Natural Dog Care Tips

When we got our sweet puppy Bruno, my husband and I agreed we were going to feed and take care of him as naturally as possible. We are a very "natural" family. I wouldn't consider us 100% holistic but I try to go the natural route as much as possible. While I am not a vet, I consulted with my vet (bless her heart for answering all my questions ;) ) and some reliable sources on the internet to help us take care of our *growing* puppy naturally and I wanted to share them with you.


Before I start. I am NOT A VET. These are just some things I have found that work for my pup. 
But puppies/dogs are all different and have different needs.
Bruno is a Shepard mix and a VERY large puppy so what works for him might not work for a terrier.
So, take my advice with a grain of salt. I won't be offended ;)

Natural Dog Care Tips
If you are asking, Yes, Bruno is still a puppy. He is 5.5months and weighs almost 40lbs. 
He's our big boy.

Flea and Tick Care
While I do make sure the pup takes his Heartguard on a monthly basis, I try to not immediately go for the flea medication every month if he doesn't need it.
Being a rescue, Bruno came with a lot little problems, from worms, to a small bit of mange, to constant fleas. While I knew the worms and mange needed to be take care of with medication, and that there was nothing around that, I remember hearing that fleas can be kept away naturally sometimes.
After a couple weeks did some research and started giving Bruno a small clove of fresh garlic (cut up) once a week, mixed in with his food. Ever since I started doing that I have not seen a flea on him or seen him itch as much.
Now, if he does get fleas, I'm not against flea medication, It is just nice to know I've found something that will help prevent that as much as possible.

*Bruno is a mixed breed, but he is mixed with a larger breed of dogs so his stomach can take a little garlic every week. PLEASE NOTE that if your dog is small or comes from a smaller breed, this might not be the case, consult a vet.*

Lavender Oil
I knew lavender oil was great for calming babies but I had no idea it would work for dogs! I grabbed a Aura Cacia lavender oil mist bottle on one of our runs to Whole Foods. While it doesn't completely calm our pup down, it does help. I will spray a little on his back every now and then (it ALSO helps keep away fleas) and on his kennel blankets after I clean them every week.

Cleaning the Blankets and Sheets
Since we found out Bruno had a small case of mange, he has been on a weekly bath schedule. Every time he gets a bath I make sure to wash his blankets. Caesar Milan suggest (and I recommend as well) washing your dogs blankets with a hypo allergenic laundry detergent and add some baking soda to soften and deodorize your dogs blankets. Try to air dry the blankets but if you can't just try not to add a scented fabric sheet if you place them in the dryer.

Natural Dog Care Tips


Bathing
And speaking of bathing, I don't suggest giving your dog a bath every week unless directed by your vet (just like Bruno). Try to make it only once a month. Also, find the most natural shampoo possible. You might have to pay a little more but at least you know you aren't putting chemicals on your dog.Ask your vet what they suggest. Sometimes what they have at their office is the same price as what you'd pay at the pet store. Dog's have different skin types, so while Bruno needs a oatmeal shampoo for his dry skin, another dog might need a different kind of shampoo for sensitive skin.


The Food
Everyone has their own opinion on dog food. I for one, think Grain-Free is the best. While Grain-free can be pretty expensive, we found that Walmart carries a brand called Pure Balance that is grain free and probably the best natural dog food out there for the price.
Also, I learned that keeping your puppy off yeast will also help them with mange. It is common for puppies to get mange and most of the time it is not server. However, you can help not encourage the mites that are causing the mange by making sure there is no yeast for them to feed on (Mites love yeast)
This also applies to treats. We love Nutro dog treats. They have great non-meat treats but pups and dogs. Bruno's favorite are the Banana and Apple flavors.

Supplements
Our vet recommended we give Bruno fish oil to help his dry skin while we where treating his mange. It help tremendously. I also started giving him one 500mg of Vitamin C once a day to help boost his immune system since we are not home during the day (during the week) to let him outside to play with him so his immune system can build. I think its helping tremendously. But like I said before, consult with a vet before giving your dog any type of supplement.


Rawhides
I was fully against rawhides when we first got Bruno. I just didn't like the idea of giving my dog a crappy piece of "bone" to chew on and digest. We are very blessed in the sense that Bruno is not a chewer of our things. He has never tried to chew our furniture or things he's not supposed to. Sometimes we are too tired to play with him or its too early in the morning for him to be hyper so we need something to pacify him. I finally caved but I made sure we bought him rawhides from our local health food stores that made sure they were the best out there for our pup. The biggest thing for me is to make sure it is made in the U.S and free from chemicals. Also, don't let them chew on the rawhides often and for a long period of time, it will sometimes upset their stomachs.

Natural Dog Care Tips



I hope my tips were helpful :) I'm am an animal lover at heart. I grew up around them, even volunteered at the zoo as a teenager for a short amount of time and I love to make sure animals are taken care of the right way.
Bruno is not spoiled by any means, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to do our best to take care of him.

I'd loved to hear any tips you have for dogs!! 

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