Preventive Care For Dogs

Preventive medicine for humans is now becoming mainstream in our society. We are learning the steps to take to keep our immune systems strong which helps protect us against disease. These steps include eating a healthy, balanced diet, drinking good water, ingesting specific herbs, foods and supplements , adequate exercise and decreasing stress. I believe we can take these same preventive steps with our dogs. I cannot say for sure whether having done this with Tapa would have saved her life, but if I ever get another Heeler, I will adhere to this preventive path. Perhaps if Tapa’s immune system had been stronger, she might have won her battle. It is an effort worth making for our dogs…and ourselves.

Preventive steps we can take to care for our dogs include:

  • Feeding our dogs high quality dog food and treats.
  • Giving our dogs clean, pure water.
  • Supplementing our dog’s diet with greens, healthy oils and herbs.
  • Strengthening our dog’s immune system with periodic cleansing and detox herbs.
  • Alternative medical treatment with homeopathy instead of drugs.
  • An abundance of exercise and love.

Far too many dog foods being sold on the market today are not healthy for your dog. Avoid all dog foods with preservatives and artificial ingredients. Many so called “natural” dog foods include fatty acid oils which not only go rancid quickly, but are the wrong oils for your dog. Too many canned dog foods are full of fillers which do not support a healthy dog.

Many of us are conscious of the need to drink pure, clean water yet, we may overlook this for our dog. All city water is tainted with fluoride, chemicals and toxins. Most bottled waters, and even reverse osmosis, are highly acidic. Acidic water does not provide adequate hydration.  The structure of acidic water creates clustering effects wherein the cells clump together, and bounce off the cells in need of hydration. Alkaline water, with a pH of 7 or higher, enters the body as star shaped crystals which effectively penetrate the cell walls to flush and hydrate the cells. Some dogs have a tendency to get into bad things: dead animals, animal waste, rotten food and trash. Dogs are designed as natural predators with the capacity to handle loads of bacteria. Their stomachs are highly acidic which kills most everything, and their production of bile acts as a secondary defense. But there is always the chance a bad bacteria will resist their acid and bile defenses. Alkaline water can greatly assist in flushing these bad bacterias from your dog’s body. If you are unsure of the water quality you provide for you and your dog, have the water tested. You can test the pH level with simple pH strips found at the pharmacy.

A high quality dog food will include necessary and essential vitamins and minerals, but it does no harm to supplement with more. This is especially important if you are making your own dog food. Adding a tablespoon of powdered greens to your dog’s diet will add the nutritional value of plant based nutrients found in grasses, seaweeds and sea vegetables. The absorption of synthetic vitamins and minerals is very poor. Dogs, like people, need highly absorbable organic nutrients which can be easily digested. Dog greens also assist in rebuilding the good intestinal flora that is often depleted by antibiotics, vet meds and poor diet.

Many dogs suffer from an Omega-3 deficiency, and as such, many commercial dog foods are making dry kibble rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Buyer beware! Most dry kibble has too much Omega-6 which can irritate your dog’s joints and their skin. Do not buy any dog food which contains soy oil, corn oil, safflower oil or sunflower oil as these are too high in Omega-6. The good Omega-3 oil is rendered inefficient if the Omega-6 is too high. A good ratio is 3 parts Omega-6 to 1 part Omega-3. If the label discloses a higher ratio than this, it is not healthy kibble for your dog.

You can supplement your dog’s diet with coconut oil, fish oil or chia seeds. Most dogs love the taste of coconut oil which is rich in the good saturated fats, boosts energy and helps flush out bacteria, viruses and fungus. Fish oil, especially salmon oil, can be added to your dog’s food. Start out with very small doses to prevent stomach upset, then gradually increase to one teaspoon. There is some concern now about toxicity in fish oil as a result of ocean contamination and harvest methods. If you are concerned about this, opt instead for chia seeds which have a good balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 along with extra protein and fiber. Soak one tablespoon of chia seeds in water until they are plump, drain the water and add to your dog’s food. This plumping of the seeds prepares the seeds to release their high nutritive benefits. They have no taste so most dogs will not even notice their addition to their food. Chia seeds are one of the best foods you can give your dog, and yourself.

There are so many wonderful herbal extracts from which your dog can benefit.  You may want to consider buying a book which lists all these herbs and their properties. Adding herbal extracts to your dog’s diet can greatly enhance your dog’s health, and thus save you money at the vet. Combine herbs with homeopathy, and you might avoid the vet all together. Homeopathy offers safe, non-toxic remedies to treat every ailment your dog may develop.

Just as some people do a yearly cleanse, you can assist your dog in a cleanse with specific herbs. A cleanse is designed to clean the blood, liver and kidneys which helps these organs repair, and thus strengthen the immune system. When a dog has either liver or kidney disease, the organ not working properly can severely compromise the other organ. It it thus good to treat both organs, one at a time, to detox and repair while clearing the blood of the circulating toxins which result from and aggravate the disease. Canine kidney disease is a result of toxic overload which the kidneys are no longer able to filter.

Dogs cooped up at home all day, and who spend too much time alone, are more susceptible to kidney disease. Try to find an alternative option if you are working and leaving your dog at home for 8-10 hours a day. There are pet services which can watch your dog, or come to your home during the day to walk and play with them. Exercise is vital for dogs even when they are sick. Ample exercise strengthens a dog’s muscles, organs, stomach and intestines while stimulating circulation and the release of positive, healing chemicals. Dogs, like people, benefit from affection and loving care. They are in our life to bring us joy so we do not want to deprive them of doing their job by not spending quality time with them. Well spent time together will make you both happy.

Books to consider:

The Complete Herbal Handbook For The Dog And Cat
Veterinarians Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs

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