Importance of a Healthy Pet
Having a Healthy Pet is an important part of dog ownership. One of the most important factors is knowing your dog and being cognitive of all the little things and noticing “cause and effect” and tracking the things that seem to impact your pet’s life.
Since they cannot speak it is important to be very attentive to their actions and any influences or indications that seem to impact their lives.
You are their caretaker and sometimes they will even try to make things obvious for you to observe as they do try to communicate with us. The more you can learn about your dog, the better chance of being there for them when they need you.
Wellness Resources for Your Dog
Feel free to review our helpful resources on how to care for your dog.
Caring for Your Dogs Teeth
Taking care of your dogs’ teeth is very important. Some people avoid taking their dog in to get their teeth cleaned because the dog might have to be put under anesthesia which can have a risk associated with that. It is a good consideration to learn how to clean tarter and plaque off your dogs’ teeth with a scaler, which you can buy from on-line shopping sites or at local drug stores.
If you start very slow with your dog, just touching your dogs’ teeth with the instruments and saying, ‘clean your teeth’ and then after you touch and gently touch your dog’s teeth a bit with it, they will slowly learn. The scale should be sterilized every time before using it and any plaque or tarter should be carefully removed from the mouth quickly, so the dog doesn’t swallow or chew it. You can use a cotton swab to help catch all the debris. It always helps to give them a treat after a teeth cleaning. When using the scale, it is best wear magnifying glasses so you can see better and just try to clean the areas you can see and don’t try to get into deep areas. The deeper cleanings need to be done by your veterinary during a veterinary dental treatment. This will allow you to keep your dog’s teeth clean without the risk of anesthesia. Your dog should eventually feel more comfortable letting you gently clean the tarter or plaque off and should get used to it. Once your dog gets comfortable you may be able to do it while they are sitting or lying down, whatever they are comfortable with.
Please review this with your veterinarian, and they can help you decide the best way to keep plaque and tarter off your dogs’ teeth to help them keep a healthy mouth.
Choosing the Right Food
One of the most important decisions you will make as a dog owner, is what food and treats to offer your pet. Be sure to check with your veterinarian on their recommendations. It’s also important to do your own research on reviews and recommendations about certain dog foods. It is important to monitor your dogs’ kCal Caloric intake versus their activity level and weight and age; so, your dog is fed the appropriate level. As a pet owner it is your responsibility to control the amount and quality of the food you feed your dog, and to keep your dog at an appropriate weight. Do not overfeed your pet as it can lead to obesity and poor health.
When it comes to food and treats, read food labels and look for high-quality, natural ingredient options. Try to avoid blends that mix several different types of meat or proteins. A good rule of thumb when considering dog food is: if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t give it to your dog. Human-rated dog food is popular and meets a certain quality test. The smell test is also appropriate: smell the food to see if it smells like it has nutritional value rather than a bland cardboard-smell. Also monitor your dogs’ feces (poop) to see how it looks. Generally, if your dog is healthy, good dog food yields healthy feces, which can be a good indicator of the nutritional value of a dogs’ diet.
Look for treats made of whole foods and natural ingredients such as; blueberries, pumpkin, oatmeal, molasses and peanut butter. If a package doesn’t give ingredient information, email the manufacturer.
If you choose to give your dog table food as a treat, make sure it is wholesome and doesn’t contain excessive grease, salt or sugar.
When you are trying new food with your dog, watch for changes in your dog’s stool, skin, and behavior. If a dog appears to be intolerant of a food, don’t assume that the problem is caused by the food’s protein base. Many times people switch proteins, but it can be other ingredients causing the intolerance; such as; artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, and preservatives. If your dog is eating kibble and is straining to poop, consider mixing canned food and broth into the kibble to make it easier for your dogs’ digestive system.
Once you’ve selected a dog food, register with the manufacturer so you are kept informed on any new or updated information on their food. They will contact you in the case of a product recall or any changes to the product.
Choosing Your Veterinary Care
It is good to have a primary care veterinary and a secondary option, in case your primary veterinary is not available during emergency situations, There may also be situations where you may like a second opinion.
You should also understand and do research on the best emergency care options in your area.
Have a plan prepared and laid out so you have a step-by-step plan of action for your pet. It is recommended keep a up-to-date wellness chart for your dog so all vets understand what your dog is sensitive to, any allergies they may have, or medications they are on or have taken previously.
