Do you consider your pet a part of the family? I sure do. I am not only concerned with what I put in my children’s body, but what goes in my dog’s body, as well. Would you serve you kids the leftover parts from a butcher shop, give them pesticides or chemicals to ingest? Many times we don’t even consider what we are actually feeding our pets. Just because it is labeled for pets, does not mean it is actually GOOD or healthy for them.
I know so much about holistic pet care because I am not only a naturopathic doctor, but our family breeds Weimaraners. The health of our dogs is of utmost importance to us, so we use only natural foods and therapies for our dog and puppies. Our dogs are healthy, vibrant and full of life. I strongly believe that your pet’s health and lifespan are directly affected by what you put into their bodies.
It is important to be informed about your options in pet care in order to make the best decisions for your pet’s health and well-being. I believe that “standard” care is causing more harm than good, so in this article I will cover natural remedy therapies and alternative pet care. Most animal diseases and problems can be both avoided and treated naturally.
Finding a Holistic Vet
A typical veterinary office is similar to a regular doctor’s office, which essentially practices “Western Medicine” on animals. Drugs, antibiotics and pesticides are their “medicines” of choice to treat only the symptoms and do nothing to correct the underlying problem of your pet.
The first and most important thing to do for the health of your pet is to find a holistic vet in your area. Even if it is a bit of a drive, the natural treatments for your animals are well worth it, especially when it comes to more serious diseases like cancer. I was lucky enough to find a fantastic holistic vet nearby who has taught me much of what I know today about holistic pet care. She changed our dog’s life after having a bad experience with a standard vet.
You can find a holistic vet in your area by going to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website here:
The Vaccination Myth
If you take your dog or cat to a standard vet, the first thing they are going to want to do is get them “up to date” on their vaccinations. However, holistic veterinarians and myself believe that these yearly vaccines can assault your pet’s immune system, bombarding them with a whole host of potential problems and diseases. Holistic veterinarians state, and science has proven, that most vaccines are completely unnecessary.
Dr. Ronald Shultz, a Veterinary Immunologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, pioneered the vaccine schedule that most holistic vets follow today. He backs his recommendations with over 25 years worth of vaccine research. Dr. Shultz states that most vaccines given after a dog’s first year have little or no value and don’t offer adequate protection.. These unneeded vaccines can cause many adverse side-effects. Dr. Shultz’s research shows, that if your puppy gets vaccinated at 12 weeks with a booster 4 to 6 weeks later, then he/she is likely immune for life!
The Holistic Vaccine Protocol
According to Dr. Shultz’s Research, there are only 3 vaccines that are necessary for your dog.
Recommended Vaccines for Every Dog
The holistic vaccination schedule recommends your dogs first vaccinations of distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus be given between 12-14 weeks with a booster of each given 4 weeks later. Most likely no other vaccinations will be needed for the life of your dog. However, a titer can be used later to test your dog’s antibodies to see if additional boosters are necessary.
I also recommend giving your dog the homeopathic, Thuja, to counteract the vaccines side-effects. Give them a 30C dose of two pellets 30 minutes before and after the vaccination. Follow that with 2 pellets twice a day for the following 3 days. This will help detoxify your dogs system from the potential dangerous ingredients and their side-effects.
Your Pet Is Already Vaccinated, Now What?
If you already have a pet that has been vaccinated several times, you are probably wondering what you should do now. Most likely, they have all the necessary antibodies for those diseases. If it makes you or your vet more comfortable, you can have your pet’s blood titered to make sure. Most vaccines, including the rabies vaccine, will keep your pet immune for at least 8 years.
The Rabies Secret
Most holistic veterinarians believe the rabies vaccine is one of the most harmful vaccines to a dog’s system. However, it is required by law. The rabies vaccine is available in both one and three year doses.
Here is a little helpful secret. The 3-year vaccine is not any stronger and is the exact same dosage as the one-year. Choosing the 3 year rabies vaccine will not only save you money, but will save your dog from the dangers of being overly vaccinated.
Treating Pet Problems Naturally
Even if you feed your dog or cat natural food and avoid over vaccinating, they can still develop health problems with age, or simply because of a genetic disposition. I have seen our dog overcome her genetic health predispositions with just a few supplements. If you are fed up with conventional pet care therapies not working, then this is for you. Just like our bodies, an animal’s body is designed to heal itself. Natural supplements help facilitate that healing.
Immune System and Allergies
Our dog’s breed, like many dogs and cats, is prone to allergies. When your pet has allergies, it is an immune issue. The best way to combat it is not with anti-histamines, but with a good immune booster. There are several amazing immune boosters for pets. My favorites include:
Just 1 pill a day cured our dog’s allergies. It is easy to sprinkle on their dog food and has no risk of overdose.
Be sure and buy a pet specific probiotic. These are not only good for the immune system, but for upset tummies. They are also a must following an antibiotic to replenish their good bacteria.
Purchased in herbal or homeopathic form, this is a great anti-viral and immune booster. Add 1-10 drops to your pet’s food, depending on weight.
Buy the non-acidic calcium ascorbate form so it doesn’t upset their stomach. Add 50-500 mg into their dog food, again depending on their weight.
Good natural pet food is essential for a compromised immune system, as well. Many dogs are sensitive to grains like corn and wheat, so avoid them. By-products and chemical ingredients in their food can also lower their immune system.
Also, make sure your dog is getting some sun. The make vitamin D from sun exposure too, which is essential therapy for the immune system. I give my big 80-pound dog a teaspoon of cod liver oil in the winter months to give her some extra vitamin D. Smaller dogs would need less, of course.
Many dogs suffer from anxiety. Sometimes it is from separation or maybe certain situations like a car ride make them anxious. There are some great natural remedies on the market for pet anxiety. Here are my two pet care favorites:
Squirt a couple drops in the mouth of a smaller dog, or use a full dropper for larger ones. Rescue Remedy is a blend of non-toxic flower essences that help calm and relax. It is great for humans, too!
Healthy Calm by Renew Life
This flavored chew is a tasty treat packed with calming herbs like lemon balm and hops. It also has amino acids GABA and L-Theanine, which promote relaxing brain activity.
Flea Repellents and Heartworm Alternatives
Keeping your animal flea and tick free is extremely important. However, most collars, powders and even the longer lasting repellents like Frontline, are essentially chemical pesticides. These chemicals can soak through their skin and cause your pet health issues like seizures and respiratory distress. More importantly, you and your kids can also be exposed to those toxic chemicals by simply hugging or petting your pet! In my opinion, if it says it is dangerous to ingest, then it is dangerous to apply to their coat, as well.
I have been using natural repellents with great results. You can make your own using essential oils or purchase one already made. Here is the blend I make for my dog.
Natural Flea and Ticket Repellent Recipe
Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Add the following essential oils.
- 15 drop of citronella
- 10 drops of pennyroyal
- 10 drops of germanium (this is specifically for ticks)
Shake before using. Spray your pet down every 2-3 days or before they go into a wooded area.
Neem is another fantastic natural repellent. I have used Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray with great results.
You may have good intentions giving your dog heartworm meds, but these tablets are just another chemical pesticide. This “medicine” is packed full of potential side-effects, including death!
The cause of heartworms is mosquitoes; so using the repellent above can help tremendously. However, you can also prevent heartworms with a blend of herbs that is also designed to kill intestinal worms and parasites. I give my dog an herbal blend of garlic, clove, black walnut and wormwood. I put several drops in her dog food a few times a week during the warmer months. No need for wormer or heartworm meds with this powerful blend!
Natural Pet First Aid Kit
Lastly, I want to list some natural remedies I feel are important to have on hand for natural pet care. This can be essentially your pet’s “first aid” kit.
This natural antibiotic is good for bacterial infections, stomach problems (from eating bad pet food), cuts and scrapes and eye infections.
Purification Oil by Young Living
Dab on your pets collar for bug repellent or use on skin irritations and bug bites. This oil dissolved a large cyst that was on my dog’s ear in just 5 days. It is an amazing blend.
This is what vets use when a dog or cat eats something poisonous because it absorbs toxins. Also great in a smaller dosage for diarrhea and upset stomachs.
I learned about this when one of our puppies ate mouse poison at a friend’s house. Making them drink hydrogen peroxide is a natural way to cause them to vomit. Use only in extreme circumstances, of course! Having this on hand can save your pet’s life!
Natural Health for Longer Life
I hope I inspired you to take a closer look at what you do for your pet’s health. Knowing how to keep your pet naturally healthy can save you thousands of dollars in vet bills. It can also greatly extend the life of your pet. Not only that, better health equals better quality of life. As for myself, I want my dog healthy and around as long as possible.
Did this article open your eyes to something new? Did I inspire you to take charge of your pet’s health in a more natural way?
I’d love to hear your feedback. If you already use natural remedy methods with your pet, I would also love to hear some of your tips and success stories. Please write your comments below.
Amanda Box is a Doctor of Naturopathy and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 10 years and currently has a Naturopathic consulting practice in Sioux Falls, SD. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic doctor to turn to for your personal needs, Dr. Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.