Experts in holistic health coaching, green living, stress management, and lifestyle coaching can also help clients improve the lives of their pets. A coach may offer a whole family holistic and green living consultation and evaluation. The pet’s environment can be included in the process.
How Can We Improve the Quality of Life for Animals?
63% of America’s households today have pets. So, creating a healthy environment for your pet is just as important as your or your child’s health, and here’s why. Animals are exposed to more toxins than we are. Think about it, they are much closer to the ground sniffing, rolling around in grass and flower beds (that are usually sprayed with pesticides), and are scavengers eating anything that remotely resembles food including grass.
They’re also exposed to the same array of pollutants that contaminate our indoor air and water. What’s sad to see are homeowners with pets and children who bring in pest control services like Orkin or Terminex to spray pesticides in and around their home, yard, and flower beds only to then see a healthy child or dog go out in the yard and roll around in the yard that was just sprayed with toxic poisonous chemicals. And remember dogs eat grass.
The other thing they have going against them is that unfortunately pet food, toys, furniture, and other pet products do not have to be tested for safety. Think about all of the plastic toys that are given to our lovable pets that are probably full of chemicals like BPA and phthalates that are toxic to their system. And we wonder why our pets are showing up with the same diseases found in humans like cancer, immune disorders, allergies, and more.
What Ingredients are in Pet Food?
When it comes to pet food, our pets, unfortunately, get the lowest quality food in the food chain. Pet food is usually made of animal byproducts and parts that frankly aren’t fit for human consumption. And their food is so over-processed and filled with preservatives, additives, fillers, and chemicals we’ve barely given them a fighting chance to fight off serious disease with nutritionally rich foods. Again, we’re surprised our pets are showing up with the same diseases as humans? And let’s not forget about their water, that’s the only thing they drink. Therefore it’s even more important to give them clean healthy water from your at-home water filtration system.
My primary veterinarian is a homeopathic vet. When I brought home my puppies from the pound and local rescue I asked him what I should feed them. He recommended a diet that is high in protein and raw vegetables. Because think about it, if your pet was out in the wild what would they eat? Raw meat and veggies. So that is exactly what most of my dog’s diet consists of. So, I feed my dog a combination of high-protein foods like raw meats and vegetables and their healthy coats show it!
In 2008 the Environmental Working Group started testing pets for their body burden, or the number of toxic chemicals that contaminate or circulate through a dog’s, cat’s, or animals system. What they found is not so surprising when you consider the chemical load or body burden that humans and newborns carry. But what’s sad is our pets have a higher level of toxic chemicals that circulate throughout their little bodies and find a home in a layer of fat that can be the start of a serious disease (not a pretty description but it’s true!). According to the Environmental Working Group’s study on dogs:
“…..blood and urine samples were contaminated with 35 chemicals altogether, including 11 carcinogens, 31 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, and 24 neurotoxins. The carcinogens are of particular concern, since dogs have much higher rates of many kinds of cancer than do people, including 35 times more skin cancer, 4 times more breast tumors, 8 times more bone cancer, and twice the incidence of leukemia, according to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center (2008). Between 20 and 25 percent of dogs die of cancer, making it the second leading cause of death in dogs (Purdue University Department of Veterinary Pathobiology 2000).”
The above translates into dogs carrying a 40% higher chemical load than humans. That is big. Their study on cats revealed the following:
“Cat samples contained 46 chemicals altogether, including 9 carcinogens, 40 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, 34 neurotoxins, and 15 chemicals toxic to the endocrine system. Endocrine (hormone) system toxins raise particular concerns for cats, since they include thyroid toxins and fire retardants called PBDEs. Thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism) is a leading cause of illness in older cats (Gunn-Moore 2005). The growing use of PBDEs in consumer products over the past 30 years has paralleled the rising incidence of feline hyperthyroidism, and a preliminary study suggests that PBDEs are found at higher levels in cats stricken with this disease (Dye 2007). Studies also show a high correlation between eating canned food and developing hyperthyroidism later in life for cats (Edinboro 2004; Kass 1999, Martin 2000). In addition to PBDEs, hyperthyroidism in cats could be linked to the plastics chemical and potent endocrine disruptor BPA that is known to leach from the pop-top cat food can lining into food (Edinboro 2004; Kang 2002).”
Even more shocking is, cats carry a body burden chemical load that is 96% higher than humans.
Risks of Conventional Flea and Tick Remedies
As of June 2009, the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) escalated its evaluation of spot-on flea and tick remedies (the kind you put on the back of the neck of your animal) due to the high growth of reported severe reactions, side effects, and even death.
In 2008, more than 44,000 severe reactions and over 1200 deaths were reported, an increase of 53% from the year before. Side effects include convulsions, kidney failure, reduced life spans, and terminal illness. Remember these products are pesticides and are registered with the EPA as a pesticide! When it comes to flea collars, these products are fruitless and of course, contain pesticides that feed your animal a steady supply of chemicals. Do you really want this on your animal 24/7?