Primary Care Veterinary – try to use a place where the same vet can see your dog each time so that vet gets to know your dog closely
Secondary Care Veterinary – make sure you have a back-up option in case your regular primary veterinarian is unavailable, or you need a second opinion
Specialist – try to map out the local specialist such as dermatology, orthopedic, etc. Your primary may have suggestions also
Emergency Veterinary –have a recognized plan of action in place, so you know what to do in case of an emergency when your vet is not available or closed during off-hours
When meeting the veterinarian, it is important the veterinarian listens to you, since you spend so much time with your dog, sometimes the information you have can be critical in helping the vet understand your dog. You want to also select a vet that is judicious in their treatment methods and especially the proper use of anti-biotics and other systemic drugs.
A great veterinarian ensures better health for your pet and peace of mind for you. Use these tips to find one who’s knowledgeable, friendly, and committed to giving your furry, feathered, or scaly friends good care.
AS A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER WHO LOVES THIER PET – TAKE THE TIME TO READ & RESEARCH ABOUT ALL; DRUGS, MEDICINES, PILLS, SHOTS, FOOD, and TREATS before deciding to give them to your pet.
When you read and research these topics make sure you are referencing valid data where the authors are un-bias and have no financial interest or other conflicts of interest.
Please take the time to research all drugs that are recommended or prescribed by your pet care provider. If you have any questions, please consult with your pet care providers and discuss any concerns you might have. Ask them how familiar they are with the drug(s) used on other pets.
It is very important to fine tune and focus your eyes on your dogs’ behavior after starting a drug if you see any different actions in your dog; urine or stool changes, drooling, shaking, lethargic or lack of energy, restlessness, etc. Consult with your veterinary immediately as your dog could be having an allergic or antiphallic reaction. You can also call the drug manufacturer as they most likely have a helpline, as well.
Using Steroids and Anti-Microbials and other types of drugs can have serious side effects they may greatly injure your dog if not administered properly. Please consult with your veterinarian to find the most judicious method of treatment and what alternatives might be available. A topical anti-microbial might be a safer place to start instead of a systemic.
The more holistic and natural remedies you use when caring for your pet, the healthier they will be. Try to find a veterinarian that practices very judicious uses of drugs and one that understands traditional methods as well as alternative natural remedies and methods as well.
Be kind to your pet and take the time to become educated on all drugs you are considering giving to your pet.
This is very important to discuss with your veterinarian the consideration of putting your dog on a Heartworm Prevention medicine in order to minimize any risks. The singular monthly pill is a good form of preventative medicine (not combined with flea and tick) (Heartgard Plus) and is designed to circulate in the bloodstream for a short period. When you are giving any medication to your dog, it is important to monitor them closely for several days and note any reaction with your vet or within your dog’s health diary.
Remember- even if your dog is on prevention medicine, it does not 100% guarantee to prevent heartworm, so be sure to keep your pet away from insect infested areas where bugs, mosquitos and insects thrive, such as wet areas, areas with woods, and tall grass. If your dog is not on heartworm prevention but is outside a lot, they could be at a great risk of contracting heartworm thru mosquito bites.
Heartworm prevention is a systemic (pill) form where the prevention drug gets into the blood thus hopefully killing any larvae in the blood. If you are going to visit wet areas or wooded areas, you can spray your dog with a Natural Topical Insect Repellent to help minimize the risk of mosquito bites, but it is a good idea to have your dog on heartworm prevention, as well.
As a dog owner, you need to make sure an environment is safe before allowing your dog to spend time there. Tour dog parks, dog daycares, and boarding facilities before using them. Be sure the area is clean, and that dog poop is quickly picked up. If a dog park has a problem with pet owners not picking up their pet’s waste, set an example by policing the area and cleaning up any feces you find as soon as you get to the park. Encourage other pet owners to join you in keeping the park clean providing a safe space for all dogs. When you take your dog to a dog park, it is very important to keep your focus on them. It is best to refrain from being on your cell phone and avoid talking with people to the point it is distracting you from your watching your dog intently. This not only helps keep them safe, but helps build the bond between you and your dog(s).
Before putting your dog in a group play setting, be sure that other dogs in the group are not displaying undesirable behavior, as dogs learn their behaviors from other dogs.
Be sure to check out the surrounding area near any facility where your dog will be spending time. Lookout for wet or swampy areas nearby that might be breeding grounds for insects that can carry viruses or diseases. Owners of small dogs should watch for signs of predatory birds or animals.
You also need to consider your dog’s home environment in addition as their play or social environment. Check outdoor areas where your dog regularly roams. A general rule of thumb is if the water is not running or moving with a decent current then you should not let your dog nearby. Still stagnate water can be dangerous breeding grounds for insects. You should prevent your dog from swimming or drinking from puddles, rivers, lakes or streams that may be contaminated by the urine of wild animals carrying leptospirosis or may contain other harmful bacteria. This can cause kidney and liver failure as well as lung disease in dogs that can be fatal. Look for other types of feces in your yard, such as rabbit, possum, or other animals. If it is present in your yard, you can use a small animal screen on your fence to help keep these other creatures out of your dog’s play area. Do not let your dog eat any type of feces and make sure to remove it from your yard or any play areas that your dog frequents.
Before you take your dog hiking, find out about predatory wildlife that inhabits the area. You will want to be prepared before you encounter coyotes, wild cats, bears, and other animals that may pose a threat to you and your dog. If you have a small dog, please keep your eyes to the sky and the trees where the predatory-type birds may be looking upon your pet.
How to Care for Your Dogs Ears
Your dog relies on their ears to help them better understand the world around them. Make sure to keep your dog’s ears clean by using gentle cleaners with aloe to help soothe the skin and your dog will feel more comfortable. Inspect the ears regularly.
An important part of caring for your dog is checking their ears regularly. Some dogs, such as those with ears that hang down, require frequent gentle ear cleaning to avoid infections. Other dogs have naturally clean ears. Overcleaning a dog’s ears can also cause problems. Talk with your veterinarian about the best way to clean your dog’s ears. It’s important to understand what your dog’s ears look like when healthy and what they look like when they need to be cleaned. The key to ear health is keeping the pH balance in their ears stable.
We suggest natural organic cleaners w a soothing moisturizer element that won’t dry out the sensitive skin of the ear, but be very careful not to use or overuse any chemical that would be damaging to this sensitive thin skin area.
If a dog’s ears show signs of infection, they need to see a veterinarian. Mention to your veterinarian about using a topical treatment first versus a systemic product to get their opinion on the best treatment option. It can be harmful to try to clean an infected ear without proper review and consultation by a pet care specialist. “Some dogs show no symptoms of ear infection aside from a buildup of wax and discharge in the ear canal. But ear infections often cause significant discomfort and affected dogs may show signs as: head shaking, scratching the affected ear, dark discharge, odor, redness, pain, itchiness, crusting or scabs in the ears.*
*Any of these items listed above can be a symptom of the dog’s indication of an allergy to food, treats, or drugs. If your dog is having compulsive problems, you may want to first stop the feeding of treats and review with your veterinarian about stopping use of any medicines or drug’s (such as flea & tick preventatives) as well as starting on a basic home or simplified single-protein diet.”
If your dog is showing any of these signs, it’s important to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not try to treat ear infections at home without an initial review and consultation.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and Minerals are very important for Optimal Pet Health and there are many options available. We suggest using vitamins that contain limited ingredients and not using any that have artificial food flavorings, artificial coloring, or harmful preservatives.
If you are feeding your dog a home-prepared diet or a raw diet, or if your dog is showing signs of nutritional deficiency, you should pursue either nutritional testing with your veterinarian or a mail-in test kit to determine your dog’s nutritional deficiencies.
Dogs are able to best absorb vitamins that are given sublingually or are sprinkled on top of their food. Check with your vet before trying a new vitamin or mineral supplement for your dog or adding any supplements to your dog’s diet. It’s also important to research any supplement you are considering.
Caring For Your Dogs Paws
It is best to examine your dogs’ paws on a regular basis. Paws also need to be cleaned and toenails groomed on a regular schedule. The paws can harbor bacteria or fungus, so it is important to consistently examine and clean them. The pads provide insulation and cushion when dogs are walking.
Dogs’ paw pads need protection from snow, ice, salt, sand, hot asphalt, mulch, and just general use. Before exposing your dog to these elements, consider using boots, socks, or a balm for their paws.
Applying a natural balm to your dog’s paws regularly before bed will give the product time to soak into their paws and provide relief from soreness, dryness, or scratches.
Care For Your Dog’s Skin and Coat
“If you’re just grooming your dog so that she’ll look her best, then you might be missing the point. Of course, it’s a bonus that a well-groomed dog looks neat and smells as fresh as newly laundered sheets, but there are many more benefits to the process. Ideally, you should be doing some sort of grooming to your pooch every day (nobody ever said that owning a dog was easy!), but this varies depending on the task at hand. A number of reasons exist why it’s vital that your dog is groomed regularly.” -Lauren Corona, Pet Guide
For you, brushing your dog might seem like a chore, but for your dog, it’s a lovely massage. Even if your dog has short fur, brushing them once or twice a week is a pleasant experience and is a good way of bonding. Never underestimate the amount of love your dog has for you, so giving them some extra special attention in the form of a brushing session can be extremely pleasurable. This can be especially important if you’ve newly rescued a dog and bought them into your family, as it may help them to start trusting you more quickly or help form a stronger bond.
