Increasing numbers of pet owners are paying more attention to natural treatments for dogs and what they are feeding their dogs, cats, and horses, with many turning to organic, natural and herbal alternatives.
According to recent research from the United States, spending on nutraceuticals and pet care supplements is expected to continue rising throughout 2011, with sales predicted to reach $1.6 billion by 2015, a 27% increase from 2010. The senior and joints category is especially buoyant, accounting for approximately one-third of retail sales of dog supplements, one-fifth of sales of cat supplements and almost one-third of horse supplement sales.
Brookby Herbs founder and Managing Director, Jackie Rive, believes that the growing popularity of these pet care supplements is due to an increased awareness of alternative treatment options in general.
‘More and more people throughout both New Zealand and the rest of the world are now taking an interest in using non-pharmaceutical treatment options to care for their own health as well as the health of their families,’ explains Jackie. ‘Pets are an integral part of many households, so it comes as no surprise that people want to include them in their quest for healthier living.’
‘There has also been something of a backlash against unnatural processed foods recently,’ she adds. ‘Individuals are becoming much more aware of where their food and supplements come from and just how much they are contributing nutritionally. This new found attitude is crossing over to how they look after their pets and is driving purchases of natural and organic products.’
Jackie also points out that the fact that herbal supplements are gentler and often involve fewer side effects than conventional pharmaceutical medicines is also a drawcard.
‘Of course, the first step should always be to take your pet to the vet if there is anything wrong,’ says Jackie. ‘However, more veterinarians both here and overseas are now recommending herbal treatment alternatives for certain conditions. It is becoming widely accepted that they can be kinder on the organs, such as the liver and kidneys, than some of the pharmaceutical options.’
A few things to keep in mind when using herbal remedies:
- Herbs take time to build in the system, so do not expect immediate results. It can take from several days up to a week or more to know if the herbal remedy is effective depending upon the severity of the issue being treated and the overall vitality of the animal.
More frequent dosage – say 3 times per day, is typically more effective than a large dose once per day. The herbs need to remain and build in the animal’s system.
- Suggested dosages may need to be adjusted depending on the individual’s response. If vomiting, diarrhea or other signs of intolerance occur; a remedy should be stopped for two days, and then ½ the original dose can be administered to see if the lower dose can be tolerated. If the animal does not respond to the initial dose, a larger dose may be necessary. A gradual increase up to 50% above the original dose can be tried to see if results are improved. This should be done with the guidance of a trained veterinarian or with a good knowledge of the herbs you are using.
- Begin only one remedy or medication of any kind at a time.
Simple Tips for Healthy treatments for dogs
Daily Water! There's no compromise here... make sure your dog always has fresh, clean drinking water each and every day.
- Make sure your dog gets hard dog biscuits (and in some cases, raw bones) included in his diet. Feeding your dog only soft food will lead to plaque build-up on his teeth.
- Good quality dried dog food and properly prepared homemade dog food is the best food for dogs. Fresh meat, herbs, and leftover vegetables can be added to dry food for variation.
- Avoid feeding your dog scraps directly from the dinner table. Also, watch the amount of fat and carbohydrates in their diet because these can lead to overweight canines.