In dogs, atopy usually produces a seasonal itchiness though after several years, the duration of the itchy period extends. Ultimately, the dog is itchy nearly all year round in 80% of cases. In cats, unfortunately, seasonality is not nearly as reliable a feature.

Young age of onset
Seasonal itchiness due to atopy tends to begin early in a pet’s life (between ages 1 and 3 years in 70% of dogs diagnosed with atopy). Food allergy tends to begin later, more like age 5 or 6 years in dogs. Age at which itching first manifests is not as reliable a sign in cats as in dogs.

If you think you dog is suffering from Atopy or an allergy, first we need to identify what is causing it. You can have tests done by your vet to determine the cause, but there are a few things we can do ourselves to help. Always feed your dog a high quality diet, as we find so many dogs improve within a few days when the feed is changed. Make sure your house is dust free and well ventilated, and that your dogs bed is kept clean.

At Dermagic we have all the products you need to help soothe and offer your dog relief from the itching that the allergies bring. Please get in touch if you need any advice on the right product to help your dog on 01624 829575…

How to Help you Dogs Skin Allergies in Spring

Does your dog suffer from seasonal allergies, and break out in hot spots, itchy skin or canine dermatitis?

With spring here, many of us are seeing the same symptoms and skin conditions appear as last year… after hoping they had gone for good. Now is the time to act so our dogs don’t spend the season feeling miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens.

What are the signs that your dog has seasonal Allergies?

Allergies in dogs will often take the form of inflamed skin, hot spots or itchy flaky skin – a condition called allergic dermatitis.

If your dog suffers from allergies, the skin can become very itchy which will cause you dog to scratch excessively. Your dog might bite or chew at certain areas of their body just to relieve the terrible itchiness. It is important to relieve these symptoms as quickly as possible in order to prevent open sores and infection. We highly recommend using our Dermagic Skin Rescue Lotion, this fast working product will relieve the symptoms fast.

Another very common skin conditions in dogs is the  "Hot Spot” which is also know as "acute moist dermatitis.” 
There are many causes of hot spots, including allergies and parasites, but the common factor is infection, whether bacterial, fungal, or yeast (another type of fungus). A hot spot can appear anywhere on the body: hind leg, feet, rump area, neck, etc. 
The bottom line for your pet is that there is an infection and intense itching, regardless of how it got that way. To relieve your dog from the discomfort of hot spots, use our Hot Spot Salve. If you would like to call us for advice on how to help alleviate and relieve your dogs skin conditions and allergies, call us on 01624 829575 today…

What are Mites and Mange in Dogs and Cats

What are mites?

Mites are microscopic creatures that resemble miniature spiders.

Among the mites species that attack cats and dogs, are members of the Sarcoptic mange mites (family Sarcoptidae), which burrow under the skin. 

Demodex mites (family Demodicidae) are parasites that live in or near the hair follicles of mammals, including humans.

Cheyletiella mites look like tiny spiders under a magnifying glass and are often called “Walking Dandruff” because upon close inspection it seems like little flakes of dry skin are actually moving about.

Sarcoptic mites are very nasty creatures. Infestations of these mites are called scabies are highly contagious. Scabies produce intense itching, reddening of the skin, thinning of the hair (alopecia) and development of crusts and scabs. Bacterial skin infections commonly occur in the inflamed, irritated skin.

Sarcoptic mite infestation otherwise know as mange, is frequently misdiagnosed as allergic dermatitis  even by very competent and experienced veterinarians.  The mites burrow right down into the skin where they are virtually undetectable by skin scrapings.  Sarcoptic mites prefer skin with little hair, so they are most numerous on the ears, elbows, abdomen and hocks. As the disease spreads, hair is lost and eventually the mites occupy large areas of skin.
Sadly, many dogs are treated with cortisone or prednisone for a supposed allergic dermatitis when in fact these Sarcoptic mites are the cause of the pruritic or inflamed skin, and the unnecessary cortisone eventually makes the condition worse.

