Holistic health is generally centered around three pillars: mind, body, and soul. Each year, different groups celebrate holistic health for pets on August 30 by encouraging pet parents to be mindful of their pets’ wellbeing from an alternative angle. With the day upon us, we found that some holistic practices are not only good for pet health, but are easy on the wallet too.
According to the American Pet Products Association, pet parents are projected to spend a collective $58.51 billion on their pets in 2014. Of that, $15.25 million will go to veterinary costs while another $13.72 billion will go to supplies and medicine.
In honor of Holistic Pet Day, here are some less conventional options and homemade remedies for pet parents:
1. Flea Fighters
Pet foster parent Claire Goodall uses a combination of apple cider vinegar, lemons and essential oils to create natural flea deterrents for her pets. Goodall prefers these options to the chemical-based options she finds at the store. Using essential cedar or lavender oils, she soaks her dog’s collars or bandannas in the oils diluted with water. Apple cider vinegar can also be mixed with water (1 teaspoon of vinegar to 1 quart of water for every 40 pounds) for dogs — deterring fleas as well as improving a dog’s skin and coat condition. Lemons are also a good ingredient to use, according to Goodall, as they contain limonene, a chemical that kills and repels fleas but is harmless to humans or pets. Some of these natural ingredients can also be used on cats.
2. Honey for Your Honeys
Pets sometimes suffer from lethargy, and, of course, can’t run to the local Starbucks to get a pick-me-up. One thing that dogs love for energy is honey. “Honey is the greatest of the natural energizers,” Juliette de Bairacli Levy writes in her book The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, “a nerve tonic and a supreme heart tonic…Predigested by its makers, the bees, it is absorbed immediately into the bloodstream of the consumer. A diet of only milk and honey can sustain life for months in humans and animals. It has been well and longtime proved that honey is also highly medicinal and will inhibit growth of harmful bacteria in the entire digestive tract and destroy those of a toxic nature.”
In addition to energy, honey can be used to stave allergies, treat skin irritations, and heal wounds, says the Whole Dog Journal.
3. Salt for Swelling
Sometimes dogs can suffer from a swollen joint and the cause is unclear to the pet parent. Whatever the cause, soaking the dog’s swollen area in epsom salt may do the trick, according to PetMD. Soaking the dog for five minutes twice a day (combined with veterinary care and antibiotics, if necessary) is the best remedy to help a dog heal faster. Epsom salts can also be used to treat abscessed nail-beds in both dogs and cats.
If these options aren’t up your alley, find your center and celebrate with some pet yoga.