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Natural Animal Care

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Small pot of green catgrass

Animals, like humans, are now living in a highly toxic world. With concentrated pesticides force-fed to animals to prevent fleas, chemical and additive-filled dehydrated foods, noxious pet soaps and shampoos, pesticides in the garden and parks, and many households filled with the remnants of highly lethal cleaners, the result is cancers and other auto-immune disorders are increasing in animals.

Food or Poison?

Pet food sales in the USA are more than an estimated $15 billion annually. Yet, for all that money, pet food standards remain low. Dr. Pitcairn, author of the best-selling, Complete Guide to Natural Health For Dogs & Cats, explains commercial pet food may contain slaughterhouse waste, toxic byproducts from spoiled foodstuffs, non-nutritional fillers, heavy-metal contaminants, sugar, pesticides and herbicides, drug residues, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, bacteria and fungi contaminants.

Pet food may also contain heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, fat trimmings, unborn animal babies, animals that are dead, dying, diseased or disabled were recently banned for human consumption but are still legitimate ingredients for pet food explains Born Free USA.

Raw foods, natural and homemade diets are making a resurgence as individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the dark side of the pet food industry.

Much of the commercial food industry hides a myriad of dirty secrets including the use of factory-farmed meats or animal experiments. IAMS Pet Food, for example, has been the target of a People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign because of animal testing. De-industrializing our food sources, for both humans and animals, is an important step towards creating a greener world.

Natural Diets

Raw foods, natural and homemade diets are making a resurgence as individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the dark side of the pet food industry. Eliminating additives, allergens and toxic chemicals is a good first step to greening your animal companion’s diet. Certified organic ingredients ensure food is pesticide free and contain no genetically modified substances. Preparing homemade meals for your animal companion can take more time and effort, but the rewards include a healthier, happier animal and lower veterinary bills.

Fleas

The healthier an animal is, the less likely they are to have unwanted visitors likes fleas and mites. However, even the healthiest animal can have annoying guests during flea season. Introduce garlic, brewer’s yeast (watch for allergies) and rosemary into an animal’s diet. Lavender and tree tea essential oils (use organic) mixed with water make a good flea spray for carpets and bedding, but remember an animal’s sensitive sense of smell and use minute amounts of the oils. Beds made of non-toxic cedar chippings will also help to reduce fleas. Removing or regularly vacuuming carpets will also eliminate and/or reduce household fleas.

Rodent poisons, insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers and antifreeze are all common sources of pet poisoning.

Non-Toxic Home and Garden

Rodent poisons, insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers and antifreeze are all common sources of pet poisoning. Equally deadly to pets are many commonly used toxic household cleaners. Animals with a much keener sense of smell, living closer to the ground and often without any barrier between poisonous chemicals and their bodies, end up inadvertently being exposed to much higher concentrates of chemicals than humans living in the same space. Making a switch to natural cleaning products and having a pesticide free garden is better for the entire family and the planet.

Exercise

Domesticated animal companions are often totally reliant on humans for their access to adequate exercise. Each animal has specific exercise needs that vary animal to animal. It is important to do some research to learn what type of exercise your animal friend requires on a daily basis prior to committing to an animal companion. Part of greening our animal companions involves acknowledging animal sentience and their specific physical requirements. Ethan Smith, author of Building An Ark: 101 Solutions to Animals Suffering believes that by treating animals fairly, we can regain balance for life on earth.

Companionship

Animals need to have interaction with both humans and animal friends. It is important not to treat your animal as an object that you interact with when you want or to isolate the animal from other animals and human contact. Most domesticated animals are very gregarious and prefer to enjoy a rich, varied social life. This involves time with humans and also time spent interacting with their own species.

Alternative Medicine

Numerous forms of alternative medicine exist that can assist your animal companion to live a healthy life and/or recovery from an accident or surgery. However it is important to only consider alternative care with an experienced alternative healthcare practitioner or under the supervision of an experienced veterinarian. There are veterinarians trained in holistic veterinary medicine including, but not limited to, acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, chiropractic, Chinese medicine and vitamin-based therapy.

Be an informed human companion for your animals. Ask questions about medications, learn what the side effects are, how effective the medication will be versus a more natural approach. If your veterinarian is not prepared to answer your questions or bulldozes you to try products you are not comfortable with, always seek a second opinion.

Hygiene

All animals need a bit of help with their hygiene, whether it is a daily brush, wiping down a coat, cleaning ears or help brushing their teeth. Animal hygiene is particularly important when an animal is fed a non-natural diet. Diets loaded with additives and preservatives will result in more plague build-up on teeth, more wax in the ears and a less healthy coat. The Canadian Veterinary Association reports dental conditions are the number one health problem in dogs and cats over 3 years old. Many health problems can be corrected by feeding your animal companion a natural or homemade diet. If you need to use any hygiene products on your animal companion, choose natural, perfume-free products.

Water

Many non-well source waters contain concentrated chlorine or fluorides. Consider having your water tested to ascertain levels of additives in the water. Installing a water filtration system will benefit everyone in the house. Often a simple countertop filtration system is adequate to provide clean, chemical free drinking water for animals. Several studies have linked hyperactivity in young dogs and sluggishness in adult dogs to fluoride exposure.

Always ensure an animal has access to cool, clean drinking water. This may necessitate checking the water bowl several times a day. It is particularly important that animals kept outside in hot weather have a water bowl or trough that is in the shade and can be easily refilled.

Resources

American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association: http://www.ahvma.org/
Born Free USA: http://www.api4animals.org/
Canadian Veterinary Association: http://canadianveterinarians.net/
PETA: http://www.peta.org/
Seventh Generation: http://www.seventhgeneration.com/

Green Pages

Each year more than 2 million tons of cat litter ends up in landfills. Swheat Scoop is a biodegradable, certified flushable cat litter product: http://www.swheatscoop.com/

Canine Lullabies: Heartbeat Music Therapy is the latest in pet accoutrement. Calm your anxious creature with the soothing sounds of a heartbeat and gentle singing: http://www.caninelullabies.com/

 

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