Do you share your home with a fur baby? Would you love to be able to care for your pet more naturally? We’re all becoming more health and environment conscious, and there’s no reason why your cat or dog can’t be included. The best place to start is with their diet. As you may or may not realise, commercial pet foods often contain mostly grain waste and meat by-products, along with lots of other less than savoury ingredients. Feeding your pet food that’s so low in nutrition increases the chances of cancer and other diseases.
Natural Pet Food
Dogs and cats aren’t designed to handle processed foods. They’re much better suited to raw, uncooked food. For a balanced diet, you can mix fresh cuts of meat with whole grains and vegetables. If you want to buy a ready-made solution, there are pet food companies that sell food mixes containing nuts, herbs, and grains if you want to add to the meat you’re preparing for complete nutrition. Fish is another ingredient that should be included in your pet’s diet, but it’s best if you cook it to eliminate parasites. There are also companies that sell already-prepared dry and wet foods for both dogs and cats. If you want to buy your pet food, here are some tips to help you choose the best one.
- Be wary of corn in the list of ingredients because it’s generally genetically modified unless it’s labelled as organic
- Two named types of meat or meat meals should be among the top ingredients in dry food
- Avoid synthetic chemical preservatives such as BHT, BHA, propyl gallate, propylene glycol and ethoxyquin
- Cats, in particular, require food that’s high in protein and moisture as this helps to prevent kidney and bladder problems, obesity and associated diseases
If your pet is litter trained, there are less toxic and more eco-friendly options. Conventional clay litters tend to be laden with silica dust, a well-known carcinogen. Litter that is marketed as being clumping has also been found to cause intestinal blockages in cats and kittens because the clumps can be inadvertently consumed when grooming. Look for eco-friendly cat litter that’s wheat-based because it’s scoopable, biodegradable and flushable. Other options include odour-absorbing pellets made from 100% recycled pine wood waste, recycled newspaper and recycled wood pulp.
Fleas and Ticks
If you read the small print on the conventional flea and tick treatments and then investigate the ingredients further, you’d be horrified. These pests can be a nuisance, carry some nasty diseases and you don’t want them in your home but are there any natural alternatives? Herbal shampoos, collars, sachets and sprays that contain citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree oil and other aromatic oils can be used to repel ticks and fleas, or you can make your own. Another recommended method includes adding garlic and brewers yeast to your pet’s diet as they produce body odours that fleas simply don’t like.
Flea combs are the best method to discover if fleas have taken up residence. Pay particular attention to the tummy and tail areas. Combing your pet on a regular basis may seem rather tedious, but it happens to be very effective.
For controlling fleas and ticks in your garden, diatomaceous earth, borax and beneficial nematodes can be used. Keeping your grass cut and the garden tidy will also help. Regular vacuuming of your car and home should also help keep pests at bay.
Companies are free to use whatever perfumes and detergents they want as there is very little regulation when it comes to pet grooming products. Shampoos that are intended to kill fleas or solve skin problems are particularly problematic because the chemicals in the products can be absorbed through the skin, get into the bloodstream and put your pet’s liver under extra strain. Natural pet grooming products, on the other hand, contain mild ingredients and safe herbs that are gentle on the skin and less likely to be absorbed and accumulated in the body.
Pet Treats and Chews
Everyone likes to treat their pet every now and again, and for dogs in particular treats can form an important part of the training process. Many of those you can purchase in your local pet store are made in China and have been implicated in causing illness and death. A far better option is freeze-dried or dehydrated meats and organs, or cutting up some of their food into bite-sized pieces and freezing them yourself. Alternatively, have a go at making some of your own treats.
More Tips for a Healthier Pet
- Vaccines – If you’re planning to bring a young pet into your home, wait until they are at least three months old before vaccinating. It is still a very controversial area of pet care, and an increasing number of chronic and severe diseases are now being linked to vaccinations and their overuse.
- Drug Use – Homeopathic treatments are much safer and gently stimulate natural healing. Use of strong drugs such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories should be kept to a minimum. CBD is becoming an increasingly popular method of treatment for a variety of conditions, and you can read more about it in this blog.
- Environmental Toxins – Many of the products you use around your home are not very pet-friendly. Look for safer and greener cleaning products. You should also try to walk your dog away from grass that might have been sprayed with insecticides.
- Stress – Environmental and emotional stress can impact on your pet’s health, so try to avoid it whenever possible. Interact and mentally stimulate them as much as possible. Enrich their environment with stimulating toys and training classes. Try not to leave your pet alone at home for long periods of time and never yell at them.
Being a pet owner is a big responsibility, and if you want to do everything you can to raise a healthy and happy pet, you need to look for ways to do it as naturally as possible. Of course, it’s going to take a little more work, but it will be worth it in the end.