Proper nutrition is vital for your pet to thrive. Many chronic health problems in dogs and cats are caused by a heavily processed grain based non species appropriate diet. Some have dietary intolerances or sensitivities which can be tested for at www.nutriscan.org
Toxins in the environment are a big problem. Using filtered water and non-toxic cleaning products is necessary for you and your pets. See http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com and www.ewg.org consumer guides for common toxins.
Strive to feed the best diet compatible with your available time and finances. You can also gradually improve over time, unless time is short as in cancer. Many holistic practitioners believe a raw or home cooked diet is best. Raw food can come in prepared patties, premixes, and sterile freeze dried. Not all recipes for home cooking are nutritionally balanced. Many people don’t realize how important it is to follow the recipe; and they omit ingredients leading to an unbalanced diet. Some people will upgrade by avoiding wheat and corn, or buy grain free and add some fresh ingredients. Occasionally, with grain free diets you may need to add fiber to the diet. There are freeze dried raw treats available, also.
Supplements such as probiotics and digestive enzymes, fish oils, and anti-oxidants are helpful.
I like Biopreparation, a micro algae blend which can replace many supplements.
The level I have achieved with my cats is 1/2 grain free canned and 1/2 freeze dried raw. We were able to eliminate dry food slowly. Some of the canned food contains carageenan which causes inflammation. This is the best I can do right now. My ideal for them is raw. I believe their GI issues will resolve with this diet. To compensate, I give them herbs, probiotics and BioPreparation (which replaces many supplements).
Here are a few resources in your quest for optimal nutrition.
www.raynenutrition.com (Through RBVH-prepared home cooked therapeutic diet-need Rx)
www.pettao.com (TCVM diets)
Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats -
Beth Taylor and Karen Shaw Becker, DVM (recipes for raw and cooked food.)
For dental health for dogs, chewing on frozen, raw bones with a little meat on them for short periods of time is great for their teeth. They need to be discarded frequently or painful tooth fractures can occur. See www.mercola.com for an article on how to choose the right chews for your dog.
For cats, raw chicken necks may be useful, although a little messy. Don't use if there are young children or immune compromised people around because of the salmonella risk. There is also a potential choking risk. My cats were not impressed.
For toothpaste and water additives, look for the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of approval for products that work. One product I have found effective that isn't currently approved is Petzlife gel. As with human products, there are many with dyes and toxic chemicals. Human toothpaste should not be used on pets. Child tooth brushes can be used in dogs and proxy brushes in cats.
Visiting Holistic Veterinary Care of NJ