Keep You and Your Dog Healthy During Flu Season

Nutrition by Mark Kenkel

It’s the time of year when humans start thinking about the flu, so it’s a good time to also do a good check up on your pup to see how their body is holding up. Does your pup have that icky ear smell, lots of hot spots, really bad skin, getting a lot of upset stomachs?

If so, it’s likely that your pup is suffering from a GI imbalance, too much yeast, and/or leaky gut. Yikes, that sounds horrible – but it’s not as bad as you think and unless your pup is in very bad shape, it can be rather quickly nipped in the bud.

Yeast is a part of your doggie’s natural flora – just like good and bad bacteria. But with the food dogs eat (too many carbs), the environment it lives in (think chemicals, flea and tick solutions, etc.) or diseases like hypothyroidism, your pup can begin to exhibit signs that its internal flora could use a good balancing act.

Signs that things are a bit out of whack. Constant ear infections (no they are NOT normal even for floppy ear dogs), hot spots, dull coat, frequent upset tummy, loose stools, itching, and licking.

So, what do you do about it? There are many natural products you can use to bring your pup back to a balanced healthy life.

Food

First, you know what I am going to say – check your dog’s food ingredients. Nature’s Logic doesn’t contain any peas, legumes, etc. and has been a great go too for us, for dogs that have pretty severe health issues. Open Farm is another option. Both of these food companies know where their protein is sourced (no dead, diseased or dying animals – all USDA human grade), have never had a recall and have higher protein than those grocery store brands. They also are not rich in carbohydrates which are huge contributors to yeast in pups and humans. Switch out slowly, but you won’t be able to get your pup to a better place without better food. Check out our earlier articles on freeze dried raw food as well.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is great because it contains Medium Chain Triglycerides – you know – lauric, caric, caprylic, and myrstic and palmitic acids. Every one of those is known to contain antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Yeast is a fungus and coconut oil has been used very effectively at controlling its overgrowth. It should be taken internally but can also be used on hot spots. Start slowly and don’t run to Trader Joe’s to fetch their organic coconut oil off the shelf. If you want to help your pup – use Coco Therapy. It’s the only 12-month aged organic coconut that is processed to contain less water increasing the bioavailability in your pup’s digestive tract. Start with a ¼ to ½ teaspoon and work up to a ½ to full teaspoon depending upon the size of your dog. You can mix it in your pup’s food or let them lick it off the spoon!

Apple Cider Vinegar

The same apple cider vinegar that you may use at home for your own homeopathic solutions, can be used for your pup as well. It has terrific yeast fighting abilities and can be diluted and used as a solution to stop itching, to clean ears, and as an additive to food (I wouldn’t suggest you putting it in water unless you are certain it won’t impact your pup’s interest in drinking. Drinking is very important to flush out the yeast die off and bacteria accumulated in your pup’s body).

It can be used as a rinse by diluting 1 cup of vinegar in 2-4 cups of water after a shampoo. Full strength it can be rubbed into your pup’s coat to reduce its dander and it can even be used full strength to reduce calluses, rough skin or to soothe a pup (or human) with a sunburn.

And the good news, that same organic brand you purchase in the store can be used for you and your pup. Bragg’s is always a good, go to solution.

Ear Aids & Other Supplements

Yeasty, Icky ears can be combatted by using Ear’s All Right by Ark Naturals. It contains myrrh which has its own antifungal properties and we use it religiously in our grooming salon!

And Glacier Peak Gold is a great supplement that is a blend of various herbs designed to focus on the elimination of fungus and virus. The drops can be given three times per day in food (not water) for 10 days. You take a break for 10 days then do another round twice a day for another 10 days.

Bone Broth/Goats Milk

Both bone broth (again not the brand at the grocery store but the doggie variety) and goat’s milk are very important additives to your pup’s diet because they both heal the gut and help to flush out the gunk. Dogs generally don’t drink enough water, so providing a healthy option such as goats milk and adding doggie bone broth to your pup’s water are very important options to delivering a full spectrum solution to deal with yeast overgrowth.

Keep Yourself Healthy

Finally, don’t forget about yourself this flu season. There are two suggestions that we use in our daycare and boarding facility and provide for our employees. Thieves’ Oil is an ancient remedy that can kill virus’. We mix it up and use as a spray everywhere. We use this formula with essential oils (I am sure you have a friend or two around town that sells essential oils – if not you can find them online.)

The formula we utilize is as follows:

40 drops Clove Bud oil; 35 drops Lemon oil, 20 drops Cinnamon Bark oil, 15 drops Eucalyptus oil, 10 drops Rosemary oil. Mix in a dark spray bottle (glass) and fill the remaining bottle with water. Shake and then make certain to shake before each spray. You will love the smell!

And, we also suggest Triple Flu Defense. If used as directed, it will either significantly lessen or ward off the flu or a cold. It is reformulated every year to combat the flu using CDC, WHO and patient data. I use it, especially before and after I fly, and whenever I am near anyone sniffling and sneezing – and I haven’t gotten sick in years!!! The company that makes it, Nenninger’s Naturals also has a new formula which I just love, Cold and Sinus solution.

You can’t keep your pup healthy if you don’t keep yourself healthy! And remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!

Mary and Patrick Kenkel own Whole Dogz, a doggie day care, boarding facility, and retail store located at 4748 Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria. Visit in person or online at wholedogz.com and store.wholedogz.com