The Power of Daily Vitamins

Just like you, your pets can benefit greatly from a daily vitamin. That’s why our holistic vet formulated our new Ultimate Daily Vitamins!

Unlike their predecessors (our extremely popular Super Daily line), the new Ultimate Daily Vitamins are species appropriate! Dogs and cats (aside from having hugely different personalities and being sworn cartoon enemies) have two very different anatomies. The Ultimate Daily Vitamins were created specifically with your dog and cat in mind! Plus, each one features all of the building blocks your pet needs for a healthy, holistic lifestyle.

This includes:

  • Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes for proper nutrient absorption and to support a healthy gut; one of the main components of a healthy immune system.
  • Essential Fatty Acids, including the Omega 3’s DPA and EPA, which are hugely important for a beautiful coat and maintaining healthy skin, organ function, and more!
  • Glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin, plus New Zealand Green Lipped mussels, for supporting healthy joints.
  • Tons of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D, calcium, potassium and more for maintaining healthy organ, nervous, muscle and skeletal function.

But don’t take my word for it; just ask Lindsay and Goose!

Immune Support 101

With how complex your pet’s immune system can be, caring for it naturally and effectively can seem to be a pretty daunting task. But with a little planning, supporting your pet’s immune system doesn’t have to be that hard.


Along with Immune Strengthener, herbs, mushrooms and nutraceuticals like Cat’s Claw, Chinese Herbs, Medicinal Mushrooms and Colostrum can be a huge help.


Diet is always the first line of defense; it is the foundation of health. If your companion is consuming highly processed food that provides only minimal nutrition and includes toxins such as chemical preservatives, food dyes, texturizers, and other additives, his immune system is being depleted daily just to cope with that diet. Fresh, wholesome food, like frozen raw or non-frozen raw, is the first step in building a strong immune system.


Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage to cells, boost immune function, and possibly decrease the risk of infections, degenerative diseases, and cancer. Antioxidants exist as vitamins, minerals, and other compounds in foods. They act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage by destroying free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that the body normally produces to defend against bacteria and other pathogens; but if left unchecked, they can damage the body at the cellular level.

Stress and Exercise

Stress suppresses the immune system. Our pets can experience emotional stress from any number of sources, such as territorial disputes among pets (especially cats), social stress, and noise and light pollution. Exercise helps reduce stress and helps build and maintain a strong body and immune system. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve immune function in humans and animals.Weight control is also key – overweight animals are much more susceptible to chronic and acute diseases and infections. Proper diet AND exercise are needed to help with weight control.

These simple and healthy steps and ingredients can keep your pet’s immune system operating efficiently and properly for many years to come!

Why Spend More on Natural Pet Food?

Every day we get dozens of questions from dog and cat guardians searching for answers to their companion’s health problems.  Many of these folks have been to multiple veterinarians and spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars looking for a solution to whatever ails their furry friend.  The question is almost always “What can I buy to help my dog/cat with ______?”  (Fill in the blank with any of dozens of ailments or symptoms).  They generally expect us to recommend an herb, supplement or remedy of some sort.


The answer, however, ALWAYS starts with one thing: FOOD.  Many of these animals have been eating dry and canned food from the grocery store – almost all of which is of questionable quality.  Not because their guardians did not have their pets’ best interests at heart, but because no one ever told these folks what a healthy diet IS for a dog or cat.  Pet owners often shop for “the best” food available – but they don’t realize they are shopping in the wrong place.

Grocery stores do not carry the high-quality, natural foods that support the optimal health of dogs and cats.  They carry mass produced, heavily marketed foods from the international giants of the grocery world such as Del Monte (9 Lives, Kibbles & Bits, Meow Mix); Mars (Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba, Ceasar, Kal Kan); Nestle Foods (Purina, Friskies, Fancy Feast, Alpo, Mighty Dog, etc.); Procter and Gamble (Iams, Eukanuba); and Colgate-Palmolive (Hills Science Diet).  These companies own pet food manufacturers because they are the perfect way to turn waste products from human food manufacturing into highly profitable junk food for pets.


Of course, they don’t market it as junk food.  The bags are beautifully packaged with pictures of steaks and whole vegetables.  The commercials show happy, healthy pets chowing down and enjoying every bite while their loving owners look on.  The message is “If you care about your pet, feed them this!”  You might see colorful banners on the bag exclaiming “With real beef!”  But when you read the label, you find beef is not even in the first half dozen ingredients.

