Self Care Tips For Pets

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Thanks to their unconditional love and faithful companionship, it's little wonder that pets are referred to as a 'humans best friend'.

In fact, recent studies have even shown that people who have pets generally have greater levels of happiness, emotional fulfilment and even better physical health than those that don't.

Having such a positive influence on our overall Self Care, and since they're so dependent on us, we owe it to our furry friends to offer them the best "Pet Care" we possibly can.

In as much as the 7 Principles of Health play a vital role for human health and longevity, in part, similar natural principles should be embraced to maintain and optimise the health of our pets.

Here are 5 key Self Care tips to help give your dog or cat the best healthy support you can…

1. Water

Essential for ALL living organisms, it goes without saying that ensuring your pet has access to clean fresh water is a top priority.

With most municipal water supplies containing chlorine, fluoride and other chemical nasties, providing your pet with distilled or filtered water is ideal. In order to prevent stagnation, it’s also important to regularly change their water and clean out their water bowl. 

Try to avoid plastic and metal bowls, which can leach chemicals into the water, especially when exposed to the elements and sun outside.  Instead, use a good quality ceramic bowl.

Additionally, your pets require nature-made salt to thrive, either in the form of a “salt lick” or by adding a small pinch to their drinking water. Just like humans, they need this because water and salt work together to regulate the body’s water content and assist with various other important biological processes.

Learn more in Water: Nature’s Best & Why It’s Critical To Life

2. Food & Nutrition

Unfortunately, like humans, many domestic cats and dogs experience conditions such as obesity, diabetes, kidney & liver disease as well as cancer if they are fed a heavily processed food diet.

If you look to animals living on the wild, they rarely suffer from these scourges so just like us there’s a definite connection between diet and health.

Most big-brand, commercial pet food products are loaded with preservatives, fillers and additives that are known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), so if you want the best for your pet, these products should be avoided.

These products are typically comprised of discarded animal parts, fatty cuts and low-quality meat, not considered saleable for human consumption.

Instead, opt for hormone-free, minimally processed and "grass fed" meat options wherever possible for your pet, or better still consider weaning them over to a plant-based diet (particularly Dogs). 

Believe or not, Dogs will get enormous benefits from a plant-based diet and will have no problem not eating meat once they're adapted over to plants. They’re naturally “scavengers” and are actually able to get all the nutrition they need from fruits, vegetables and nuts. 

Cats on the other hand, are considered “obligate” carnivores so if they’re not being fed meat or fish, you’ll need to find a plant-based cat food that includes essential vitamins, minerals and oils in order to be healthy and thrive.

3. Relationships

Many pets love receiving attention and being played with by their human companions.

Like us, they crave love and affection and can suffer from loneliness and boredom if they do not receive enough attention. Dogs especially will feel anxious when left alone, even for a short amount of time.

Aside from giving them regular attention and praise, grooming your pet gently with a soft brush is a great way to show them you love them.

Although some pets are more sociable and affectionate than others, beyond just feeding them, even if they’re not big on physical contact and being handled you can still show them you care for them in the following ways:

  • Let them be in and share your space,
  • Talk to them and play with them, especially if they’re an "only pet" and don’t have another animal to keep them company when you're not around.

4. Exercise

It’s well known that most breeds of dogs need to be regularly ‘walked’ and love to be outside and physically active at some level.

Taking your dog to the park or beach for a 20-30 minute walk at least once per day should be obligatory.  In fact, it's a great opportunity for you also to get your personal quota of walking in for the day at the same time.

For extra active dogs, play catch or fetch to provide extra and much appreciated stimulus for your canine.

Cats are obviously a lot more independent, don’t require as much active involvement from you and will naturally come and go as they please if given the opportunity. 

Try not to make your cat house bound.  If they're no longer a kitten and are familiar with their surrounds, have been micro-chipped and name tagged and you live in a safe neighbourhood, it's a good idea to allow your cat to spend some time outside in the garden or yard to fulfil their natural, inquisitive instincts.

If you live in an apartment or unit and your pet isn’t able to go outside regularly, it’s extra important that you take the time each day to take them outside and spend some quality time with them.

When left unaccompanied inside, it's also important that they're able to be stimulated both physically and mentally.

This can take the form of:

  • Chew toys
  • Balls
  • Scratchpads
  • Stuffed animals
  • Indoor limbing ‘trees’

If they don’t have outlets such as these, more often than not they’ll use whatever they can find including furniture, shoes, toilet paper etc… So what might be perceived as “bad behaviour” is often just a sign of boredom or a cry for attention!

Both dogs and cats will love it if you play games with them and you can even teach them certain ‘tricks’ such as:

  • “Hide and seek”, by hiding some of their favourite treats around the house
  • “Tug of war” with a piece of rope or fabric

5. Natural Remedies For Pets

As par for the course, much like the health care, the veterinary industry has also been infiltrated by pharmaceuticals and just like us your furry friends will also suffer from side effects and potential long term health issues if they’re repeatedly exposed.

Thankfully there are a number of natural alternatives to treat many common issues that affect our furry friends…

Fleas, Ticks, Lice & Parasites

Made up of microscopic “diatoms”, Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is an all-natural form of “dirt” that is lethal to pests that your pet may host.

Thanks to its “sharp” structure, it has the ability to price the outer “shells” of fleas, ticks and intestinal worms causing them to dehydrate and then die off.

For fleas and ticks, sprinkle some DE into their fur and then brush through until it penetrates their scalp. Repeat this process each day for 30 days in order to make sure that any hatchlings are also killed off.

For internal parasites like intestinal worms, you can start off by mixing a teaspoon of DE in to their food. Although this will kill most adult worms within 7 days, as it does not destroy the eggs it’s important to continue this for at least 60 days to get any new hatchlings as well.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth also has properties that are believed to absorb certain pathogens and toxins so will function as an internal detoxifier and cleanser. For this reason, it’s important to start your pet off on small amounts in order to prevent any overwhelm as any unwanted substances are expelled from their body

Learn more in 5 Everyday Uses For Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Essential Oils

With the explosion in the number of people discovering and benefiting from the health and emotional wellbeing wonders of plant essential oils, there’s quite a bit of controversy and mixed information around using them with felines and canines.

Although many people use pure essential oils topically and internally with no ill effects on their pets, like humans, each animal has their own unique health profile and reaction to certain substances. In addition, cats lack a certain enzyme that helps them to break certain compounds down, so you need to be especially careful giving them any essential oil via the mouth or their food.

For these reasons we only recommend diffusing essential oils around your pets which can safely help to improve their emotional well-being and calming them down.

Some nice options are:

Make sure to keep your diffuser in a place where they can’t knock it over and not in the same room where they eat their food. Like anything new, start with diffusing a small amount of maybe 2-3 drops only and see how your pet responds to it.

Important Note re Essential Oils

As mentioned it is possible to use certain oils topically and internally, but we highly recommend doing some research discussing this with your vet.

There are holistic vets who specialise in using essential oils and other natural remedies, instead of pharmaceuticals and report great success in doing so. But in order to avoid any potential issues and ensure your pet's safety, it’s important to get their expert opinion first.

The bottom line is that your pets cannot look after themselves, so it's up to you to ensure that you're embracing some (if not all) of these important Self Care tips to give them the healthiest, happiest life possible. 

Tolman Self Care.

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