7 min read

7 Natural Must Have's for Pet Owners

1.Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - For dogs only

I am personally not a fan of its taste but I keep it around now for the pets. It’s wonderful in so many ways and most dogs love the taste of it.
  • Mixed with a little baking soda in 2 cups of water, it can help disinfect fungal areas (cats and dogs). Apple cider vinegar has anti fungal properties, best is to find an organic brand and then apply 3 times a day topically, it’s great to get rid for ringworm as well.
  • Dribble a little like a tea or table spoon full into your dog’s food for some extra joint and gut health.
  • Great ear cleaner, mixing half/half of drinking water with ACV together and cleaning your dog’s ears with some cotton ball.
  • Do an ACV body rinse to restore skin pH, soothe itchy skin, and calm rashes, especially after flea bites. Mix the following ingredients together in an aroma-safe bottle/jar with cap and shake well before use:
* Apple Cider Vinegar: 1/2 cup
* Brewed Green Tea (cooled): 1/2 cup
* Normal drinking or distilled Water: 1 cup

2. Baking Soda- For dogs and cats

I’ve used baking soda for a variety of reasons, including to clean my apartment.
Baking soda (always diluted with water) is also great for cleaning your dog’s or cat’s fur without using heavy shampoos, don’t directly use it on inflamed skin areas or open sores directly though, if you’re dealing with open wounds please dilute it heavily with water.
EXAMPLE: one table spoon baking soda mixed with 1/4 liter water. Mix it well and use with some cotton or konjac sponge to gently dab on affected areas, don’t rub, just a light dab will do.
Another example is, mix baking soda with coconut oil for a natural and safe toothpaste that contains no chemicals.
You can also feed baking soda:
Baking soda is great to settle upset bellies. If your dog has diarrhea and it’s not a chronic condition for example, fasting him or her for around 12/24 hours and add some baking soda into their drinking water.
EXAMPLE: Mix 1 table spoon with 1 liter of water, this should help settle the issue. It’s perfect for all dogs who’s bellies are a little sensitive.
Here’s a short list of what baking soda is useful for:
  • Reduces Acidity
  • Decreases Diarrhea
  • Anti-itch Properties
  • Reduces Swellings - for example bee and wasp stings
  • Removes Plaque - perfect for home made tooth paste for dogs and cats
  • Antibacterial
  • Decreases Kidney Stones
  • Fresh breath
  • Reduces Bladder Infection - it’s great to add a little of it into your dog’s water bowl.

3. Konjac Sponge - For cats and dogs, topical use

Clean paws in one wipe, soft paws are an added benefit.
Konjac sponges are an all-natural, soft and gentle skincare tool. Use as part of your pet's skin care and grooming regiment. The sponge works well even for pets with very sensitive skin or skin allergies. The konjac fiber helps hydrate the skin and balance the skin’s pH.
The sponge’s fibers are packed with nutrients including iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamins A, E and D, “B” vitamins 1, 2, 6 and 12, vitamin C, and folic acid.
I’ve fallen in love with this sponge, which I use on my face daily. I had the idea to try this sponge as well on my foster dogs’ paws and I loved the result. By using it daily on their paws the skin has become softer and smoother, which results in them gnarling less.
Use the konjac sponge to clean dry and dead skin off around rough or healed skin, it will gently exfoliate.
The Konjac sponge is much gentler than Luffas and therefore suitable even for sensitive dog and cat skin. If you want to remove dirt from paws, the konjac sponge is saver than using chemically induced wet wipes.
Even better is that it’s biodegradable and once you throw it away you’re not causing the environment any harm.
Side note: Unlike for human use I don’t recommend you use any products on this sponge and stick with just pure water. If you want to use products, use natural ones like apple cider vinegar and baking soda solution etc.
Make sure to gently squeeze the water from the sponge and not to wring it, else it may break. After use, dry it on a towel in an air ventilated room to be able to reuse many more times. Be careful don’t keep it in moist areas such as your shower, else it will start to mold.
For paw care we recommend to gently rub the sponge along your dog’s or cat’s paws and old skin and dirt will come off while rough skin will become smooth again.