But then, you aren’t supposed to read that part of the label – the fine print.  The ingredients list is there by law.  If you read that (which you should after reading this) and find that corn is the main ingredient in the food you might just say “Wait, isn’t corn what cows and pigs and chickens eat?  Vegetarians eat corn.  Dogs and cats are carnivores.  They eat meat.”  Now you’re catching on!  And it typically isn’t even whole kernel corn, it is the corn by-products left over from manufacturing human food products.  And that “real beef” is going to be the parts of beef unfit for human consumption like intestines, udders, esophagi, and other scraps that couldn’t even be made into hamburger.  It will be called meat by-products or, at best, beef by-products.  Meat by-products includes 4-D animals: dead, dieing, diseased or disabled – including euthanized animals and pets.


So why pay more for natural pet food?  Because they are manufactured by companies that make DOG and CAT food, not human food.  They are made with human-grade ingredients: food that you or I could eat for dinner, not the stuff that belongs in the trash bin.  Natural pet foods cost a little more because the ingredients are more expensive, and they are worth it.  They are not sold in the grocery stores because the money is spent on ingredients, not marketing.


All those hundreds and thousands of dollars spent at the veterinarian’s office could so often be saved by spending just a little more each month on pet food. 

Consider this: 

Food Price First Ingredient
Case of Friskies Canned Cat Food $13.50 Meat by-products
Case of Wellness Canned Cat Food $ 22.60 Chicken, Beef, etc. (human-grade)

For simplicity’s sake, lets say you go through a case per month (24 – 5.5 oz cans).  For $9.10 per month, or $109.20 per year, you can feed your purring pal a food that will truly support his health from the inside out.

Food Price First Ingredient
 35 lb Bag of Purina Beneful Adult Dog Food $29.49 Ground yellow corn – and there is NO MEAT in this food.  Protein is from corn and soy.
30 lb bag of Nature’s Variety Prarie Beef & Barley $40.99    Beef meal (human-grade)

For $11.50 per month, or $138.00 per year, you can feed your wagging buddy a food formulated to really meat (pun intended) his needs.

Food Price First Ingredient
40 lb Bag of Hills Science Diet Adult Active Dog $42.99 Corn Meal.
40 lb Bag of Canidae All Life Stages Dog Food $38.99 Chicken meal (human-grade)

Hey!  The good stuff is CHEAPER! 

So for a little over $100 per year you can feed your dog or cat a diet that truly supports their health and well-being.  A food that is meat based, not grain based.  A food with ingredients a human could eat, not the stuff unfit for human consumption.  You could prevent many of the diseases and illnesses that lead to multiple vet visits, and ultimately save lots of money on vet bills.  Now that’s an easy decision to make!

Want to learn more?  Please see Food & Diet Information in our Holistic Healthcare Library.

Choosing a Chew

Almost all dogs love to chew, and many cats do, too.  There are many benefits to providing the right chew for your companion. 

Dental Health

Plaque removal
Chewing something that takes some time and concentration, like a bully stick or dental chew bone, helps scrape plaque off the teeth and control tartar.  (Brushing is still required, however, since harder chews do not scrape all the way to the base of the teeth at the gumline).

Stimulates gums
The chewing motion stimulates the gums which helps them stay healthier (along with brushing).

Maintain healthy jaw structure
Jaw bones, like the rest of the skeleton, are regenerated on a continual basis.  The regeneration of bone is stimulated by exercise; so if the jaw is not getting enough exercise it will begin to weaken over time.  Jaw health and strength is vital to the overall health of your companion’s mouth.

Mental Health

Relieve teething pain and irritation for puppies and kittens.
Puppies and kittens cut their deciduous or “baby” teeth between 2 and 6 weeks of age, and their permanent teeth between 4 and 6 months of age.  They are more susceptible to gingivitis at these times and chewing can help prevent this.  Chewing on something hard helps releive the pressure of teeth pushing through the gums.  Chewing also stimulates the growth and improves the health of growing teeth.

Relieve boredom
Many of us must leave our beloved companions home alone for hours at a time when we go to work each day.  Leaving them with a safe chew toy, such as a stuffed kong for dogs or a catnip toy for cats, can occupy them for awhile and even help tire them out.  When they are either chewing on the treat you provided or napping, they are less likely to chew on your shoes or scratch the furniture.

Relieve stress
Anxious dogs benefit greatly from chewing.  A nervous dog will gnaw tenaciously on a good chew and feel much better for it.  They need an outlet for all that nervous energy, and chewing is so much healthier than barking, yipping or nipping.  If you have an anxious companion, keep a stash of the right chews handy for those times when visitors come to call or stressful situations arise.  Your dog may even begin to like those events she used to fear once she realizes she gets a treat each time.