Then there are Demodectic (or Demodex) mites, which cause a different type of mange.  These mites are found in small numbers in the hair follicles of normal pets. In stressful situations, however, they proliferate, and large numbers inhabit the skin and hair follicles.
The good news is that Demodex mites can easily be seen on a skin scraping viewed under the microscope. The less good news is that generalized demodicosis is serious and often difficult to treat. Large areas of the body may be affected, and often the affected areas are also infected by bacteria. In these cases, the skin is red, crusty and warm, and has many pustules. It may bleed easily and has a strong, rancid odour.

DERMagic products stop infections associated with parasitic infestations, and kill certain parasites outright.  Read below the steps to eliminating these debilitating skin infestations naturally…

Choose one of our Award-winning Shampoo Bars, plus Skin Rescue Lotion (4 fl oz bottle) and Hot Spot Salve (2 oz jar) as a complete system for the most effective results in treating your dog’s problem skin condition.
* All Natural Ingredients
* No harsh chemicals
* Works Fast & Safely
* Gentle and Effective
* Guaranteed
* Made in the USA

STEP 1
Before starting any treatment, give your dog a good cleansing with one of our organic Shampoo Bars, specially formulated for deep cleansing sensitive skin. Bathe your dog weekly or every two weeks (not too often!) while undergoing treatment.

STEP 2
DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion

Apply DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion for fast and effective relief from skin irritations, hot spots, scaly skin, flea allergies, dermatitis, and dry skin conditions. Massage well into problem areas, then cover pet with a T-shirt to protect skin. Reapply twice daily for first week of treatment. Continue application once daily for another week. For more serious situations like Black Skin Disease (Alopecia X), please click here for additional information.
STEP 3
DERMagic Hot Spot Salve

For raw and irritated hot spots use DERMagic Hot Spot Salve, applying daily to affected areas until no longer needed. Also treats minor wounds, insect bites, localized allergic reactions, and itchy or inflamed skin.

Has the word “Greenwash” become a bad word…..

Here at Dermagic Europe we haven’t heard the term “Greenwash” before, have you? Here Adelia tells us a little about the meaning and why Dermagic is different…..

Here’s one definition:  Greenwashing is a term used to describe companies that carelessly jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon in an attempt to cash in quick. They may convert some traditionally carbon heavy services to electronic format or offer one or two green products while masquerading as an authority on environmental education.

Ouch!  Well, we all know they’re not talking about us!

Here at DERMagic, we maintain a sense of humour about trends and fads, and this is one we think is really fun, especially because we use it in the complete opposite connotation. We have another meaning for Greenwash (although no one in the company will allow me to use that word.  So we’ll call it "Green Clean"!):

  • · "The heck with shipping heavy liquids all over the planet!"
  • · Give the heave-ho to plastic bottles of shampoo!
  • · Kick the SLS and other preservatives, texturizers and chemicals out of your dog’s bath!
  • · Embrace Certified Organic Shampoo Bars!
  • · Hug those recycled cardboard boxes!
  • · Love the natural essential oil scents!
  •     Lather like crazy on both long and short haired dogs!
  •     Rinse squeaky clean in a flash, saving the Earth’s precious water!
  • · Chase away fleas and other pests the organic, non-toxic way!
  • Green Clean your dog and we’ll plant a tree for every 10 bars we sell!

Now let’s get out there and erase that carbon pawprint.  Whether you call it “Green Clean” or “Green Wash”, do the earth a favor and shampoo bar your pets!

Oh, and by the way, our newest shampoo bar, the Skin Rescue Bar (also known as “The DERMinator”), has recently been awarded the Pet Product News Retailers’ NUMBER ONE Grooming Product for the entire year. 
Yes, we’re proud.  Have an amazing "clean" weekend, folks!  

Dr Adelia E. Ritchie

President

DERMagic Skin Care for Animals, Inc.

Bath Time for Cats?

Do you bathe your cat? Do you use an all natural SLS and  Paraben free shampoo? Here Adelia  advises us on how and why we can help our cats by bathing them the right way…

It’s a Cat-astrophe!

Some people think cats should stay out in the barn and catch mice and not get bathed. Others say, buy a small rubber storage bin, fill it with warm water and detergent, add the cat, put the lid on, and shake a few times. When opening the lid, be sure to stand well back, and let the furious cat fly around the room in a rage until dry.

