Natural Creature Comforts

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As pet owners, we get to make important decisions for our pets. With the unconditional love and admiration we receive from our little companions comes the tremendous responsibility of choosing what and when they eat, when they bathe, how they are groomed and when or even if they reproduce.

When it comes to the well-being and health of our pets, we make important decisions that require us to be observant and patient. Since animals can’t tell us what kind of symptoms they might be experiencing, it can be a challenge to help them on our own. Always recognize when to get professional help for a sick pet, but remember that for those symptoms that are not life-threatening, you can use homeopathy.

Keep in mind that a homeopathic remedy is chosen for the pet, not the disease. With the help of a practicing homeopath, the right remedy for your companion can be selected based on what you report. Try to identify and describe your pet’s patterns, general behavior and symptoms. Take special note of their desires and aversions; the color, odor and texture of their stool; and any obvious changes in their habits or additional strange behavior.

Homeopathic remedies are great for treating pets, as they are safe, effective, affordable, easy to administer and available in most health-food stores. Remember to only give your pet a dose of the remedy when symptoms actually occur, and only use a potency of 30C or less. You might be surprised at how easy it is to resolve your pet’s minor but bothersome conditions with the right homeopathic remedy.

As for a healthy, nutritious and easy-to-make meal for your pets, try serving your furry friend some food you’ve prepared yourself. A tried-and-true recipe from the natural pet-care arena includes 75 percent raw meat and 25 percent raw vegetables for dogs, and 100 percent raw meat for cats.

To make life simple, prepare a large amount that you can use for several meals. In a food processor, mix three pounds of raw meat (boneless chicken is always an easy choice) and one pound of vegetables (cabbage, carrots and spinach are good vitamin-rich options). Add a bulb of garlic during the flea season to ward off those little biters, then chop or grind the concoction. Within two minutes, you’ve whipped up four pounds of whole-
some, homemade dog food that’s ready to be freezer-packed in meal-sized servings.

If the idea of serving raw food seems strange, remember that animals have an acidic system that is designed to kill food-borne pathogens like salmonella. Animals were made to hunt and eat for them- selves – no cooking involved.

Still, there are varying expert opinions about raw pet- food diets, so if you’re interested, do your research first. But, in general, there are some rules to note. When feeding your pet a raw diet, use only one type of meat per meal (beef, chicken, pork). If you choose to feed your pet again with a different type of meat, allow at least one hour between the two meals. Vegetables, however, can be mixed together (great when you are cleaning the fridge) so try to provide a large variety including all the colors. It’s also a great idea to add powdered calcium and fish oils to your pets’ homemade meals. These can be purchased at any health-food store.

It may seem like a lot of effort just to feed the dog. But if you prepare many meals at once, it’s not much more of a hassle than hauling an over sized bag of pet food from the store to your car. And homemade pet food can be a lot healthier for your pet. The general rule of thumb is that one ounce of the 75/25 recipe provides as much nutrition as one whole pound of an average commercial dry food!

For more information about feeding your pet a raw diet, check out Dr. William Falconer’s website at www.alt4animals.com, refer to any of Dr. Richard Pitcairn’s books or Pat McKay’s book “Reigning Cats and Dogs.”

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