Back to school time can be a mad rush when it comes to getting kids ready, adjusting our work schedules, being out of the house, and preparing for daylight savings time to end. But we have to remember that all of these changes in our lives can be just as stressful on our pets. Whether they’re missing a child that’s going to be at school or just picking up on our anxiety, these events can cause a lot trouble for our furry friend’s well-being.
Thankfully, there are some surefire techniques that can not only help your pet through these transitions, but help make them a healthier, happier pet.
Routine, Routine, Routine
One of the biggest factors that give our pets the back to school blues is the change in routine. This could be anything from waiting longer for their nightly walk or waking up earlier. The most important thing to remember during these transitional times is to keep the habit that works best for everyone. If this means walking your dog before work in the morning then make sure you take that walk every day. Or if your cat needs attention right after you set down your briefcase, then make sure that always happens.
Our pets are creatures of comfort and the small, routine actions can make all the difference. Try out these tips or create some new routines of your own:
15 minutes of play every day when you get home. It offers exercise, bonding, and is a routine you’ll both enjoy.
Try homemade food that you prepare the same every meal. Your pet’s will start jumping for joy when they hear the spoon start stirring.
Keep Them Entertained
With our busier fall schedules, our pets can end up spending a good deal more time in the house alone. If this time is left unstructured, destructive behavior and bad habits, like excessive barking and furniture destruction, can develop. Keeping your pets entertained during these times alone and giving them plenty of exercise when you are around can make all the difference.
Try your hardest not to leave your pets alone all day. If you can run home during a lunch break or have a pet sitting company stop in, that can mean the difference between a happy pet and a shredded couch.
Double up your pet’s exercise during the especially hectic times. You’ll notice your stress slipping away and you’ll wear your pets out so they’ll spend their time alone sleeping.
Interactive toys are a great way to keep your pets concentrating on something productive. Whether they’re working towards a reward or chasing a toy, will keep them content and focused.
Limit the Stress
Our pets have a tendency to pick up on our stress easily and to create stress when their routines change. This can lead to shaking, nervous panting, pacing, and even poor stool quality. Combating this can seem like a challenge, but using a multi-faceted approach can make it easy and safe for your pet. Exercise and play are a great way for our pets to work out that nervous energy, and supplements are always an effective, safe way to remedy anxiety issues1
Flower essences are great for calming your pets quickly and they have no side effects, so they can be dosed often for effective relief.
Thundershirts hug your pet’s body tight, giving them a sense of security. Make sure you put it on well before the stressor will start so your pet can get used to it.
If your pet is struggling with poor stool quality as a result of stress, probiotics and other digestive supplements are a great choice. They support proper digestion and will maintain healthy stool quality.
Get Them Learning
Finding time to spend with your pets and helping them to learn some new tricks is not only a great way to improve your bond with your companion, but it also helps keep them mentally stimulated. Mental stimulation is like exercise for their brains, keeping them focused when they’re on a task and wearing them out so they can get the restful sleep they need.
Training treats work wonders when you’re teaching new tricks. And natural ones will let you keep feeding without worry about dangerous fillers or chemicals.
When it comes to training, repetition is the name of the game. Try repeating the same command and hand gesture in unison, and always reward with a treat when the trick is done right.
Remember Their Health
Unfortunately, one of the biggest things that can be overlooked during stressful or hectic times is your pet’s health. Remember that diet is the foundation of a healthy life, so make sure you’re always feeding your pets a natural diet made with quality protein sources and from whole foods. Along with a proper diet, make sure you’re feeding quality treats and supplementing properly.
Choose a healthy pet diet that your pets like and is not going to aggravate any food allergies they might have. If you’re noticing allergic reactions, steer clear of grains and common proteins, like chicken.
Supplements are a great benefit for our pets overall health. Make sure you’re including a pet daily multi-vitamin every day and also using an essential fatty acid supplement, like fish oil. Along with these, treat with supplements accordingly, whether your pets need joint support, senior care, or anything else.
Back to school is going to be stressful, but following these steps will have some great consequences. It will help calm you and your pets and strengthen the bonds and relationships that you share.
When it comes to chewing, our dogs aren’t always the pickiest: sticks can be shredded in minutes; couch cushions are always fair game; and what’s-that-in-the-yard-I’ll-eat-it-anyway can be a daily occurrence. It has been suggested that dogs chew for every reason from curiosity to boredom, and it’s because of this “chew anything” mentality that the power of pet parenting is even more important.
Go to any pet store and you’ll find entire aisles dedicated to chews for your dog.
Most chews look innocent enough: bright white “bones”, twisted sticks, and even multi-colored braids, but the truth is these chews are not only unhealthy for our dogs, they can be downright dangerous!
To help you find the perfect dog chew, we have some simple things to keep in mind that will go a long way towards caring for your dog:
What’s In Your Dog’s Chews? (Or Better Yet, What’s NOT In It?)
Natural chews are sourced from single ingredients and gently processed, meaning you know exactly what you’re giving your dog. When your dog chews on a cow ear dog chews, you can see that it’s a cow ear. Processed chews, like rawhides, on the other hand, have some ingredients to hide.
