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. Anna Avatar

    What a great article! We have been using Vivamune Chews for a few years now and could not be happier. We prefer to go the natural route first and when our dog started shedding excessively and scratching we had a choice between the prescription medication our vet was offering or to try something natural first. We tried fish oils and probiotics and while they all worked fine, they were a nightmare to give (our sheltie has very particular tastes!). A friend told me about the Vivamune and we figured we had nothing to lose. I am so happy we tried them! They are like three supplements in one and our dog LOVES them so it’s like giving a treat. His skin and coat look amazing and best of all – no more scratching! I’ve now become one of “those” pet moms and I love telling people about these “treats with benefits” as my husband calls them. 🙂

  2. Cathy Avatar

    Do you have a homemade cat food post? That would be a really good one, since I’d like to see if I can give my cat a raw, organic diet.

  3. Lily de Grey Avatar
    Lily de Grey

    Great article, Katie! I’ve been looking into purchasing a puppy (haven’t found one that’s for sale at the right prices), so I’ve found your article very helpful. When I get one, I’ll be sure to only give him natural puppy food. How has your dog liked being on the raw food diet? I’m not sure if I could afford it, but it’s sure with a try!

    Lily de Grey

  4. Tali Avatar

    Hi, bone broth soups are great for dogs too (like humans). Glucosamine, gelatin vitamins and minerals all beneficial for your pooch. I often make this for myself and my beloved pooch too (additional to bones and her standard diet etc), is not to be missed. While I don’t know a great deal about the effects of bone broth soups and gut health in dogs, I do understand how good it is for building and repairing the gut in humans (see also GAPS diet particularly).

  5. April Avatar

    What about a dog with diabetes? Would there be anything, besides a whole food/raw food diet that would help? She is currently on insulin shots and would certainly be better off with a new diet.

    Thanks for all the good information.

  6. Christine Avatar

    It would seem to me that Diatomaceous Earth would damage the microvilli in the small intestine, due to their sharp edges that don’t break down. (Microvilli are responsible for absorbing nutrients in digested food.) Who knows, Diatomaceous Earth could be even worse on the small intestine’s villi than gluten!

    Sure, Diatomaceous Earth won’t harm the skin, and it’s good for killing bugs, but what about the micro-teeny structures in the intestinal tract? Seems like they’d be cut and ripped to shreds.


    1. Christine R. Avatar
      Christine R.

      I have been giving my dogs DE every third day on their food for years. 1 Ts for the Rottweilers and a teaspoon for the Chihuahua. NEVER had any problems whatsoever. They never have flees (and I do not rub it in their coats because they are black and then they look so grey and ugly and you cannot see their shiny coats!

  7. Lori Warwick Avatar
    Lori Warwick

    We feed our dogs and cat vitamins by The Ninth Life. They are the only ones I’ve found that all the ingredients I want to feed my pets and they are organic and don’t have any synthetic ingredients. We also feed our animals organic apple cider vinegar every day. We put it in their water and when I feed my dogs they get a little on top of their food. Apple cider vinegar has many benefits because it remineralizes the body and normalizes the blood’s alkaline acid balance. It’s great for bones and preventing arthritis. We also feed all of our animals coconut oil. I don’t over vaccinate either. I’ll do a titer test before giving a booster.

  8. mel Avatar

    I give my dog coconut oil. She loves it. Sometimes I use essential oils on her collar but not often. I’m lucky to live in a region where ticks, fleas, and heartworm aren’t a problem. I take my dog to pick wild blueberries. She loves to eat them and picks her own, just like her wild cousins are known to do.

  9. Brittany Avatar

    I loved this post! I rescued a 6 month old Beagle/Golden Retriever mix almost three months ago and have been going in the more natural way with her. She’s on a good grain free kibble and minimum ingredient wet food and treats, but I’ll look into adding yogurt and making my own treats. I also do a can of sardines a week and occasionally a small drizzle of coconut oil for some Omegas and healthy fats. She LOVES the sardines. I don’t love the smell it brings into my kitchen, but, hey, her coat looks amazing.

  10. Barb Avatar

    I am not yet at the point of feeding my 3 pups a good organic food, but there are a few things I have started with them.
    Snacks? They absolutely love carrots, pumpkin, sweet pots!
    Whenever I make bone broth, they always get some too.
    I sprinkle a small amount of a brewers yeast and powdered garlic mix on their food several times a week. (I’ve heard about avoiding garlic for dogs as well…jury’s still out.) This and the next item are to repel fleas.
    Raw acv in their water.
    They smell delicious (not) when I combine geranium, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender eo for their webbed collars daily before they go out. They do tolerate it quite well.
    Their 3/4 acre yard is completely fenced, but deer and other varmints visit. I have found 1 tick so far this season, and last year, I think a total of 3.
    And I feel so much better giving them natural alternatives to all the big pharma products out there.

  11. Jo Jackson Avatar
    Jo Jackson

    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!

  12. Lynette R Avatar
    Lynette R

    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.

  13. Kim Avatar

    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.

    1. Dawn Avatar

      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.

    2. Ginger Avatar

      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.

      1. Demetria Avatar

        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.

  14. Nina Avatar

    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

  15. Demetria Avatar

    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.

  16. Lynn Avatar

    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.

    1. Cait Avatar

      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.

    2. Tarah Avatar

      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.

      1. Janet Sellers Avatar
        Janet Sellers

        We used to take brewers yeast ourselves to keep mosquitoes away. Worked great on humans…

  17. Tracy B Avatar
    Tracy B

    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.

  18. Dawn Avatar

    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.

    1. Allie Avatar

      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.

      1. Dawn Avatar

        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).

      2. Christine Avatar

        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).

        1. Janet Sellers Avatar
          Janet Sellers

          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.

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