Natural Puppy Care – Diet & Remedies

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Natural Puppy Care - Diet tips and remedies
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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.

Puppy Probiotics

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.

Topical Chamomile

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.

Diatomaceous Earth

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!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


48 responses to “Natural Puppy Care – Diet & Remedies”

  1. Gayle Hunter Avatar
    Gayle Hunter

    Check out Animal EO. Dr Shelton’s website how to treat animals with essential oils. I’ve used her oils for years. They work. No chemicals for my dogs. Dr Becker is also a great website for raw feeding dogs. Dr Becker has a great digestive enzymes that work many other products also.

  2. Amanda Savage-Daddis Avatar
    Amanda Savage-Daddis

    I’d love more posts about essential oil safety for pets (if I use it in room sprays & cleaners) and more about natural pet care!

  3. Nicole Avatar

    Hi there, I am new to the Wellness Mama community but man oh man am so happy I found it! I have been slowly building my collection of items to start making all of my own products. Now that I have them all I am ready to start using them, especially the essential oils! However,I forgot to think about my dog (I know, bad dog mom moment) I just figured if its natural she would be fine. However, I have been reading SO many things about essential oils and not to use certain kinds around dogs since some can be toxic and their sensitivity is way more enhanced than ours. It is safe to say that I am more than confused on this topic. If I make a cleaning product, say the bathroom cleaner (which is recommended to use cinnamon, clove etc.) Is that okay for my dog to be around? What about diffusing oils? Are there some I just should never use or have in the house? Every site is different and this is a site I trust above many others and am hoping for some guidance on this subject. To be clear I would not be using it ON my dog, she would just be around them since I am cleaning our home with them or diffusing them. I’m just a little bummed because I have been investing in oils and other materials only to find out that I may never get to use them. Please help!!!

  4. Mariah Avatar

    Your 20% discount code is not working for Fullbucket probiotics website. Please email me when it’s updated! Thank you!

  5. Erin Davis Avatar
    Erin Davis

    I use a product recommended by my breeder called Pro-Pet Powder. It is mainly DE with added probiotics. My second dog came to us with giardia, but we didn’t know it until he had given it to our other dog. Good times, and we have been fighting it for over 2 months now. Meds haven’t made much of a difference so I have gone the natural route adding coconut oil, Pro-Pet Powder, grapefruit seed extract, and the meds the vet gave me in their meals. Hoping that the natural additions help with the effectiveness of the medicines. I have also purchased a book called Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. His take on dog health is that they should eat vegetarian bc they are omnivores and the meat supply is too full of toxins to feed your dog every day. Even wild caught fish and organic meats absorb metals and toxins from the water and soil that can build up in your pet’s system over time, and the same holds true for humans. It was a good read, but very disheartening as well. Of course, this book is based on the fact that you have all day to shop and prepare a menu for you and your pet to eat together. Takes homemade dog food to a whole new level.

  6. Idoj Avatar

    Thanks for this great post! Please let us know if/when you come up with a good dog toothpaste.

  7. Gayle Avatar

    Great comments on dog food etc I follow Dr Karen Becker for most advice on dogs. I raw feed a prepared diet Raw Bistro and Steves Raw Food. I also follow Dr Melissa Shelton on animal eo for essential oils for animals.

  8. Jay Thomas Avatar
    Jay Thomas

    Puppies have different nutritional needs from grown-up dogs and when they first start on solid food they need feeding three or four times a day. It’s really important to pick top quality natural puppy food that delivers the exact balance of nutrients for young dogs.

  9. Danielle Avatar

    My dog is also on a raw diet, which includes raw goat’s milk. For frozen treats, I blend and freeze organic yogurt, fruit, and almond butter in a baby food tray. Sometimes I add ground flax seeds, chia seeds, or coconut oil. I look forward to trying the DE, thank you!

  10. Lara Avatar

    Hi Katie and mamas to furry friends,

    I have been feeding my English yellow lab, Otis, (now 2) a raw diet his whole life. Here are the things I have learned that have helped. I’m not sure if it’s ok to share the products I use here. If not, feel free to edit. I do not have any affiliation with any of the companies. I’m just nerdy about this stuff and just as into my pet’s health as I am for my humans 🙂

    Food: Oma’s Pride, Bravo, US wellness meats (online), Vital Choice (online). I give my pup everything from bones, organ meat, fish, sweet potatoes, veggies, raw kefir. Every dog safe veggie I make, Otis gets some of. If I peel a carrot, he gets the shavings, if I cut the bottom off of lettuce or the stems off kale, he gets those. We give him raw marrow bones as treats once or twice a week (put down a towel!) If your dog ever has diarrhea or constipation, unsweetened, canned pumpkin helps for both. We don’t give him any grain.

