Dog Fancy magazine has created a new magazine on sale in August called “Natural Dog.”** Natural Dog was a feature section of Dog Fancy on a couple of occasions and has been well received. Can “Natural Cat” be far behind? Since so many of us have gone the “natural” way to care for our pets, I’m sure this magazine will help us continue. For those who are interested, I’ll be posting some hints under the title “Our Natural Pets.”
Let’s begin with food. To cook or not to cook and there are strong feelings on both sides. There has been a huge amount of focus on pet foods due to all the recent recalls. Many pet owners are choosing raw foods, cooking their own food or purchasing the many natural and organic foods and treats available for pets.
Natural pet foods have no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors or any additives.
Organic pet foods are pesticide-free, have no added hormones, no antibiotics or synthetic fertilizers.
Holistic pet foods are concerned with the physical, mental and emotional well-being of your pet.
There are lots of cookbooks for pets on the market and some recipes available online. These days most pet food suppliers offer a wide variety of pet foods. You may opt to feed your pet a combination of foods, ie. canned and dry, lightly cooked. Whatever diet you choose, check with your vet to make sure you include all the necessary nutrients to keep your pet healthy.
Some raw foods available are Bravo! raw food diets, Nature’s Logic Raw Dog and Cat Food, Nature’s Variety Raw Food diets, Stella and Chewy’s Raw Food for Pets to name a few. Natural dry and canned foods available are Natural Balance, Taste of the Wild, Drs. Foster & Smith, Canidae & Felidae, Innova, Solid Gold, Wellness, AvoDerm, Halo, Organix, Newman’s Own, Castor & Pollux, some to choose from. Many companies provide grain-free or low-grain foods, age appropriate foods, allergy formulas and freeze-dried raw foods. The choices are endless. Check labels to be sure you are feeding your pets the foods that meet their requirements. Many companies offer natural treats for pets as well as food.
When changing your pet’s diet, do so gradually. You can begin by offering the new food as a treat, then mixing some new food with the old, increasing the amount of new food while decreasing the old over a period of a couple of weeks until your pet is wholly on the new food.
When handling your pet’s food, especially raw food, be sure to wash your hands with hot, soapy water, take extra care in cleaning counter tops and wash your pet’s dishes after meals. Keeping things clean will help avoid contamination by any unwanted bacteria.
Flea & tick season again! You may live in an area where flea and tick season occurs only in warm weather. On the other hand your area may need flea and tick protection all year round.
The first step to keeping your pets flea and tick-free is daily brushing. Regular bathing is also a pest deterrent. Launder your pets’ bedding at least once a week and check in between times for small creatures. Check your pets regularly to make sure there are no unwanted pests looking for a home in their coats.
There is a book “Keep Fleas Off” that can guide you with grooming your cats and dogs and inexpensively keeping fleas away.
There are natural topicals, sprays, powders and shampoos that will protect your pets from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Among these natural defenses are Brewers Yeast and Garlic; Sentry Natural Defense has squeeze-ons, sprays and powders; Liquid Net makes a spray, Insect Repellent for Pets; Only Natural has sprays and oil; Fleabusters is a powder; and there are a number of natural flea shampoos and conditioners.
Whatever product you choose, consistent use should solve the flea, tick and mosquito invasion.
- Since this article was written, Dog Fancy magazine has decided to include “The Natural Dog” in Dog Fancy every so often.