We decided to green our dog. That meant no more canned food, no more poisonous flea treatments and medical treatments for her summer itch.
It has been entirely successful and she is fully recovered from 2 ear abscesses and a terrible bout of summer itch, both, I believe, caused by the Doggie Wash. She may have had water in her ears. Anyway, now that is all behind here but I thought I would make a short list of green doggie behaviour.
- When you are out walking pick up doggie poo and, unless your dog has had a recent worm treatment, add to your compost bin with some additional green and dry matter (eg. Leaves and cardboard). If your dog has been wormed, wrap up the droppings and put in the garbage.
- Hose away any doggie urine. Especially for female dogs, it can burn your lawns.
- Add a half cap full of Ti-Tree Oil to a bucket of dog washing water to prevent mites and to keep the skin sanitized.
- Add a tablespoon of Epsom Salts occasionally and soak the dog well. Not too often as it is drying.
- Look for eco friendly doggie products. There are many on the web.
- Recycle old dishes for dog bowls. You DON’T need ‘Fido’ written on the side…. But if you want your doggie dish named then you can get that added by a potter. The op shop has fab basins etc. for dogs. You can do the whole shabby chic thing or be a Clarice Cliff doggie owner.
- Food: I noticed while working in Thailand that the dogs there are mostly fed on rice-based food. Of course, some non-buddhists throw them the occasional injurious chicken bones but mostly the food is vegetarian.
- Doggie toys. Make sure that your dog is not chewing dangerous substances. Tennis balls can actually be toxic. Golf balls are DEFINITELY a no-no. think about the size of your dog in relation to its toy. Don’t give them cooked bones. Make your own chew/tug toy from old cotton rope. Steer away from anything synthetic. Old, long cotton socks with some cotton tied into a ball at the bottom make good toys and if they get lost, will just rot down into soil. Don’t be irresponsible leaving balls around parks. Those Kong toys last a lifetime except that maybe your dog will do what one of ours did and bury it. We found it years after she died.
- Take your dog for at least one walk a day (this will be good for you too!)
- Give them a chicken wing (RAW) to chew on each day or at least a few times a week for great tooth cleaning. You can buy these very cheaply from a butcher.
- Bones: Only raw ones are safe. Cooked bones will splinter and lodge in the dog’s intestines causing ailments such as perforated bowel. Very painful!
- Make your own chewy ‘leathers’ from gristle and hide. Dry them at the end of your baking day or BBQ so that you avoid having to heat the oven specially. You can get a whole pig’s head from the market very cheaply and it will make MASSES of chewy sticks for your dog and you can use the rest to make Pho or other soup!
- Cleaning doggy teeth – don’t use toothpaste. Just give them a chicken bone or take them to the vet. Fluoride is poisonous to dogs. Many dry dog foods contain high levels of this chemical. You can make your own dog biscuits. Use the dog food recipe as above and add 4 eggs and some wholemeal plain flour and a spoon of molasses. Mix and put into a plastic bag and roll this out while it is in the bag to avoid mess. Rip the top layer of plastic off and turn it out onto a baking sheet. Score into pieces around 2 centimetres x 6 cm. Cook. Then cut it with a sharp knife along your scored lines. Re-bake until the dog bikkies go brown and hard. Leave in the oven to completely dry. This is a very cheap recipe to make and runs rings around the bought product. If your dog is a creature of habit, you may need to break him or her in by adding a smear of vegemite till they get used to the new food.
- When your pet dies, bury the body if you can (at least 3 feet deep) and plant a passionfruit. Believe me, you will get wonderful fruit and your dog will ‘live on’. Donate all the bedding, leashes etc. to the Lost Dogs’ Home.
- Dog wash – if you have your dog professionally washed, make sure they recycle the water or at least put it on the garden. Dog clippings are excellent mulch for roses.
- Ensure that any dog kennel is made of sustainable, non-toxic materials. You can buy some that are recycled plastic ‘wood’.
- Pet hotels – if you have to leave your pooch while you are away, check the kennels before you place your dog there. Many leave lights on and waste water. Be sure that the one you choose has the same philosophy of pet care as you do. Make sure that you have up to date injections, flea treatment, worming etc. and get a vet card stamped before taking your dog. That’s just common sense. You may have to have something more radical than ti-tree oil when a number of dogs are together.
- Flea-borne diseases can be deadly. Neem based products are pretty good. (Look for ‘Ark Naturals’). Garlic is good as a wormer. (cooked). A safe, chemical free parasite control, Wholistic Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is an all-natural alternative to chemical-based de-wormers. The fine powder works by absorbing lipids from the cuticle, the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die. Fish Oil is also good.
Here is a good dog food recipe:
- 1 kilo whole boiling chicken or beef or lamb or anything really. On the bone.
- A chunk of oily fish. Salmon, cod, whatever you like. If you go at the end of the day to the market you may get a big discount but cook it immediately you get home.
- ¼ cup chopped fresh garlic
- 4 cups of any green and yellow vegetable
- Parsley (bunch)
- NO ONION as this can cause anaemia.
- 16 cups water
- ½ kilo brown rice, barley and some rolled oats to thicken it.
- Some large, gelatinous bones.
Boil the meat and bones to extract the gelatine for about an hour. Then remove them and pick all the meat off. Add chopped veges and cook all together until it is soft. Pack into your single portions with adequate liquid which will go to jelly (aspic) and freeze. If you forget to take it out of the freezer in time for dinner, you can reheat safely. I like to sprinkle a little Brewers’ Yeast over the top for some extra zing. You can vary this by adding chicken livers etc. Be creative!
If you have a Fowlers-Vacola unit, check out their meat bottling procedures.
The best way to feed your pet is a little at each end of the day. (Brekky & Dinner) so split a container across the 2 meals. When you cook this it will make A TON! Leave a few packs out ready for the next few days. Don’t freeze it all. Label it or you may eat it. But that wouldn’t really be a problem as it is just a nice stew and safe for human, unlike the mystery meats in cans
|Dog’s Weight||Total Daily Portion (Split into 2 meals)|
|Up to 2.5 kilos||1 to 1 ½ cups|
|2.5 – 5 kilos||2 to 3 cups|
|5 kilos to 10 kilos||4 cups|
Look at the plate, not at the dog with those melting large brown sad eyes ‘Woof, I’m STARVING! Gimme more!” as they are mostly great actors. An overweight pet is not a happy pet.
There are many ideas on the internet for looking after your dog in a green way, and it is well worth doing your research on every aspect before reaching for a non-green easy solution from the supermarket shelf. You may even save money!