We believe there are better ways, starting with not bathing them very often at all. Generally, a large part of their day is spent grooming themselves, and they do a very fine job on their own. And most cats totally detest water and will resist it to the point of scratching your eyes out to avoid it. But long-haired cats can get oily and matted, and older cats may not be able to groom themselves as thoroughly as they once did, and some cats just get into dirty stuff and will need a bath to freshen up.

On average a cat can be bathed two or three times per year. Excessive bathing (any mammal) can strip the natural oils from the skin that are essential for a healthy coat. We recommend that pet parents avoid using medicated shampoos as they can be too harsh for the cat’s skin. Aside from drying out the skin and coat, these chemical based ingredients can easily be ingested or absorbed through the skin. Check out this short video to observe a perfectly behaved cat loving its DERMagic bath!

So, where is my tiara?

Natural and organic products provide a safer, gentler and more effective alternative for cleansing and conditioning your cat’s skin and coat. Unlike conventional over-the-counter products that contain harsh chemicals and preservatives, DERMagic hand-made shampoo bars are made from organic vegetable oils and essential herbal oils, and nothing else.

Try DERMagic!  Your cat will love you for it!

Looking After Our Dogs Teeth and Gums

Plaque Away 70gm

As there are so many skin and health conditions our dogs suffer from, sometimes we forget that just like us we need to look after their teeth and gums. Some of the signs of teeth and gum issues are bad breath, excessive drooling, loose teeth and inflamed gums. We can brush our dogs teeth each day, but as we all know this is easier said than done with some dogs! I know I have tried with our dog Buddy and he hates it. This great alternative from Ace Canine is called plaque away and it really works. We have been using it for a couple of weeks and the bad breath has gone. The product does smell quite strong, but Buddy seemed to love it! You can buy this at Zoomadog Health Store for Dogs.

Plaque Away for dogs is a specially selected dried seaweed garanule, harvested from te cold clean North Atlantic ocean. Plaque Away helps protect against the build up of plaque on your dogs teeth and the resulting tartar and gum disease – The products also prevents bad breath in dogs.

Whilst we’re aware that we need to have our own teeth checked by a Dentist on a regular basis we may not always give our pets’ teeth the same consideration. One of the most common medical problems that dogs suffer from nowadays is tooth and gum disease. The result is that one of the commonest procedures carried out in Veterinary Surgeries is dental treatment that usually involves removal of plaque and tartar and may necessitate the use of a general anaesthetic. 

Dog breath’ as an expression is often down to the fact that many dogs do suffer from bad breath. Sometimes, this is down to a serious oral problem, so have your have your dog checked out by a vet. Assuming nothing too serious is found then you can go ahead and use this dog bad breath remedy.

Plaque-away, unlike many other dog bad breath remedies, is digested by your dog and the active ingredients are dispersed via the bloodstream to the salivary glands and then into your dogs saliva.  The active ingredient, a sulphonated fructose, is present in the saliva 24 hrs a day and its anti bacterial properties reduce the formation of plaque. Plaque is not visible, but you may see the brown tartar deposits reduce after 4-8 weeks, confirming that the effect is taking place.

Signs of tooth/gum disease

Many dogs suffer from bad breath but it may be due to a serious oral problem.  Other indications to look out for are yellow or brown stains on teeth particularly around the gum line, swollen or bleeding gums and lack of appetite due to sore or loose teeth.  The problem may even cause a change in the dog’s whole demeanour if the pain is acute.

What is plaque?

Plaque is the name for invisible but soft deposits of bacteria and food particles that accumulate on the surface of teeth and gums. Plaque left untreated is likely to turn hard, turning yellow then eventually brown – at which stage it is known as tartar – and comes along with increased potential for development of infection and gum disease.  Also, in it’s turn, tartar is an ideal surface upon which more plaque can form.

Why is plaque harmful?

The bacteria associated with plaque can cause inflammation in the gums so may eventually damage the tissue holding tooth sockets as they sit within the jaw bones. A healthy mouth & gums is often indicative of good overall health and vice versa.  Bad breath, sore gums & fragile teeth could indicate that your pet may have underlying problems.

