I have improved the health and energy and fun of a few dogs.
We can’t get affordable health insurance for dogs, and they can’t verbalize what their health issues are, so we have to pay attention to subtle indications of their health. I seem to be good at sensing what they need and want. Probably you can too.
One of the simplest things you can do for all your pets is feeding them whole, ripe, fresh, delicious, nutritious food. (That’s what some top doctors say works well for humans, too…) But there are some things that you love to eat, that you must not feed your pet.
Many dogs do not handle grains well. Just like humans, they can’t digest several of the many proteins in grains. It’s not just gluten, there are several proteins that affect our digestion, make gaps in our intestines that leak toxins into our blood, change our appetite and cravings, and alter our metabolisms. Grains are one of the main digestive irritants that make dogs lick their butts often. Costco has a line of grain-free kibble, at a good price. It isn’t addictively yummy, but if you think about it, it’s often the unhealthy ingredients like sugar and wheat that are the most addictive.
Veterinarians often suggest raw or lightly steamed vegetables for dog treats, as long as you serve them without spices. Look up what foods to never feed dogs, and what foods are most often listed as causing irritation or allergies or scratching; garlic and onion are not good for dogs. Dangerous Foods That Dogs Should Never Eat is one good site.
My dog loves several vegetables.
- Raw broccoli, but since she always chews using proper dog etiquette, mouth open nose down, I only give her the stems, I eat the broccoli flowers.
- Carrots are another crunchy treat, wash them and cut off the stem; I only cut them if the carrot is too wide for her to easily chew.
- Snow Peas? Loves them, I cut off the tips.
- Cucumber? Yes, definitely.
- Green beans, usually, but sometimes they get left on the floor.
- Apples almost always, but sometimes she’s not in the mood; I don’t know yet what her favorite breed is, maybe gala or envy or Jonagold.
I also get high-Omega 3 eggs, and cook them in olive oil for her. Giving her more olive oil and omega-3, both healthy fats for dogs and humans, seems to be decreasing her leg tremors. I don’t know if the fat absorbs and clears out toxins, or if the fat improves how nerve cells function; I do know that many veterinarians recommend high amounts of omega 3 for dogs, and that her energy level and play have improved.
The first thing to check, if your dog is scratching often, is for any chemicals that might be skin irritants. Also check what they roll in. They love scratching the ground making clouds of dust, and that dust gets in their fur; Arizona dust is coarse and sharp. When they roll in the grass, or the dry grass, or the gravel, or the pile of leaves, well, all those can be scratchy. Frequent use of a damp cloth will remove much of the dust or grass. But skin irritants could also be in the shampoo you use for them, or your skin care products; check that the ingredients in everything that can get on their fur, is good for dogs. Just like the medicines you take should never be given to dogs without veterinarian approval, what’s good for their skin and fur is different than what we use (and many things we put on our skin are often not healthy for humans either).
Another thing to look at is what they eat. Avoid spices, preservatives, grains, dairy, any food that is a common dog allergen or that many dogs are sensitive to.
Miracle Mist leaves her coat soft, shiny, static free. Don’t spray it near her eyes (I spray it on my hand and rub it on her ears and neck and head), the little tea tree oil in it would be painful in eyes. Many skin conditioners and natural anti-bacterial ingredients. For a while I was spraying her about daily, rubbing it into her coat, spraying even between her legs. Then, she wasn’t needing spray nearly as often, so I would only spot-spray anywhere I saw her scratching, or felt a hot spot. I also spray her if I get static electricity when petting her, Miracle Mist does a great job of eliminating static.
Dogs do not perspire. They cool off by panting. In hot weather, you have to keep them in shade, and give them water frequently. If they get lethargic or unsteady, cool them by sprinkling cool water all over their coat.
A little salt is also good; when my dog got diarrhea and vomiting from too much time outside on a hot humid day (okay, humid for Arizona), a little salt on my fingertip, taken from the bottom of a bag of roasted peanuts so it had the peanut smell she loves, perked her up quickly. Remember how ranchers would take their cattle to a salt lick? Now I put a little salt on an egg I cook for her, since nothing else I give her has salt.
The dog water bottle design I like best is the AquaDog. Give it a squeeze, and water goes up into a little bowl; a simple valve keeps water from going back down into the bottle, so the water in the bottle is always fresh. Comes with a velcro belt strap that can hold it snug against your waist. The Gulpy bottle has a flip-down bowl, costs a little less than the AquaDog but looks like it is not quite as convenient.