Commercial chews undergo a bleaching process that features numerous caustic chemicals; those are soaked into the treat and waiting for your dog to ingest. And the added colors and “dental themed” rawhides are even worse, featuring artificial coloring, artificial preservatives, and fillers like corn sugar.
Where Are Your Dog’s Chews From?
We’ve heard a lot recently about dangerous chicken jerky treats associated with antibiotic fed livestock, but did you know that the cattle used for rawhides are often given similar, unsafe antibiotics? Not to mention the added growth hormones and terrible, unnatural feed. Natural chews are sourced from grass fed cattle, raised without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics. The cattle are also free range, meaning they enjoy a healthy, open environment.
Are Your Dog’s Chews Healthy?
Dog health is very similar to human health: the less processed the better! Unfortunately, most commercial rawhides are hugely processed, going through multiple cycles of bleaching, coloring, and cooking.
All natural chews are single ingredient and go through minimal processing. Most of them are high in protein, low in fat, and free of those nasty fillers and preservatives present in commercial rawhides.
This means your dog is getting the nutritional benefits of a healthy snack, not the empty calories of a junk food chew. Plus, different chews can have added benefits!
As important as all the other decisions are when choosing a chew, there’s one that you have to leave up to your dog: the experience. Your dog might not be picky when it comes to chewing, but there is a difference between going through the motions, and truly enjoying something.
Do your dog’s ears perk up when you grab a natural chew? Does he sit with perfect posture, like a grade schooler ready to please?
And taste is just the start! Is the chew long lasting? Natural chews like bully sticks can last significantly longer than rawhides, giving your dog a satisfying experience from start to finish. How does your dog feel afterward? Are they content; or on the opposite side of that, feeling sick and even throwing up? Natural chews are single ingredient and completely digestible, which is gentle on your dog’s stomach.
Why Homemade Food is the Best Choice for Your Pet!
When we think about the finer things in life, food is always at the top of the list; and when we think of fine foods, we don’t think of them as plain, processed or overcooked.
We want our food full of fresh, colorful, whole ingredients exploding with flavor and nutrition. This slice of paradise isn’t exclusive to people…
our pets love it too!
Their sense of smell and taste are highly developed, meaning they dream of the fresh, bountiful ingredients just like we do!
So why are we feeding them boring kibble and canned food for every meal? It’s time to make a change; it’s time for homemade! But don’t panic; homemade doesn’t mean buying lots of ingredients at the grocery store and toiling away in the kitchen. There are a number of packaged homemade pet foods that only need to be mixed with water and served. It might sound simple, but it offers a whole new level of taste and nutrition for your pet.
Homemade isn’t just a food type, it’s a food choice! And it’s one of the best choices you can make to give your pets the gift of a long, healthy, and, most importantly, better quality life.
(Be warned: Pets love it so much, they won’t go back!):
1. Homemade Means “Nature Made” as well
Your dog and cat are not “kibblevores”. They both have extremely advanced digestive systems that crave fresh, nutrient dense, raw foods. In nature, they would be eating an entire animal: this means plenty of raw meat with digestive system supporting probiotics and essential fatty acids; the stomach content of their prey, which would be filled with plant matter that’s high in vitamins and minerals; and a good amount of hydrating fluids from the blood and water rich organs.
Homemade pet food diets recreate this raw meat and vegetable feast, without all the mess!
Some of them feature large, appetizing chunks of raw meat that have been freeze dried, so the protein doesn’t lose the beneficial nutrients that are mostly absent from processed foods. And all of them contain human quality meat with an array of dehydrated fruits and vegetables. These fruits and veggies are not only delicious to your pet, but they’re rich in nutrients missing in the meat, like vitamin C and other antioxidants. Plus, homemade diets are prepared by you with fresh water, which hydrates your pet and offers them a delicious broth.
2. Variety Is the Spice of Life
When you buy your pets’ kibble, you know the type and relative amount of protein because of the guaranteed analysis and ingredients list. But if you were to just look at the food out of the bag, would you know the ingredients? Probably not. That’s because most kibbles and canned foods are so processed and cooked, they become a single texture, with a single color, and a single flavor.
Homemade diets are different! Once you add water, you’ll see quality proteins that plump up, a flavorful broth form, and shredded vegetables that you can actually see. These combine to give your pets a variety of textures and flavors that will keep them happy and healthy.
3. Who Wants Cornflakes Everyday Anyway?
When you commit to a kibble or canned diet for your pets, the most effective way to feed them is to buy the largest bag or case. Unfortunately, this is like buying a 40 pound bag of cornflakes or a bucket of canned pasta! With their relatively short shelf lives and depleting freshness once you open them up, kibble and canned diets are not the first choice when looking for a freshly prepared, homemade diet.
Homemade diets are preserved in unique ways (by freeze drying, air drying, or dehydrating) giving them a stable shelf life.
This lets you mix and match your flavors, so you won’t be feeding the same meal over and over again, giving your pets the diet diversity they crave. (To learn more about the importance of variety, please read our article “Why Switch Foods.”)
