10 Important Tips for Healthy Pets
As important members of our family, many of us fiercely love our cats and dogs and whatever is necessary to protect them and care for them. However, we often fall into the convenience of buying commercial dog foods and snacks which often have many chemicals and preservatives that are harmful for their health.
With many recalls of commercial dog food, there has been an upward trend in customers opting for organic dog food or even taking it upon themselves to make homemade dog food.
Although homemade dog food may be the best remedy for the many allergic conditions that cats and dogs develop as a result of commercial dog food products, there are vitamins that our pets are often more in need of which could enhance their health.
Dog treats are one of those products which tend to have negative impacts on health. Corn fillers, wheat fillers, soy fillers, preservatives and meat by-products may be flavoured to appeal to dogs but have zero nutritional value and may cause numerous gastrointestinal issues as well as the development of autoimmune and allergic conditions.
TIP 1: Apples, pears and carrots as treats for your pet
Bite-sized diced apples, pears and carrots make perfect snacks and treats for your pets. Photo by itor/Shutterstock
There is a simple and safe alternative for making dog treats that is quite easy. Fruits such as apples, carrots, pears can be cut up into bite sizes as easy snacks for dogs which are also good for them. Sweet potatoes can be sliced as wedges and baked as fun treats, in addition they can be dried in an air fryer to give them a chewy texture. These treats take very little time to prepare, are cost effective and much healthier than purchasing products that have been sitting on the shelf for many weeks, loaded with harmful ingredients.
TIP 2: A diet of 80% raw vegetables + 20% meat
Athletes are often known for paying meticulous attention to their health and consuming a diet that increases maximum performance. Cristiano Ronaldo, the football player, has often shared his diet plans, and it seems that he primarily consumes 80% veg with 20% protein (often meat or eggs). Although one of the longest living dogs, a border collie named Bramble from the United Kingdom who lived to 25 years old, was said to have been fed a purely vegan diet, most cat and dog owners might be concerned that a purely vegan or vegetarian diet might not appeal to their pets.
Bramble, one of the oldest living dogs in the world, a border collie in the UK, lived to 25 years old and was fed a purely vegan diet. She was mainly fed on lentils, rice, veggies, textured vegetable protein and brewer's yeast.
Pet owners also often complain that they’ve seen their dog eat grass or eat their own feces and are perplexed about the reasons why. This could actually be a key indicator that their pet is severely malnutritioned and suffering from the toxic effects of preservatives in commercial dog food. Many dogs on dry dog food often show these behavioural symptoms after time, although if one were to take their pet to the vet, the vet would often examine the pet and not offer much advice. Hence, it is important that dogs and cats both receive nutrients from raw vegetables.
TIP 3: Integrate raw vegetables into cat and dog food
Raw vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, lettuce, kale along with fruits such as apples and pears can be puréed into a mixture that could serve as the base for dog or cat food, which can then be integrated with various broths and meats.
Raw vegetables are the best form of food to give to your pet since the nutrients and vitamins are retained, since in the process of cooking, vitamins are often depleted. By selecting various vegetables and fruits, including different types of lettuce, kale, spinach, carrots, apples and pears and using a blender to produce a purée that can now be blended with any type of protein (ie, eggs, meat etc) this will make it easier for your dog or cat to consume the nutrients in vegetables in a healthy way. As a note, for cats, taurine powder must be added to homemade food, as cats cannot produce taurine on their own.
TIP 4: Only feed your pet clean water from spring sources and add a teaspoon or half teaspoon of taurine powder to their daily drinking water bowl
One thing we must also remember is that the water we drink also has a profound effect on our health and also that of our pets. Since dogs are much more sensitive to chemicals in tap water, it is ideal to give them spring water or bottled water with zero fluoride content. Fluoride is a neurotoxin and can affect pets even when given in small amounts present in tap water. In addition, there have been many anecdotes over the decades regarding racing horses, whose owners fed them tap water and all developed weak bones and signs of fluorosis. When the racing horses were switched to rain water, these symptoms did not occur. For both cats and dogs, adding a teaspoon or half teaspoon of taurine powder to their daily drinking water may prevent conditions such as diabetes and macular degeneration and enhance muscular and neural functions.