It’s fun!
Your companion will have a great time with the right chew!  Experiment with different types of chews for variety and enjoyment.  You’ll have fun watching them have fun.

Which chew to choose?

Selecting the proper chew for your companion is important for both enjoyment and safety.  Each individual will have certain preferences, so you may have to experiment until you find the perfect match for your dog or cat.  Here are attributes to consider:

In general, small dogs will like smaller chews and big dogs larger ones – but there are certainly exceptions.  Some larger dogs prefer smaller chews and will ignore a large chew altogether.  Two dogs of the same size may need rather different size chews due to their chewing habits.  An aggressive chewer or “gobbler” will need a larger chew.  A dog who chews more cautiously will likely enjoy a smaller chew… unless you don’t mind him burying the leftovers beneath your sofa cushions or in your flower bed.  Big dogs might like the Bones Galore extra thick or braided bully stick varieties.  Little dogs might like shorter Beef Stix or Small Dental Chew Bones.

The harder the chew the longer it takes to gnaw it down.  Aggressive chewers will enjoy a harder chew like a bully stick, pressed rawhide, or grizzle sticks.  Dogs with a softer bite might enjoy the thinner “curly” tendons,  jerky strips or sweet potato chews.

A favorite for small dogs and cats are the Fish Stix.

Flavor or Aroma 
Most dogs like the natural flavor of dried meat and tendons, but some will enjoy flavored chews such as the Zukes Z-Ridge Bones.  Different flavor jerky strips are an excellent way to add variety to your pet’s chewing pleasures.

Cats are definitely taste-conscious.  Fish and chicken flavors are the favorites.  Catnip toys offer some fun and enticing chew time for kitties.  For more information about cats and chews see  Chews for Cats in our Holistic Healthcare Library.

Obesity on the Rise Among Cats and Dogs

In this day and age one can hardly turn on the television or open a magazine or newspaper without being reminded about the obesity epidemic confronting Americans.  As humans’ waistlines have been expanding, so have their companion animals.  What is behind the “broadening” of our furry friends?

A recent cover article in Business Week magazine detailed the rapid expansion of the pet industry and declared that the pampering of our pets has gotten out of hand.  While we don’t agree that taking better care of our best friends equates to over-pampering, their may be some truth here.  Treats used to be reserved for training purposes and special occasions – once a day at most.  Now there are so many treats on the market for dogs and cats it’s hard to resist not trying each new and tastier-than-ever-before variety.  Dogs are exceptional at plying their two-legged friends into reaching for the treat jar, and even those aloof cats have learned how to “beg” for treats.  What’s more, many pet guardians use treats to assuage their guilt of leaving their friends home alone all day. 

Another challenge in the battle of the bulge is the disconnect between perception and reality experienced by many people regarding their own weight and their companion’s weight as well.  According to a 2006 study by Pfizer Animal Health, 47 percent of veterinarians felt their canine patients were obese, while only 17 percent of dog owners agreed.  A study by the National Consumers League found the same to be true of the way humans perceive their own weight:  12% of those interviewed considered themselves obese, while actual body mass index calculations showed that 34% of the participants were actually obese. 


It’s time to listen to your veterinarian and take a good, honest look at your four legged friend.  See our archived article about “Weight Management for Dogs and Cats” for further information about evaluating your companion’s waistline.   

Reduce the number of treats and increase the play and quality time.  15 minutes of chase the fuzzy, feathery toy around the house is a great way to connect with your kitty and give him some exercise.  Some favorites: Kitty Lure Chaser and Catnip Pounce and Play.  For fetch crazy dogs there is nothing like the Chuck It, or for Frisbee lovers: Orbee-Tuff Zoom Flyer or the Flying Squirrel.  For smaller dogs, try a Babble Ball or Extra Small Squeaker Balls for indoor games.

Feed better food and less of it.  Most cats do not digest grains well, so a grain-free food is best.  Many dogs can handle some grain in their diet, as long as the PROTEIN source is of animal origin.  See “What You Need to Know About Your Pet’s Food” and  Evaluating Canned and Dry Food” for more information.  Feeding 2 or 3 meals is much better for your dog or cat’s health than leaving food out free-choice – both for their weight and for their long-term health.  In addition, digestive enzymes help your dog or cat get the most from the food they eat. 

Good, healthy food and exercise are the simplest and best solutions for both you and your companion in avoiding the obesity epidemic.

