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  • Christine Geschwill, CPDT-KA

Celebrate National Holistic Pet Day

Today is designated National Holistic Pet Day. Today we want to think about the things we can do to make our pets lives better by treating our dogs more holistically, taking both their physical, and emotional, well being into account.

We can think about treating our dogs holistically from a medical standpoint, which means incorporating things like feeding whole, natural foods instead of highly processed foods such as kibble or other processed foods. A holistic approach to pet care often considers preventative care, rather than reactive care. Rather than waiting for a problem to pop up that we can treat, we look for ways to avoid certain health issues. We know that feeding our pets a more species appropriate, moisture rich diet, consisting of whole foods; real meat, organs, vegetables, fruits and calcium sources yields healthier, and happier pets. For example, research shows us that dogs whose diets regularly include leafy-green or other yellow/orange vegetables are up to 70% less likely to develop cancer than dogs whose diets consists exclusively of dry commercial pet food.

Homemade Puploaf

We can look at treating common ailments, like joint issues, with more holistic approaches like incorporating acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic care into their regimen; or using more natural supplements rather than pharmaceuticals for management. Adding massage, acupuncture or chiropractic may make it possible to take them off damaging steroids or other drugs which have long term side effects. Even more holistic is incorporating fitness exercises into your dogs life while they are younger, helping prevent, or at least hold joint issues at bay. Choosing to titre rather than over-vaccinate, or choosing more holistic treatments for flea and tick prevention are other great examples of treating our pets holistically.

Canine Massage

From a training and behavior standpoint, we look at a dog holistically when we take several factors into account when looking for reasons for, and solutions to, a behavioral issue. If your dog is chewing, is it because they are stressed? Anxious? Does your dog pee in the house when he is excited or nervous? Often times we label these behaviors as "bad" and want to fix them, but don't dig deeper to determine the cause of the behavior. We treat the symptom, not the cause. Trainers who look at behavior from a more holistic point of view will make an effort to determine cause, and find a solution to the problem that addresses the dogs underlying stress, fear or anxiety, not just the behavior that is manifested by these feelings.

What can you do today to start on a path to more holistic minded care for your pets?

  1. Follow great holistic care advocates on social media. Dr. Judy Morgan, Dr. Karen Becker and Rodney Habib's site, Planet Paws, are some of my favorites. All include information for both dogs and cats.

  2. Make your pet some homemade pet food or treats. Making pet food isn't as easy as throwing some chicken and rice together with some green beans. Dr. Judy Morgan's puploaf recipe is a great start. Some of my favorite homemade treats include homemade Pupsicles, or these great frozen Brain Buster treats! Both are excellent for hot summer days!

  3. Play some awesome brain games with your pets. Dogs and cats alike benefit from food and puzzle toys. Read up on Canine Nosework. It's a great game to play with your pets.

If you want more help learning how to care for your dog holistically, I offer Holistic Pet Care consultations, including assistance with cooking your first puploaf, and, I can help you train your dog for Nosework, or other fun canine fitness exercises to help keep them young and fit long into their senior years.

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