Our family recently adopted a new puppy (after the loss of our long-time family dog, Daisy, several months ago), so I have been researching and talking to friends who are experts in puppy care and to holistic veterinarians about how to make sure we are raising him in the healthiest way possible.
His name is Frazier (pictured above) and my kids are thoroughly smitten with him. He is a Goldendoodle mix and has a wonderful temperament with the kids.
Natural Puppy Care
We hope to have Frazier around for a long time, so we’ve started feeding him a raw food diet at the recommendation of our vet. He is also the first indoor dog we’ve ever had (much to the chagrin of my husband) so I wanted to find natural and safe ways to make sure he was protected from common pests without using chemicals that would be harmful to our children.
Here are the natural foods and remedies we are using for our new puppy…I’m sure there will be a lot more I’ll be adding to this list over the next several months and years.
Like humans, dogs have a diverse colony of bacteria that lives in their guts and is vital for health. Many books and websites recommend giving dogs natural, unsweetened yogurt in cases of upset stomach, but I found an even better solution: puppy probiotics!
These Puppy Probiotics were recommended by a friend who is a vet to help properly develop our puppy’s gut bacteria. It has a mix of pre-biotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, l-glutamine and natural immunoglobulins for parvovirus. (Note: Use the code WMPuppy20 to get 20% off!)
Another pet probiotic that is easy to give (I sprinkle it on food) is from Just Thrive. You may recognize their name as I highly recommend their regular probiotic (for humans!) and many other products they offer.
Natural Puppy Food
When we adopted Frazier, he had been eating a high-quality grain-free dry dog food, which was a decent option, but I decided to switch him to a raw food diet.
Our vet advised that making any type of major dietary change was not advisable for a puppy and might cause an upset stomach, so we made sure he was taking probiotics and slowly started switching him over to a raw food.
This post outlines the diet we are feeding him and how we made the switch.
DIY Puppy Treats
We are in the process of training our puppy, and as any well-trained dog owner knows, it’s much easier to train when using treats as an incentive for good behavior. Of course I didn’t want to use an off the shelf box of conventional dog treats, so I created a simple and healthy treat that I could use for training. I made a batch of my regular homemade dog treats but made them in 1/2 tsp mini-treat sizes so that I could use them for training without over-feeding him.
Now, I keep a batch of these in a jar in the fridge for training times.
I found this suggestion in a book about holistic dog care. It recommended using brewed chamomile tea in several ways:
- Topically for stomach aches
- Using a brewed but cooled chamomile tea bag on a dog’s eyes for conjunctivitis
- Using a compress or spray bottle of brewed tea on skin irritation and itching
- Internally for dogs who have an upset stomach and are easily nervous or have anxiety
Epsom Salt Baths
I love epsom salt baths for myself, but it turns out that the magnesium in epsom salts can be good for dogs too. Thankfully, we haven’t needed this remedy yet, but a book recommended giving a dog an epsom salt bath to help speed recovery of wounds, skin infections, rashes or other external problems. Of course, you’d want to talk to your vet and follow their instructions before doing this.
I’ve used Diatomaceous Earth as a natural pest remedy in our home and as an internal cleanser for years, and it is great for dogs as well. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a finely powdered natural fossilized form of diatoms, a type of algae.
DE is rich in silica and extremely hard with a negative charge, making it useful in several ways. It’s structure makes it ideal for naturally killing insects and pests (like fleas, ants, etc) and for gently cleansing the digestive system and strengthening hair, skin and nails at the same time (due to the silica content). It’s tiny particles are very sharp, but not harmful to human tissue, though they break down the exoskeleton of insects.
For dogs, it is recommended to use DE externally on their coats to ward off fleas and other pests, and to add a small amount to their food to protect against internal parasites and worms. I’d definitely ask a vet first, but we use a small amount on Frazier’s dry coat after a bath and add a small amount to his food a couple times a week.
Those are all the steps we’re currently using to care for our “wellness puppy”. I’m sure there will be quite a few more I’ll be writing about soon.
Do you have any pets? What are your best natural pet care tips? Please share below!
Discussion (48 Comments)
Raw feeding is the best option, in my opinion. In addition to what I find locally, I use Raw Feeding Miami. It’s a great resource for a wide variety of raw foods & treats. Carla is very knowledgeable and helpful. My dog goes NUTS for the green tripe!
I use shampooch and healing skin spray by Razberry Hound. My goldendoodle looks and feels wonderful after her bath. I even use both products for me. Can’t say enough good things about it.
Have you found a natural remedy to prevent heartworm? I’ve seen numerous natural approaches to repelling fleas and ticks, but it would concern me to allow my pet to go without heartworm prevention. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos and, depending on where you live, is very prevalent. Once an animal gets heartworm, the treatment to rid them of it is very expensive and often there is permanent damage to the heart. I’d be interested if there is some non-drug/chemical way to prevent heartworm. Until I find one, I’m afraid I’ll be sticking with the flea/tick/heartworm preventative that my vet provides as much as I hate the idea of drugs for me or my animals.
If you are using natural preventatives to keep the mosquitos at bay (essential oils on their collar and sprayed on their coat before going outside seem to help), you shouldn’t have to worry about heartworms, either. Katie recently did a post on natural insect repellent and those essential oils work for your dogs, too.