    Flea and tick repellant: Diatomaceous Earth (can be ingested also as a parasite preventer), Quantum Natural Flea and Tick Spray (use very little).
    Homemade spray: 5 lemons, 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, oil of pennyroyal (10 drops). Place lemons in bowl with rosemary, pour semi boiling water over it, cover and let sit overnight, add 10 drops of pennyroyal. Spray once a week.

    Neutering: while pet overpopulation is a real issue and concern, for the welfare of the pup, delaying neutering and spaying will help them to develop fully and healthfully before important hormones are cut off. Early spaying/neutering has been shown to increase hip and joint issues later in life, hypothyroidism in males and other issues. (Dr. Larry Katz, Animal Science from Rutgers University has written research on this, amongst many others)

    Giardia: Ugh. If you have a water lover like we do, this is bound to make its way into your furry friend’s belly. We were prescribed Panacur-C and Metronidazole. Metronidazole is an antibiotic and has a low effective rate for healing giardia in comparison with its great risks. Dogs have died taking this medication. And like antibiotics, it kills off so much of the healthy gut bacteria. I researched this before just taking my vet’s prescription and I’m so happy I never gave it to my guy.
    You can use Grapefruit seed extract (not to be confused with grapeseed extract which is unsafe for dogs), Fortiflora probiotic, and a daily enzyme (I’m currently trying Source Naturals). If the giardia is bad enough, you may want to consider the Panacur, but I always supplement as it is still an anti-biotic. Giardia tests at the vet are only 70% effective, so ask for an Elisa test. So much about this online.

    If you find your dog has allergies, all the more reason to consider a raw diet. Something else I’ve noticed is that on a raw diet, your dog will eliminate smaller amounts. This is because he is using almost everything in the food he’s eating (assuming it’s all healthy raw meats, bones, organs, veggies, etc.) We have also had zero issues with him eating poop (as some dogs do when they are nutrient deficient. If this does happen, try giving your pup banana which has a lot of nutrients). We’ve also had zero issues with him scooting because he’s pretty clear from his diet.

    Hope this stuff is helpufl! As I remember other things, I will add to this. Also- as far as behavioral issues with dogs, the best advice I got was a tired dog is a good dog. If my guy gets restless, that’s when he starts getting naughty and anxious. It also helps keep us fit since we’re going out for walks all the time.

    Here are also some important tips I learned:
    1. Do not blindly trust your vet. I truly believe our vets have good intentions, but not all are holistically minded and not all have read the latest research on drugs and treatments. Do your own research.
    2. Never let your pet be treated at the vet without being present. I let him alone once and he was given a treatment I did not approve of (and then I was charged!) another time, I was present and caught the vet before he almost gave a duplicate vaccine (he did not have the updated paperwork from the front desk)
    3. Ask your vet for a titer to test for pet immunity before you give boosters and extra vaccinations.

  11. Melinda Avatar

    What a wonderful article!!! I almost stood up and cheered when I read you were feeding a raw diet. Good for you!!!
    I’m currently studying to become a Small Animal Nature Coach and wondered into your site because since I want only the best for my pups and the raw diet made such a HUGE difference in them, I decided to look into living better for myself. I check your website daily and have tried a number of your recipes – each one better than the last. Congratulations on the pregnancy btw!
    Keep up the raw feeding – be sure to provide liver (in small amounts) at least once a week and never look back. Being flea free is a added benefit of the diet as well as the shiny coat and great attitude.
    I’ll be sure to refer my colleagues to your site as well –

    Merry Christmas!

  12. Susan Avatar

    We don’t use flea drops on our dog, because we are extremely uncomfortable with the chemicals in them. I love essential oils, and I make a simple spray out of Young Living Purification oil with filtered water or witch hazel and spray it on our Lab, and he stays essentially flea free! I also comb him every day with a flea comb before he comes inside, and that helps with flea control as well!
    Adorable puppy, by the way!

  13. Mary Avatar

    Hi Katie, good post! I just noticed a few fleas on my dog so I think I’m going to use the DE on her so I don’t have to use any harsh chemicals. Just wondering how you apply it to your dog? Do you just sprinkle it on her coat and rub it in? And you suggest using a few times a week?

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