While many of us are reading more about eating the right foods and taking supplements to achieve optimum health, we should also be providing the same natural care for our dogs. Dried or canned dog food contains no live enzymes for digestion and offer poor quality nutrition, often leading to poor health for our dogs: greasy skin, smelly ears, digestive problems, hot spots, arthritic problems…
Commercial dog biscuits contain dyes and preservatives. An easy way to give your dog better quality biscuits, is to dry out strips of homemade or whole grain bread crusts and feed those pets. When you are chopping vegetables for dinner, offer your dog a few pieces and you will soon find his favourites. Raw vegetables provide valuable enzymes needed for digestion.
Dog food can be made at home quite easily by making a large batch and freezing it in containers; I make a large enough batch to feed my two Schnauzers for several weeks. I use cooked rice, salmon and liver, raw ground vegetables, ground eggshell for calcium, nutritional yeast, and seaweed. You can grind up a few of your multi vitamins and add a very small amount to your dog’s food, judging the amount to give by keeping in mind the weight of the dog. Most supplement dosages are given for a 150 lb. Adult.
Give salmon skin cut off your salmon fillet for essential fatty acids, or give some good quality olive oil, flax or salmon oil capsules. These help keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy, and ease or prevent arthritic problems. Another tip if your dog has arthritic problems, share your MSM and glucosamine.
You can share your acidophilus by adding some to your dog’s meal, again judging the amount to give by the weight of your dog. Acidophilus provides good bacteria to keep the digestive system working properly, prevents yeast related health problems, and is essential if your dog has used antibiotics or deworming medication.
If you have Echinacea at home, your dog can use some if he has any infections or to help boost the immune system for dogs who suffer from fleas.
A tiny bit of raw garlic can be added to food to discourage fleas and parasites, maintain heart health, boost the immune system, and tone the digestive system. A tiny bit of grated raw ginger is good for dogs with digestive problems, although this symptom is usually due to poor diet that is lacking in enzymes. Ginger helps to stop vomiting, and is an overall tonic and antioxidant.
If your dog doesn’t like the taste of his food when supplements are added, try pouring some of the water from a can of tuna over his food. Raw meat bones should be given several times a week to provide calcium, exercise for the jaws and to keep teeth clean. Dogs should use cleansing herbs twice a year to detoxify the body systems and help keep your dog free from parasites.
The basic requirements to good health for our dogs are very similar to our own. Prevention of ill health should be the primary goal, using good nutrition consisting of homemade food that includes protein, raw vegetables, supplements and herbs.
Lin Suffron is a Master Herbalist living in Nanaimo. "Holistic Body Balancing through nutrition, vitamins, supplements & herbs" consultations are for people or their dogs can be booked at 722-2325 or through www.dragonflyherbals.com