Nothing beats the unconditional love of a four legged companion. Studies show that pets of all kinds provide many health benefits for pet owners including a decrease in heart disease risk, anxiety and depression. Dogs in particular help us connect with nature, exercise more and feel loved via oxytocin.
Dogs help keep us healthy, so let’s dig into some tips to support their health to ensure they have the longest, most enjoyable lives possible.
Take time every day to focus on your dog by petting, belly rubbing, grooming, playing ball and taking them for walks. They’re like little kids, they need lots of love and attention. Don’t cheat by multitasking either. They know when you’re not giving 100 percent effort. Get to understand your dog better and challenge them mentally with these interactive games.
Just like people, dogs do best on a nutrient-dense whole food diet. Giving your dogs kibble is like giving them a box of cereal. The packaging it comes in is probably more nutritious! Instead, feed your dog a species appropriate raw and balanced diet that includes: meat, bones, organs, vegetables (cooked or pureed) and small amounts of fruits, herbs and spices. Think of it as a paleo diet for your BFF. Note: a raw diet can also naturally clear up any weight issues, skin problems and allergies. Add in superfoods such as fermented foods (kefir), bone broth, raw butter, unrefined coconut oil, raw eggs (with the shell), turmeric, duck/turkey necks, apple cider vinegar, and fish oil. Select high quality ingredients such as organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, pastured, grass-fed, wild, etc. Use only filtered water and replace frequently.
Get off the couch and get active. Your dog needs plenty of exercise and social time outside the home. Daily exercise will help improve metabolism, circulation, mood, sleep, behavior and so much more. If you don’t have a large chunk of time to walk, then take several short walks when you have breaks. You can also throw them a ball in the yard too. The key is to get them outside and moving, but socialization is extremely beneficial. Lastly, make sure you pack some water for your fur baby so they stay hydrated.
Evaluate your living environment and reduce toxins as much as possible. Your dog spends a large amount of time laying in the yard and on the floor. Be sure to avoid using toxic products such as Round-up or harsh cleaning agents to clean indoors. Choose non-toxic options and healthier alternatives for: yard products, cleaning products, laundry detergent, shampoo, towels, bedding, toys, tick/flea repellent, etc. This will benefit everyone in your home.
5. Natural Alternatives
Don’t wait until your pet has a health problem before taking them to the vet. Be preventative and schedule routine visits. Be sure to always ask questions so you understand what your vet recommends and why it’s important. Consider alternatives to vaccines, options for neutering/spaying and natural healing methods, such as food, supplements, herbs, flower essences, essential oils, etc.
- Dogs Naturally Magazine
- Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets
- Pet Food Ranked Great to Disastrous
- Why a Raw Diet is Best
- Best Raw Dog Food Brands
- Transitioning Your Dog to a Raw Food Diet
- Basic Tips for Feeding Raw
- Thrive Market – Non-Toxic Pet Toys
Photo courtesy of Penny Ritter after having homemade raw milk yogurt!
Cate Ritter is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner specializing in weight loss, digestive health and hormone balance. In person, Skype, phone and corporate health programs available.