Can we prevent plaque forming?

The diet we give our pets may determine to a large extent the health of teeth & gums; animals fed largely on soft foods tend to build-up more plaque and tartar than those given hard crunchy foods and/or bones.  Nevertheless, some breeds or individuals however may produce the type of saliva that makes them more prone than others to the build-up of plaque.  The most natural way for dogs to maintain a healthy mouth is by chewing on raw bones, ideally under supervision.   The chewing action helps clean teeth whilst at the same time massaging the gums.  Raw bones are safer than cooked bones as the latter are more likely to splinter.

How do I use Plaque-away?

Sprinkle over or mix into your dogs food once a day using the tiny measuring scoop provided. The exact amount isn’t critical.Small dogs (up to 10kg)  half a scoop daily. Medium dogs (10-25kg) one scoop daily. Large dogs (over 25kg)2 scoops daily

How long will the pot last?

The 70gm pot has 150 scoopfuls  and the 400gm pot has 1000 scoopfulsIs it safe?The amount of plaque-away  ingested is tiny and seaweed is renowned as a beneficial food, containing high levels of vitamins, minerals & trace elements and it is especially rich in natural iodine. If your dog is being treated for Thyroid conditions then consult your Vet before using.The species of seaweeds used are Fucus Vesiculosus and Laminaria Digitata harvested from the clean waters of the North Atlantic.

Parabens & SLS in Dog Shampoo – Are They Harmful?

Are parabens really that harmful? After all they are found in millions of dog shampoos around the world…

What are Parabens?

343px-Paraben-2D-skeletal

Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and they are used as preservatives – that’s why they are found in so many products. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. Nearly all of the parabens used as preservatives are man-made and not naturally occurring. Naturally occurring parabens have been found in blueberries, of all places!

In view of the various scientific studies on parabens, many dog  owners are opting to use paraben-free products just to be on the safe side.

Parabens are found in many pet grooming products, and can cause severe irritation to a dogs skin and fur if a reaction occurs.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate

Animals exposed to SLS can experience eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, and even death. SLS may damage the skin’s immune system and can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens. SLS can remain in the body for up to five days and maintain residual levels in the heart, lungs, liver and brain.

SLS is found in most skin products that foam.

All of our organic skincare products for pets are Paraben and SLS free. We know how sensitive your pets skin can be so only support natural high quality products that really work!

Have a look at our range of Dermagic organic pet shampoos and Soap Bars… If you have never tried bathing you pet with a shampoo bar you’re in for a treat, as these easy to use naturally foaming bars not only smell divine, but do the job without messy bottles and lids. They are also eco friendly as they are packaged in recycled card, avoiding plastic bottles….

 

Dermagic Dog Shampoo Bars

Dermagic Skincare – Natural Ingredients & Their Benefits

Rosemary is found in the Dermagic soap bars so here is some information on all its benefits!

For many years, DERMagic has focused on bringing the best, most effective, natural skin care solutions to the pet industry. That means using only the finest organic ingredients in our products. One recurring herb you’ll see in our products is rosemary and we want to tell you why.

Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) is an herb native to the Mediterranean. This woody, fragrant herb was always well known for its healing power. The name itself comes from the Latin ros (meaning dew) and marinus (meaning sea), which translates to “dew of the sea”. According to Greek legend, rosemary was draped around the neck of Aphrodite as she rose from the sea. Later, it was seen in Christianity when the Virgin Mary spread her blue cloak over a white-blossoming bush, turning the flowers blue. The shrub is even now often referred to as the “Rose of Mary”.

Rosemary in full bloom

The history of the plant includes historical tales of Hungary, when Queen Elisabeth of Poland used it to “…renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs…” and to improve gout. In Australia, it was used on Remembrance Day to signify memory and it was used throughout Europe as a remembrance of the dead because of its remarkable ability to improve cognition and memory. Egyptians used rosemary for incense in cleansing rituals, and during the plagues of the middle ages, it was used to drive away evil spirits and protect against infection. We like it in our kitchen because it converts an ordinary hunk of pork into an exquisitely flavored roast tenderloin!