4. Your Pet Is Family
Preparing meals for your family isn’t just a means of feeding them; it’s a ritual that teaches us the importance of connection, patience, and love.
Nothing disrupts this experience more than simply dumping kibble or a can into a bowl. Homemade food lets you include your pet in the process! Their food can soak while you prepare yours, and even though most homemade mixes are complete meals, there’s no rule against adding some of your cooking scraps (Only healthy ones, of course. To learn more, read this article about dangerous pet foods to avoid by the ASPCA).
This process lets you bond with your pets in more ways than you might think. It lets you see their food first hand, so you know you’re giving them whole, nutritious meals. Plus, it’s a great way to reinforce your role in your pets’ lives. They’ll know you’re the one who decides when it’s time to eat. You’re not merely providing a meal, you’re providing a routine.
5. Who Doesn’t Want a Homemade Meal?
The truth of the matter is that homemade tastes better, and is healthier for our pets! Most homemade meals allow you to just add fresh water, wait, and serve, which makes a huge difference when compared to processed, premade foods.
While we’re sure our pets are just as patriotic as we are, they may not share our excitement for the local fireworks displays.
Pets can find fireworks terrifying. Fortunately we have a number of remedies that actually work well!
Starting out, it’s important to introduce our natural pet stress-relieving techniques a few days or even a week before they’re needed, to give your pet ample time to become comfortable with them. If your pet is afraid of the very thing meant to relax them, you won’t see good results. Plus, it seems like every neighborhood has that “one guy” who doesn’t wait until the actual 4th of July to celebrate with fireworks! So start your chosen treatment method before the fireworks actually begin. Once your dog or cat is stressed out, it can be difficult to calm them down. It’s important to remember that your pet is not only fearful for its’ own safety, but for yours as well! If you begin to worry about whether your pet will be stressed or anxious, it will only validate the fear and add to the anxiety. It’s important to be calm during such times, as this will help your pet to relax and reduce the fear.
Flower Essences are a very effective tool for combating stress and anxiety because they function on an emotional level.
They’re remarkably simple, combining the energetic essence and effects of flowers in unique formulas. We’ve found our pets are very “tuned in” to emotional energy, and they seem receptive to these formulas. While they’re effective, they’re also very mild on the body and completely safe. Flower Essences can be applied in a number of ways: dropped directly into your pet’s mouth, rubbed on their fur, added to their drinking water or even all of those methods at once!
Some of our most popular Flower Essences listed below are now 15% OFF:
Homeopathic Remedies can be effective, very mild and completely safe for your pets.
Homeopathic Remedies work by combining a number of ingredients in extremely small quantities that might seem like they would add to the stress; however these formulations in turn cause the body to react against the ingredients – which can produce a calming effect. The typical daily dosage can be increased during times of stress (like during fireworks, or that wild party you have planned!).
Our most popular stress remedy, Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy requires 5-10 drops 3 times per day to treat general anxiety. During times of stress that dose can be increased to 5-10 drops every 15 min for the first hour, every 30 min for the second hour and then once again for the third hour (If your Fireworks show lasts that long, we’d appreciate an invite!). Homeopathic Remedies should ideally be dropped directly into the mouth. However, if that is difficult they can be mixed with treats, food or water as well.
Herbal Formulas are another great option, that tends to work over a longer period of time than homeopathic remedies or flower essences.
These formulas can keep your pet relaxed for an extended time with little to no interruption of the benefits! Since the effects last a bit longer, herbal remedies are one way to reduce any sudden “spikes” of stress and create a sustained, relaxed feeling. Herbal Remedies can be mixed with food, treats, water or given directly.
Other herbal remedies you’ll find on our website (Also now 15% OFF):
We have a few other solutions for relieving stress that don’t fit into one of the above categories as well. Our Only Natural Pet Phero-Soothe is a simulated Pheromone spray that creates a feeling of safety and well-being in any environment. Our pets have a powerful sense of smell, which helps make this product effective. The Thundershirt is a unique and creative product. It gently “hugs” your pet, which creates a sense of safety and security by making them feel less vulnerable. Both of these products can be combined with just about anything as well, so they’re a versatile choice that will complement any solution!
Treating anxiety, especially a rational anxiety like a fear of loud explosions, can take some trial and error. We’ve found that combining two or more products is generally the most effective. So explore your options, find the right solution for your pet, and get ready to enjoy those 4th of July fireworks without stress for you or your pet!
As conscientious pet parents, you know that time outside is tick time for our pets. Unfortunately, research is showing that these blood sucking parasites are only getting worse. Multiple factors are leading to larger, hungrier, and more dangerous tick populations. Thankfully, knowing the facts, understanding the dangers of conventional treatments, and treating your pets with natural tick repellent alternatives will help support your pets during tick season and, most importantly, keep them safe!
Climate change & warmer winters: With warmer winters, ticks are able to reproduce more and survive longer. Normally, long, deep freezes would help keep ticks at bay, but since long cold snaps aren’t as common, populations are thriving.
