Updated: Oct 31, 2020
Natural Pet Care Tips
By Dr Alison Kemp 15/10/2020
#naturalpetcare #holisticvetcare #holisticvet #naturaldogcare #naturalcatcare #essentialoilsforpets #lavenderoildogs #dentaldiseasedogs #greentea #lavender #skinproblemsdogs #naturaldogfood #naturalcatfood
So many of us are looking to move to a more natural way of living – we may choose to buy organic meat and veggies; try and avoid using too many toxins in our homes; or look for beauty products made without lots of chemicals. But how does this relate to our pets? Can we look after them in a more natural manner too without putting them in harm’s way? Luckily the answer is yes, and it can also both save us money AND make our furry, feathery or scaly friends much healthier as a result. In this blog post I wanted to give you just a few easy hints and tips to help you move to a more natural way of caring for your pet, and hopefully spark your interest in holistic veterinary care.
How much do you like going to the dentist? If you’re anything like me I’m guessing the very idea fills you with dread. It is often the same for our furry friends, both large and small. Like us, many of them suffer with sore gums which result from plaque build-up on the tooth surface. Brushing your pet’s teeth can be super helpful, but having spoken to many pet owners, I know this is not always easy! So what about something else? Green tea can actually be an awesome way to help reduce the number of plaque forming bacteria and settle down sore gums. Just make up a small cup of green tea (a tea bag or teaspoon of loose leaf are both fine), let it cool and use it to rinse around your pets mouth. Some people find their pets love it and will happily drink it from a small bowl, others use a syringe to squirt it round the teeth, and others soak a clean face cloth in the tea and use it to wipe around the teeth. Done daily this can be super effective – why not make a cup for yourself too? The only thing to keep in mind is that because green tea does contain caffeine, it’s worth using small amounts only, and doing this in the morning…unless you want zoomies all night!
Skin problems, be they allergies, wounds, insect bites or infections, are super common in our pets and can be super problematic too. There are lots of things we can do as owners to help reduce the chance of these problems occurring, and to treat them when they do. Here are a couple of my favourites…Hemp seed oil is a fantastic source of essential fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and support the normal function of our skin as a barrier against infection. There’s lots of different animal formulations available and is even available in treats too. Another great way of supporting the skin, especially in dogs who are groomed, is to use a Chamomile, Calendula and Green Tea rinse. Pop a teaspoon of loose leaf chamomile, calendula and green teas in a jug and pour over hot water. Allow to cool and then use to rinse your dog’s skin and coat after their bath. It’s also great on summer days or after a trip to the beach to condition the skin whilst getting rid of all that salt and sand!
Calm the crazy
I rehome rescue dogs, and have done some fostering of pups as well. Many of these babies have had a difficult time prior to coming to me, and need a bit of help to transition into a new home. With all of them I have found that diffusing a high quality lavender essential oil in my home can work wonders. Pop 2-3 drops (not more!) into an ultrasonic water diffuser and allow it to scent the room and get everyone (humans too!) in a much more relaxed frame of mind. Essential Oils (or Veterinary Aromatic Medicine if we are being fancy) are one of my favourite natural therapies due to their versatility and incredible effectiveness, but they need to be used carefully – keep an eye on my Facebook page and my group dedicated to this topic if you’d like to know more!
Any pet owner – or come to think of it, any parent of young children, is going to experience the odd ‘accident’ on the carpet or furniture at some point during their lives that leaves these items smelling rather iffy. Many of us reach for the commercial deodoriser spray or a variety of other chemical products to get rid of the smell, however there are less toxic options – many of which are actually more effective (and cheaper!) than the bottle of chemical laden spray from the supermarket. My favourite way of getting rid of the smells left behind after cleaning up any mess, is to use a combination of bicarbonate of soda and pet friendly essential oils sprinkled over the affected area and left for at least 30mins. Vacuum up the powder and you’ll be left with a sweet smelling carpet or chair and no toxins - perfect!
What we should feed our pets is a whole year of blog posts in itself, and for some people (veterinarians included!) can be rather controversial. Whatever you choose to feed your furry friend, be it dry biscuits, canned food, homecooked dinners or raw meat, my main advice would be to try and stick to natural, chemical free products if at all possible.
Treats can be an easy way of starting this journey without too much drama and can be a great way of building the relationship between you and your buddy. Next time you hit the pet store, why not pick some nice dried liver pieces or shark cartilage for your dog? Both contain fabulous nutrients and are so tasty they’ll be desperate for more. I break both of these treats into smaller pieces when I get home so that I can give tiny titbits when training, but you can choose to give larger pieces if that works for you. Blueberries are also great little treats, and contain lots of amazing nutrients to keep your pet in a fabulous condition – plus you can share them with him!
For the cat lovers out there, our feline friends love a whole sardine or sprat to munch on, or even a whole mouse! Frozen mice can usually be found in the reptile section of the pet store – just make sure you defrost them before treating your cat!
My other top tip for feeding is to include a probiotic in your pets dinner every day. There are lots available to choose from, mostly in powder form, but it is worth having a look at the ingredients of each before purchase. Try and find one containing a wide range of bacteria, and ideally some yeasts as well. If the product has additional pre-biotics or wholefood supplements in there too then even better! Both the probiotics and prebiotics are a fabulous way of supporting your pets gut microbiome, which is turning out to be a hugely important part of the functioning of a healthy body and immune system.
So there we have it, five tips for a more natural approach to pet care. Hopefully there are some bits and pieces in there you will find useful! Are there more where they came from? Absolutely! Sign up to our newsletter so you don’t miss any coming in future and keep up to date with how you can book a consultation with me, either in clinic or as part of my upcoming mobile service in South East Queensland. You can also follow me on Facebook and join one of my facebook groups dedicated to particular alternative therapies – head to https://www.facebook.com/redlandsnaturalanimalcare to join in the fun!
See you next week,
Dr Alison :-)