But that’s not why we use it at DERMagic. We use the finest rosemary essential oil from Spain for its medicinal properties and there are many. Rosemary has been proven to stimulate blood flow to the brain, reduce damage to the nervous system, and decrease the effects of aging. It has even been shown to improve cognitive function and scientists are studying its effects on nerve cells.

This brings us to the many benefits of rosemary for the skin and coat of our pets. Rosemary has a stimulating effect on nerves, and especially hair follicles, which helps to encourage hair growth. It has a warming effect on cold limbs and can help alleviate arthritic pain aggravated by cold winters.

A Most Prolific Producer!

Rosemary contains many biologically active compounds, including antioxidants such as Carnosicacid and rosmarinic acid. It also contains camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, and rosmanol. These acids are wonderful for revitalizing skin and refreshing arthritic limbs. Fleas and ticks hate it, so it makes a wonderful rinse for ridding your pet of these pesky critters. And it serves as a natural preservative, extending the shelf life of our products in addition to making them smell fabulous. But perhaps most importantly, for our purposes, it helps to restore hair loss, also known as Alopecia X (or "hair today, gone tomorrow" syndrome).

These are just a few of the reasons we use rosemary in so many of our products. We’ll take a look at some of our other wonderful ingredients, including Shea Butter, whole-leaf certified organic aloe, and more.

Until then, plan to plant some rosemary in your herb garden this spring. It’s delicious in almost everything and its scent when you brush by it is uplifting, almost spiritual. Revel in it.

"Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled."
        – Unknown

Does your Pet Suffer From Winter Dry Skin or a Dull Coat

Does your cat or dog lose condition in the winter, does their coat seem dull or skin seem dry and flaky?

With winters cold dry air, and the indoor heating we all use in the colder months…Its no wonder many of our pets suffer from a dulling coat and loss of condition this time of year.

Our indoor heating systems and air conditioning emit a dry heat, this heat with the lack of humidity can dry out the moisture in your dogs skin, resulting in sensitive dry and sometimes red skin. Your dogs skin does heal, but if left it is possible for the dry skin to result in a more serious condition if your dog starts scratching the effected area.

In Winter we would advise against bathing your dog too often, which also reduces the skins moisture content. Byl eaving the natural oils to develop on the skin, it will help protect your dog from the harsher winter  environment.

Here is a list of Dermagic Skincare products that can help keep your dog in tip top condition through the winter months…

Salt Scrub

End that itchy winter dry skin and flakiness!

Directions: See our How-To video for eliminating dandruff! Or for senior dogs with achy joints aggravated by cold weather, place a cup of Salt Scrub in a warm water bath and let pets soak as the healing salts ease pain and decrease inflammation. It also helps rejuvenate dry skin, leaving the coat softer and healthier-looking.

Benefits:

  • Eliminates dandruff!
  • Relieves achy joints
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Rejuvenates dry skin
  • Restores soft, healthy coat

 

Cell Restoration Creme

Natural emollients like sesame oil and Shea butter have been scientifically proven to provide relief and reverse damage caused caused by the elements, especially cracked or inflamed pads or dry, chapped noses.

Directions: Apply liberaly to dry areas of skin and paw pads. (Great for people too, providing relief from chapped hands, eczema, psoriasis or dry, itchy skin!)


Benefits:

  • Reverses damage from elements
  • Softens paw pads
  • Restores healthy skin
  • Speed cell regeneration
  • Boosts skin’s immunity to infection
  • 100% organic ingredients

DERMagic Conditioner Bar

Rosemary-Mint Conditioner Bar

Designed to condition the skin and leave fur silky smooth, this is the perfect complement to our DERMagic Organic Shampoo Bars. 

Directions: After shampooing, rinse thoroughly, then gently stroke the Conditioner Bar directly onto the fur in the direction the hair grows. Just a light stroke does the trick. Massage gently and rinse thoroughly.


Benefits:

  • Soothes dry, itchy skin
  • Conditions & softens coat for easy grooming
  • Rosemary Essential Oil moistures and prevents hair loss
  • Peppermint is natural calmative & antiseptic
  • Provides vitamins A & C and omega-3 fatty acids