Check out these top four reasons why your dog might need sunscreen, plus, better, natural solutions to protect him from the sun’s rays! I use an essential oils sunscreen spray for my pets that is safe even if your dog licks it.
1. Your dog is an outdoor enthusiast
If this is your dog, she likes spending the entire day at the beach, in the pool or hiking the trails.
2. A clean, close shave
Does your dog have naturally short hair? Are you a fan of the “summer shave?” If either answer is yes, than you might want to pay attention to how much time your pup stays in the sun. Shorthaired dogs have a higher occurrence of sunburn compared to their furry counterparts.
3. The dreaded bald spot
Surgery incisions, balding and bare bellies are three reasons your dog will need sunscreen if they’re staying in the sun for more than 15 minutes.
4. The nose knows
Dogs with light noses are basically asking for it. Light noses need extra protection against sun worshiping.
So, how can I naturally protect my dog from the sun?
We will get to that shortly but first …
The dreadful truth about sunscreen …
Efficacy and SPF measurability of natural oils are a constant debate. Yes, skin cancer is on the rise but so are environmental toxicity and malnutrition. There’s a myriad of toxic ingredients found in commercial sunscreens. This toxicity is a big deal for dogs because they lick their skin and fur.
Many FDA compliant, “dog approved” sunscreens boast all-natural ingredients that are safe to lick and ingest. I would disagree. As I discuss later, all natural is just that, natural. Read your labels!
A good place to start your research is with the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Chemical Database. They even have an app you can download to your phone so you can check ingredients while you shop.
Here are some dangerous ingredients in two popular “dog safe” sunscreens on the market…
Distilled Water, DMDM Hydantoin, Glyceryl Trioctanoate, Propolene Glycol, Dicaprylate Dicaprate.
DMDM Hydantoin has a high toxicity rating; Propylene Glycol is a skin irritant and, with repeated exposure, an organ toxin.
Octonoxate, Oxybenzone Carnuba wax, corn starch, Ethylhexyl Stearate, hydrogenated caster oil, ozokerite, Castor Seed Oil, Mongongo kernel oil, silica, Sorbitan Sesquioleate and talc.
Octonoxate and Oxybenzone score 6 and an 8 on the toxicity scale. The biggest concern I have with Octonoxate is that it can interrupt thyroid function. Oxybenzone absorbs quickly and acts like estrogen in the body. Both substances are dermal allergens along with Sorbitan Sesquioleate.
So what can you do? …
The Five-fold Path To Simple Sun Protection
You can’t get more natural than veggies and greens. Whole foods can help protect against UV radiation by boosting the antioxidant levels of the skin. While these foods can’t replace sunscreen for extended sun exposure, they can become part of your dog’s summer diet rotation.
Unprocessed meat contains higher amounts of the amino acide histidine, which helps the skin protect itself from molecular damage through the production of urocanic acid.
Essential Oil Sunscreen Protection
I have an essential oils sunscreen spray on my website that is SPF 4 but it is a good start and the oils are fine if they are ingested so your dog can lick them and it is safe.
I love this article by Dr. Becker for she said the same thing as my holistic vet told me years ago about the omega 3 oils our pets need and how animals do not have the ability to process the plant based omega 3 oils like people do. Sometime I think people forget that the human digestive system is different from the animal and what works for the human doesn't always work for their pets.
By Dr. Becker
Many dogs' diets are lacking in healthy fats to support their health. This is especially true if they eat a primarily canned or dry food-diet.
Why does your dog need healthy dietary fats? They provide a concentrated source of energy and make up cell membranes. In addition, certain fats have anti-inflammatory benefits and play a role in the formation of hormones.
Healthy fats are also necessary for your pet to produce bile acids that will help him to digest and absorb nutrients. A simple way to significantly increase the healthy fats in your dog's diet is to add healthy, high-quality oils to his meals.
Three Healthy Oils for Your Dog1.Krill Oil
Krill oil is rich in the omega-3 fats eicosapentaneoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These anti-inflammatory fats are found naturally in seafood, but don't expect to get meaningful amounts in fish meal-based pet foods, which I don't recommend.
You can feed your pet sardines packed in water or wild-caught salmon for valuable omega-3s, or try a krill oil supplement. I recommend all marine oils be verified to be sustainably sourced and toxin-free.
