Here at DNM we’re always getting questions about the #1 thing you can do to boost dog health.
Oh, if only we could stop at one.
But, we can’t. That wouldn’t be fair to you or your dog.
Instead, we’ve gathered a list of 9 things that’ll improve your dog’s health.
The information below is from some of our most important posts. Why? Because they contain some really important advice. Advice that just might save your dog’s life.
9 Things That Jump-Start Dog Health
In no particular order, here’s our top advice to get your dog on the path to health.
1. Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut is becoming a common condition in dogs. It’s well named because, with Leaky Gut syndrome, the gut lining lets toxins “leak” through into the bloodstream. Here’s what happens.
Sometimes the delicate mucosal lining protecting your dog’s gut gets damaged. The lining is a bit like cheesecloth that allows tiny digested food particles into the bloodstream. That’s when it’s working properly. But if the bacteria in your dog’s gut get out of balance, and the “bad” bacteria start to outnumber the friendly bacteria, the “cheesecloth” gets damaged and stretched out. This means it can let larger undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins pass through into the bloodstream. This causes a number of adverse reactions. First, it makes the liver work overtime to filter out the toxins. And then the immune system jumps into action to fight off the intruders (toxins). This can cause chronic inflammation in your dog.
This chronic inflammation can lead to all kinds of health conditions:
- Allergies, skin disease, thyroid, joint, heart disease, spinal cord, eye or brain issues
- Inflammatory bowel disease, chronic cystitis, collapsing trachea, laryngeal paralysis
- Liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disorders
- Behavior problems such as aggression and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Autoimmune disease and nutritional deficiencies. These can lead to cancer or chronic inflammation.
It’s serious. But you can treat it.
2. Feed Raw
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Raw is the fastest growing sector of the pet food market. People are recognizing that when it comes to feeding for health, kibble isn’t the way to go.
There are many reasons kibble isn’t good for your dog:
- Most kibble contains 25 to 45 percent starch
- Dogs don’t need starch in their diet
- Excess starch supports unhealthy gut bacteria
- The high temperature cooking process destroys the nutrients in the food
- Manufacturers add synthetic vitamins to replace them
- High heat denatures the protein, making it hard to digest
Animal nutritionist Dr Richard Patton makes it clear. “A bowl of kibble once a day is tantamount to daily endocrine abuse and is unhealthful. After eating, blood sugar spikes, insulin pours forth, blood sugar plunges.”
Natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria are found in raw pet foods. They’re undamaged by any type of cooking process, making them much healthier. Raw foods are also full of REAL, natural vitamins and minerals, not fake ones.
And, a raw diet can help prevent and manage many common health conditions:
- Gastrointestinal, liver and kidney disease
- Allergies and skin disease
- Hormonal disease
This post from Richard Patton PhD lays it all on the line. Check it out for more reasons to switch to a raw diet.
3. Cut Out Unnecessary Vaccines
For most people, it happens every year. You know, that call from the vet about your dog’s annual shots. Too many people say “yep” and make an appointment, no questions asked.
This unquestioning belief that our dogs need yearly vaccinations is bad news. According to holistic veterinarian Dr Dee Blanco, we’ve become addicted. And this addiction is rooted in myth.
And we’re all about myth busting at Dogs Naturally. Here are the vaccine myths that do the most damage:
Myth #1: Vaccines saved the world.
Myth #2: Vaccines are safe, harmless and effective.
Myth #3: The science on vaccines is settled.
In this post, Dee Blanco lays out the 5 steps you can take to stop the vaccine madness and reduce the risks your dog faces with every unnecessary vaccine.
4. Add In Some Antioxidants
Your dog is bombarded by toxins at every turn. We’re talking about pesticides, antibiotics and toxins in food. Cleaning and lawn chemicals and vaccines too. And these toxins build up in the body and generate free radicals.
Free radicals are a natural byproduct of certain processes in the body, including metabolism. Free radicals are formed when your dog is exposed to vaccines, drugs, chemicals, pesticides, processed foods, pollution and other toxins. They cause oxidative stress on your dog’s body, damaging his cells, proteins and DNA. So what can you do to control the proliferation of free radicals?