Suburbanization, bringing together people & pets, wildlife, and ticks: Ticks are opportunistic and willing to feed on anything that crosses their path. And with humans and their pets advancing on wildlife’s terrain (and wildlife becoming more comfortable with people around), this path crossing is becoming much more common.
Increased populations of deer: We’ve all seen deer feasting in our backyards and parks; unfortunately they have plenty of ticks feasting on them. This means ticks are finding plenty of blood to help them feed, survive, and reproduce.
Migratory birds carrying ticks to new areas: Ticks are no strangers to air travel, and with houses butting up against plenty of migratory birds’ nests, ticks are finding it easier to find one way tickets to your backyard.
(Not So) Fun Facts About Ticks
Sun Tzu famously said, “If you do not know your enemies… you will be imperiled in every single battle.” So before we go to war with ticks, let’s get a couple things straight:
Ticks are small arachnids with 8 legs; making them close relatives to spiders and scorpions.
There are 2 families of ticks found in North America, Ixodidae (hard ticks) & Argasidae (soft ticks).
There are over 800 species of hard & soft ticks in North America.
A female tick can lay between 300 and 3,000 eggs over the course of her life.
Lyme Disease, probably the most famous tick borne disease, was named after the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first identified in 1975.
Tick-Borne Diseases & Symptoms
Symptoms: The scariest part of ticks is the wide variety of diseases they carry; and since they can transmit more than one disease to the host at a time, it’s difficult to identify and treat illness after a tick bite. Check your pets regularly for ticks, and watch for any sign of illness after a bite, including:
Coughing or Respiratory Problems
Muscle or Joint Pain
Altered Mental State
Major tick-borne diseases: Tick borne diseases can be separated into four major categories, including bacterial, viral, protozoan, and toxic. If you feel your pet is suffering from any tick-borne illness, take them to your veterinarian immediately.
Lyme Disease or Borreliosis
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Colorado tick fever
Fighting Ticks Effectively
It’s no secret that conventional, pesticide based tick prevention for pets is dangerous, and in some cases, deadly. There’s no reason you should have to choose between possible paralysis from a tick bite and possible paralysis from tick prevention. At Only Natural Pet, we like to say no thank you to both! Here are some of our favorite, natural solutions:
Only Natural Pet Flea & Tick Tag: Using your pet’s own bio-energy, this tag works synergistically to repel not only ticks, but pests like fleas and mosquitoes as well.
Only Natural Pet Flea & Tick Collar: Harnessing the proven power of geraniol (an extract of geraniums) and citronella, this collar smells sweet to humans and their pets, but terrible to pests.
CedarCide BEST YET Pest Repellent: Made with cedar oil, this spritz for dogs is most effective against fleas, but has been shown to work as a repellant for ticks as well.
They’re things that we take for granted: our dogs can hear the crinkle of their food bags from the complete opposite corner of the house and our cats stalk and pounce on a slippered foot on even the darkest night. And even though our pets’ senses of sight and sound may always amaze us, this doesn’t mean they’re impervious to injury.
From common aging to specific disorders, their eyes and ears face numerous challenges; but with some simple observations, added knowledge, and natural help, you can care for your pet’s eyes and ears the healthy, natural way.
Eye health covers everything from vision to the physical & cellular health of the eye. It’s a hugely important sense for our pets and can experience several struggles. Here are some of the most common disorders, how you can recognize them, and what you can do to combat them naturally.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Healthy eye lenses are made up of mostly water and protein and cataracts are formed when proteins begin clumping together in an abnormal way, resulting in clouding and decreased vision. They’re usually associated with older pets, but they can easily affect younger pets with certain congenital issues or chronic conditions, like diabetes. Surgery is often required, but the urgency and even the need for surgery can be put off with a proper regime of prevention and treatment.
As with most natural care, prevention and treatment both begin with the basics: a high quality diet supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Diet is the foundation of good health and is the most important thing you can do for your companion; many chronic degenerative eye diseases, like cataracts, develop as a result of inadequate nutrition and exposure to toxins in low quality food. Thankfully, there are so many quality diets on the market, pleasing even the pickiest pet is simple. Dehydrated and freeze dried diets are delicious and packed with nutrients needed for a species appropriate diet, and even high quality canned pet food and high quality pet kibble diets have been improving drastically over the years. The basic rule of thumb is the fresher the better; but remember, your pets should enjoy what they’re eating as well!
Herbal supplements can be extremely helpful for cataracts, especially bilberry. Bilberry supplements maintain proper circulation in the eye, delivering needed nutrients to eye tissue; plus it supports cardiovascular health. Along with a bilberry extract, high quality antioxidant supplements support eye health, maintaining your pet’s ability to battle the progression cataracts.
Conjunctivitis is the fancy name for eye inflammation and usually occurs in animals with preexisting immune or allergy-related problems. When your dog or cat has sore, red eyes with a discharge, the first thing to do is determine the cause. It
may be as simple as a minor scratch, irritating debris, or airborne allergies, or a more serious issue, like feline herpes or glaucoma. If you’re uncertain about what’s causing your pet’s irritation, a trip to the veterinarian is crucial; waiting can mean the difference between saving your pet’s sight and losing it.
