When my husband and I got a dog together, it was pretty obvious that what I really wanted was a baby.
I learned everything I could about puppies. I called the vet every two seconds including one time after she ate an ear plug just to make sure she wasn’t going to die. I cried when she got a rabies vaccine. And I spent more money on her nutrition than some people spend on their kids.
I was introduced to the SoCal holistic dog care market with stores like Pupologie and Muttropolis and began meeting women with shirts that read, “Dogs over Dudes” who let me in on little tricks on how to take care of my baby and spend my entire paycheck on this tiny white poodle.
Yes, in my life I have had the tendency to do things the “right way” to the point of almost obsession. Taking care of a puppy, having the life of a wee creature solely under my responsibility, was one of those instances.
After years of this sort of underlying stress, I came to the epiphany that I wasn’t doing my best just to do my best. I was doing my best out of the fear that something could go wrong if I didn’t study, research and know everything there was to know.
I promised myself that I would end the insanity. I knew I didn’t want to live in this fear space anymore. I knew it was possible to choose ease and peace over stress and I was determined to live this way. (A full account of what brought me to this place of realization will be explained in a future post. For now, I’ll stick to the lighthearted nature of a dog post).
So when it comes to your dog, I can tell you about why your dog should eat goat’s milk for its digestion, or bone broth for its little joints but I know these things may not be practical for all dog owners. Even though I’ve tried many many things with Maylee, these are the things I’ve found most important and the practices we still maintain today:
Food is absolutely number one when it comes to pet health. Is it any surprise? Oh wait yes, maybe it is. We were never taught in all of our years at school that what we eat is one of the most (if not the most) vital piece of our health.
A raw food diet (as in raw meat diet) is the ideal diet for dogs and cats. As a vegan this may seem like an odd thing to promote but after watching this documentary The Truth About Pet Cancer and talking to many more experts, the longevity and health of our dogs depends on a raw food diet. In fact, I have heard many pet owners say that putting their dog on raw food actually saved its life and/or helped them recover from a particular disease.
As soon as we brought our puppy into our world we fed her a strictly raw food diet. We barely could afford our $3,000 rent one block from the ocean, and at one point I put $1 in my gas tank just to get home, but getting that puppy the best nutrition while she was still growing was a top priority for me.
In hindsight I’m glad we did this. Now we’ve switched Maylee to about 30% raw and 70% dry kibble. The researchers in the movie found that just increasing to 20% raw can make a huge difference in minimizing disease. Our goal is to eventually get her back onto fully raw as our budget allows.
Here are the brands that we like:
K9 Natural Raw
Small Batch Raw
Some people make their own raw dog food (which I’m guessing could be cheaper) just make sure you do your research to know exactly what to add for proper nutrition.
Maylee’s been drinking from our reverse osmosis water filter since day one. When we moved into our new house, our water system wasn’t installed yet and she was drinking from the tap. My husband noticed that she began acting a bit off. Yes I know I sound like a dog diva person, and I should probably get another hobby, but when you fall in love with your dog it’s like you really do care about the health of their little internal organs. So yes, high quality water is just as important for a dog as it is a human.
I’ve spent too many hours researching this. First off I didn’t want to put a strong chemical on her back for her sake or for mine. And even more obvious, I didn’t want to give her a pill that would be running through her blood stream to kill the fleas yet somehow, as promised by the companies, be of no harm to her?!
So while trying to figure this all out, Maylee naturally goes and gets fleas. Because at the time, I was thoroughly grossed out by the disgusting jumping creatures and ready to move out of my own home, we gave May the pill. And it worked right away. Sweet. Accept I knew I didn’t want the pill to be a long term thing.
So in walks Diatomaceous Earth.
We sprinkle this on May getting it real deep into her coat every couple of weeks and it seems to be doing the trick. Said to be harmless to animals and humans, this stuff has tiny glass like fragments that pierces the protective structure of insects and kills fleas, ticks, lice and mites and their larvae.
Here’s the link:
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Make sure you get food grade on Amazon or walk through a rich person California dog store where you’re bound to find it too.
And my husband (who is Maylee’s primary hair dresser) I’m sure would find it ethical to add (in full discretion) that for dogs with high maintenance hair, diatomaceous earth can make their hair knot easier.
Seems worth it to me. But maybe not to Chris who on one occasion spent 8 hours combing and grooming our dog only to have her come out looking like a curly white hyena.
p.s. Our dog has super super high maintenance hair…