It won’t be news to most of you that commercial, heavily processed pet food or unbalanced home-made meals may lack the nutrients your pet needs to truly thrive. But did you know that there is a easy way to balance out the nutrition in the diet you’re already serving your dog or cat?

Why should I feed my dog multi vitamins?

Like taking a Multi-Vitamin, a decent supplement for dogs can help improve general wellbeing. No matter what your pet’s current diet, even kibble, one of these supplements is well worth adding to your dog’s diet!

If you can opt for a multi vitamin supplement which uses human-grade or natural ingredients. I’ll recommend a decent one below, but you may find a savvy local pet business who create their own.

Key benefits of a doggy multi vitamin supplements

Here are a few key benefits of giving your dog a multi vitamin supplement alongside his or her regular food:

  • Provides essential nutrients that cooking or processing foods can destroy
  • Promotes healthy skin and shiny coat
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • Naturally enhances energy & vitality
  • Promotes healthy organ and gut function
  • Prevention & management of arthritis and joint pain

There’s a few on the market, but the one I favour the most is Bruce Syme’s Vets All Natural Health Booster available from My Pet Warehouse. It’s Australian made with loads of multivitamins and ingredients to boost health. It’s designed to be fed alongside a diet, and what I do is sprinkle a little on top of my dog’s evening meal.

Here’s a video which covers the range of Vets All Natural products of which there are a many. They make a great meal mix which you mix with fresh meat, and Bruce is also the guy behind Balanced Life.

How much and how often?

Most supplements are designed to be fed daily, but don’t overthink it. A varied diet is always a good idea so adding in a little here and there will always have benefit. If you’re on a budget then just add some to your dog’s meal as and when you can – most supplements tend to have a decent shelf life.

So what’s the buzz about bee pollen? You wouldn’t think it, but yes, bee pollen is good for dogs! In this article we’ll take a look at some of the many benefits of giving your dog bee pollen, where to get it (in an easier way than finding it in flowers), and how to give it to your dog.

What is bee pollen and how is it absorbed?

Made from the male seed of flowers, bee pollen is roughly forty percent protein. Approximately half of this protein is made up of free-form amino acids, which require no digestion. They are immediately absorbed and used by the body, regardless of whether your pet is an omnivore or carnivore (and they’re a carnivore, right?).

The buzz about bee pollen for dogs

Did you know that bee pollen can improve your dog’s immunity to allergies? Yes, who would’ve thought? But that’s not even scratching the surface of what bee pollen can do!

Bee pollen is high in the bioflavonoid rutin which strengthens capillaries, protects against free radical damage, and has anti-inflammatory effects. Rumour has it one can survive on bee pollen and water alone, but please don’t take my word for that one!

Along with helping with allergies, bee pollen can also be used to treat an array of ailments, from skin conditions to chronic pain.

How can bee pollen benefit your dog?

I’ve already mentioned some big plus points, but regular use of bee pollen, in conjunction with a raw, species appropriate diet or natural pet food, can achieve the following:

  • Boost your dog’s immune system
  • Correct a deficient or unbalanced diet
  • Aid and improve healing
  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Help maintain a healthy weight
  • Help your dog live longer
  • Regulate the digestive system
  • Protect against inflammation
  • Help treat skin conditions
  • Help treat chronic pain

Experiments with bee pollen have shown that the pollen contains antibiotic factors that inhibit the growth of bacteria, meaning that not only will your dog’s immune system get a boost from bee pollen to help fight off sickness, but he will have less of a chance of catching any bugs to begin with.

Bee pollen can also improve your dog’s appearance by helping to keep skin and coat smooth, soft, and healthy. It promotes healthy cell growth and can rejuvenate the body, delaying premature aging and keeping your dog healthy and active for longer.

How and where to buy bee pollen

As always, the quality of the product being used is a key factor. If you want to incorporate Bee Pollen into your pets diet, make sure it is Australian. As is the case with imported pet foods, products imported from other countries may contain additives and are exposed to damaging heat to preserve them which destroys enzymes and eliminates the important health benefits the natural product offers.

In order for the pollen to be effective for allergies, it must be locally sourced, and never exposed to harmful heat. Make sure you buy it in grain form – here’s a number of options.

