Top Dog Health Products for 2011
Everyone wants to have a healthy dog, so why not make sure you're doing everything you can to ensure your dog's health by giving your canine companion the best health products available? I've outlined the best foods, treats, beds, and apparel for 2011 below.
Certified organic chicken is the first ingredient listed for this food - it has a high meat content and 70% organic ingredients. These are all good things to see in a healthy dog food.
These aren't cheap, but when it comes to food, it's good not to cut corners.
These dog treats are organic - AND chicken, which is lower in calories and fats than alternatives such as beef.
Healthy Dog Food and Treats
Let's start with food, since that's something you'll need to get for your dog regardless of whether you care about the health of your dog or not.
With regard to normal food:
The general consensus online is that the healthiest dog foods out there are comprised of about 40% meat, 50% vegetable matter, and 10% grain. When shopping for dog food, look for the same things on labels that you'd be looking for in foods you eat yourself - ingredients that are understandable, natural, and fresh. If you don't see meat in the top five list of ingredients in the food, you'll probably want to pick something else, though beware of meat listed before a bunch of less desirable fillers (stick to the ratio).
It goes without saying that the cheapest, bargain dog foods aren't going to be the healthiest out there - the same goes for human food, so just consider it that way. Because food is such an important component of everyone's life, it's important to "splurge," as it were, and invest in something a bit more pricy.
With regard to treats:
Avoid packaged dog treats altogether if you can; most of the online guides and resources I've read point out that these can be loaded with excess fat and sugar, which could be negative even in moderation. In an ideal world, treats of salmon flakes or other meat scraps (if you'd eat it, I imagine it's a better choice for your dog than other things on the market) would be best, though apparently some store-bought dog treats and snacks are better than others.
If you want to take a really healthy route, offer your dog baby carrots as a treat - apparently, they find the sweet crunchiness to be pleasant! If you want to offer something indulgent and fancy, but organic and healthy, google "healthy dog treat recipes" - you'll be surprised by the number of easy, delicious alternatives out there.
If you really want to buy a dog treat, go for something like dried chicken strips - they're generally lower in fat and not highly processed like other supposedly "healthy" alternatives.
No matter what you're feeding your dog as a treat, please make moderation the rule.
This hemp bone is pretty inexpensive, and looks and feels just like equivalents made of synthetic fabrics
The Simply Fido pet toy is organic, which means you can leave any worries about strange chemical dyes and additives at the door. It also comes in different animals and sizes.
It may seem old fashioned, but going with knotted rope is a whole lot healthier than going with an odd plastic toy... it's far better to accidentally ingest shards of natural fiber than plastic.
Healthy Dog Toys
With regard to dog toys, there are some toys that are safer and healthier than others.
Because dogs interact with their toys using their mouths, it's important to introduce toys that are not filled with dangerous chemicals that may be ingested. Generally speaking, it's best to go with dog toys that are natural, organic, and odor-free.
A good example is the choice of bully sticks on the market - while there are many to choose from, those that are healthiest are organic, odor-free, all-natural, and free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
With regard to non-edible / food-based toys, you'll want to go with things that are derived form more natural, safe materials such as rope, hemp (there are many hemp toys that have the same look and feel as those constructed with synthetic fabrics, but are free of some of the more worrisome chemicals) or safer plastics and rubbers. When purchasing hard toys comprised of some sort of plastic, check to make sure that it:
- Contains no lead
- Is non-toxic
Mmm! Organic dog chews! These come in a bunch of different flavors, too :D
If you're not ready to spend TONS of money on healthy shampoo for your dog, you can always find some place in the middle by going with something that's 100% botanically-derived, if not entirely organic, such as this shampoo.
Healthy Dog Hygeine
Healthy Dog Dental Care
When purchasing toothpaste for your dog, the healthiest options are organic and all natural. If you want to provide some dental care for your canine pal but don't want to engage in frequent, potentially trying brushing, consider getting an all-natural, mineral rich dog chew.
Healthy Dog Soaps
There are plenty of healthy shampoos and conditioners available for dogs, and the healthiest ones are comprised of organic materials and utilize essential oils and plant materials instead of potentially hazardous chemicals to clean your dog's fur and cleanse your dog's skin. An example of fun organic pet shampoo is that sold by Vermont Soap - even though it's free of chemical detergents, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, artificial colors, and the like, it packs a punch, relieving your dog of dandruff, oiliness, eczema, dull fur, and of course, dirt :D
Other Hygiene Products
If you're intent on giving your dog absolutely ALL of the healthy hygiene products there are, keep in mind that there are also organic shampoo bars, special natural sprays and organic aromatherapy products, coat tonics, elixirs, gels, grooming wipes, and more designed especially for dogs. A quick Google search will lead you to the latest offerings.
Healthy Dog Collars and Leashes
The "healthyness" of a dog collar and leash will vary depending on your dog's breed, disposition, and your geographic location. Some dogs are better off in a harness, others in a choke chain collar, others in a more controlling muzzle when in urban areas with lots of people, and others in more typical fare.
If you want to get down to the healthiest materials however, the most "safe" leashes and collars out there are made with hemp, or untreated leather. Hemp collars look like colors made of other materials, but can more typically be expected to be hypoallergenic.
When selecting any dog product that advertises itself as healthy, you may first want to see if it has been certified as safe by a third, unbiased party. This bed has - plus it's eco-friendly :D
Healthy Dog Beds
Not surprisingly, the "healthiest" dog beds and mats are typically constructed with one of the following materials:
- Organic cotton
Ok... this dog kimono is ADORABLE! And it's organic. Total bonus.
Healthy Dog Apparel
When it comes to dog apparel, there are not exactly terrible health threats in most available products, though considering that dogs chew on pretty much everything, it wouldn't hurt to go with apparel that is known to be free of dangerous coloring and chemicals. As a general rule of thumb, wash apparel before putting it on your dog to clear off traces of fire retardant or other factory chemicals that might be hanging around.
Dog apparel, for the most part, is for looks and not for health, however if you live in a cold climate and have a dog who is not exactly bred to live in it, you may want to get cold weather duds for walks on chillier days.
A Final Note
The best proucts modern consumerism, science, and technology still pale in comparison to that which you can offer your dog personally- love, care, and attention.
The best thing you can do for your dog is love him or her and take the time to show it. Take your dog on walks, take time for training and play. Show you care. These things shall certainly improve the quality of your dog's life, which is just as important - if not more so - than your dog's longevity.