For common irritations, eye washes are helpful for soothing they eyes and removing any foreign debris, and eyebright herbal washes are effective at controlling symptoms and minor infections. Traditional Chinese herbal blends can also be helpful for boosting the immune system and clearing minor eye infections.
If allergies are suspected as the cause of conjunctivitis, it’s best to confront the two most common culprits: food & airborne allergies. Switching to a hypoallergenic diet will help eliminate food borne allergens. Nutraceutical allergy formulas regimen will help maintain your pet’s ability to battle airborne allergies, plus, they act as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory agents to control inflammation. Solutions are also helpful for gently cleaning and removing foreign debris, like pollen.
If your cat’s eyes are watering and producing a thick whitish discharge, feline herpes may be the cause. Feline herpes is a common, highly contagious upper respiratory infection that can have far reaching effects on your cat’s health. On the eyes specifically, the inside lining of the eyelids becomes inflamed, and shallow, painful ulcers develop.
Feline Herpes is generally a result of a weakened immune system, so a healthy diet and immune support are essential. To help control the virus, the amino acid L-lysine may be helpful; L-lysine, along with other vitamins and herbs, can support the immune system during infections and on a long-term basis. Specially formulated blends to fight viral and bacterial infections and boost the immune system can be very helpful as well. Plus, eyebright eyewashes will soothed the painful eye ulcers and gently clean the thick discharges.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), involves the shrinking of the retina of the eye and is more common in dogs than cats. PRA usually develops slowly and begins with night blindness; if you notice your companion hesitating to go outside at
night or down a darkened hall, suspect vision problems and consult your veterinarian.
In cats, PRA is most commonly related to a taurine deficiency, which is now less of a problem since all commercially available cat foods are fortified with added taurine. Raw diets that include organ meats provide the most natural source of taurine, and for those feeding home-prepared diets, taurine supplementation is essential. Look for daily supplements to ensure your cat’s health.
Preventing PRA in your pet is best done with a multi-faceted approach. Obviously, proper diet and nutrition are giant steps you can take to confront and degenerative or chronic condition. Supplements are also hugely important: bilberry is useful for PRA for the same reasons it may help with cataracts – increased circulation and nutrients to the eye tissue. Zinc and vitamin E deficiencies are also linked to PRA, so supplementing with both of these is valuable in preventing PRA. Finally, essential fatty acids, particularly DHA from fish oil, also support in preventing or slowing the progression of PRA.
Ear health is vital for your pet to not only have healthy hearing, but clean, irritant free ears. Troubled ears often result in excessive scratching and shaking, not to mention they can smell pretty terrible. Here are some of the most common offenders and how you can help your pet.
Ear Infections & Yeast Problems
Chronic ear infections and yeast problems are frequently a sign of food allergies, but diet, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and essential fatty acids are great for treating allergies and hence chronic ear problems from the inside out.
Many animals with food sensitivities and allergies have seen dramatic improvement on raw, freeze dried, and dehydrated diets; again, the fresher the diet, the better it is for your companion’s health & immune system. Dry kibble can be part of a healthy diet for pets; however dogs with chronic ear problems or allergies require hypo-allergenic food, meaning no wheat, corn or soy and sometimes no beef or chicken too, due to protein sensitivities. Make sure your read your labels and find a diet that’s friendly for your pet’s allergies and palate.
Most pets suffering food allergies also have unhealthy gastrointestinal systems and can’t digest food properly. Leaky gut develops, letting molecules that are too large to process pass through the gut wall, setting off allergic reactions and even yeast infections. The symptoms may appear in the ears, but you have to heal the gut to really get rid of the allergies. Digestive enzymes break down the food so that there is less of a chance of the larger molecules passing through the intestinal walls, probiotics support a healthy balance of flora in the gut and aid digestion, and fatty acids maintain proper inflammation response, supporting a healthy gut.
Digestive enzymes break down the food so that there is less of a chance of the larger molecules passing through the intestinal walls and should be added at every meal. The enzymes work quickly and don’t remain in your pet’s system beyond digestion of the food immediately present in the digestive tract.
Probiotics support a healthy balance of flora in the gut, aid digestion, and are especially important if your pet has been on steroids or antibiotics, which kill the healthy gut flora and set up conditions for the allergies to worsen. Probiotics are helpful for any animal that has had chronic gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea as well.
Essential fatty acids, preferably fish oil, maintain proper inflammation response and support a healthy gut. Allergies involve inflammation of the gut and often affect the joints as well. Plus, fish oil is an irresistible topper on your pet’s meals.
Finally, if the change in diet and adding enzymes and fatty acids do not completely solve the issue, then consider a supplement high in plant sterols and sterolins that help balance the immune system over time and reduce allergic reactions.
Ear mites are part of the arachnid family (along with ticks, spiders, and scorpions) and are parasitic. These little buggers result in excess scratching and unfortunately, can lead to other infections and irritations as your pet is looking for relief. They spread quickly, so if you have multiple pets, get all of them checked. If you suspect your pet has ear mites, take them to your veterinarian to be tested and treated.