Important – How to give bee pollen to your dog

Please note that like people, dogs can have allergic reactions to bee pollen, including wheezing, breathing problems, and even anaphylactic shock. Start with a few grains of bee pollen and check your pet’s response. If he shows no symptoms of discomfort, give additional grains the next day, and slowly increase the amount over several weeks to a maintenance dose of 1/3 teaspoon per 5kg of body weight per day, mixed with food. Bee pollen can also be blended with honey.

Diabetes in dogs has been on the rise for quite some time. In fact, cases of canine diabetes have tripled since 1970.

But why?

This article will help you prevent and treat canine diabetes.

A few interesting facts about diabetes in dogs

– Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine diseases affecting middle-aged and senior dogs, with 70% of patients older than 7 at the time of diagnosis.
– Diabetes rarely occurs in dogs younger than 1 year of age, and it is more common in females and neutered males than in intact males.
– Keeshonds, Pulis, Cairn Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, Poodles, Samoyeds, Australian Terriers, Schnauzers, Spitz, Fox Terriers, Bichon Frise, and Siberian Huskies may be at higher risk. Because of these breed connections, researchers speculate that the development of diabetes may have a genetic component.
– An estimated 50% of canine diabetes cases are likely linked to pancreatic damage caused by  autoimmune disorders. These disorders have many possible causes, but we believe that they are linked to overstimulation of the immune system from over-vaccinating, highly processed foods, and other environmental factors.
– Obesity can contribute to insulin resistance, making it more difficult to regulate overweight dogs with diabetes. Obesity is also a risk factor for pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes.

Prevention and Treatment

A natural diet is very important for all dogs, but particularly those suffering with canine diabetes. Most commercial dog foods contain grains, carbohydrates, sugars, and other fillers. For that reason, we recommend you feed your diabetic pooch a raw or natural diet, that is low in sugars and carbohydrates.

What to feed a diabetic dog

A species appropriate, minimally processed diet and natural supplements can be effective in controlling milder forms of diabetes, and this can often result in the decreased use or elimination of insulin. A species appropriate diet is one that consists of mostly raw meats and some vegetables, fruits, and even eggs. Sardines contain fatty acids which can add additional benefits. A minimally processed commercial dog food, such as air or free-dried raw, can deliver the convenience of natural feeding without the fuss.

It is important to feed diabetic dogs two to three times a day. This helps to control the rise and fall of blood sugar throughout the day and prevents it from falling to dangerously low levels between feedings.

Supplements

We recommend the following supplements to stabilise glucose levels:

Coconut Oil – helps prevent and treat diabetes by regulating and balancing insulin. Coconut Oil is available from most supermarkets on health food shops.
Raw apple cider vinegar –  in your pet’s water bowl is also very effective in controlling diabetes symptoms. Apple Cider Vinegar is also available from supermarkets and health food shops.

Vitamins and Minerals

It is important the diet you feed is rich in the following nutrients:

Vitamin C â€“ prevents cataracts, protects the kidneys, and controls blood sugar. Vitamin C is also instrumental in strengthening the immune system.
Vitamin E â€“ reduces the need for insulin, controls blood sugar levels, improves insulin action, and prevents oxidative stress, thereby strengthening the immune system.
Magnesium â€“ guards against high urinary loss and a magnesium deficiency could lead to retinal damage and heart disease.
Zinc â€“  lessens the effects of diabetes.

Exercise 

It is important for a diabetic dog to have daily exercise at the same time each day. The exercise should not be too strenuous, but should adapt to the dog’s temperament, age, and health. The dog should be comfortable doing exercise without having to pant.

Treats

Do not give treats at random throughout the day, as this can cause blood sugar spikes that the insulin may not be able to control. It is best to give treats when you know the insulin will be at peak effectiveness (usually around 4 to 6 hours after insulin injection).

Most commercial treats are high in carbohydrates and sugars and should be avoided. Choose treats that are high in protein, and preferably gluten-free. Avoid any treats with corn, soy, fructose, or molasses. Fruits are fine in moderation and veggies are a good choice for diabetic dogs. The fibre in vegetables will help stabilise blood sugar. Steam or puree them to make them more digestible or you can try frozen green beans for crunch.

Don’t overdo it with treats – make sure less than 10% of your dog’s daily calories come from treats.

