My family always had pets growing up, and a sweet orange-and-white cat named Fidget followed me after college when I got my first apartment. He was mellow and patient, perfectly happy to lounge in the sun in front of the window or on the bed during my long hours at work, so it was a good arrangement. The epitome of laid back, Fidget never gave me the slightest cause for worry.
It wasn’t until years later that I genuinely become a “Fur-Mom.” A nine pound frizzball with a dipstick tail snuggled into my shoulder and stole my heart. My perspective instantly and irrevocably shifted. All of the sudden I worried about things like what the heck I was cleaning my floor with and reading the ingredient lists on bags dog food. That was when I discovered that pets can need detoxing too.
Like us, our pets are increasingly spending their time in environments they are not evolutionarily adapted to, surrounded by toxic substances. Again, like us, over time this often leads to toxin accumulation in their bodies, eventually causing serious and chronic illnesses.
Happily, there are some easy ways we can help our pets detoxify and avoid accumulating toxins in the future:
1. Feed a Clean Diet. Have you ever read the back of the dog food bag and been irritated or appalled (or both!) to discover GMO soy, corn, or animal by-product meal at the top of the ingredient list? Pets aren’t designed to eat, digest, or benefit from that nonsense any more than people are. Food allergies are among the most common cause of skin, digestive, behavior, and anxiety problems in pets. The number one thing you can do to help your pet detoxify and prevent future toxin issues is to feed them the cleanest, healthiest food you can.Grain-free, by-product free pet food options are proliferating, as are easy DIY pet food alternatives (often rice-based). Depending on your resources and levels of need and interest, there are some excellent books on the market explaining how to implement a raw diet for pets as well.
2. Limit Vaccines and Medications to Only What is Necessary. Protecting our pets from very real threats such as rabies and lyme disease is both responsible and important. But not all pets face the same threats at the same levels, and what is critical for one may be totally unnecessary for another. Don’t be afraid to do your homework and talk to your vet about opting out of vaccinations or other commonly-prescribed medications that will burden your pet’s immune system with very little real benefit to show for it.
3. Use Non-toxic Alternatives Whenever Possible. Food-grade diatomaceous earth can be safely and effectively used to combat common pet health challenges like worms and fleas; it is not only easy to use, but inexpensive to boot! While it’s crucial that you properly research them to ensure their safety and appropriateness, many non-toxic essential oil and herbal remedies are also available to address and alleviate pet ailments.
4. Provide Plenty of Exercise and Fresh Air. Exercise and fresh air support pets’ bodily health and lift their moods in many of the same ways they do ours. (If you can install one, doggie doors are the Best. Thing. Ever.)
5. Keep Up Your Own Detox Efforts! Remember that many of the things you do to detoxify your own environment will positively impact your pets by default, so keep up the hard work!
Do you have a furry companion who could benefit from some of these tips? If so, I’d love to hear about him/her in the comments!