The answer: antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep those free radicals under control and promote better overall health for your dog.
A healthy diet full of antioxidants helps prevent free radical takeover.
There are several foods you can add to your dog’s diet to boost the antioxidants. This post has a good list.
5. Use Homeopathy For Natural Healing
Homeopathic remedies are gentle medicines made with highly diluted amounts of substances like plants and minerals. When correctly matched to your dog’s symptoms, they offer remarkably effective first aid for many common ailments your dog may experience. You can use homeopathic remedies safely at home for these types of conditions.
This post will tell you how to treat things like:
- Bee stings
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Bumps and bruises
- Sprains and strains
- Puppy teething pain
And don’t worry, it also tells you how to use them and where to buy them. Check it out here.
Note: for longer term, more chronic illness, you’ll want to consult a homeopathic vet who can do a proper case analysis and prescribe the appropriate remedy for your dog.
6. Detox The Entire Body
The food your dog eats, the water she drinks, even the air she breathes all bring toxins into her body. Vaccines, pesticides and chemical flea and tick meds are also a huge issue.
It’s impossible to deny it. We live in a toxic world.
I covered toxins earlier with antioxidants, but there’s even more you can do to clear them out. Detoxifying your dog means cleaning out the various systems – from head to paws. Just like you’d do a detox for yourself, your dog also benefits from a good cleanse.
Whether you do it yearly or every 6 months, a regular detox is a great way to “clean house” and boost your dog’s health.
This post covers exactly what you need to know to get rid of the toxins in your dog’s body:
- Liver detox
- Kidney detox
- Gut support
- Skin detox
7. Forget The Chemical Flea And Tick Medications
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recently released a report on the dangers of certain flea and tick meds. They’re warning pet owners that these meds can cause neurological side effects. And it’s not just the meds that are named in this report, but just about all pharmaceutical pest preventatives.
These preventive drugs are actually pesticides that attack the nervous system of fleas and ticks, paralyzing and killing them. Is it really a surprise that they can also damage the nervous systems of dogs?
But that’s not the only reason to keep these chemical cocktails away from your dog. Common oral and topical flea meds are also known for a number of other adverse reactions:
- Loss of appetite
- Behavioral changes
So, stop using these chemical meds and switch to natural prevention.
In this post, canine herbalist Rita Hogan tells you how to keep fleas off your dog and out of your house and yard. And she doesn’t use any chemicals.
There’s also a recipe for an apple cider vinegar rinse and an everyday flea repellent.
8. Understand Your Dog’s Allergies
If your dog doesn’t have allergies, that’s awesome! You can skip this step.
But if she does, you’re going to want to get to know as much as possible about them. That’s really the only way to find a solution that works.
There are several different types of common allergies in dogs:
- Food sensitivities
- Flea bite hypersensitivities
- Seasonal allergies
- Contact allergies
And the symptoms of these can all look similar. But when it comes to treatment, that’s a problem.
For example, a food allergy and a flea bite allergy can both cause intense itching. But you can’t treat them the same way.
This is the ultimate guide to allergies. It goes through some of the most common allergies and tells you how to determine what your dog is dealing with. That way you can choose a natural treatment plan that will actually work!
9. Switch Out The Fish Oil
Last, but not least, we’re going to talk about fish oil.
This is a hard one for some to accept, but it’s important.
Millions of people feed their dogs fish oil because of the omega-3s. And that’s a good reason, because your dog needs omega-3s. Omega-3s support immune health, heart health, brain health and more. They also balance out omega-6s, which can cause inflammation and chronic disease.
But fish oil isn’t the best (or even a good) source of omega-3s. In fact, it could be harming your dog. Fish oil:
- is extremely vulnerable to oxidative damage
- may contain toxins like heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls
- is often full of radioactive particles
It’s also killing the ocean.
So what’s the alternative, no omega-3s? Of course not. There are several safe alternatives that give your dog the fatty acids she needs.
In this post Dana Scott shares the top 5 reasons she stopped feeding her dogs fish oil and what she uses instead.
Giving your dog a healthy life is a choice. Doing all you can to protect her is so important, and it’s easy once you have a guide. Use these posts as that guide and get your dog back on track for healthy living.