Thankfully, one of the best things you can do for ear mites is prevention. Putting your pet on a healthy diet, probiotics, digestive enzymes and essential fatty acids (the same program you follow to prevent ear infections) will support your pet’s natural ability to fend off these nasty invaders.
General Ear Relief
Topical ear washes are a great way to relieve and ease any ear irritation your pet may be experiencing. Echinacea and tea tree oil are both mild disinfects that will help clean the ear canal. Plus, tea tree oil is anti-fungal and can be helpful in controlling yeast as well.
Final Thoughts on Natural Eye & Ear Care
Ear and eye problems are not only nuisances for your pet, but can lead to serious issues, including loss of sight and hearing. But with attention to detail, a helpful holistic veterinarian, and a natural approach, you can keep your pet seeing, hearing and feeling great!
Please keep in mind that although these are common eye and ear disorders seen by veterinarians, they are not all of the symptoms of a diagnosis. If you’re noticing any changes in behavior, squinting, excessive scratching, or loss of hearing or sight, contact your veterinarian immediately.
In our quest to bring you the best natural flea control that’s effective against fleas but gentle for your pets, we noticed one gaping hole: flea collars.
Conventional Flea Collars
Flea collars seem innocent enough; a small piece of plastic that loops around your pet’s neck and protects him from biting insects like fleas & ticks. But as a savvy, natural customer, you know that all flea collars are not created equal!
Most of them are just as toxic as their flea dip & spot-on counterparts. Just read some of the horror stories from support groups who have had their pets injured or killed by using supermarket flea collars and other chemical flea control products. The collars work the same as other products, coating the animal’s skin with a chemical pesticide that often leaches into the bloodstream and causes seizures and even death. Enough is enough! You shouldn’t have to decide between your pet and being flea free.
Natural Flea Collars
That’s why we set out with our holistic vet to create the Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea & Tick Collar for Dog and the EasyDefense Flea & Tick Collar for Cats. Made with the proven power of geraniol (a geranium extract), citronella and cinnamon, these collars emit a sweet smell to us and our pets, but a terrible one for biting insects, telling them to keep away. They are chemical free and even the collar is made without PVC or Pththalate plastics, meaning every aspect of them is safe for your pet and your family. Plus, they protect your pet for up to three months! Please read more to see how these collars are the safest, most effective way to give your pet a flea free future.
The words “toxic” and “toxin” get thrown around a lot; from toxic waste to pop star lyrics, they’re often overused and misunderstood. But the truth is: toxins can cause, worsen, or accelerate numerous health problems in your pet. And since these toxins are often hidden in our pet’s food, air and environment, it can be difficult to pinpoint how many they’re actually receiving.
Our pets are in an extremely difficult situation because of their size and their inability to communicate. We may affectionately call them our little friends, but the truth is that “little” moniker can be a big problem. Since they’re smaller, small amounts of toxins can have a greater impact on their health. Plus, they can’t say to you, “This water is making me sick,” or “You’re going to spray the lawn with what?!” so we can’t know everything that’s effecting them.
Thankfully, there’s help! With a little primer on what toxins are most likely hurting your pet, and some easy to follow steps on how to stop them, you and your furry friend will be well on your way to living a healthy, toxin free life!
Tracking Your Pet’s Toxins
Toxins get into your pet through several means; including eating, licking, breathing, touching, and even normal biological processes. Outdoor toxins like weed killers, pesticides, automotive exhaust & motor oil, and chemical road or sidewalk de-icers get into our pets when they breathe them in, eat chemical-laden grass, lick dust or residue off their paws and fur, or absorb them through their paws. Household products like cleaners, air fresheners, laundry products and other chemicals can invade where your pets sleep and lounge. Toxins in drinking water, commercial food and treats, and medications are usually directly ingested by your pet. Finally, some toxins, like ammonia, are produced within your pet’s body, either through their own metabolic processes or by microbial activity, most often bacteria and/or yeast in the GI tract.
The Ill Effects of Toxins on Your Pet
In a healthy body, toxins are rounded up and eliminated quickly through the organs of elimination, including the liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and skin. Our pets’ wild counterparts have very efficient toxin elimination systems that have developed over centuries to handle the natural toxins they encounter. But in the modern world, our domesticated pets are bombarded daily with an overwhelming number of toxins, most of which their bodies have not had enough evolutionary time to adapt to.
In the short run, our pet’s bodies react to toxins like ours do: the immune system ramps up processes like inflammation, mucus production and diarrhea to help an army of cells resolve the problem and purge the offending “invaders” from the system. But when the body is overwhelmed with too many toxins, it is forced to store them until there is an opportunity to eliminate them at a better time. For many pets, the better time never arrives, and these toxins will accumulate indefinitely, causing symptoms like lethargy, fatigue, and proneness to infection. Ultimately, toxic overload can impede the work of your pet’s immune system to the point where tumors and cysts may form, and serious health conditions may develop as organ function is impaired.
