7 Pillars Of Natural Dog Care
What changes can you make to improve your dog’s health?
A shift to natural dog care can help your dog stay healthy, lessen your vet bills, and keep your dog happy and feeling good. It can also improve behavioral problems, and lower your dog’s anxiety. And, maybe most importantly, it can increase their immune system to fight off diseases including cancer.
Natural dog care and remedies are just starting to get attention again due to the dramatic increase in illness in dogs in the past 20 years. A growing community of dog owners are ready to take control of their dog’s health. They want to learn how to use natural remedies, products, and diet changes, to keep their dogs thriving.
There are 7 Key Pillars of Natural Care that work together to keep your dog healthy and happy. Once you become familiar with them, you can start to incorporate some or all of them. Choose the ones that fit your lifestyle the best first. Once you see how much these changes affect your dog’s health and behavior, you might be motivated to incorporate all 7!
Food is the first pillar because it can make a big difference in your dog’s health fast. Your dog eats every day, so what they are getting in their food bowl (or not getting) is important.
The fact is that dogs need nutrients, just like we do. They are designed to eat real food, not processed food with chemicals, preservatives, and artificial flavors. Unfortunately most dog foods are filled with unhealthy ingredients.
You may have heard different things about what you should be feeding your dog. Or maybe you’re confused with all of the different information. But a transition to feeding your dog in a more healthy way can be easy. We’ve mapped it out for you here with 4 different feeding options that will jumpstart your dog’s health and your journey into natural dog care.
2. Non-Toxic Toys
When I had my first couple of dogs, I just bought them the cutest toys in the store. I didn’t think about what they were made of or if they had dangerous chemicals in them. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what actually goes into dog toys. Because of the lack of regulations that control ingredients, I’ve realized how important it is to choose the right toys.
3. Chemical Free Products
Similar to dog food and toys, dog products don’t have restrictive laws saying what can be in them, and what cannot. So, they are often filled with harmful chemicals and additives. It’s important to start to look at the labels of your dog shampoo, grooming products, paw butter, toothpaste, ointments, etc. to make sure they are not harmful.
Also, check with your groomer to make sure they are not using products with these chemicals.
Some of the most harmful chemicals to look for are:
Sulfates – Listed as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, or Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
Artificial Fragrances – Listed as Fragrance, Natural Fragrance, Phthalates
Parabens – Listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben
Isothiazolinines – Listed as Benzisothiazolinone, Octylisothiazolinone, Isothiazolinone, Mehtylisothiazolinone, Triethylisothiazolinone, Biethylisothiazolinone and anything with the word “thiazolinone” in it
Artificial Dyes and Colors
4. Natural Remedies
Natural Dog Remedies have been around for a long time, but are getting more popular in recent years. Natural Remedies include many different treatments including herbal medicines, acupressure, massage, flower essences, and homeopathy.
The world of natural remedies for dogs is extensive and can feel overwhelming. But some basic information is all you need for your daily life. Then as things come up with your dog, you can find the natural remedy that is recommended for that ailment. Of course, it is important to involve your vet so you know you’re not missing something seriously wrong with your dog. When it’s possible, I highly recommend working with a holistic vet. They will be able to recommend natural remedies for your dog and work with you on their natural care.
5. Less Vaccines, Medications, and Antibiotics
Just like in the human medical world, medications and antibiotics have become overprescribed to dogs in the last two decades. Dogs have a similar gut biome as we do (the bacteria in their gut that determines digestion ability, immune system function, and regulates many other systems in the body). These harsh medications disrupt the balance in the gut bacteria causing many symptoms from lack of energy, to depression, to autoimmune disease.
Because of this, it is important to monitor the medications and vaccines your dog gets. Limit them to the ones that are truly needed. A holistic or natural vet can help with this as well.
6. Positive Training
There are many different training techniques for dogs, and many of them will help you teach your dog new things. But knowing the type of training that will keep your dog healthy is important. Overly harsh training techniques that involve dominating your dog, yelling at them, or punishing them physically can cause a lot of stress. And as you’ll see in our final pillar, stress can do a lot of damage to your dog’s system.
Positive reinforcement training is when dogs are rewarded for doing things right, and not punished harshly when they do something wrong. It creates communication between you and your dog where they understand what you would like them to do. They do it to please you, not because they are afraid of getting in trouble.
It also creates a deeper connection and bond between you and your dog. This is because they learn to trust you instead of fearing you.
It’s best to start training early, but even old dogs can learn new tricks. Whatever age your dog is, it’s never too late to start positive reinforcement training.
The course we recommend is Brain Training for Dogs. It incorporates positive training with fun games that your dog will love. It’s easy to use, takes only a few minutes a day, and has modules that get more challenging for your dog as your dog progresses.
7. Less Stress
I’m sure you’ve heard about stress affecting the health of humans. But did you know it can be just as damaging to your dog?
Dogs are pack animals. In nature, they would spend their lives with their pack of wolves, running, hunting, eating, sleeping, and raising their young. Their lives living with human families can be very different. They often have to face time alone without their pack (us), dealing with a lack of nutrition from poor quality food, chemical overload from their toys and products, and a lack of exercise. All of these cause stress in your dog’s body.
Limiting your dog’s stress not only improves how they feel day to day but also their health over time. Making sure your dog has healthy food, toxin-free toys, and chemical-free products will reduce their stress. But also not leaving them alone too much, and making sure they feel safe when they are alone is important. Each dog is different, so it’s important to find what makes your dog stressed. Once you find it, try to eliminate the cause or help your dog to deal with the stress better. Less stress will affect how your dog feels, their behavior, and the quality of their lives long term.
Dogs are called Man’s Best Friend for a reason. They become beloved members of our families, and many dog owners are willing to do anything to keep their dog happy and healthy. But our modern society of convenient food and ‘a pill for every ailment’ does not always educate us in the best ways to keep our dogs are thriving.
Incorporating these 7 Pillars of Natural Dog Care can greatly improve your dog’s health. They can increase their life expectancy, and make them healthier, better behaved, and happier. Try adding some of these pillars into your care routine…your dog will thank you!
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