Adding a teaspoon or half a teaspoon of taurine powder in your pet's drinking water helps with cardiovascular, pancreatic, visual and muscular functions. Cats cannot produce taurine on their own and taurine also needs to be supplemented in their food.
Bottom line: Pets are sensitive to chemicals in tap water and must only be given spring water, bottled water or rain water. Many people would consider this an added expense, but vet bills are often much more exorbitant, and clean water is a necessity to good health which we must afford our beloved furry companions.
TIP 5: Brush your pet’s teeth with coconut oil
Coconut oil remineralises teeth and can be used to brush your dog or cat's teeth, as an alternative to glyercin based pet toothpastes. Photo by pettsie.
Dogs often suffer from dental plaque and because dog toothpaste often has glycerin, which over time could negatively affect the kidneys, it is much more advisable to use coconut oil to brush their teeth. Coconut oil remineralises teeth and has a positive effect on oral health.
There are enzymatic toothpastes formulated for dogs, but remember not to use human toothpaste for dogs as ingredients such as fluoride and xylitol are toxic for both cats and dogs and a small amount can cause significant damage or even kill your pet.
TIP 6: CoQ10 + Vitamin K2 supplementation for treatment of lipomas and cardiovascular health
There are many cases of dogs and cats developing lipomas over time. Lipomas are fatty tissue that develops on the body or head of a pet. Although vets often resort to surgery to remove these lipomas, or inject them with steroids or lipolysis agents, these often grow back. Another alternative remedy in the long-term treatment of lipomas is to make certain you’re supplementing your pet with Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin K2.
Lipomas and even neurolipomas on humans are caused by too much fat in the bloodstream. This is the same as with dogs and cats, as fillers and excess crude protein in commercial dog food could exacerbate the development of lipomas.
When one of my pets had developed a lipoma on his head as a puppy, he had been treated with an injection of steroids which ultimately did not have any effect. However, two months later, I began a regimen of CoQ10 + Vitamin K2 mainly to enhance his cardiovascular health, and was suddenly surprised when after 4 months, his lipoma had shrunk by 50% and after 1 year, his lipoma completely dissolved. When I informed my vet about this, he was pleasantly surprised, but it was not the sort of treatment he had ever heard about nor was familiar with.
Since Vitamin K2 is linked to fat and glucose metabolism, it would make sense that regulation of fat in the bloodstream would prevent and treat the development of lipomas. In addition, CoQ10 also improves lipid metabolism, and inhibits the accumulation of fat in adipose tissues. This dynamic combo could be the ideal long term treatment for lipomas and neurolipomas in pets as well as in humans.
TIP 7: Weekly baths for your pets to keep away ticks and fleas and prevent mange
It's important for pets to receive their weekly baths in order to prevent parasitic skin conditions and to condition their fur. Photo by istockphoto
Flea collars are often utilised for pets to prevent an infestation, but what most owners are not aware of is how they contain neurotoxins that can affect your pet’s health. Instead of opting for flea collars, what is best for both cats and dogs is to give them weekly or twice weekly baths. This is also a time that can be utilised to inspect your pet’s body to make certain he or she doesn’t have any injuries, bumps, skin infections and be able to notice any ticks or other insects that may be hiding underneath the fur.
Although some pet owners say it is best not to wash a pet’s fur, keeping good hygiene for pets is important and weekly baths is the most effective way in keeping insects and other parasites from latching onto your pet, as well as making sure to wash the sensitive anal area and the paws of pets every time they return from a walk.
