Summer Pet Care 12/15/11
Make sure you take a holistic approach to looking after your pets this summer. Paul Jacobson, pet food nutritionist, shares top tips.
Summer and hot weather impacts on the well being and behaviour of our pets. We, as humans, adapt to change in climate and amend our habits accordingly. For example, when the weather is hot we wear lighter clothing and generally eat fewer heavy meals. We protect ourselves from UV rays and we probably shower more often, especially after spending each day at Clifton beach or a trek through Newlands forest.
Our pets rely on us for their daily activities and feed as well as their general exposure to the environment. It is essential that we understand our companion and make the necessary adaptations to the change in climate.
Offering your companion a variety of different foods or adding tasty tit bits may improve appetite. Identify whether your companion is a “hot” dog and then include cooling supplements into the meal. Remember not to over do it with washing and shampooing, as their natural skin bacteria is very vulnerable. Rather rinse with fresh water or even a Natural Rooibos Soak.
Summer affects our companion in many ways, but the biggest irritant is fleas and itchy skin. This is both traumatic for pet owner and pet. Allergens are rife and abundant and our pets seem to react to everything:
- Long grass, dust mites and flea bites – allergies
It is important to boost your pet’s immunity during this season. Strong immunity is your pet’s sole protector against allergies. Supplementation is essential and should be administered religiously.
The use of probiotics and/or spirulina would be well advised. A good quality omega 3 fish oil (not flax) is essential. Include apple cider vinegar daily in your pet’s water or food. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural parasite cleanser and will help rid toxins and parasites. (Take a look at my previous articles on supplementation part 1 and part 2 for more.)
A natural diet with vegetables and loads of cooling herbs like mints, sages, lemon balm would help to build immunity and calm and cool irritable skin.
- Fleas and ticks
In the last few years we have seen an epidemic of fleas. They just will not go away. While it is tempting to use strong chemicals and poisons to rid these pets, it will certainly impact on your pet’s well being and sensitive skin. Here is the dilemma: If you choose to use flea and tick drops, it may rid fleas, but it certainly will impact on your pet’s immunity and their ability to deal with allergens and thus may worsen skin conditions.
The use of natural chemical free repellents is well advised and can be just as effective if applied regularly. Khakibos as a spray is fantastic to apply on your dogs. For cats we would recommend khakibos powder. Knowing how rife fleas and ticks are at the moment, I would recommend daily use.
When we go to the beach and sunbath we apply sun protection is advance. We don’t wait to get burnt and then apply a sun cream after. The same is true with regards to applying khakibos onto our pets. Let’s keep ticks and fleas off our pets as a first priority!
Internally, I would recommend increasing the daily dose of fresh garlic. Another alternative would be the use of aloe ferox bitter crystals (they are extremely bitter and you would have to hide the crystal in a snack). Only one small crystal taken every few days is necessary.
Summer in South Africa is truly special, but it can be problematic for our pets. Fleas and allergies can be contained naturally by boosting our companion’s natural immune system. Extra care and time is required during these months but the results are worth it. After all, a happy pet means a happy owner.
Paul Jacobson is a Pet Food Nutritionist and qualified chef and owner of Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition. Vondis has been producing natural pet food for 14 years and is a registered nutritional pet food. Vondis is actively involved in educating the public on the benefits of natural diets for pets and a holistic approach when treating them. Go to www.vondis.co.za for more information.
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