Ringo (black dog pictured above) was a dog at the shelter we fostered for nearly 3 weeks. He had Kennel Cough. My puppy (7 months old at the time) did not get Kennel Cough. My puppy was not conventionally vaccinated against Kennel Cough but did receive homeopathic prophylactic treatment. My puppy did NOT suffer from this pathogen. This ailment is highly contagious. They slept in the same bed. They played together. They drank out of the same water bowel. How could this be?
Vaccinations are insufficient protection from disease as a stand alone entity. Dogs vaccinated against Parvo contract Parvo. Dogs vaccinated against Kennel Cough end up with Kennel Cough. And the list goes on. What is most important? Building the immune system. So how exactly can we build a strong immune system to offer the ultimate protection?
Provide a safe, stress reduced environment. This means the dog must feel safe inside the home and outside the home. He must be well-adjusted and well socialized. This also means dealing with your own depression, stress, anxiety, etc in healthy manners - dogs are influenced by these factors and are quite perceptive.
Build confidence. One way this is easily done is by teaching Fido some tricks. Incorporate lots of praise in training as opposed to just funneling treats when he performs well. Using methods other than luring are often effective as well as balance breaks with toys.
Feed appropriately. Kibble, which some refer to as food, is highly processed and biologically inappropriate. Raw or cooked food offers the best nutrients for optimal health. Nutrition is the foundation of health and much of disease begins in the gut. We must take measures to protect the microbiome through appropriate nutrients. Even a few meals a week of fresh food has shown to reap health benefits. This includes making your own treats. It is much less expensive and far more beneficial. Learn more about nutrition here: https://www.rocksholistic.com/videos
Homeopathy. This is natural medicine mainly derived from plants, animals, and minerals in diluted form. It works with the whole body to establish equilibrium and prompts the immune system to respond appropriately. There are homeopathic remedies which provide protection against illness. You can even use homeopathy along with allopathic medications if you choose. Learn more here: https://www.rocksholistic.com/homeopathy
Go ANTI for antibiotics. It seems vets give these out if a dog blinks. These disrupt the microbiome and should only be used when absolutely necessary. Work with a natural health practitioner or Homeopath to consider other alternatives.
Think critically. If you are not feeling well and experience digestive upset, do you run to the doctor every time? No. You might fast, drink tea, drink bone broth, eat soup, use natural healing agents, etc. The same holds true for your dog. Unless of course it is a necessary vet appointment. The more conventional medicine Fido takes, the more he becomes off balance through suppression thereby increasing the likelihood to be consumed by other diseases. Work with a natural health practitioner to become more educated on when vet visits might be necessary and healing measures you can take at home without a vet bill.
Use filtered water. Tap water contains many contaminants which equals toxins which equals stress. Drink filtered water yourself and give this water to Fido. Also washing the water and food bowls regularly is recommended.
Natural Flea/Tick preventatives. There are safer measures that preserve and protect the health of Fido. Think herbs and essential oils and even garlic (in therapeutic amounts). 1/4 a teaspoon for small dogs acts as a natural repellent. It is best fed for about 4-6 weeks prior to flea season.
Essential Oils and Herbs. These can be very beneficial not just for flea and tick prevention but for kennel cough, digestive upset, hyperactivity, etc. For kennel cough, diffusing Eucalyptus and Lavender has been found to be helpful and as well as Slippery Elm herb. Always test and monitor your dog's comfort level prior to diffusing essential oils.
Homeopathic Heart Worm. Consider using homeopathic heart worm protection instead of conventional methods. It is safer, effective and with no side effects.
Mental enrichment. A fenced in yard is insufficient physical exercise and offers very little mental engagement. What I call a "sniff walk" does so much more than a yard will ever do. Dogs experience life with their noses and to deprive them of such gratification is unfair. It's kind of like me taking you to the park with a blindfold. How much fun would you have? Another way mental enrichment can be done is through problem solving activities. You can place treats in a small towel on the floor. Then roll it up and twist the ends. Tell Fido to search inside and give him time to figure out how to obtain the treats. There are interactive games which may be purchased and many other ways to provide mental stimulation.
Exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. This is a no brainer but many do not take advantage of the free elements we can nourish our dogs with. Even if your dog is a senior couch potato some level of exercise and outside time is important.
Allow for proper rest and recovery. This is especially important when bringing a newly adopted dog into your home or for puppies. Proper amount of sleep heals, rejuvenates, and allows the body to operate more efficiently. Allow a few days of adjustment prior to socializing when first bringing home a dog.
Thermal attentiveness. This is important! If Fido is hot natured, provide him with cooling relief such as a cooling mat or ice cubes or give him a special place to relax in the home that is cooler. If your dog is more cold natured, consider a sweater, blankets, and more warming beds. If you are stressed and then also sweating or freezing, does that decrease your stress level? No. Same for Fido. Consider his needs for comfort.
Natural grooming products. There are no regulations in the pet grooming industry to determine purity of products. And your dog's skin contains less layers than your skin. Less toxins = less stress = better immune functioning. Some companies market all natural and organic products but in closer view there are actually toxic ingredients inside. Synthetic chemicals are connected to allergies and cancer. Steer clear especially of synthetic ingredients, artificial everything, parabens such as propylparaben, and sulphates.