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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Major

It's a healthier dog's life - Part 2

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Ready to talk more about keeping our fur babies happy and healthy longer?

If you missed part 1, check that out here first.

I gave you some questions on the last dog post, and if you're anything like me....I had answered no to just about every single one and I was slightly disheartened by all that I didn't know. But remember, we can't do better until we know better, which takes time. And what also calmed me down was remembering that I'm not aiming for perfection, just small improvements without getting overwhelmed. It all starts by learning and having an open mind. And if the choices we make NOW improve our dog's life by even a couple of years, that's worth it. They can spend more days healthy and less days in pain and that's all I want to provide for them.

Let's dive in!

I'm going to share/summarize the best tips that I learned from, "The Forever Dog". Pick 1 item to do now and then maybe in 6 months pick another item to work on. We're looking for small changes over time...and we don't want to kill our paychecks on everything either :) There's a few items from this list that I still haven't changed and I don't plan on it for now as I have already made lots of changes that I feel confident and comfortable with. We're not in a hurry. Keep learning and take your time.

  1. Pay attention to what you're feeding your dog. Guess what human food most dog food is comparable to? Cereal. Yikes. When our dogs have cereal for every meal of every day, you know their bodies are going to be needing lots of help. Check out my post on dog food here.

  2. Ditch plastic water bowls (and as much plastic as possible) that disrupt their hormones. Look for stainless steel, porcelain, or glass, but you still need to look out for certain things! In stainless steel, look for a company that conducts third-party testing. Click here for a good stainless steel brand. With porcelain or glass, look for lead-free and made for food use. Pyrex and Duralex are also good brands! While you're limiting plastic...try to use glass for dog food storage and try to limit plastic dog toys (one thing I don't currently prioritize, but something to be aware of). When buying toys, look for ones made in the United States from 100% natural rubber, organic cotton, hemp, or other natural fibers.

  3. Filter your dog's water. Your fridge filter or Brita filter is pretty much just wasting your're filtering a few of hundreds of things that should be getting filtered out of your water. It's one of the most important things for not only your health, but also your kids and pets. This is a great blog on the importance of filtered water and why it's even more important for dogs. I swear my dog's drink more water since changing to our Berkey! There are a lot of better options, such as Berkey (what I currently use), Clearly Filtered, or Aquatru.

  4. Clean up your indoor air! Our indoor air is often 5-7 times more contaminated than our outdoor air and it's probably where you and your dogs spend most of your time. What's contributing to our horribly unhealthy air quality? All the artifical fragrance that we use on a daily basis. Do you use air fresheners, candles, perfumes, plug-ins, harsh cleaners? All of these contribute to things like infertility, cancer, asthma, etc. And your dog is affected even more because their bodies are smaller and are more sensitive. This is one of the easiest things to change in your home to quickly and positively impact the whole family. Switch to a diffuser with quality essential oils, here's my favorite pack to get you started. You can use those for your perfume, making your house smell good, and SO MUCH MORE. Use Thieves Dish Soap and/or Thieves Cleaner for EVERYTHING, especially when cleaning your dog's crate, bowls, floor, etc. I even use the Thieves Cleaner in my rug shampooer! Vacuum often and next time you need a new vacuum, look for one that has a HEPA filter.

  5. Think about your outdoor and lawn care. Have you read a warning label on just about any lawn care product? It's scary. And often it says to wear protective clothing, which dog's can't...not to mention their paws are absorbing everything they walk on. I really like Get Sunday for better options and have even found some of their products at Wal-Mart. I just stress a lot less about the weeds, bugs, and a not perfect looking backyard. I'd rather my dogs not be exposed to those harmful chemicals! And as far as ticks and other pests go for your dogs...there's so many essential oil recipes and better options.

  6. Consider your dog's hygiene. Ditch any harmful substances that you are using on your dog. The dog toothpaste my old vet recommended had xylitol in it...umm that's toxic to dogs, so no thank you, I'd rather use one that doesn't contain any toxic ingredients, but maybe that's just me. Most products contain an ingredient called fragrance which is a big no-no that you want to stay away from, so check for that ingredient. And if you see a poison control label - get that away from yourself and your doggos, there are much better options that work just as good. I use Radius dog toothpaste and Young Living's dog shampoo.

  7. Maintain oral health. I know it sounds annoying, but I probably brush my dog's teeth 2-3 times a week and you wouldn't believe the difference it makes. Every vet is always shocked at how good his teeth look. Oral health plays into everything and is very powerful (whether it's in a good way or bad way). I remember being told that if my dogs have bad oral health then it can even affect the organs in their bodies. So we do a quick teeth brushing a couple times a week (sometimes it ends up being a couple times a month, lol) and it's had huge benefits. Raw (not cooked) bones are also great for their oral health.

  8. Look into a modified vaccine schedule. I'm not going into much depth here because it's something I haven't spent a lot of time looking into. But here's what I will tell you...many vaccines haven't been tested when all taken at the same time, and there have been many times where they have negatively impacted a dog's life. There are side effects - learn them and be aware of them. Find a holistic vet that's more concerned about the WHOLE dog's health rather than just looking at 1 thing as they will be more knowledgeable on this topic. When I switched vets, their vaccine schedule switched DRAMATICALLY with a heck of a lot more education.

  9. What are they laying on? Something I recently learned is that most of our household furniture - couches, tables, carpets, etc. - are made cheaply and full of harmful chemicals. If you're like me, we can't afford to buy better quality furniture right now, but there are some things I can do to limit my dog's exposure. My dogs spend a majority of their time on their dog beds, so instead of going to Costco and getting a bed full of flame-retardants (like I normally would), I looked for 100% organic cotton, hemp, silk, or wool. NaturoPet was what I went with! Update: my dog loves his Costco bed, so we're just going to keep that one too for now lol!

And don't forget to give them lots of love and kisses, dog's keep you healthier and happier too :)

Here's some resources if you want to learn more:

+ Search around for a holistic vet in your area - they will be more knowledgeable around preventative health/root causes/nutrition/etc. instead of focusing on treating a symptom that may come back

+ The Forever Dog (This book was pretty research heavy and took me a while to get through, but it was packed full of so much good info. After getting halfway through it, I took a break and read a fun book as a reward lol) Book Here - or get it from the library for free :) This would be great as an audiobook to listen to while you're doing chores too.

Much love, Brittany

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