Quality foods and natural remedies for dogs are sought after for the same reasons lots of people prefer them over highly-processed foods and artificial treatments. Lots of the same herbs, dietary supplements and organic, all-natural foods designed for people are made for dogs also. In fact, as people become more discriminating about what goes into their stomachs, they are becoming equally as careful about what their pets consume.

Natural options include odor controls, flea and tick repellents and grooming items including shampoos, dental sprays, eye drops and skin ointments. Generally, animals in the wild have an instinct for what is alright to eat, but as your pet, they have no option besides relying on their owners to give them the healthy foods,  products and lifestyle they are worthy of.

Healthy living starts with quality food. Unfortunately, the labeling on a lot of pet food is intentionally misleading. For example, the word “natural”, when utilized in a product name, may be meaningless. While the American Association of Feed Control Officials specifies a natural ingredient as a thing derived only from a plant, animal or mineral which is either unprocessed or physically prepared without the use of any synthetic aid or chemical additive, it does not stop some companies from misusing the term. Don’t trust the advertisements or titles that say “human-grade” or “USDA Inspected”, both of which mean next to nothing. Carefully look at ingredients, and use your common sense when selecting dog food. As a rule, avoid products with the following ingredients:

* Artificial colors
* Artificial flavors
* Preservative chemicals
* Added sugar or salt
* Meat by-products

Suspicious acronyms like BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytolulene) along with lead, propylene glycol and sodium pentobarbital are toxic chemicals that should not be fed to your four legged mate.

As with those produced for humans, holistic, natural remedies for dogs often include herbs. Herbal tinctures are good for treating chronic conditions, calming nerves, building immunity and bettering general wellbeing. As with all living creatures, there are safe and unsafe herbs for dogs. Unless you are really familiar with the consequences of herbs both as an external treatment for cuts and wounds, and to be taken internally, it is wise to not feed them to your dog. Many are toxic, or could be toxic if given in excess.

Herbal treatments generally have a cumulative effect in a period of weeks or months so should not be used either for emergency situations or immediate results. They work best as complements to a proper diet, active lifestyle and traditional medicine, as appropriate.

Herbs are often used to treat depression, allergies, anxiety and other afflictions. Beneficial herbs include calendula, coltsfoot, milk thistle, aloe, parsley and others. Garlic should only be applied sparingly, while comfrey, wormwood, pennyroyal and undiluted tea tree oil, among others should never be given to dogs. Consult a vet or canine naturopath before using herbal remedies. Certain herbs should not be given to dogs with heart disorders, high blood pressure levels, anemia or who are currently pregnant. Never give herbs to a dog without being clear on its suitability.

Vitamins and supplements are a critical part of healthy living for dogs, especially as they age. They can make up for nutritional deficiencies, detoxify, boost immunity and help to strengthen weakened bones. Enzymes, fatty acids, glucosamine, kelp, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil are as good for dogs as for their owners. As with dog food, avoid supplements with sugar, corn syrup or another unnecessary and potentially harmful active ingredient.
Other natural remedies for basic canine problems include massage, acupuncture and aromatherapy. These most often have a positive effect for stiff, aging or nervous dogs. Natural dog foods and other goods are available because pets deserve a nourishing life. Antibiotics, drugs or surgery are essential at times. However, a good diet, preventative intake of vitamins and nutritional supplements and judicious use of herbal remedies and other restorative methods can work wonders. For people who value the advantages of all-natural foods, body products and treatment for themselves, extending those benefits to their dogs is the responsible, loving thing to do. 

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