Holistic dog care inherently means taking care of the whole dog. This means diet, environment, life style including the mental and emotional side, and health care. In essence, it covers everything a dog needs to have a fulfilling and contented life.
This is not something that is easy to provide for domestic dogs. I believe that domestic animals have agreed to help us humans return to a more healthy way of life. I believe that this comes at a price to them. I believe that they would all rather be wild. So if we can honour their selfless contribution to our growth by giving them as natural a life as possible, I believe they will be happier, and so healthier.
It works both ways. They give to us, we give to them. The exchange can be nurturing. A very cost (monetary cost) effective.
Life Style and Environment
So first we need to look to the life styles and habits of wild dogs to get a better picture of how to treat our domestic dogs holistically.
Dogs live in packs. This means they need company. Having a single dog left alone all day, every day, is not, in any shape or form, healthy for a dog. Company for a dog doesn’t necessarily have to be other dogs. It just has to be equivalent company. If you are based at home, and interact with your dog periodically, this can be enough.
Depending on the breed and country of origin, a dog’s environment will vary. A husky, for example, would be miserable left outside in the hot summers of a tropical country. Most domestic dogs prefer to have some form of shelter from the elements. At least to have a choice. Extremes of weather and temperature can be tolerated if this is where they originated, but most prefer the option of shelter.
Most domestic dogs prefer to have some freedom to roam at will. Regular exercise is also important. Wild dogs will roam for miles. The size of your garden and the amount of exercise will depend on the size of the dog and the nature of the breed. A border collie would need to have a lot more exercise than a poodle.
Then you need to consider the food you feed your dog. Holistic dog food means the type of food they would eat in the wild. Not necessarily exactly the same. But the same idea. This is incredibly important. Food, by its regular ingestion can be the maker or breaker of health. Few people realise this and happily dish out the easy, and incredibly damaging, commercial dog food, thinking they are doing the right thing.
True holistic dog care means that you always look to Nature for the answers. Nature has been around a lot longer than commercial dog food. Dogs may have been bred to look different (this is easy to do in a single generation), but none have been bred to cope with anything other than a wholesome natural diet.
What passes for dog food is dog death, starting with the poor quality raw materials and finishing with the highly toxic chemicals masquerading as vitamins and nutrients, or simply to give an unnaturally long shelf life. Dog food companies and vets recommending these food make a lot of money out of this. It’s much more healthy to them than it is to the end user, your dog.
Along with your diet, the best way to serve a healthy, natural and holistic dog food that will ensure strong growth in puppies, and will maintain a healthy dog throughout adulthood, is to make it yourself from scratch. It doesn’t have to take long. The biggest hurdle is getting your mind round the idea. Once you have done it a couple of times, it becomes second nature.
Most people train dogs without fully understanding their psyche. If we want a truly happy dog (and so a healthy one), we need to train a dog according to how they work and think, not according to how we work and think. I know of none better than Jan Fennell, whose training methods are gentle, calm, highly effective and shows the dog true leadership, something they need.
Most people know of no other health care treatment than that of veterinarians. However, vets are not the same as they once were. They are no longer independent thinkers. For the most part, they are disease managers rather than supporting good health. Almost without exception, they are sales reps for the drug companies.
Vets are very costly, and tend to want to order expensive test after expensive test, which very often proves nothing.
So what are the real alternatives? There are a variety of natural health options which are very effective at healing issues. But for my money, there is nothing as effective, as fast and as deep acting as homeopathy. You don’t need to use a veterinary homeopath to get the best results. Any proficient professional homeopath who works with animals can be highly rewarding to work with. The bonus is that dogs love the remedies. No more coercion!
When you manage to get all these areas of holistic dog care, (life style, natural training, diet and health care) in harmony, not only will your dog be happy and healthy, so will your bank manager. And you will have learned a lot. Harmonious holistic life at its best.