TIP 8: Hydrogen Peroxide + Borax + Water Solution for Mange, bug bites, other skin conditions
Steroids are often prescribed for skin rashes and other skin conditions for dogs and cats, but these rarely are long-term solutions and instead temporarily suppress symptoms, only for symptoms to come back later. A simple solution of 3 cups hydrogen peroxide + 3 cups distilled or bottled water + 1 tablespoon borax works for any skin ailment that results from bug bites, fleas, mange or other allergic skin conditions.
Borax + hydrogen peroxide + water formulation called "Ted's Cure" is a safe alternative to steroids and safely treats skin conditions from parasites on your pet. Photo from earthclinic.
Borax is a salt from boron which dissolves into water and kills insects, spiders, and mites. It's even used as a fungicide and helps control mould, fungi, and weeds. It is a naturally occurring mineral and in a solution with water and hydrogen peroxide, it is safe to use on skin in order to treat various skin ailments. However, make sure this isn’t ingested nor used around the eyes and ears, but only used externally on skin surfaces.
TIP 9: Soft Contact Lens Solution as Treatment for Red Eye
Soft contact lens solution can be used to treat red eye in your pet.
Many pet owners have shared their stories that often, in cases of red eye, steroid drops are prescribed for pets which have negative side effects. Instead, for treatment of red eye, I’ve found what works best is simply using a soft contact lens solution. By wetting cotton balls with the soft contact lens eye solution, one can safely treat the lids of your pet’s eye and also put the soft contact lens solution directly into the pet's eyes until the red eye is cleared. This also works for humans as well.
TIP 10: Dog diapers and Vitamin C for Mating Periods
Dogs go into heat twice a year, for a period of around a week. During these sensitive times, utilising dog diapers is a way to prevent pregnancy in your pet. Photo from hartz.
Neutering one’s dog is often a difficult decision that the pet owner has to make. However, there are many side effects of this surgery that could occur and although most pet owners are usually happy with the decision, others may opt not to do so for various reasons. After all, our pets can’t give their consent for these types of surgeries which may have lasting side effects. For those pet owners who choose not to neuter their pet, but want to prevent pregnancy in their dogs, they can opt for dog diapers. Since the mating season occurs twice a year with the breeding period around a week long, these are the only times when pet owners have to be hypervigilant with their pets.
Giving your pet vitamin C formulated for dogs and cats during mating season is a good way to boost immunity, since your menstruating pet will require more vitamin C around this time.
If you are planning to breed your pet, you should avoid giving excess vitamin C or hibiscus tea to your pet as vitamin C raises levels of progesterone which can prevent pregnancy. In addition, hibiscus tea can cause miscarriages. See also the following for more information:
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) was associated with higher progesterone and with lower follicle-stimulating hormone
Research has shown that women who take vitamin C have significantly increased levels of progesterone in their systems, in fact, women who took 750mg of vitamin C per day had an increase of 77%.
Progesterone like effect of Vitamin C
Vitamin C found to increase progesterone levels
The Plan B pill is a synthetic type of progesterone that is often used to prevent pregnancy, and there are similar forms for dogs as well. However, these synthetic types of progesterones often have side effects. Multiple studies show that vitamin C also raises progesterone levels. If you are not planning to breed your pet, giving your pet vitamin C supplementation during mating season might be helpful for your pet in order to raise progesterone levels during this sensitive time.
Giving your pet vitamin C around menstruation time and during heat seasons will give them an extra boost of immunity in addition to naturally elevating progesterone levels.
All in all, our pets are members of our family and pet ownership is a lifelong commitment which requires love and dedication. We should take care to give our pets the best kind of nutrition and care by paying attention to their diet and having them drink from a pure water source. These simple 10 steps ensure that our pets will be healthy, vibrant and active without resorting to the use of harmful drugs or exposing them to harmful ingredients in commercial pet food.
By Sierra Choi
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as medical advice and is for educational purposes only in order to stimulate dialogue and discussion.