Today is Earth Day … and 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of this celebration. Earth Day started as a day of education about environmental issues.
Now it’s time to get your dog involved with Earth Day too!
Mother Nature provides your dog with so many great ingredients that are beneficial to his health. And there are ways for you and your dog to give back to the Earth as a ‘thank you’.
I did a little reading up on Earth Day history. And I found it ironic to see images from the first Earth Day in 1970 … showing Earth Day celebrants wearing symbolic face masks in New York City.
Just like we are today … only now it’s to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A Silver Lining For Earth?
It’s ironic that this year, environmental pollution is reduced in many places around the globe. As we stay home to avoid the virus, carbon emissions are much lower than usual.
The US Energy Information Administration has just published a report predicting that “energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decrease by 7.5% in 2020.” The reason? “The slowing economy and restrictions on business and travel activity related to COVID-19.”
Perhaps that’s the silver lining in all of this … though it’s unlikely to continue after the pandemic is over. Industries will ramp up again. In the US at least, there’s talk of loosening environmental restrictions for businesses. Cities and highways will be jammed with vehicles; and planes will take to the skies again.
Earth Day founder, US Senator Gaylord Nelson, envisioned Earth Day as a large scale, grassroots demonstration against the degradation of America’s natural resources.
So, as a day of grassroots effort … let’s celebrate Earth Day 2020 by talking about some ways earth can help your dog. And some ways that you, as a dog owner, can do your part to help the earth too.
3 Ways the Earth Helps Your Dog
Earth’s natural resources offer many substances that nourish your dog’s body … from water to plants and minerals … and the air he breathes.
So, here are 3 less obvious gifts the planet provides for your dog.
#1 Humic And Fulvic Acids
Humic and fulvic acids come from soils containing decomposed organic matter … like fruits, vegetables, and ancient seaweed. So they are an earth-friendly renewable resource … from the earth.
And only nature can make them. Scientists have tried … but they can’t reproduce humic and fulvic acids in a lab.
So … why should you give your dog humid and filmic acid?
The main way humic and fulvic acids benefit your dog is by improving gut and immune system health.
They do this by …
- Removing Toxins. Humic acid binds to toxins like glyphosate and heavy metals in the stomach. This helps your dog’s body eliminate them … before they get into the intestines and blood stream. (I’m going to talk more about the dangers of glyphosate in the second part of this post … so keep reading for some important information about it.)
- Protecting Nutrients. Glyphosate also binds to chelated minerals. This means it can deplete nutrients like zinc, magnesium, cobalt, copper and calcium. So by detoxing glyphosate … humic acid can help prevent the loss of these important nutrients for your dog.
- Adding Nutrients. Humic and fulvic acids aren’t just about detox. They also provide a wide range of nutrients … including trace minerals, amino acids, phytochemicals and enzymes. And they help deliver more nutrients to the body’s cells … giving the cells the energy to perform at their best.
By improving gut health, humic and fulvic acids can also strengthen your dog’s immune system.
More than 80% of the immune system lives in your dog’s gut. So a healthy gut helps your dog ward off disease.
Fulvic acid can also modulate your dog’s immune system. It regulates the amount of T cells and killer cells. This helps prevent chronic inflammation … which can lead to disease.
Giving Your Dog Humic And Fulvic Acids
One way to give your dog some humic and fulvic acid is to feed vegetables grown in healthy soil.
Healthy soil means the veggies must be organic. Give your dog a wide range of organic edible roots, like beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips. Garlic and leafy green veggies are other good sources.
Note: Always steam or puree veggies for digestibility.
But these foods may not be enough. Soils aren’t as nutrient-rich as they once were … so you may want to add a supplement that contains humic and fulvic acids. This will ensure you dog gets the support she needs.
If you buy a product made for humans, assume the dose is for a 150 lb. human and adjust for your dog’s weight. Follow the package instructions if your supplement is made for dogs.
#2 Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth has several practical uses for your dog.
First of all, what is it? It’s white, so it doesn’t look that earthy!
Diatomaceous earth comes from crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life. Through a microscope, the particles look like tiny fragments of broken glass.
And that’s what makes it a great way to get rid of insects. Here are some uses of diatomaceous earth.
Eliminate External Parasites
Diatomaceous earth is deadly to insects. When the razor-sharp particles touch the pests, they pierce the insects’ protective coating. So the bugs quickly dehydrate and die. The particles affect larvae in the same way.
Diatomaceous earth is harmless to your dog … but it can kill fleas, ticks, lice or mites.
To get rid of these pests, rub the powder into your dog’s coat. Start near the tail and pull back the hair to get it on the skin. Avoid the eyes, nose and mouth as it can irritate mucous membranes.
If you have a flea infestation, you’ll also need to sprinkle it on your dog’s bedding and on carpeted areas.
Caution: Always use food-grade diatomaceous earth. The product that’s in gardens and pool filters is processed differently and can be harmful.
Get Rid Of Worms
Diatomaceous earth can also eliminate internal parasites in your dog … like roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms.