Omega-3s are very sensitive to oxygen and can become rancid quickly, so I prefer oils dispensed from an airless pump or that come in capsules that can be cut and squeezed onto food just prior to feeding.
My last choice is to buy liquid, bottled oils, because there is a far greater risk of oxidation over time. You should also be wary of omega-3 fats added to commercial pet food, as they're likely to be inactivated, rancid, or can become rancid over time.
Omega-3 deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency I see in my practice. The symptoms I encounter on a daily basis include cats with dry skin and chronic oral inflammation, and dogs with recurrent skin and ear infections.
Supplementing your dog's (and cat's) diet with non-toxic marine oils, such as krill oil, is important for overall health for virtually all pets, but may offer particular benefits for pets with the following conditions:
Certain types of cancer
Inflammatory skin disease
How much krill oil does your pet need? If your pet is currently in good health, I recommend supplementing with krill oil as follows:
I recommend feeding one-quarter teaspoon of 100 percent organic, cold-pressed, and human-grade coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for dogs (and cats). This can be added at meal time to your pet's fresh homemade or commercial raw diet.
Coconut oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may benefit your dog's cognitive function. In one study, senior beagles fed a diet supplemented with MCTs had significant improvements in brain function.1
In addition, coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid, which is a powerful antimicrobial agent. This makes coconut oil an especially good choice for pets with yeast infections or allergies. It may also help with hairballs in cats and can be used topically for skin conditions.
Coconut oil can be beneficial both orally and topically. In the video below, you can see the coconut oil treatments I give to my senior dog Rosco, who struggles with flaky and sometimes itchy skin.
3.Flaxseed, Hemp, and Pumpkin Seed Oils
If you should have a need to supplement omega-6 fats in your pet's diet (usually people who feed a homemade diet), plant oils like flaxseed, hemp and pumpkin seeds are much preferred over sources like corn oil, safflower oil or olive oil. A lack of omega-6 fats in your pet's diet will result in poor overall development and a failure to gain weight.
An omega-6 deficiency can also compromise your pet's immune system and cause liver and kidney degeneration. Other signs of omega-6 deficiency include:
Dogs and cats cannot efficiently convert plant sources of omega-3 fats into appropriate amounts of DHA and EPA, so the best option for omega-3 fats is to use an animal-based source such as krill oil or sardines.
Add Healthy Oils to Your Pet's Food at MealtimeWhen feeding your pet healthy oils like krill oil, flaxseed oil or hemp oil, add them to your pet's food at meal time. This will ensure the oil stays fresh and is not oxidized or rancid by the time your pet consumes it (assuming it was fresh to begin with). As mentioned, I recommend using krill oil from an airless pump or in capsule form for this very reason (if your pet won't eat the whole capsule or you need a smaller amount, pierce the capsule and squeeze it onto your pet's food).
If you feed your pet a homemade fresh or raw diet, you'll want to be sure you have included the appropriate amounts of essential fatty acids. However, even if you feed a commercially prepared diet, it's most likely to be lacking in enough beneficial omega-3s due to the heat required for processing, which is why I often recommend adding an additional source to your pet's meals.
For a guide on how to prepare nutritionally balanced, fresh-food meals for your pets, refer to my book of homemade pet food recipes, "Real Food for Healthy Dogs & Cats."
The recipes in this book are not only AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials)-compliant, they also meet the nutritional requirements for biologically appropriate, healthy diets for all stages of a pet's life as outlined by the National Research Council (NRC) and the ancestral diet for dogs and cats. The recipes make it easy to feed your pet the best diet, full of species-appropriate healthy fats and oils, possible.
A yeast infection, also known as Candida, is basically caused by a group of microscopic fungi or yeast called Candida albicans. It can affect the ears, paws but can also develop on the skin on the abdomen, and beneath skin folds on certain dog breeds.
Factors that can increase the risk of getting a yeast infection are stress, chronic health conditions, diabetes, use of steroids and antibiotics.
Some of the signs of a yeast infection are itching, burning or swelling in and around the affected area. The paws and ears can also have a foul smell. There are many simple home remedies that can eliminate the infection in a relatively short time.