Detoxing Your Pet
1. Upgrade Food & Treats – Improving the quality of your pet’s diet is the best thing you can do to improve well-being and longevity. Stop giving your pets any grocery store or pet store chain foods & treats; you are feeding them chemical additives, artificial colors & flavors with every bite. Along with these toxic indigestible ingredients, they are filled with poor quality proteins and fillers that tax your pet’s digestion and increase the toxic load in their bodies. Choose natural, high quality food and treats. Only Natural Pet Store offers only the best in highly digestible, additive-free natural dog foods & natural cat food and natural dog treats & natural cat treats.
2. Filtered Water Only – While the water that flows through your household pipes may be technically “fit to drink,” it is filled with toxic minerals, metal levels, chemicals like fluoride and chlorine, and even trace amounts dangerous prescription drugs. Your pets deserve better! Water filtration units are readily available and you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good one. Pet fountains from Drinkwell and Pioneer Pet Water Filters not only filter the water, but entice pets that don’t like to drink water: a great benefit to their kidneys. It’s well worth the investment and, after all, what’s more valuable than your pet’s health?
3. Add Nutraceuticals and Cleansing Herbs – Nutrient supplements that contain “greens” and cleansing herbs can help your pet tremendously. Greens supplements add a wide variety of nutrients commonly missing from even the best pet foods, including full spectrum amino acids, chlorophyll, antioxidants, trace minerals, and essential fatty acids. Cleansing herbs have unique properties that support the health of essential organ systems and are extremely easy to administer. We offer many excellent greens and cleansing herb supplements.
4. Eliminate Household Chemicals – Along with obvious products like bug killers and cleaning solvents, beware of things like perfumes, air fresheners (including scented plug-ins), and laundry products like dryer sheets These are laden with chemicals unregulated and untested by US health protection agencies, and many of them are known to cause or worsen respiratory conditions like asthma. Choose 100% natural cleaning products. Check out our selection of natural, biodegradable cleaners, or make your own natural cleaner. There are many online resources for making effective cleaning products from ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.
5. Exercise Every Day – Your pet needs exercise as much as you do, and daily workouts have many benefits for protecting your pet from toxins. Exercise improves the movement of waste materials through the digestive tract, reducing the toxic effects of a too-sluggish bowel. Exercise also improves circulation of blood and lymph fluid, two primary means of eliminating micro-toxins and cellular debris from the body. Exercise also improves respiration and helps remove excess mucus from the respiratory tract. Don’t let a dog’s bad walking behavior or a cat’s boredom prevent you from giving your pets the exercise they need. Walking harnesses can curb your dog’s pulling tendencies, making walks easier, and outdoor walking harness for cats allow for safe outdoor exercise. Plus, some interactive toys for dogs & interactive toys for cats will keep your pet’s muscles toned from “hunting prey.”
6. Improve Air Quality – Indoor air pollution can come from household chemicals, cigarette and cigar smoke, gaseous chemicals emanating from new synthetic household items like flooring, carpeting, and furniture, and even dust. If you have new household items that are giving off that tell-tale “new” smell, be sure to keep these areas of the house well-ventilated, keep pets off and out of these areas and consider using window fans or leaving windows open for some fresh air while the items are exuding high levels of volatile organic compounds. Use bathroom fans to reduce chemical residues from spray-on cosmetic items like hair spray and perfume. And consider purchasing an air purifier to continually cycle and filter your house’s air.
7. Minimize Exposure to Outdoor Pollutants & Chemicals – Pets that spend time outdoors will undoubtedly encounter chemicals used for pest control, weed killers, fertilizers and more. If your dog likes to munch on grass, keep a close eye on them when you walk near neighbors’ yards and in public places like parks, where use of chemicals is common. Adding greens to the diet may help curb this tendency in both cats and dogs to graze on grass outside. For cats, a great solution is the SmartCat Kitty Garden, which lets you grow a healthy assortment of grasses free of contaminants.
8. Keep Conventional Meds in Check – Toxic compounds are plentiful in conventional flea and tick products, heartworm medications, and many conventional drugs, including vaccines. While chemical treatments and conventional medications may be needed, it pays to be mindful of the frequency of dosing, and to look for natural alternatives when they are appropriate. We offer many natural flea and tick control products, as well as natural remedies for common pet health conditions that offer safer alternatives to their conventional counterparts; check with your vet about natural remedies that may be of benefit. We also suggest carefully considering the misguided notion that every pet requires annual boosters for vaccines. Read our article, “The Truth About Pet Vaccinations,” for more information on this critical topic.
9. Support the Liver – Your pet’s liver does the lion’s share of eliminating of toxins. Antioxidants assist the liver in this process, and many detoxification remedies have herbs like milk thistle that are of great value to your pet’s liver. While young, healthy pets are unlikely to require daily liver support, older pets and those taking medications may benefit from regular use of liver support products. As always, consult a holistic vet to determine whether and how liver-supporting remedies may be of benefit to your companion. Read more about liver support in our article, “Taking Care of the Liver,” by our consulting holistic veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM.
10. Provide Immune Support – Your pet’s immune system works in tandem with the elimination organs to flush toxins, and supporting immune health keeps your pet’s liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines and skin healthy so they can do their detoxification work. For healthy pets, daily immune support is found in a quality multivitamin & mineral supplement. Extra immune support, especially important for older and active pets, is provided by antioxidant supplements.