It’s best to feed it for at least 30 days. That’ll make sure you get rid of all newly hatching eggs. And it will catch the worms as they cycle through the lungs and back to the stomach.
Note: Diatomaceous earth works for intestinal worms. It will not kill heartworms.
Give small dogs ½ tsp per day in food; medium dogs 1 tsp, large dogs 1 Tbsp and giant breeds 2 Tbsp. Mix it with raw or moist food, or add some water or broth to moisten it.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural deodorizer for a stinky dog. Sprinkle it on your dog’s coat and leave it in … or brush it out after a few hours. You can dust your carpet or other smelly area;
#3 Bentonite Clay
Clay isn’t just for facials or making pottery. Bentonite clay can benefit your dog too.
One of the best sources of this healing clay is Fort Benton, Wyoming … that’s why it got the name bentonite. It can be useful for your dog internally and externally.
Bentonite clay acts like a magnet for positively charged particles. This means it can remove heavy metals and chemicals from the body.
Note: You may see bentonite clay as an ingredient in commercial dog foods. it’s added to help protect against toxins like molds. Aflatoxin mold is in most kibble. And it can cause cancer and liver damage. So … bentonite clay is a red flag on an ingredient list.
A 1989 study found that bentonite reduced aflatoxin contamination in water by 34%. Other research found bentonite clay restored liver function in pigs … without affecting the digestion of good nutrients.
Bentonite clay can also help remove kidney wastes that build up when the organs start to decline. So it may help support your dog with kidney disease.
Caution: Check with your holistic vet before using bentonite clay for kidney disease. Dosing is unique to each case … and it may be contraindicated due to other herbs or medications your dog’s on.
Treat And Prevent Parasites
Bentonite clay works a lot like diatomaceous earth for parasites. But it’s gentler.
Use it internally to help remove intestinal parasites. It dehydrates them and binds them … so they exit the body in the stool. Because bentonite clay is drying, make sure your dog gets extra water.
You can also use bentonite clay topically as a flea dust. Dusting it on the skin will dehydrate the fleas quickly. And its microscopic sharp edges can cut through their hard exoskeletons too.
Provide Trace Minerals
Bentonite clay contains many trace minerals … that may be missing in your dog’s diet.
Your dog can easily absorb trace minerals from bentonite clay, even if she has some digestive issues.
Bentonite clay also strengthens good bacteria in your dog’s gut … improving digestion and immunity.
Giving Bentonite Clay Orally To Dogs
You can buy powdered bentonite clay at health stores. Depending on your dog’s size, give 1/4 – 1/2 tsp daily mixed with a small amount of filtered water.
If you use a supplement containing bentonite clay for dogs, follow the dosing instructions on the label.
Skin And Allergies
Those are some internal uses for bentonite clay. But you can also use clay topically for skin and allergy relief.
Giving it internally can support skin health by removing toxins, parasites and bad bacteria from your dog’s gut.
But topical bentonite clay can soothe skin irritations and bug bites.
Make a paste of 1 part clay mixed with 2 parts filtered or spring water. Apply the paste to irritated skin.
So … those are some natural resources the earth can offer your dog. Now it’s time to give something back.
3 Ways To Help The Earth
How can you, as a dog owner, help support the earth in return for its gifts?
Here are 3 ideas.
#1 Buy Sustainable Fish And Fish Oil
Fish and fish oils can benefit your dog’s health in many ways. But we’re depleting our oceans every day.
By giving your dog fish and fish oil, you’re plundering the earth’s resources. Unless you do it responsibly. And that means choosing products that are sustainable.
The Marine Stewardship Council says …
“Sustainable fishing means leaving enough fish in the ocean, respecting habitats and ensuring people who depend on fishing can maintain their livelihoods.”
So … if you give your dog fish or krill oil, do some thorough research on the product you buy.
For your dog’s sake, always make sure you buy the best quality fish oil you can find. Fish oil is very unstable and can turn rancid easily. Buy fish oil bottled in dark glass, and keep it refrigerated.
Fish oil can also contain contaminants that can harm your dog. This article for veterinarians explains some of the problems.
But you’ll also want to make sure you buy fish oil that’s sustainably produced. If the manufacturer doesn’t make this clear on their website, call them to find out. And if they don’t want to share the information with you, that’s a warning sign. Find a different brand!
You can also give your dog important omega-3s such as EPA and DHA by using earth-friendly sources of these essential fatty acids.
Information about seafood for dogs can be bewildering at times. You have to be concerned about contaminants and other health concerns for your dog. Some seafood is more suitable for your dog than others.
And then there’s sustainability …
If your dog eats seafood, choose fish that are plentiful and aren’t endangered. There are several places to get this information. It can get confusing … but here are a few of them.
- The Marine Stewardship Council certifies sustainable fisheries with its MSC blue label. So look for the label when you shop for fish. EDF Seafood Selector is run by the Environmental Defense Fund. It has good information on fish choices, using several rating levels. Seafood Watch, from Monterey Bay Aquarium, has similar information, but also offers state-by-state guides to help you choose the best fish.