A product that I highly recommend is Nature’s Defender made by Cedar Oil Industries. It is a truly all-natural flea and tick control solution for dogs and cats whose primary ingredients are cedar oil and a molten form of quartz rock. Think about it, have you ever seen a bug in a cedar chest? In tests, done by Iowa State University at the request by the U.S.D.A, the mortality rate of fleas is 100%, which exceeded everyone’s expectations including the manufacturers.
Other natural flea remedies include adding brewer’s yeast to their diet daily. You can also add black walnut hulls that come in capsule form to their diet. This repels not only fleas but ticks and mosquitoes. Other things to add are Sulpher, one time per week. These nutritional additions can take up to 4-6 weeks to take effect, so start these supplements before the flea season hits.
You can also make your own flea collar with an old bandana for your dog (for cats this is not recommended). Sprinkle a few drops of essential oils like citronella, rosemary, cedar oil, or rose geranium on it and tie it on your dog and monitor their behavior. Start small with a few drops. (I always recommend doing anything new under the supervision of a vet, if you are implementing natural remedies, find a homeopathic vet for your dog or pet.) If you have fleas in your home, carpet and or pet’s bedding look for powders like diatomaceous earth that you can sprinkle on your pet’s bed and vacuum (this must be vacuumed up properly because you don’t want your pet or anyone else inhaling it).
Always consult with your local homeopathic veterinarian on all these recommendations before starting them. They can also make recommendations that will help boost your pet’s immune system and help prevent further flea infestations.
Top Tips To Keep Your Pet Healthy
- Opt out of canned foods and go for real meat, preferably truly natural and organic without the hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, and more. Remember canned food usually contain the toxic chemical BPA which is an endocrine disruptor.
- Read your pet food’s label and stay away from chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin and any animal “by-products” or bone meal. Foods that contain animal “by-products” or bone meal have been found to have high fluoride levels. In humans, consuming high amounts of fluoride has been linked to mottled teeth (dental fluorosis), and weakened bones which leads to more fractures, reproductive and developmental system damage, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, and bone cancer.
- Add more nutritionally rich raw foods to your dog’s diet to boost its immune system. This gives them a fighting chance to fight off serious diseases.
- When choosing your pet’s dishes, stay away from plastic. Choose stainless steel or ceramic.
- Wash your pet’s bowls daily, particularly if you are feeding your dog meat or raw meat.
- Give your pet the same filtered water you drink.
- Replace pet bedding that’s full of foam (avoid the fire retardants) with natural cotton bedding.
- When you purchase new furniture skip the “stain treatments” that are full of toxic perflour chemicals.
- Stay away from those non-stick, Teflon pans. An overheated nonstick pan can kill birds and emit toxic chemicals that you or your pets shouldn’t be breathing.
- When it comes to the lawn, garden, and flower beds, skip the pesticides! Opt for natural and organic fertilizers that are safe for you and your pets. While you’re at it save a few bucks by starting a compost pile and use it to fertilize your gardens.
- Vacuum weekly (or more) with a HEPA-filter vacuum.
- Choose healthy kitty litter that’s made from plant sources or recycled newspapers. Kitty litter that’s made from clay is strip-mined which can be heavy on the environment.
- Choose healthy and natural grooming products for your pet. Read the ingredient label. Avoid products that contain parabens, have “-eth” in the name, “PEG”, “urea” or fragrance. If there are ingredients in there you don’t recognize or it doesn’t have an ingredient listing choose something else. Look for shampoos that have natural essential oils like rosemary, cedar, citronella, geranium, or juniper. Cedar oil seems to be particularly effective.
- Get rid of pesticide-laden flea and tick remedies and collars.
Where Can I Learn More?
If this topic interests you, you will also want to consider professional training, certification, and career opportunities as a Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach, Certified Holistic Life Coach, Certified Master Health and Wellness Coach or Stress Management Coach.
You can also check out these other blogs posts:
- What is Green Living?
- Can a Green Living Lifestyle Help Prevent Disease?
- Reasons That Going Green and Sustainable Living Makes Sense
NESTA and Spencer Institute has been helping people like you since 1992. To date, over 65,000 people from around the world have benefited from our various certifications, programs, continuing education courses and business development systems. We are here for you now and in the future. Feel confident in your decision to work with us as you advance your knowledge and career. We are here for you each step of the way.
That’s it for now.
Discuss ideas of how to add “pet health” into various services related to our courses.
ABC News, Pet Peeve, May 28, 2009 http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7703156
Naidenko, Olga, PhD, Senior Scientist, Environmental Working Group, Fluoride in dog food – Pets’ health at risk? June 2009