11. Skin Salvation – Your pet’s skin and coat is the first line of defense against toxins, and a regular brushing regimen will help your pet’s skin “breathe” and facilitate this process. Regular grooming also removes dust and debris that may contain toxic residue, making personal grooming far less worrisome. Consider the quality of your pet’s bath products, and choose natural grooming products that skip the toxic ingredients, preventing your pet from absorbing fewer toxins at bath time. Natural skin health products and natural shampoo & bath products support healthy skin and are just as effective as their toxic counterparts.
12. Support Healthy Digestion – Most eliminated toxins pass through the colon, and a healthy digestive system keeps them moving through before they damage the intestinal walls or are reabsorbed. A sluggish bowel (constipation), or an irritated one (diarrhea) suggests a microbe imbalance, which complicates elimination of toxins. With constipation, toxic materials can be released back into your pet’s bloodstream before they pass through. Plus, microbes out of balance (for example bacteria and yeast) can produce their own toxins. Look for products designed to help your pet’s digestion which contain probiotics or digestive enzymes, or complete gastrointestinal support formulas that contain both.
13. Support the Kidneys – The simplest thing you can do to support health kidneys is ensure your pet drinks an ample amount of filtered water every day. Toxins are highly concentrated in chronically dehydrated pets and can damage the kidneys’ filtration system. Likewise, mineral particles can form when urine is highly concentrated, resulting in the formation of dreaded stones that are painful, cause blockages and set the stage for recurrent infections. If your pet doesn’t drink much water, consider a pet fountain and provide more liquids with meals by adding broth, gravy, or water to their food and using canned food to provide extra moisture. For pets with urinary tract issues, consider remedies for urinary tract and kidney support.
14. Keep It Clean – Studies show that the home environment generally has far worse air quality than the outdoors. Much of the toxic material found in our homes, however, blows into our houses from dust and outdoor pollutants. Keep your home free of dust with regular dusting and vacuuming; this greatly reduces toxic particulate matter that our pets breathe and ingest. Another place to be strict with cleaning is your pet’s food and water bowls. Change water daily and wash your pet’s bowls, as dust and germs accumulate here in abundance.
15. Gently Detox with Herbs & Homeopathics – Because our pets live with us and ingest many toxins in our shared environment, even the healthiest cats and dogs can benefit from regular intervals of gentle detoxification. We carry several excellent pet detoxification formulas with herbs like milk thistle, red clover, dandelion, and astragalus that support your pet’s organs and help eliminate stored toxins.
Keeping Your Pet Toxin Free
Keep in mind that as the body is eliminating toxins, it is not unusual for there to be a brief “healing crisis,” in which a cat or dog may develop symptoms like a runny nose or changes in bowel function or appetite. Such symptoms usually subside in a few days. As always, observe your pet closely and stop any remedy if concerning symptoms develop. Always consult with a holistic veterinarian for appropriate guidance. Please see our article, “Administering Remedies to Your Companion,” for additional suggestions.
The good news is that for most pets, their bodies are remarkably well-equipped to handle disease, eliminate a reasonable amount of toxins, and restore their own organs and body systems to health – with your help. When a natural diet and clean environment are combined with adequate nutrients, rest, exercise and joy, your pets are capable of a level of health you never thought possible.
As our loyal readers know, we have been on a search this year to find the perfect partner to help take Only Natural Pet, and then the Pet Industry, to new levels of sustainability. After talking to, and getting proposals from, a wide variety of for-profit and not-for profit organizations…we have found the ideal partner! Natural Capitalism Solutions is a non-profit group that works with and educates businesses, communities, and governments on the business case for sustainability. NCS was founded ten years ago by Hunter Lovins, who has been working in sustainability for over 40 years. Beyond working and implementing innovative sustainability solutions with clients, NCS also runs sustainability education programs, Hunter inspires and educates millions of people each year through speaking engagements (just take a look at her TEDxMileHigh talk), and NCS boasts an amazing internship program.
In Phase I of our partnership we will focus on showing what organizations within the pet industry can do to increase their sustainability and decrease their environmental impact. This information will be available through an online educational sustainability toolkit called My Pet Sustainability Project that will include the business case for sustainability, what to consider with a supply chain, how to make a building more efficient, how to communicate sustainability, and tracking and regulation information.
On February 19th we will be convening a group of pet supply company CEOs, Founders, and Senior Leaders at Global Pet Expo, the annual pet trade show in Florida. This will be the beginning of our Sustainability Working Group (SWG) that will help and encourage everyone to “Green Up the Pet Industry”.
It all begins with a presentation from Natural Capitalism Solutions CEO Toby Russell that features Only Natural Pet as the ‘case study’ for the process, procedures, and tool kit we are now in the midst of developing.
We will recruit a group of ‘early adopters’ that will have the opportunity to help sponsor and provide key input on Phase II of our development.
Good things ahead!
Happy New Year to you and your furry friends and here’s to a green future for all of us.
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.
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!