When to get help

If you suspect your dog has diabetes, seek the advice of a canine health professional. It would be best to seek the advice of a holistic vet who can address your dog’s needs focusing on proper nutrition and supplements. In some instances, insulin may not be necessary.

Many dogs suffer yeast infections for a variety of reasons. This guide is for treating yeast infections in dogs naturally, but covers some basics as to why dogs so commonly suffer these infections.

What are yeast infections in dogs?

One of the most common reasons for Vets visits for dogs are yeast infections – usually in the ears or feet, but sometimes on other parts of the body. Yeast infections are caused by an imbalance of the immune system – either an overactive or underactive immune response.  The most common course of medical treatment is of course steroid therapy, which shuts off the natural immune response completely, masking, but not treating, the source of the problem and causes more problems.

Should a secondary skin infection arise from scratching or biting or licking, these are usually treated with antibiotics. If allergies are indeed to blame, this is even more of a problem, as antibiotics wipe out both good and bad bacteria, preventing the body from repairing itself and creating more grief.

Whilst clinical diagnosis of a yeast infection needs to be carried out by a Vet by looking under a microscope, tell-tale signs of yeast infections in dogs are a musty, mouldy smell, itching and scratching at ears, paw licking, and bum scooting.

Can these often chronic yeast infections be treated without resorting to steroids and antibiotics, and frequent visits to the Vet?

Our Top 5 tips for beating yeast infections in dogs naturally

Here are our Top 5 Tips for beating yeast infections naturally, for good:

  1. FOOD: Eliminate kibbles, cans, and all processed foods containing carbohydrates, grains and starches from the diet. Switch to a natural diet, including raw chicken necks, raw meaty bones from your butcher, and a good quality, grain-free raw diet. If convenience is a factor, you can use a decent quality air-dried, freeze dried, or BARF food which has been formulated with basic nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
  2. BATHING AND CLEANING: You can bathe puppy in Calendula flower water to soothe the skin, and use a good quality natural soothing shampoo. If the infection is in the feet, a frequent foot soak made up of 4 litres of water, a cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 2 cups of apple cider or white vinegar is critical, several times a day. Soak the feet in this solution, do not rinse, and dry thoroughly.  If the problem is with the ears there are a few products like dog ear cleaner wipes (with coconut oil and aloe vera) which work well, or alternatively Witch Hazel from Health Food Stores and large cotton balls to keep the ears clean and dry. Please do not use cotton buds to clean your dogs ears.
  3. SUPPLEMENTS: Introduce supplements including Omega Oil, Vitamin C and a Multivitamin such as DermaDOG Multivitamin. You can also add a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to the food, available at health food shops.
  4. PROBIOTIC: Probiotics contain the good bacteria needed in the digestive  tract. As the yeast is brought under control, the beneficial bacteria need to  be replenished. Some Multivitamin products contain probiotics or “prebiotics”  (nutrients that feed the beneficial bacteria), but your dog may require a higher or more therapeutic dose. You can use either a Human Grade Probiotic capsule or alternatively kefir, available from some health food shops or continental delis, retailing at around $5 per litre. Depending  on the severity of the yeast problem, probiotics can be introduced 2-3 weeks after introducing supplements.
  5. TOPICAL APPLICATION: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is beneficial added to food, but can also be applied topically to skin irritations. Available from health food shops and some supermarkets. Expect to pay around $15 for a jar.

Have you beaten your dog’s yeast infections?

Have you managed to beat your dog’s yeast infection naturally? If so, we’d love to hear about your experiences! Leave a comment below.

What is liver disease in dogs?

The liver is a busy little filter and its malfunction can be fatal for pets. When toxins aren’t being removed efficiently from the blood, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, fatty-looking stools and diarrhoea will usually be the first symptoms you’ll see.

But not every case of liver failure is untreatable, and holistic healthcare has saved the lives of many dogs and cats that Vets may have given up on. Liver disease is a serious matter, and you should always consult with your Vet when embarking on any new treatment – but the following complementary therapies just might save your best friend:

Nutritional therapy

  • Begin with a short fast to let the digestive system detox. Give filtered water, not tap water, which may contain impurities.
  • Improve the diet and give large doses of Vitamin C along with raw shredded carrot in the food.
  • Reduce fat, and improve protein quality – feed only fresh, human grade foods to an animal with liver disease.
  • Include a Probiotic supplement or Kefir to the diet. You can also add some Apple Cider Vinegar, as well as Brewer’s Yeast for Vitamin B.