When you’re grooming your dog, you have a good opportunity to check for lumps or bumps they may have gotten that would not normally be noticeable. Run your hands over your dog as you brush them and check the gums for any lumps or inflammation. The majority of bumps and knobby bits that you may find on your dog might get are benign and nothing to worry about. However, it’s always best to check with a veterinarian, just to make sure.
(The Importance of Grooming Your Dog Regularly – Source; Lauren Corona – Pet Guide 8-14)
How often your dog needs to be bathed depends on a variety of factors including the type and length of their coat and their activity level. Dogs with allergies may need more frequent baths with medicated shampoo. Bathing your dog provides a good opportunity to check them over for signs of skin problems or other issues such as lumps. Be sure to give special attention to your dog’s paws and the skin between the paw pads.
Try to make sure to clean the genital areas with organic or natural safe cleaners but also without getting irritants such as soaps in those areas.
For a quick clean-up after swimming, group play, or when your dog has been exposed to potentially unsanitary conditions, you can try an express bath or a natural waterless shampoo.
Immunology Over Vaccinations
TAKE THE TIME TO READ ABOUT VACCINES BEFORE MAKING A DECISION ON VACCINATING YOUR PET –
Your dog is depending on you to carefully read and evaluate the risk and benefits of each vaccine.
Before vaccinating, consider immunology testing thru titer testing.
Read and Research before going to your veterinarian’s office. Veterinarians can order titer test prior to vaccinating, or you can order them directly yourself.
BE GENTLE WITH YOUR DOG – It is safer to just do one vaccine at a time, rather than combining vaccines. Give your pet time to adjust to one vaccine at a time. Discuss with your veterinarian how you can space out necessary vaccines to avoid potential adverse reactions and not overload you pet’s immune system.
You should discuss your dog’s health and previous reaction to vaccines when consulting with your veterinarian on the timing of vaccines.
There are different quality levels of vaccines, so it is important to ask you veterinarian if they are using the safest form of a vaccine. Some vaccines may be filtered which are gentler on a dog’s body. You can also call the manufacturer of the vaccine and ask them any questions that you may have prior to using a certain vaccine.
When your dog gets a vaccination shot, pay close attention and be sure to monitor any unusual behavior that may be considered an ‘allergic’ reaction. Keep a record of this and inform your veterinarian. If the pet is under distress, take them to their veterinarian right away.
Read and understand about vaccines, as some of them you may not be necessary for your pet.
IMMUNOLOGY is the key to your dog living the safest, most vibrant, healthiest life they can have. Serum Antibody Titer testing will allow you to see your pet’s immunology levels to various viruses and diseases. This is a safe way to monitor their health levels without increasing undue risk of injuring your pet.
BE KIND TO YOUR PET – If you wouldn’t do it to yourself, don’t do it to them. It is your job to be their guardian and make sure you are doing what is right for them without putting them at risk of suffering.
Natural Flea & Tick Prevention
How do you treat yourself to protect yourself from, flies, mosquitos, ticks, fleas, insects? This is the same method you can do with your dog.
FLEA & TICK Prevention is a different form of protection than HEARTWORM. Some companies combine several chemical preventatives together, but this can be overwhelming to your pet and may present more risk of an adverse reaction.
1) Heartworm Prevention – please see the separate section under ‘Heartworm prevention’
2) Flea, Mosquito & Tick Prevention – This is easy to manage; Keep your dog clean, bathed, groomed and examine your dog daily. Read and understand what your prevention options are; how long they stay in your dog’s body, how they work to prevent the parasites, and understand the risk for your dog. Your dog cannot speak so it is your responsibility to be educated and gentle with your pet to help your dog live their most vibrant and healthy life. Take the time to be educated on this so you provide the safest care for your pet.
READ & REVIEW statistics, reviews and warnings on any products you are considering using on your pet. If you have questions, call the manufacturer’s customer support line and review your questions with them and/or discuss with your veterinarian. Survey of canine use and safety of isooxazoline parasiticides (wiley.com)
It is always best practice to try to avoid going in areas where insects such as fleas, mosquitos, insects and ticks can thrive and search your dog every day if they are an outside dog. Keep their fur groomed and make sure to look them over when they go outside. Spray your pet with a Natural Organic Insect Repellant before going outside. Additionally, keep your grass cut reasonably low, and use a pet-friendly sprays in your yard to keep insects away.
There are effective natural (Natural Topical Spray’s – insect repellants) ways to provide yourself and your dog with an insect, flea, mosquito & tick prevention thru effective organic ingredients. It is best to spray yourself and your dog before going outside, especially in areas where insects are present.
Always inspect & clean your dog when getting home from the outdoor areas that are more susceptible to insects. By taking these simple steps, you can help keep yourself and your dog safe from insects, mosquitos, fleas and ticks.