How To Go Natural With Your Pet

Going natural is the best way to help your pet live a longer, healthier life. We asked Jean Hofve DVM a staff veterinarian at Only Natural Pet for her expert advice on starting down the natural route.

1. Natural Pet Food

Make your food investment count for the health of your pets! According to Dr. Hofve, pet food manufacturers have realized that consumers want natural, wholesome food for their animals. They have therefore created packaging with a friendly look, advertising, and claims for the products.

Here are some general tips from a vet to assist you in choosing the best pet food.

  • If a corn product is not labeled as organic, then it will be genetically engineered.
  • Two or more meats should make up the majority of the dry foods, while a meat named as the main ingredient should appear in all other forms (can, raw, dehydrated and frozen).
  • Preservatives such as ethoxyquin (BHT), BHA, and propyl galate should be avoided.
  • Select a complete, balanced food for every stage of life rather than one that has been tweaked to fit a specific life stage. All life stages are usually served by foods that place more emphasis on being natural.
  • A high-protein diet with high moisture content is essential for cats to achieve optimal health. It also helps to avoid obesity, diabetes and other diseases. You can feed your cat canned food, homemade meals or even raw meat. It is best to make the transition slowly and gradually in order to avoid stomach problems.
  • Specialty manufacturers are often the ones who do the best work in finding high-quality ingredients, and creating a natural healthy food at a fair price. Select brands who have made an effort to make the best possible food.
  • The processing of dry and canned food is high. Raw, dehydrated or frozen diets are the best options for natural nutrition.

2. Pet grooming

According to Dr. Hofve, there is no or little regulation on pet grooming products. This means that companies are free to use detergents, perfumes and other chemicals which may be harmful. It is particularly true for shampoos that are intended to eliminate fleas, or treat skin conditions like flakes or itching. Many of these chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, and they then enter the bloodstream, where the liver is forced to either break them down or store them, or even eliminate them. Pet grooming products made with natural ingredients, including herbs that are safe for pets, will be gentler to the skin. They also have less chance of being absorbed by the body.

3. Take vitamins and supplements

Dr. Hofve cautions there’s a huge difference between synthetic and natural vitamins. The body is much more likely to absorb and utilize natural vitamins that are derived from food. The vitamins made in laboratories are not as effective and can even be harmful. In many human studies, large doses of synthetic vitamins have been found to cause unexpected side effects.

4. The best way to control fleas and ticks

The Environmental Protection Agency has documented that every chemically registered flea and tick product have adverse effects on some animals, according to Dr. Hofve. There are many natural methods of flea and tick prevention for pets. However, they require vigilance, dedication and adherence to the instructions. The three-pronged method will work only if it is applied properly to your pet, house/car and yard.

It is important to ensure that your pet’s diet is in good order. A healthy dog will have a lower risk of parasites. Apparently, certain supplements such as B vitamins, yeast, and garlic are toxic to ticks and fleas. Also, flea tags can be helpful. To stay ahead, use a flea-comb often. In severe infestations, you may need to bathe your pet frequently with natural flea-repellent shampoo.

Use borax, diatomaceous Earth, or beneficial nematodes in your yard. Vacuuming frequently in your home and vehicle will remove flea eggs and larvae before they hatch. Bugs can be kept at bay by keeping your yard clean and spraying your dog with an herbal insect repellent.

5. Chews, treats and other pet products

According to Dr. Hofve there are some great treats, but also many bad ones. The jerky treats made in China (chicken and duck, sweet potatoes and dried fruits) are linked to illness and deaths in hundreds of cats and dogs. Even though some of the most dangerous products were recalled and are now back on shelves, they’re still being made in China.

The best option is to buy freeze-dried meats or organs, such as liver and lung. Be sure that they are free of additives and chemicals, as well as having not been subjected to harsh processing. Nature made these simple products, so they should remain that way!

6. Cat Litter

Litter can be tricky. According to Dr. Hofve, the most common kind of litter is clay. The clay is mined in an unfriendly way, and it produces a great deal of dust.

Clay dust, which is only a few centimeters away from your cat’s digging paws can enter her lungs and cause irritation, even asthma, in cats who are susceptible. It is possible that clay can be ingested by cats who are very old, have very furry feet, or very young cats.

Natural, renewable resources such as wheat, corn, sawdust, or walnut shells are preferred. They too, however, have their benefits and disadvantages. Many are dusty and have strong scents, whether they are artificial or pine oils. These can be toxic and aversive to cats with sensitive skin. The pine oils can trigger an allergic response. Newspapers are recyclable, but their inks may contain toxic chemicals.

The majority of cats prefer the finer-textured, clumping litters to pellets and larger clay pieces. The most important part is that you use a cat litter your cat will like and also is easy to clean. The No. 1 reason for failure to use the litter is a dirty box. A dirty box is the No. 1 reason why cats don’t use their boxes.