We love our dogs and cats just like family and, yet, when it comes to how to raise our fur babies, we have limited examples of what promotes their health and well-being. If you grew up with animals, you are likely familiar with free-feeding (just keeping food available in the plastic FIDO pet dish all day), the pitter-patter of excited feet when your animals hear the crinkle of a bag, the *pop* sound of a can opening, an after dinner walk for dogs, a hands-off approach to cats, etc.
What you and your folks likely didn’t know, especially if you grew up in the city, is this is a commercialized, industry-driven model for pet care. Companies which benefit from making pet care convenient, packaged, and deliverable are the ultimate designers of this highly unnatural approach to raising animals. From pet food to toys and even stuff you heard at the vet’s office, we’ve got some cleaning up to do!
#1: The first thing you can do RIGHT NOW to help your pet live a long, healthy life, is clean up their diet!
I know it’s convenient to open a bag, pour the contents into a bowl, and call it dinner. We can all relate to those nights when we just don’t feel like cooking fresh food even for ourselves. Thing is, when we make the choice to eat out of a box or a can, we know we’re settling for a processed food. We don’t like to eat that way every day and neither do our animals!
Most of what you’re buying when you purchase commercial pet food is the marketing. You’re buying a beautiful package designed to entice you, not your animal. These foods are often made with substandard, rancid ingredients covered with artificial ingredients to make them palatable. YUCK! (Learn more about what’s not right with your pet’s diet in my three-part course on feeding fresh.)
I live a busy life, too, so, when I recommend you feed your pet a fresh food diet, it’s because I’ve found ways to make this healthy for my animals and easy for me! What’s really amazing is, when you take the time to make better food for your animal, who is completely reliant on you for nutrition, it takes over how you, in turn, feed yourself! Win-Win! When you buy the raw ingredients of a species-appropriate diet, you will save money in the long run which you would have spent at the vet trying to clean up the mess of inevitable illness associated with a deficient diet.
#2: Your second option for how to help your dog or cat live a vibrant, long life is to clean up their home!
I’m not picking on your housekeeping habits here – I’m talking about everything which comes into contact with your pet’s mouth. Think about the toys they have, the bedding on which they sleep, the bowls in which you give them their dinner, and so on.
Unfortunately, our homes can be an enormous source of toxicity, especially for those animals who never leave the home (which is not a healthy lifestyle at all). These animals are constantly exposed to off-gassing from furniture, carpets, plastics, cigarette smoke, electromagnetic poison from cell phones, portable phones, smart devices, burning plastic from cookware, air fresheners, incense, essential oils… and the list goes on and on.
Our homes are meant to be our refuge from the storm, but, these days, our homes are holding a constant exposure of toxicants for ourselves and our animals.
You’ve heard about the evils of plastic and BPA – if it’s toxic for you, it’s toxic for your dog or cat! If their toys, bedding, and food dishes are made with or lined with plastic, they are exposed to the sorts of chemicals humans won’t mix with their drinking water anymore. Find stainless steel, glass, or ceramic bowls for water and food dishes. You may also want to check for lead products or other harmful chemicals used to make their toys and bedding.
It doesn’t stop at the house! Are pesticides used at the dog park, or, are you using any kind of chemicals in your front yard? All too frequently, city parks use RoundUp to control weeds. RoundUp contains glyphosate (a known carcinogen) and 2-4 D (a main ingredient in Agent Orange, also a carcinogen). Your animals explore their environment with their mouths, noses, and foot pads. Anything your animals contact is most definitely coming home with you. This means those pesticides are on everything and everyone they touch. You’ll want to make sure you’re taking your pets to cleaner spaces and not trailing in poisons on the carpet and furniture where it can affect everyone in your home.
#3: To improve your animal’s vitality and help your dog or cat live a healthier life, cut out unnecessary vaccines.
After 38 years of veterinary practice, I’ve seen how animals react to vaccinations and it’s absolutely choking the life out of them. Vaccinations are filled with toxins, heavy metals, viruses, antibiotics, and carcinogens, just to name a few. And they encumber your animal’s natural resistance to infectious diseases, stimulate auto-immune diseases, poison detox mechanisms, cause brain-related inflammation, and chronic disease of almost any sort. I’ve seen countless vaccinated pets struggle with chronic illness and have counseled their heartbroken, frustrated pet parents who thought they were doing right by their dog or cat.
Do your homework when it comes to vaccines. I’ve now seen thousands of unvaccinated animals (and kids) who thrive beautifully and have all their defenses available to fight off disease naturally.
Does this sound a lot like detox? It is! Learn more about how to detox your pet in my course!
Now you know your pet needs a clean, natural environment as much as you do! Your pet needs fresh, whole foods, toys and other products free of chemicals, and significantly fewer if not completely eliminated vaccines. To fully understand how these tips work together and what other things you can do to improve your dog or cat’s longevity, take my course on how to detox your pet. I’ll talk to you about why our pets need to detox, how to start the process of surveying their environment, natural alternatives to what is considered the “norm” in pet care, and much more. Educating yourself on what your animal needs to live a longer, healthier life is the best investment in your dog’s or cat’s vitality.