Is your dog living in a chemical-filled bubble? It’s time to burst it and make the move to natural dog health.
We all know that chemicals are not only harmful to human beings but also to animals. Alarmingly, they’re found everywhere in a normal household.
Things like organophosphate pesticides, which make up about half of America’s pesticides, and phthalates which are responsible for fragrances in many toiletries, are in our dogs’ environment …
… and they could be causing all kinds of problems.
The good news is there are several ways that you can protect your dog from these harmful chemicals.
3 Ways to Help Your Dog Go Au Naturale
The decision to switch to natural dog health care is a big commitment for every pet owner. Not only are you changing things up in your dog’s life, you’re also making big changes for your own life (a pet can never go all natural if his owner doesn’t make some changes too).
However daunting going all natural may be, just remember that the hardest part is the transition.
So, how do you properly transition your dog to a natural lifestyle?
#1 Ditch The Toxic And Chemical Products
There are so many toxic products in the average home. So, start with an inventory of the things you own, from personal care products to household cleaning materials. You might have to get rid of a lot of products, but that just means your dog will be safer, sooner.
You can easily switch out your chemical-based cleaners and go with a homemade one.
Apple cider vinegar is a great natural option. Use it to make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing 1 cup of water with 1 cup of vinegar.[Related: Want more recipes for natural cleaning? Find them here]
Household cleansers aren’t the only toxic products you might be using on your pet. Lots of shampoos and soaps also contain plenty of toxic ingredients …
… Even the ones meant to be used on your dog!
Here are a few ingredients that you should avoid:
- Artificial fragrances and phthalates – have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems and cancer
- Artificial colors – often contain petroleum which has been linked to birth defects, allergies, even organ failure and cancer
- Formaldehyde preservatives Quaternium-15 Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin Imidazolidinyl urea and Bronopol – can cause skin damage and irritation
- Parabens – can cause reproductive issues, disrupt estrogen production and even cause cancer
If you’re buying shampoo for your dog, make sure it’s organic.
Once you’ve tossed all those harmful products, it’s time to change up your dog’s diet.
#2 Switch To A Raw Diet
If you’re feeding your dog kibble, switching to fresh, whole foods as soon as possible is a good idea.
Kibble manufacturers spend a lot of money on marketing. They do this to convince you that you’re giving your dog a balanced and nutritious meal …
… But the ingredients tell a different story.
In truth, kibble has little to no nutritional benefit for your dog.
To make kibble hard and crunchy, manufacturers rely on starchy carbohydrates and a process that uses heat. This heat destroys nutrients.
Physiologically, dogs aren’t even built to eat carbohydrates. Their teeth and digestive tract are designed to absorb nutrients from high amounts of protein in a short time.
Mold is another issue with kibble. Poor storage can contaminate the pellets in storage especially in a moist environment. Once sullied, molds can quickly grow and produce aflatoxins which are potent carcinogens. Even at low doses, aflatoxins can cause problems ranging from anemia, liver and kidney failure to cancer and premature death.
Dogs’ bodies are designed for a high protein diet, so raw foods are the healthiest thing to feed.
Here are some tips to help with the transition:
- Keep it simple. If you make your own raw food, stick to 75% meat/bones/organs, 20% colorful vegetables and 5% fruit. Feed a variety of protein sources and organs to help ensure your dog gets all the nutrients he needs.
- Add in essential fatty acids (no fish oil) such as phytoplankton, hemp oil or coconut oil. Read more on the importance of these fats and how to balance them here.
- Add recreational bones. A few times a week, give your dog a raw meaty bone. This is great for his teeth, for building the muscles in his neck and spine and to beat boredom. Pay attention to size. For large dogs, try beef neck bones, beef rib bones and pelvic bones. For smaller dogs, go with beef rib bones, lamb neck bones, pork or lamb ribs and heads.
[Related: Still feeling overwhelmed? Check out our raw feeding primer]
#3 Switch to Natural Healing
Another important step to take for natural dog health is switching to natural remedies and more natural living when it comes to healing.
There are several ways to do that.
- Minimize vaccines
- Consider TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine)
- Heal with herbs and homeopathy
Veterinary schools and many veterinarians believe that giving dogs vaccine after vaccine is going to make a dog healthier. Although many veterinarians have good intentions, vaccinations are actually more harmful than helpful to dogs.
- Vaccines contain ingredients such as thimerosal, a mercury based additive used as a preservative, and formaldehyde, a known carcinogen
- There are no tests showing vaccines are safe or effective
- There are countless reports and studies showing adverse reactions to vaccines are a very real reality
Adverse reactions to vaccines range from mild (lethargy and fever), to moderate (behavioral changes), to severe (seizures and death).
According to leading veterinary immunologist Dr Ronald Schultz, veterinary medicine is not ready for vaccinations. There is a lack of knowledge about adverse effects and limited studies to prove the effectiveness of vaccines.
In fact, the trend of giving dogs annual vaccines is not only harmful, it’s unnecessary. Research done by Dr Schultz shows that immunity from most core vaccines can last as long as nine to 15 years, making annual dog vaccines unnecessary.
And there’s an alternative. Titer testing will show you if your dog is still protected by measuring immunity levels in the blood. They’re an important tool against over-vaccination.
There’s more on titers here.
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is a popular form of holistic healing that uses acupuncture, herbal medicine and food therapy. It has been used for 3000 years. This aged form of healing tackles not only the disease but also the general well-being of your dog.
Disease, according to traditional Chinese medicine, happens because of an imbalance in the body. According to TCVM, “the body is an interconnected system of forces and functions.” TCVM identifies and treats the pattern of disharmony in the body which is the cause this imbalance.
There are different ways to help heal your dog through TCVM. Make sure to research properly about each approach and best yet, find a TCVM practitioner near you.[Related: TCVM is a great way to heal vaccine damage. Find out how it works here]
Heal With Herbs And Homeopathy
It’s too bad that many of the drugs prescribed by conventional vets to treat your dog can also do damage. Adverse reactions and harmful side effects are reported on a regular basis for all kinds of antibiotics, flea, tick and heartworm preventatives, even allergy meds.
For example, vets will prescribe antibiotics to treat infections. These work because they kill of the harmful bacteria.
The problem is, they also kill of the friendly bacteria that protects the entire body. Does that sound like a fair trade-off? Nope.
So what’s the alternative?
Herbs and homeopathy are 2 natural options …
… and you don’t have to worry about either one hurting your dog or the risk of long term side effects after you finish with the remedies.
Here are some of our favorite healing herbs:
- Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) – effective pain reliever and digestive support.
- Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – helpful for relief of gas and bloating.
- Nettles (Urtica dioica folia) – excellent remedy for environmental allergies.
- Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) – good for arthritis and joint pain.
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – supports the liver and lymphatic system, anti-inflammatory, soothes the digestive system and gently stimulates the immune system.
- Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis radix) – use this herb to relieve heartburn, digestive inflammation, constipation and diarrhea.
The transition from your dog’s current diet, your lifestyle and medical approach can all be substituted with more natural, healthier and friendlier approaches that will surely assist in bringing back your dog’s vigor and prevent unnecessary damage in their health.