When the diagnosis is Cancer

No one is ever prepared for the diagnosis of cancer in their best friend.  50% of us, however, are likely to hear it at some time in our companion’s life.  We receive many questions at Only Natural Pet Store about the best way to treat cancer and the answer, unfortunately, is just not that simple.  Due to the complicated nature of most cancers and their treatment, we highly recommend a consultation with a holistically trained veterinarian.  Through the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Referral List you can look for qualified veterinarians in your areaIf there are no holistic veterinarians near you, many will do phone consultations. We make an effort to provide some general recommendations for cancer care through the articles and question/answers about cancer in our Holistic Healthcare Library.  These contain information about diet and supplements that can be helpful: Cancer Information.   

In general, diet is the place to start.  Holistic veterinarians will frequently recommend a diet that is low-carbohydrate, moderate protein, and moderate to high fat for cancer patients.  Cancer cells utilize glucose from carbohydrates as fuel, so a low carbohydrate diet can be helpful in fighting cancer.  Many cancer cells cannot utilize fat as an energy source, and fat in the diet can help combat weight loss as well. 

When a home-prepared diet is just not possible, try ready made (frozen) raw food, freeze dried or dehydrated diets, or a very high-quality canned food without grains:

Frozen Raw Food

Freeze Dried

Dehydrated Food

High Quality Canned Foods for DogsChoose grain-free or low grain varieties, add fresh vegetables when possible

.High Quality Canned Foods for CatsChoose grain-free varieties. Adding finely ground fresh vegetables or freshly juiced vegetables such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, and carrots can be beneficial.  These contain natural antioxidants as well as providing enzymes to help break down the food. 

Often an Immune Support Complex, Antioxidants and possibly a Cleansing/Detoxifying Herbal Formula will be recommended.  For more information on these supplements and other steps to take in treating cancer, please read our article about Cancer Prevention and Care. 

Recognizing the Early Signs of Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections are the number one reason cats are taken to the veterinarian and the fourth most common reason for dogs to visit the vet.  Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are easier to treat if caught in the early stages.  UTI’s can be caused by bacteria, viruses, urinary crystals and even stress.  It is important to know the symptoms and have your companion checked by a veterinarian if you see them, or use a home kit such as the PetCheckup Home Health Kit to check for other indications of infection. 

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection:
• Frequent urination
• Straining or difficulty urinating
• Blood in the urine
• Foul smelling urine
• Urination in inappropriate places
• Tender lower abdomen (in the area of the bladder)
• Fever
• Lethargy

The best course of action is, of course, prevention; which means a top quality diet and plenty of water, along with minimizing stress.  A meat based diet with little or no grain helps maintain a more acidic urine pH, which goes a long way to preventing UTI’s.  Please see our article about Lower Urinary Tract Problems for more information.  Also, for the latest information about the connection between ash & magnesium and urinary tract issues, check out Ash, Magnesium and FLUTD.

Itching and Scratching – Get to the Root of It

Itching and scratching is one of the top ten reasons dogs and cats visit the veterinarian.  The most common causes of itching include allergies, parasites, and skin infections.  It is important to investigate itchy skin and frequent scratching right away.  Allowing the problem to persist can lead to worse problems down the road including hot spots, staph and other skin infections.

The first step in determining the cause of the itch is to look for fleas – or rather look for signs of fleas since you often won’t see the critters themselves unless there are many of them on the animal.  Fleas are great at hiding in long fur.  To test for fleas use a fine-tooth flea comb on the area between your animal’s hips – just above the tail.  On long haired animals you many need to use a brush first to smooth the fur so you can get the comb through easily.  Comb for 5 to 10 strokes to remove a bit of loose hair, then press the hair and any dirt between two damp white paper towels.  If you see any rust colored or red spots appear, that is a sign of fleas.  If your animal has fleas, the faster you act the easier it will be to deal with.  See our article about A Natural Approach to Flea Control for more information.  Check out Only Natural Pet’s Flea Control Kits  for solutions.

If you have ruled out fleas, and there are no signs of a skin infection such as patches of missing fur or raised red areas, then consider allergies as a possibility.  Dogs and cats can have food, airborne, and contact allergies.  Getting allergies under control does not need to be complicated – often switching to a high quality allergy formula food and adding digestive enzymes and essential fatty acids to the diet will do the trick.  For more information about treating allergies see Alleviating Your Pet’s Itchy Skin in our newletter archives.  Only Natural Pet’s Allergy Kits can help simplify treatment.