I feed raw food for years & have been doing all the things here but like in a very tick infested area and spend a lot of time outside. I use the essential oils (tried many) & the DE on the coat & altho it helps I still get lots of ticks. My dogs have both had Lyme several times but have treated it with herbal formulas. About the HW, I have been giving HW preventative up until this year because of being scared. I am told that treatment for HW+ dogs used to be terrible but if you catch it early it is now not any worse than the HW preventative (which is not a preventative if you didnt know that). So have opted to stop the meds BUT you must still check for HW religously in the spring.
I do know that when my dog was HW positive, the “preventative” medicine along with a course of antibiotics, killed all the HWs in her system. But the vet advices against putting her Trifexis, a flea & HW combo med till she was HW negative. What do you mean by “you must still check for HW each spring”? Are you talking about getting your dog tested for it? And why does it matter if you do it in the spring? My dog’s annual vet check up is in October but we live in the south & have mosquitoes 9 mos out of the yr. With my dog’s past HW history, heart, lung & kidney damage due to it & I want to be sure she’s protected.
About the use of chamomile tea on the eyes: it used to be a widespread practice, but we no longer recommend it as it can dry out the conjunctiva and the tiny plant particles that always pass from the tea bag to the liquid can cause irritation. Generally speaking, it’s safer to not apply anything into the eyes that wasn’t explicitly designed for it (if you want to keep something at home to soothe irritated eyes until you can go to the vet, I would recommend vitamin A eye cream/drops).
Other than that, these are all really grat tips. Keep up the good work 🙂
Greetings, a Swiss veterinarian
What do you do to prevent heart worms?
DE help prevent of all types worms like heartworm, roundworm, hookworm etc? Is there a certain amount per weight formula? Is there a recommended time table? I had rescued a 2 yr old female Chihuahua in 2004, find out she had heartworm when I took her to the vet. Started her on regular heartworm med & antibiotics for a 1 month. Vet also discovered a heart murmur. Took her back to vet after finishing antibiotics, tested exactly for female, male, & larvae heartworms, came up negative for female heartworm. So she would not need the heartworm medicine that dogs are at risk of dying from. Which I so torn I couldn’t decide either way. I still kept her on the regular heartworm med & separate flea med. Finally a couple years later she tested negative all the way on heartworm & her heart murmur sounded more faint. The vet advices against letting her have puppies due to the heart murmur, kidney damage, lung damage. I keep her inside & we have privacy fencing for our back yard where we let her go out. Just like I have been turning to myself over to natural items I want to do the same for her but I’m taking it one step at a time so bear with me please. There is so much information, I’m trying not to get overloaded or overwhelmed, lol.
I looked at the probiotics. Is one tube only one dose or is it good for a while? I was confused. I just got two Shih Tzu puppies and I would love to have them on a quality probiotic! Thank you for this post. I loved it.
Katie - Wellness Mama
There are a lot of doses in one tube (at least a week or two) and our puppy loved his!
What do you do about ticks?
Rose geranium oil I’ve heard works well at repelling ticks. Find it on Amazon. Put a drop between shoulder blades and on tip of tail. I think it lasts a couple days though you might look into it more.
There is a product called “Flea Treats” with no questionable ingredients, and it’s for both dogs and cats. It really works too. It has brewer’s yeast and vitamin B (not sure which types of vitamin B) in it, that cause pets to excrete a scent through their paw pads that deters fleas and ticks, but people can’t smell it. They are flavored with liver so pets LOVE them. The only problem is that they are a little big for my cats so I have to cut them into fourths.
We used to take brewers yeast ourselves to keep mosquitoes away. Worked great on humans…
Our dogs have been eating a raw food diet for two years and have never been healthier! We, too, use DE powder in food and on coat. I make a yummy baked treat for them using bananas, oats, ground flax seed and coconut oil. I also give them a teaspoon of coconut oil a few times each week.
We use supplements from Springtime. I use their Bug Off Garlic Chews to keep the pesky bugs at bay and Fresh Factors for allergy and pain reduction. Their products are all natural and are made in raw desiccated Argentinian beef liver. I also put 1/2 tablespoon of hemp oil in my dog’s feed. He has pre-dysplasia from an injury as a puppy prior to us getting him and I didn’t think the very invasive surgery our vet recommended was necessary, so the added omegas from the hemp oil help to condition his joints.
Do you give the Bug off Garlic Chews to your dog? I thought that dogs weren’t supposed to eat garlic and onions among other things.
Bug Off Garlic Chews are designed specifically for dogs and horses. Check out Springtime’s website for the research they’ve done on garlic and dogs. Garlic, in extremely high doses, is dangerous. However, it doesn’t contain near as much of the toxic chemicals that onion does. Onion is a huge NONO for dogs, but garlic is completely safe. They have their research right on their site. The only drawback we’ve seen to the garlic chews is garlic doggy farts (WOW).
I have been giving my dogs dry crushed garlic for years and never had any bad effect from it. Every third day they get it sprinkled on their food – a lot for the Rottweilers (because they get a lot of food) and a little for the Chuhuahua (because she eats a small portion).
Hi, how much and how do you do the garlic? You said,”dry crushed garlic” so is that from a jar of dry garlic? Would common kitchen dry garlic minced work? thanks.