Today’s guest writer is Robbi Hess, Story Editor at Positively Woof. Robbi is writing about how to holistically care for your dog.

August 30 is National Holistic Pet Day and at DOGTV we embrace holistic philosophies daily with our scientifically-developed programming. We believe dog separation anxiety can be managed without chemical intervention (for most dogs). You can enrich your dog’s environment when you’re away from home, by turning on DOGTV programming for your beloved fur baby.

What does holistic health mean for your dog?

Holistic care is a wellness approach for pet care that addresses the “whole” animal; this means addressing care for his body, mind, and spirit. Your dog’s “holistic health” is about focusing on his health and wellness to keep him healthy rather than focusing on disease management (holistic health is  about proactive care). Pet parents who embrace the holistic health model for their dogs look at a preventative lifestyle.

To be more holistic with their pets, pet parents are educating themselves on how to incorporate natural substances and whole and raw fruits and vegetables foods into their dogs’ meals. They are looking for natural substances – those from the earth or that are produced in the dog’s body – to give his immune system a boost to keep him healthier and happier, longer.

On National Holistic Pet Day (founded by Colleen Paige of the Animal Miracle Network) and beyond, here are areas of your dog’s life to strengthen and improve his overall health and lifestyle. Hint: None of these are difficult and are a way for you to enrich your dog’s life and strengthen the bond the two of you share – it’s a win-win!

Your dog’s diet

The cornerstone of holistic pet care is your dog’s diet and nutrition. Just as you thrive when you eat a healthy diet, so too will your dog. Feed her a diet rich in natural and organic foods and treats. Look for limited ingredient foods and those created with natural ingredients that can boost her immune system. Because her digestive system isn’t equipped to deal with chemicals and preservatives found in many mass-produced foods, a high-quality natural dog food can help her fight off allergies, digestive problems, diabetes, and obesity.

Some dogs love fruits and vegetables and these can make an ideal training treat or an after dinner snack for him. Pieces of apple, carrot, green beans and pumpkin are delicious and nutritious and many dogs will gobble these treats right up. Avoid grapes, cherries, mushrooms, celery and raw potatoes.

Feeding

If you’re not sure what to feed your dog, ask your veterinarian for advice on the best food for him.

Give your dog access to fresh, clean water every day. This is crucial to his overall health and well-being. Your dog should drink one ounce of water a day based on his weight (this means a ten pound dog should drink ten ounces of water). If your dog doesn’t seem to drink that much, look at natural, flavored water supplements that might make him drink more. If you’re looking to treat your pet holistically, consider giving your dog filtered water, rather than tap water which likely contains chlorine and fluoride. Use stainless steel or glass bowls rather than plastic.

Healthy body

Exercise is important to your dog’s health. It’s also good for her brain. Think about how excited he gets when you head for the door with the leash in hand!

When your dog is physically fit you’re helping keep his weight in check, lowering his cholesterol levels and lessening the risk of heart disease. A walk or run that tires your dog out will make him less anxious when you leave him home alone – a tired dog is a happy dog!

Even a senior dog benefits from a short jaunt or stroll around the yard. Tailor your walks to your dog’s health level. If she is energetic and healthy, take a long walk or run. If you have an older dog who is moving slower than she used to, take a short walk and be prepared to carry her if she gets tired out.

Toss a ball or toy in the backyard and play a rousing game of fetch with your dog. If the weather is too hot or too cold to get outdoors to give your dog exercise, play games in the house; your dog can play a game of fetch indoors as well as outdoors.

As a bonus – when your pet gets a walk, you get a walk and both of your health benefits!

Your dog’s healthy body includes his insides as well! You’ll be keeping his bones, joints and muscles healthy through exercise and play, and you will also want to take care of his skin.

When grooming her, use natural products and natural flea and tick preventatives instead of products made of synthetic chemicals. Also, if you’re out of doors in the hot sun, protect her delicate skin with dog-centric, natural sun block.

Healthy mind

Diet and physical fitness are two of the pillars of the holistic lifestyle. Now we want to talk about your dog’s emotions and his healthy mind.

Dogs need mental stimulation. If your dog is bored and/or lonely he may take up bad behaviors like chewing your favorite shoes or barking all day while you’re away. Keeping your dog’s brain healthy and engaged will help keep her happier and less likely to act out because of boredom.

Enrich your dog’s environment through these methods:

  1. Puzzle toys. These can be filled with kibble or treats like pieces of fruit or vegetables. Your dog will have to work to get to the treats and that may keep him engaged for hours. Or you can play hide and seek with treats. Hide treats and let your dog use his keen sense of smell to search them out while you’re away.
  2. Bring in a pet sitter to play with your dog while you’re at work. This will give him socialization and a chance to go for a walk and perhaps have a play session with other dogs if your sitter takes her to a dog park.
  3. Turn on DOGTV when you’re going to be away. The programming on DOGTV is meant to enrich your dog’s environment, keep him company while you’re away and provide both mental stimulation and relaxation. DOGTV can be run on your television, laptop computer or a tablet – whichever device is more convenient for you and your dog.

Pet parents, you play a vital role in the overall “whole” health of your dog. From the food she eats to the toys she plays with to how she spends her time when you’re at away, you can take steps to incorporate holistic health into every aspect of her life.

What do you do to holistically enrich your dog’s environment when he is home alone? Have you tried DOGTV? Sign up for a  free 14-day trial of DOGTV to help enrich your dog’s environment to alleviate his stress and separation anxiety and help him relax!

Hey Shelter and Rescue Operators and Organizations, ask us how playing DOGTV in your facility will help to calm dogs and alleviate their stress while they’re waiting for their forever homes. Dogs in shelters can benefit from the holistic aspects of stress-relief brought about by watching DOGTV. Don’t forget to grab your free fourteen-day trial of DOGTV to play at the shelter.