4. Aloe Vera - For cats and dogs, topical use

When you use aloe vera for your pet, make sure you're not using the whole leaf. The leaf contains saponins, the yellow or orange substance found in the rind, which is a laxative that can make your pet sick. So don’t let your pet chew on the leave. Use only the gel.
Audrey , Founder of Slow Living warns:
“Using oxidized aloe pulp on a wound might end-up being extremely counterproductive, as it might be contaminated material, and transfers contamination to the wound, which could aggravate it or slow down the healing process, since some of these bacteria and yeast can be pathogenic.”
Oxidized means: when you try to DIY your own aloe vera gel with fresh leaves. You extract the pulp and if you keep it for even 24h without a good preservative system, it will oxidize (the color will become brownish) because of the contact with air, and therefore develop bacteria, yeast and fungi very fast, some of which can be harmful.
So if you extract the pulp from fresh leaves yourself, make sure to use the pulp IMMEDIATELY and toss the leftover. Work in very hygienically conditions wearing gloves and disinfecting your tools.
Audrey continues advising to pay close attention when you decide to purchase Aloe Vera products:
“It's important when using raw natural ingredients for therapeutic purpose to buy 100% pure and natural ingredients. A lot of Aloe Vera products are very deceptive, advertising "99% aloe", but as you look at the ingredient list, it is filled with endless synthetic ingredients, and the promising 99% should actually be understood as "99% of the natural ingredients used in the formulation" (but the formulation itself might contain less than half of pure aloe)”
So always look for 100% pure, undiluted Aloe Vera!
Last, buying organic certified aloe is even better. Make sure there is a clear international organic certification body, such as USDA, Ecocert or AB. This will guarantee the absence of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer, as well as fair-trade / earth-friendly farming practices.
Regarding the ingredients list Audrey says: Citric acid used as a gentle preservative is completely OK and welcome in the ingredient list.
Why is Aloe Vera so good?
Aloe Vera has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for treating burns, itches, and hot spots when applied to the skin. If your dog is itching, apply the gel to the affected areas.
The cooling effect often reduces the discomfort immediately. It should be applied twice a day.

5. Towels

I know this one should be obvious, however many people don’t dry their pets after coming back from the rain, or only dry the paws. Even if the rain wasn’t heavy, even if your dog wore a rain coat it’s important you dry him or her off completely to avoid skin irritations. I like to have several towels at hand so I always have a fresh one to use whenever I need to.
We live in an environment with extreme humidity which is one of the major triggers impacting our four legged friends skin health. It is important to make sure your dog’s skin is kept dry to avoid the spread of fungus. Preventative measures are always better then fighting an actual outbreak.

6. Coconut Oil (Cold pressed) - For cats and dogs

I'm not going to bore you with the stuff you know about coconut oil already. I also won’t be advising you to feed coconut oil regularly because it’s high in omega 6 and what you should focus on is finding high quality animal based omega 3 to feed your cat and dog.
I have come to realize that coconut oil on its own when applied topically dries the skin out and have stopped using it and switched to Aloe Vera.
However coconut oil is amazing to get rid of fleas, if your dog or cat shows signs of fleas rub coconut oil deep into the skin tissue, don’t worry about the fur being greasy, it will pass soon, let it sit for some hours (roughly 8 hours), you’ll literally see fleas jumping out of the fur coat dying off on top of it and you then can simply pick them off one by one. Once that’s done take your dog to the groomers for showering.
Please note, this will get your hands greasy and I suggest spreading some towels. It works amazing if you’re looking for a more natural way to fight those little bastards.
I’ve done so on my golden retriever Kolya before, when we lived in an old lane house that was prone to little pests that loved building their communities there.
Another great use for coconut oil is making home made toothpaste, I like to mix one tea spoon dried mint, a quarter of a cup of baking soda and half a cup coconut oil and then mixing them together. Let this sit in the fridge to harden. Don’t worry about the recipe precision. If your dog eats it it won’t cause him or her any harm.

7. Thyme

This is my personal favorite, I love to have it at home even just for the smell.
Thyme contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. It also has antiseptic and anti fungal properties, which make it great for skin and yeast infections, for example between your dog's toes.
If you've noticed your dog chewing at their paws, try making an infusion out of dry or fresh thyme and apply it to the affected areas. Make sure it gets deep between the toes. I like to use konjac sponge, soak it in the thyme infusion and apply some pressure to squeeze out the liquid on to the affected skin areas.



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