Top Dog Health Tips
Our dogs are developing more frequent and serious health problems, even with the great advances in medical treatment.
There are things that we can do to optimize the health of our dog naturally. Here are some of the best tips to help keep your dog healthy and happy for a long time.
- Use filtered water. Although most water treatment plants are within the limits of safe drinking water contaminants, we are dumping more and more chemicals, poisons, medicine and who knows what else in our water. There can be bacteria, viruses, lead, pesticides, and more in tap water. And although the water is considered safe by governmental standards, that doesn’t mean it can’t be healthier and that there still aren’t toxins in it. Ideally, if at all possible, install a whole house water filter. Even if your or your dog are not drinking the water, when you flush your toilet or get a shower or wash dishes, you are absorbing toxins either through your skin or inhaling them. I understand that installing a whole house water filter is not always possible or practical. I personally love the filters that attach directly to the sink faucet. I try to avoid bottled water, for two reasons: 1) All that plastic will end up in our landfills and oceans and 2) Whenever possible I avoid plastics because of phthalates, a toxic by-product found in some plastics. Some people prefer to use a distiller. I do not like distillers for the simple fact that they remove everything from water. This may sound like a great idea, however there are beneficial minerals in water that a distiller will remove.
- Avoid over vaccinating. And if your dog has an immune disease, I would talk to my vet to see about not vaccinating at all. In most states across the US, rabies vaccination is mandatory. Fortunately some states or counties are accepting the 3 year rabies vaccine as opposed to yearly. I would discuss in depth with my holistic vet about what vaccines my dog needs based on his lifestyle. If your dog doesn’t get boarded or frequents dog parks, there is no need for a bordetella vaccine. Or if you don’t live in an area with ticks, then there is no need for the lyme vaccine. I would also discuss titers. Titers measure, through a blood sample, what your dog’s immunity is to a certain disease. Many states will accept a positive titer, in lieu of a rabies vaccination. I would definitely check into in your local laws accept rabies titers and talk to your holistic vet.
- Feed the best possible diet your can afford. That could be raw, home-cooked, a good canned food, a great dry food, or any combination. You would be shocked to see what goes into dog food. Some of it is literally revolting. If you want to read a good book about dog food ingredients, go read the book by Ann Martin called “Food Pets Die For.” It is a definite eye opener. To pick a good commercial dog food you will need to learn how to read the labels, just like you do for your family. Price is definitely not an indicator of quality. And I wouldn’t just go with the food that my vet recommends or sells. The training vets receive in school on nutrition is minimal.
- Once I decide what diet I will feed, I add a good pro-biotic and digestive enzyme. These help the dog digest and absorb his food better. Unprocessed food naturally contains digestive enzymes, but the more processed a food is the less enzymes it contains and needs replaced. I personally like and use the digestive enzyme made by Trophy called Prozyme.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. Not only does exercise keep your dog slim and mentally stimulate, exercise is excellent for helping the immune system to function at peak performance. And if your dog has a great, working immune system, he is naturally a healthier dog with little effort and not much cost.
- Avoid as many toxins that you can. This includes: cigarette smoke, smog, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, cleaning chemicals, the list can go on and on. Certain toxins have been linked to high incidences of cancer in some dogs. Most flea and tick products are insecticides. Talk to your holistic vet and find out what safer alternatives are available. Keep in mind that, although we are trying our best to give a more natural life to out dogs, some times we have no other choice that to use these medicines. Again, this is something that needs to be discussed with your holistic vet to see what your dog’s individual need is. Be careful what you use on your lawn. There are studies linking the chemicals used on lawns and certain dog cancers. In almost all circumstances there are safer alternatives to the dangerous, toxic ones we are so used to using.