When we were out at my parents’ for Fish Taco Night last week, a momma dog and her three little ones greeted us as we drove up. They belong to a neighbor down the road, but just love to hang out at mother’s and daddy’s. GB says they are a basset hound and daschund mix. Cutie pies - and I’m not a huge dog lover. One thing about this ‘down the road’ neighbor, he has lots of dogs and they are mostly left to their own devices. This poor momma had big ol’ ticks all over her, and I’m sure the fleas had a huge circus going on. The puppies were probably in the same fix, but they wouldn’t hold still long enough to get a good look at them. Feisty and full of energy. We suspected that they were also a tad bit abused.
We have cats at our home, and this year the fleas have been giving our Tiger (who is 16ish years old) something of a challenge. Being the non-chemical types, even our pets enjoy holistic living. We’ve always treated them for fleas and ear mites (if needed) ourselves and supplemented their diet with good oils, garlic, bone meal, and nutritional yeast. Since a healthy home means health for all those living in the home, here are some ‘starter’ ideas for a healthier pet.
Feed them as well as your budget will allow - animals can form food allergies and sensitivities to artificial color, flavors, and fillers just as humans can. Read the ingredient list on that bag of dry food. You’ll be surprised how much of it is non-food. And, notice how fillers are listed before protein sources. (Remember that on any ingredient list, the ingredients of highest percentage are listed first.) There are some good brands on the market, buy them when you can. Raw diets are great for pets, with raw meat protein winning over commercial food. So, when you trim your roasts, give some to your pet. Raw or cooked eggs, raw or lightly cooked meats (non-seasoned), low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, as well as whole grains and raw vegetables, are great additions to their commercial food diet.
Adding some or all of the following to their food (start with tiny amounts and gradually increase) will benefit their over-all health: nutritional yeast, bone meal powder, kelp powder (and/or alfalfa powder), olive oil (for cats), safflower or sunflower (for dogs), cod-liver oil. A tiny pinch, or drop, of whichever supplements you choose is plenty to begin. Place it on their food and mix well. Every few weeks, increase the amount until large pets are getting up to one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon of each supplement, daily. Supplements for your pets can be cost prohibitive, so if I have to suggest one it would one of the oils. Most commercial pet foods add plenty of calcium supplement, so you can omit the bone meal if you go that route.
To help fight fleas, ticks, and other parasites, sprinkle a little garlic powder (not garlic salt) on their food. Enhancing their diet (above) will make them less vulnerable, along with any of the following: grated raw vegetables, cooked whole grains, and barley powder. Mix your choices through their regular food, using just small spoonfuls at first (just a sprinkle with the barley powder).
In my next post, there will be some advice for taking care of those parasites after they’ve made their home in, or on, your pet - stay tuned!
Always consult a veterinarian for treatment of disease and parasites. Research natural pet care books for more information on holistic care for your animals. I can recommend Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.