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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Tips For Raising A Healthy, Natural Dog

Yes, I’m guilty.  I let Boho get away with just about everything she wants to do.  I let her beg at the table, eat food off my plate (as long as there are no dangerous foods for her), roam the entire house, sleep in bed with my hubby and me, and anything else that doesn’t put her in danger.
Why?  Because I want the few years she’s alive, to be spent happy and free.

We have our pets for such a short time.  They never have to grow up to be productive adults, like children do.  Their time on earth is spent giving us unconditional love and loyalty.  If treated well, they are always happy to see us.  Whether I’m gone 10 minutes, or 4 hours, when I get home, Boho runs up to greet me, tail wagging.  It’s as though my return home is the best thing that’s ever happened to her.   I don’t know about you; but, no one else has ever been that happy to see me.

In addition to being happy, I also want Boho to be healthy.  Recently, I switched her diet to grain free dog food, Blue Buffalo Small Breed Freedom Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food, 11-Pound, in the morning.  I’ve been feeding her Blue Buffalo since I rescued her from a horrible breeder.  She’s done very well on it, maintaining a healthy weight.  But, she continued to have flaky skin and itching.  I thought since going grain free had helped my skin rashes, perhaps it could help her.  It’s still too early to tell; but, it does seem to be helping.  At night, I used to give her organic chicken, brown rice, and veggies.  When I heard about the levels of arsenic in brown rice, I switched her to soaked quinoa.  She took to the change very well.  It’s even helped her digestion.  I also add 1 teaspoon coconut oil, Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to her nightly food.  She loves it so much, she comes running to the kitchen when she hears the jar open.

One of the best things I ever did for Boho is purchasing her Optimal Health Program at Banfield.  It’s basically like health insurance for your pet.  For a monthly fee, you get unlimited vet visits, a discount on services, vaccinations, and two comprehensive exams per year.  My plan even includes dental cleaning every year.  My Banfield is located inside of Petsmart, which makes it very convenient.  They are great about nail clipping and anal gland maintenance.  It’s important to keep up with all of your pets’ vaccines, dental health, and grooming. 

While I’m not a big fan of vaccines, especially in humans, I do have Boho vaccinated when she needs it.  I pay a little extra for a titer test, which determines if she still has antibodies in her system from her last vaccine.  I do not believe in over-vaccinating!  Luckily, Boho has never had a bad reaction to a vaccination. Knocking on wood, as I write!

I am also super picky about her treats.  She only gets treats made in the USA.  I’m not taking any chances with that one, and neither should you.

If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you know the reason I founded Boho and Mo is because of Boho’s reaction to cleaning chemicals in my home.  Sometimes, we don’t realize the harm we’re doing to them by using toxic chemicals on the surfaces they’re around every day.  Because they are lower to the ground, they can be affected by anything you use on your carpets or floors.  I have even heard someone say, they washed their dog’s bowl with BLEACH! Ridiculous!

For cleaning, I only use products I make myself, from safe ingredients, or products from companies I trust. Here are some of the products I use:

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner
Method All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner 
 Tub and Tile Spray
Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda
Heinz White Vinegar Distilled

I mentioned grooming earlier in this post.  For bathing Boho, I use Dr. Bronners - Magic Pure-Castile Soap Organic Baby Mild with a couple of drops NOW Foods Tea Tree Oil .  It’s gentle enough for her skin and leaves her fur soft and shiny.  If you bring your dog to groomers, you may want to supply them with this alternative.  And, be sure they don’t use any artificial fragrance on them.  It may smell nice to you; but, trust me, those toxic perfumes are no good for your dog.

So yes, I spoil Boho.  She drinks filtered water, plays with non-toxic toys, and enjoys a safe environment.  There are way too many tips for raising a healthy, happy pet to fit into one post.   But, these are my top tips, outlined above.

 Our pets are considered family members for many of us.  For some of us, they are our babies.  I wish you many years of happiness with your furry babies.  Go ahead, spoil them!

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