- EDF Seafood Selector is run by the Environmental Defense Fund. It has good information on fish choices, using several rating levels.
- Seafood Watch, from Monterey Bay Aquarium, has similar information, but also offers state-by-state guides to help you choose the best fish.
Be aware that the information changes often. A fish that’s sustainable at one time … may be endangered the next. The location or source is important too. There are many factors to consider … but using these guides can help you make ethical choices for your dog’s fish.
#2 Avoid Glyphosate (If You Can!)
Earlier I talked about detoxing glyphosate from your dog … but I didn’t get into why you need to do that.
Glyphosate is tremendously harmful. It doesn’t just harm you and your dog. It’s also harming the planet. And it’s everywhere you look.
It’s in food, it’s in water, it’s in the air … it’s even in mothers’ breast milk. Your neighbor or your local park may be spraying it (Roundup) to get rid of weeds.
There’s research linking glyphosate to some serious health issues:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Birth defects
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Reproductive problems
That’s just in people. But it’s the same for your dog.
The head of the USDA once said that glyphosate only causes cancer “when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time.”
Well … that isn’t comforting at all. Because that’s what we all do!
And your dog has extra risk … because she walks in bare feet. So she can absorb the toxins through her pads. Then she comes home and licks her paws.
Glyphosate And The Environment
But what about the environment? Research shows that glyphosate residues contaminate our water supply via rainwater, surface runoff and leaching into groundwater. It’s harming aquatic and marine organisms and amphibians.
Glyphosate is in the soil. It harms wildlife in agricultural areas.
Glyphosate residues are in many crops … including soybeans, corn, alfalfa, canola, wheat, barley.(Recognize any kibble ingredients there? If you feed your dog kibble, he’s likely eating glyphosate.You can find out your dog’s glyphosate levels with a simple urine test.)
Glyphosate is used on cotton crops too. So it may even be in the clothes you wear.
As I said … it’s everywhere (except in countries who’ve banned it).
So, what can you do to help this problem? It seems insurmountable … but every small step helps.
By avoiding glyphosate for yourself, your family and your pets, you’ll contribute to lowering this toxin in the environment.
Here are some things you can do to help:
- Don’t use herbicides (especially Roundup) or pesticides in your yard.
- Try to politely educate your neighbors about the risks.
- Avoid parks, lakes, schoolyards, golf courses or other areas that may be sprayed with herbicide.
- Ask public officials if they spray at your favorite dog park. If they do, find another place for your dog to play.
- Avoid commercial kibbles and canned foods.
- Feed your dog fresh foods … and buy organic whenever you can.
- Do the same for your human family. A recent study showed that eating organic food can reduce pesticide exposure (not just from glyphosate) by as much as 95%.
- Remember … glyphosate doesn’t wash off the food. It’s in it … so again, buy organic whenever you can.
- If you must use commercial foods for your dog, choose GMO-free foods. Check out the Non-GMO Project’s list of non-GMO pet products and look for their stamp on the food package.
And for your dog’s sake, detox your dog regularly.
#3 Avoid Antibiotics
Antibiotics may harm your dog more than they help her. Yes, they kill bacterial infections. But antibiotics don’t discriminate. They kill off the good bacteria in your dog as well.
Research now shows that the damage to gut bacteria from taking antibiotics may be permanent.
And the drugs cause far more harm than just the gut. The damage to your dog’s microbiome may be the first step. But dysbiosis leads to many other health problems, including …
- Mental health
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
But it’s not just about the effect on your dog. Antibiotics cause much more widespread damage.
- The more doctors prescribe antibiotics, the more resistant the bacteria become. Over time, this leads to superbugs, such as MRSA. These infections are incredibly hard to treat, because the antibiotics don’t work on them any more.
- Antibiotic residues get into the soil. This harms microbial activity and diversity in the ground. Residues also make their way into food that’s grown in these toxic soils … again contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria.
- Antibiotic residues in soil also get into food animals .. again, they’re in our food chain. They’re present not just in meat and fish, but also in dairy products, including eggs.
- Antibiotic residues may also be in livestock or poultry manure used in organic farming (where chemical fertilizers are not permitted). This could mean there are antibiotics even in your organic veggies.
- Antibiotic residues in water are a major source of environmental contamination. Once again, this increases antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Antibiotic water pollution is difficult to remediate, and biodegradability varies depending on the drug type.
- But by far the largest use of antibiotics in the US is in livestock production. Annually, it’s between 20 and 28 million pounds of the drugs. So antibiotics end up in animal manure, often applied to agricultural land as fertilizer. So food crops grown this way can absorb antibiotics.
Of course, any amount of antibiotics you might use for your dog is tiny compared to livestock use. But again, every little contribution you make can help the environment.
So please think twice before using antibiotics. Occasionally you may find them necessary … but the consequences can be far-reaching.
On this 50th Earth Day, let your dog help you support the environment … for the health of our planet and all the living beings that call it home.