Herbs

Most pooches lap up liver cleansing teas such as FoodiePooch Detox Tea, containing Milk Thistle, Dandelion and Burdock Root.

Massage

Canine Myofunctional Therapy can encourage detoxification and healing as well as make your pet feel great.

Diarrhoea in dogs can occur for many reasons, and when it occurs it’s worth considering why in the hope you can prevent it in the future. This guide delves right into diarrhoea (sounds gross, right!), with info on what to do to prevent it or treat it naturally.

What causes diarrhoea in dogs?

There are lots of reasons why dogs develop diarrhoea, the most common of which is food related. Sudden dietary changes, the introduction of new foods, allergies to certain commercial dog foods, inappropriate leftovers or picking something up outside can all cause loose stools.

Parasites can also cause intermittent diarrhoea, as can viral and bacterial infections and certain medications such as heartworm preventatives. And of course, just like in humans, sometimes stress can trigger an attack of the runs. Hunching, straining, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration are all symptoms of an upset tummy.

If your dog is otherwise healthy, an occasional episode of loose stool is not a problem and is usually over very quickly by itself. But if your pooch suffers from chronic diarrhoea, it can be a serious issue for their health, particularly if he’s a Pup or a Senior.

When to get help

If your dog has a bout of diarrhoea but then seems normal, just keep an eye on him. But if you notice she’s sluggish, there is blood in the stools, your dog feels warm to touch, or not behaving like his usual self, or if you are in any way worried, please call your Vet.

If your dog seems fine otherwise but is experiencing recurrent bouts of diarrhoea, your Vet will usually recommend a sending a stool sample off for analysis to help identify any underlying causes.

How to treat dog diarrhoea at home

If you have an otherwise healthy adult dog, it is recommended that you fast them – that is not feed them at all – for at least 12 hours. Please ensure fresh water is always available.

Then you can offer a bland, fat free diet of 50% lean chicken mince or roo mince plus 50% mashed pumpkin or sweet potato, cooked.

We also recommend adding a herb called Slippery Elm, available from your Health Food Shop. Add half a teaspoon per 5kg of bodyweight.

Please don’t use fatty meats such as beef, pork or lamb, or rice.

Once the stools start to firm, we suggest adding some Kefir Probiotic drink to the meals.

Things should improve in 3-5 days. If they don’t, please speak to your Vet.

Its hard to imagine that a simple dried flower can help relieve a range of uncomfortable symptoms in your cat or dog, right? Well Calendula is such a herb, especially for dogs and cats who suffer from hives, inflammation, allergies and itchy skin. Natural, gentle and completely chemical and soap free, it can be given orally, used as a wash, and is also a great item for your natural First Aid Kit and can be used for wound healing and inflammation as well as a salve for cuts, abrasions and burns.

For “Itchy Dogs” on the treadmill of harsh shampoos, ointments and steroids, it is a godsend, relieving rashes, allergic reactions and dermatitis. Not only speeding up healing and offering pain relief, Calendula carries antimicrobial properties that can prevent  infection.

Calendula is versatile enough to use both internally and topically. You can brew Calendula flowers into a tea and add it to food, use it topically as a salve, or as a bath infusion to assist with a variety of common problems.

What are the benefits of calendula for dogs?

Inflammation and Pain: As a tea, Calendula can be used to relieve inflammation of the digestive or urinary tracts in cats and dogs. It will not only reduce inflammation, but help in lymphatic drainage.

Yeast: Calendula has anti-fungal properties and can be used to treat yeast overgrowth. Brew as a tea and add to food, or steep in bath water.

Immune System Support: Brew as a tea and add to food to stimulate the immune system, aid in liver function and calm the nervous system.

Skin Allergies, Rashes and Itching: Infuse bath water and use on its own, for spongeing, or use as a final rinse after shampooing using a natural soap-free wash.

Cuts, abrasions, burns: Use a Calendula tincture to spray on affected areas.

Where to buy calendula for dogs

Calendula comes in many forms for dogs. Here’s a few of them: