Pets make the world a much better place, don’t they?
That’s why today we are talking about our favorite four-legged fur babies and how to best care for them.
When I got my beloved Deebo (my first son!), I had to learn all about natural ways to manage his health. I spoke to some people in the holistic pet health world, as well as did my own thorough research and thus today we share with you.
Proper nutrition, much like for humans, is the foundation for a healthy pet. Often many conventional pet foods contain a laundry-list of preservatives, artificial ingredients, and include “chicken or pork meal or by-products” instead of actual free-range chicken or pork.
On the contrary, high-quality food should contain real meat (ideally grass-fed or free-range), vegetables, and no grains. Similar to people, processed foods are tough for dogs to break down and digest properly. Choosing a brand with minimal ingredients and appropriate sourcing is the safest way to ensure your pet is receiving the proper ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and protein as well as a healthy amount of micronutrients to fuel their cells.
Dogs by nature have a difficult time eating high amounts of dietary fat as it is very hard on their pancreas and gallbladder (hint – as much as they LOVE it, don’t EVER give them bacon or bacon grease).
Ensuring a dog is receiving enough protein is essential to a healthy diet. Dogs are omnivores, and their ancestors' diets did not include grains so it’s generally safer and better to maintain a low inflammation set point if we keep them on a grain-free diet.
It is strongly recommended that dogs who are experiencing diabetes, renal issues, or inflammatory bowel disease should receive a grain-free diet.
Naturally, as a dog ages, their energy requirements decrease. However, their protein requirements actually increase by up to 50%. For older dogs, 25% of their diet should come from protein sources, as this is important for healthy aging and maintaining lean body mass.
Brands of dog food we can stand behind:
Alternatively, if time allows, making dog food can be an economical and healthy way to supply your dog with healthy foods. If you meal prep for yourself for the upcoming week, it can be a great time to prepare your dogs food as well. We often forget that dogs love to eat fruits and vegetables, they can serve as excellent snacks or even top your dog's favorite dinner!
Favorite DIY Recipes & Snacks:
1/2 cup grass-fed meat, two tablespoons bone broth (AIP friendly), two tablespoons grass-fed beef liver, ⅓ of a sweet potato, ½ cup steamed zucchini, mix well, store in the refrigerator and feed within five days.
Blueberries, bananas, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato chips (baked), sunflower seeds, pieces of cooked, unseasoned meat.
Healthy combinations to blend in a food processor:
Celery and a small amount of almond butter (1 teaspoon)
Kale and a hard-boiled eggs
Whenever Deebo’s eyes get gunky, my vet, who is also well versed in Chinese Medicine for dogs, says that this is a damp condition for him and that it can be cured with food. This is when I blend up 8 stalks of celery (dogs cannot digest it unless it’s processed), 1 cup of black beans, 1.5 cups of AIP bone broth (made without onions and garlic or salt), 1 bunch of cilantro, and 1 bunch basil. I add ½ cup of this mixture into his food each time he eats, and his eyes clear up within a day or two.
Just like people, all animals are unique. One size does NOT fit all. The needs of a chihuahua differ greatly than the needs of a great dane (different rations to suit different metabolisms and activities, etc.)
Any information/advice must be tailored to each individual fur baby. Supplements, food, water, broth, etc. must all be size appropriate for your pet.
Foods Dogs Should Avoid:
- Macadamia Nuts
- Bacon Fat/Grease
Holistic Pet Recommendations:
Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic remedy which contains 5 essences and can be a great option when your pet is scared of loud noises (fireworks), has separation anxiety, or trouble traveling, going to the vet, adapting to a new home or temporary kennel. Depending on the size of your pet, we recommend adding 3-5 drops to your pets food or water bowl.
Probiotics can be very helpful when dogs are feeling under the weather or dealing with digestive upsets. Adding probiotics to your pet's diet can also be a way to cut down on the amount of food you are feeding them but also increasing the diversity of your dogs gut flora, we like these brands:
Greens Powder is a great way to ensure your pet's detoxification system is working well. Dogs living in a busy city are often exposed to many toxins on a regular basis – and even dogs who live in rural areas might be playing in parks where the grass is treated with glyphosate which is toxic to their liver and kidneys and absorbed via their paws.
We like this all-in-one organic greens powder and multivitamin.
Fish Oil can be beneficial for a pet's immune system and makes sure your dog has a healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. We recommend opening a capsule of your own fish oil or using a cod liver oil like this one.
Liver Jerky is a great way for dogs to get liver in on a regular basis, we love this grass-fed brand.
Choosing a holistic approach to dog care can be a healthy choice for both you and your family as well as your favorite pooch. Similar to people, if we address and treat the root cause of the issue in dogs, we can avoid using medications that can potentially suppress the symptoms and weaken the immune system. This approach extends our pets lives and maintains the quality of their life as they age.
Through addressing the root cause, the problem is often resolved. Many times, removing grains and processed foods can significantly improve a dog’s risk of developing inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Whether your dog is fully-grown or just a puppy, try a few of the recommendations above and report back in the comments!
As medicine evolves, many different opinions are emerging. The intention of the information provided here is to share tips from many different philosophies and perspectives of pet-care all to help improve the wellbeing and happiness of your pet.
Remember: Advice from here, the Internet, or elsewhere, is helpful but not comparable to nor a substitution for regular veterinary care and examinations. Please be sure to have you pet checked regularly by your veterinarian.
Every pet’s health/lifestyle regimen is special; just like prescribing a medication for a human, there are many options, many doses, and many variables.