There's nothing we want more than a long life and good health for our pet dog. But since animals can't look after their health themselves, the responsibility lies on us, as the dog owner, to make sure that the four-legged buddy is always in the pink of health.
Most of us are aware of vaccines, medicine and foods that are often recommended by veterinarians. However, holistic vets have another, different take on how to jump-start and boost your pet's health, including some natural ways. So below are 10 effective ways to do this.
1. Bring the dog to the vet for the annual check-ups
Pups below a year-old need regular visits to the vet for shots and medications. By the time they reach one to 10 years of age, experts recommend a yearly check-up as a preventive measure against the development of common diseases like heartworm, allergies, and gingivitis. Dogs older than 10 years will need semi-annual vet visits. It's also recommended you consult with a holistic veterinarian for tips on any natural ways you can look after your dog's health.
2. Learn about your individual dog's allergies
At least 10 percent of dogs are allergic to something, according to vets at Dogs Naturally. Dog allergies might have similar symptoms but its trigger may come from food, the environment, changes in the season or flea bites, thus the treatment will depend on the triggers.
If your dog constantly suffers from a leaky gut, itching, skin infections, hair loss, abnormal bowel movements, and ear infection, you should get him tested for allergies at the vet clinic and adjust your dog care process according to that.
3. Be aware of, and heal your dog's leaky gut
Factors like diet, medication, and stress can lead to a leaky gut in dogs. Also known as dysbiosis syndrome, the symptoms of this condition vary depending on the cause. But you'll need to watch out for bloating, diarrhea, gas, hyperacidity, bladder problems, and pain in the abdomen.
If your dog has developed conditions like allergies, intestinal distress coupled with vomiting, respiratory issues and chronic fatigue, you might want to have your dog checked for a leaky gut. Your dog might need to take antibiotics and enzyme supplements to treat the condition. A change in diet might also be in order.
4. Feed your dog foods with antioxidants
Boost your dog's health with a diet rich in antioxidants. These are foods that contain high amounts of polyphenols and vitamins that help the dog's body get rid of the free radicals that may impact his immunity to diseases.
According to Pet MD, antioxidants in many healthy human foods like apples, cooked russet potatoes, broccoli, prunes, red berries, and beans protect your dog's body from cell damage caused by toxins. It also slows down or completely prevents the development of serious health issues.
5. Detox your dog's body
Aside from the antioxidants in the diet, detoxing will help clean out the dangerous and carcinogenic toxins from the dog's body. To do this, you'll need to put your dog on a light fast at least once a week. During this time, you may only feed your dog water or homemade soup from boiled vegetables, scraps of meat and bones at least once a week.
Whatever the dog eats, drinks or smells in the air brings toxins into the body. So, you can help their system “clean house” once in a while with canine detoxification, which should never be as long-lasting as what humans do.
6. Try raw feeding
You'll lessen your dog's risk for developing diseases in the liver, kidney and the gastrointestinal tract when you put your dog on a raw diet. For the last three decades, renowned animal nutritionist Dr. Richard Patton has long advocated for this kind of diet versus kibble feeding.
The doctor believes that feeding dogs kibbles, which are largely available in supermarkets, can cause more damage to their endocrine system. But a dog could benefit from the natural enzymes and good bacteria found in raw foods. They could also gain better nutrition from this type of diet since raw food does not need to undergo a cooking process. He explains more in the below video:
In brief, it's well-known that canned or processed dog foods are filled with synthetic vitamins or nutrients, preservatives and additives that might cause food allergies and promote obesity in dogs. These manufactured foods are also high on the protein that makes it harder for a dog's stomach to process.
7. Skip some of the vaccines
Do you make it a habit to vaccinate your dog every year? While vaccination has saved the lives of some dogs, not all dog vaccines are necessary. Moreover, with essential core vaccines, experts say that it's better to space this out every three years instead of once a year to lessen the risks of the side effects.
Unlike in humans, giving yearly vaccines to pets might be excessive. There have been plenty of cases where the dog's immunity to diseases lasts a lifetime after the first vaccination, according to veterinarians in a report from NBC.
Experts also advise against combination vaccines. It would be easier to determine the cause of the side effects with single vaccinations should something develop.
8. Try homeopathic remedies to naturally heal your dogs
Administer homeopathic treatments for your dog instead of giving medication for conditions like bumps, bruises, bee stings, tick bites, painful growing teeth in puppies, some vomiting and diarrhea. Natural remedies have lower or non-existent toxicity levels so it's a lot safer for your dog's health.
For instance, if your dog has rummaged through the garbage and developed a leaky gut then give him a liquid dose of Nux vomica, which has been culled from strychnine trees. For fever, a dose of Belladonna will help lower the dog's temperature. There are tons of homeopathic treatments at health and whole food stores you can try before using chemical-based ones, and you may also try to shop online.
9. Resist using chemicals when treating flea and ticks
Flea and ticks are common health issues in dogs, especially in the summer season, with a ton of different flea treatments available. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously published reminders for pet owners on the dangers of some pharmaceutically manufactured flea and tick treatments that may lead to neurological side effects in dogs.
There are natural ways to get rid of flea and ticks in dogs that might be found in your kitchen. Among these are crushed garlic (in small amounts), vinegar, and coconut oils, as per veterinarian Judy Morgan via Fox News.
10. Ditch the fish oil supplements
Fish oil can bring loads of benefits to dogs, such as improved coat or hair, stronger bones and better health for the heart and kidneys. This mineral is rich in healthy fatty acids like omega-3, and fish oil supplements are the most popular among pet owners.
But these supplements are not entirely healthy or safe for dogs in every case, because the pills might have already oxidized even before you buy a bottle from the store. If you are not sure of the quality of supplements you are giving your dog, introduce omega-3 and omega-6 into the dog's diet instead. You can get this nutrient from feeding fatty fish, phytoplankton or coconut oil.
It goes without saying that the health of your pet dog should be a priority since he is already part of the family. The moment you bring home a dog with you from the shelter or adoption agency, you’re entrusted with the care and you understand that pet ownership entails this big responsibility. Get your second and third opinion from different veterinarians on how you can boost your dog's health naturally.