Here are some home remedies for yeast infections.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, a “friendly” strain of bacteria present in kefir, can control the growth of infection in the body. For treating a yeast infection, only use plain, unsweetened goat milk kefir.
2. Coconut Oil
Organic unrefined coconut oil has effective antifungal properties that can kill the fungi responsible for yeast infections.
· Externally apply the organic coconut oil on the affected areas three times a day.
· You can also make a mixture of equal amounts of coconut oil and a few drops of either melaleuca essential oil, protective blend essential oil or cinnamon essential oil. Apply it on the affected skin area to control the growth of the infection. For information on the how to get the certified pure essential oils contact us.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Organic Apple cider vinegar contain some distinctive components that can control a yeast infection and get rid of the fungi causing it. Use organic apple cider vinegar with the pet.
· Mix two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar should be murky brown in color) and put it on the dogs food twice daily for a few days. (Most dogs don’t mind.)
· Make a natural dog shampoo with apple cider vinegar. Soon the skin irritation and itching will lessen. The recipe is on my site in the Recipe section.
· You can dilute apple cider vinegar with plain water and then apply it externally on the affected skin area. Leave it on for half an hour and then rinse it off with water. I add in witch hazel for it is an astringent which will help control the yeast.
Cranberries contain both antibacterial and antifungal properties and can be used to fight the fungi responsible for yeast infections. It can also treat urinary tract or any other kind of bladder infections.
· You can take cranberry tablets daily. Cranberry tablets are readily available at a natural health store or at your holistic veterinarian’s office.
By Rodney Habib in Nutrition And Diet
Today’s cat and dog owners are becoming more savvy than just a few years ago. They’re starting to pay attention to food labels because they want the best for their animals. So they read the labels and they choose foods that they believe will give their pet a long and healthy life.
A recent trend is the move toward grain-free foods. By tracking retail pet food sales, GfK reports that grain-free dog foods saw a 28% spike in 2013. “We see the growth of grain-free foods – and natural pet products generally – as part of a larger trend toward humanization of pets,” said Maria Lange, senior product manager of GfK’s Retail and Technology team. “Consumers are clearly comfortable splurging on pets they see as valued family members, not just everyday animals.”
And that’s where it all goes wrong…
Pet food companies are recognizing our desire to move away from harmful grains. And why wouldn’t we? An overwhelming percentage of dogs suffer from yeast and skin disease.
“Grains and other starches have a negative impact on gut health, creating insulin resistance and inflammation” says holistic veterinarian, Dr Jodie Gruenstern. “It’s estimated that up to 80% of the immune system resides within the gastrointestinal system; building a healthy gut supports a more appropriate immune response. The importance of choosing fresh proteins and healthy fats over processed, starchy diets (such as kibble) can’t be overemphasized.”
Yeast is a fungus that’s always present on pets as part of the normal flora of the body, both internally and externally. When the immune system becomes depressed, or when the dog is fed starchy foods, the yeast will proliferate in the hair follicles and throughout the body.
So pet owners with itchy pets want to keep them off harmful steroids and are rightfully looking at their pet’s food as a potential cause. Pet owners now know that grains feed yeast, and with the explosion of itchy pets these days, pet food companies are making a lot of money by selling them grain-free foods.
But here’s the kicker: yeast and allergy symptoms aren’t caused by grains, they’re caused by starches.
Starches are complex carbohydrates that turn into sugar when metabolized in the body. Do you know what yeast loves to eat? Sugar!
Starches are found not only in rice, corn and wheat, but in potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes – all of those ingredients found in grain-free goods.
You see, there’s one really big problem with kibble: they can’t make it without starch. That starch is not only cheap to source, but it’s necessary to hold the kibble together. Without starch, your bag of grain-free dog food would be a bag of dust.
So pet food manufacturers can call those foods whatever they want – but those grain-free foods, expensive veterinary allergy foods and super premium foods all have one common denominator: lots of starch!
So how much starch is in your pet’s diet?
Check out that chart at the top of the page – we made it to help you understand what could be fuelling your dog’s itchy skin. (source: Borggreve et al; Murray et al.)
FYI: Rice didn’t make the chart as it has the highest levels at 810g/kg. We just figured everyone knows rice is the starchiest of all… right?