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Keep Your Pets Perky

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On warm September afternoons, my friends and I love to meet and catch up at our favourite salad bar. Today the conversation turns to companion animals. Jane mentions that her dog Mandy seems to be developing allergies to her food. Angela, who adores her cat Cheezy, is worried about his dry skin and recurring hairballs.

On warm September afternoons, my friends and I love to meet and catch up at our favourite salad bar. Today the conversation turns to companion animals. Jane mentions that her dog Mandy seems to be developing allergies to her food. Angela, who adores her cat Cheezy, is worried about his dry skin and recurring hairballs.

More and more people like Angela and Jane, who are proactive with their own health and practise a holistic lifestyle, are looking for alternative ways to care for their companion animals. Like humans, many pets suffer from exposure to a toxic environment, which can alter the primary biological function of the body and stress the vital organs and glands necessary for proper immune function. The result is a pet with a body out of balance and susceptible to food allergies, hairballs, and skin problems.

Good Diet, Shiny Coat

Cheezy's dry coat, dandruff, and cracked skin that bleeds easily are classic symptoms of toxicity. Skin, as the most visible area of the body, will often show the first signs of underlying health problems such as those caused by poor nutrition and toxicity.

More and more experts are suggesting that commercial pet foods, which tend to consist of inferior quality meat byproducts, artificial colours, and chemical preservatives, are responsible for the increase in food allergies such as Mandy is experiencing. These allergies develop over time and will often need time and patience to be reversed. Well-nourished animals rarely develop allergies or can eliminate them through a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet.

For optimum health, highly processed pet foods must be replaced by a nutritional program that emphasizes fresh, natural foods. High-energy fats, such as fresh chicken or lamb fats, are recommended for cats. Vegetable oils such as flaxseed oil, primrose oil, and hemp oil, or fish oil, are recommended for dogs and can easily be added to your pet's food. For daily dosages, consult a veterinarian who is familiar with holistic animal care.

Grooming Basics

Proper grooming is also essential. A natural mild shampoo is gentler on the skin and does not burden the body with unnecessary chemicals present in most commercial brands. Daily brushing followed by a rub-down with a damp terry towel can do wonders to stimulate dead hair and skin removal, while improving circulation and bringing nutrients to the skin and coat for tissue repair.

Jane, Angela, and I also discussed how pets are sensitive to our emotional messages, such as tone of voice and posture, and that during the stress of our hurried lives, we must stay tuned to the effect our actions have on our companion animals.

The smallest and often most vulnerable members of the family, pets with recurring health problems can often be an indicator of a greater need for change. Through care, awareness, and respect for our environment, we can make a world of difference for our pets and for all our loved ones.

4 Supplements That Treat Pet Skin Problems

The following supplements are helpful for healthy skin and overall well-being:

  • Vitamin C helps repair skin and coat cells quickly while building resistance to environmental pollutants.
  • A supplement rich in vitamins A, E, B-complex with biotin, selenium, potassium, and copper will keep skin and coat in good condition.
  • Zinc helps build healthy skin that resists infection.
  • Kelp promotes rapid hair growth.

This freshly squeezed juice full of zinc and vitamins can do wonders for your pet's skin:

1 cucumber
3 sprigs parsley
1 small apple
4 carrots
1/4 cup (60 mL) peas
1/4 inch (.5 cm) ginger root

Combine all ingredients in juicer and give to pets straight, diluted in drinking water, or added to meals. Offer 2 Tbsp (30 mL) to cats and small dogs three times daily. Offer 5 Tbsp (75 mL) daily to dogs up to 50 pounds (25 kg).

5 Supplements to Prevent Hairballs

Animals that groom themselves ingest hair that cannot be digested and must pass through the stomach and intestinal tract. A healthy body easily processes and eliminates the ingested fur. Exercise, active play, and a good diet can enliven a sluggish digestive tract that is prone to hairballs. Adding natural supplements to your pet's daily nutritional intake can also help prevent hairballs:

  • Omega-3 fish oil lubricates the colon and helps to reduce inflammation.
  • Acidophilus promotes the friendly bacteria needed for proper intestinal function.
  • Digestive enzymes, particularly pepsin, help break down and eliminate hairballs.
  • Calcium with boron-3 helps regulate intestinal contracting, helping food and hair pass through the intestines.
  • Methyl sulphonyl methane (MSM) provides nutritional sulphur, which strengthens intestinal tissues and helps treat chronic hairball problems.

Eliminate hairballs by following these simple guidelines:

  • Encourage exercise outside and active play inside in order to promote proper elimination.
  • Put your cat on a fast for 24 hours to rest its digestive system and then switch to a highly nutritious, high-fibre diet.
  • Feed your pet a minimum of two times a day to ease the burden of digesting larger meals.
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