A Guide to Natural Dog Care Products

Natural dog care techniques are growing in popularity as pet owners become more aware of the inadequacies of commercial pet food ingredients, the dangers of commonly prescribed medications and the health benefits of a more holistic dog care approach.

Natural pet care works in tandem with traditional dog health care techniques. A sensible program of traditional veterinary care combined with a healthy diet, limited toxic exposure and the latest advancements in natural and alternative pet care will provide the best results for your dog.

Care for Dog with Natural Food for Optimal Health

Commercial pet food recalls have alerted pet owners to the dangers of relying on AAFCO (Association Of American Feed Control Officials) certifications to determine the safety of commercial dog foods. In addition to toxic or unsafe ingredients, many dog foods contain fillers, by-products and meals that provide limited nutritional benefits and may cause allergic reactions.

When shopping for dog foods, choose a brand that contains a named meat as the first ingredient. While dogs do not need meat to survive, they do need high quality protein and this is often easiest to provide in the form of animal protein. Chicken and lamb are good choices and widely tolerated.

Better quality dog foods are preserved with Vitamin C (ascorbate) and Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols). These natural preservatives are preferable to synthetics such as BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Propyl gallate and Propylene glycol.

Natural Allergy Protection

Avoid foods that contain wheat, corn and soy. These are common allergens and can cause itchy skin, hair loss, ear infections and digestive problems.

Flea Medications

Many of the active ingredients in popular flea preventatives have been proven to cause health problems in dogs. Often, these products come with strict instructions for anyone handling the medications and there have been incidents where pet care workers have been injured by exposure to these chemicals.

Cedar oil derived from Juniperus Virginiana Cedars is non-toxic and very effective. If prepared correctly, this oil affects the insect's breathing organs, causing them to leave or die - both excellent options from a flea-plagued dog's perspective. The oil can also permeate eggs and larvae, dehydrating and suffocating them.

Neem based products are also effective against fleas. Neem repels insects, inhibits their feeding and disrupts their growth and reproduction. It is non-toxic to pets and humans.

Arthritis Medications

Rimadyl, a popular canine arthritis drug, has caused liver failure and death in hundreds of dogs. While it did restore quality of life to many arthritic dogs, many dog owners prefer a safer approach to joint care. Supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid and sea mussel supplements have all shown promise in fighting the stiffness and pain on arthritis. These supplements are safe and effective for dogs with arthritis or those at risk.

In addition to their positive role as a skin and coat supplement, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) have anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce joint pain.