The Natural Pet: Take Care of Your Pet Naturally

Keeping a pet happy and healthy can represent a conflict for environmentally concerned people faced with dog food made from animal renderings and flea collars coated with chemicals.

| March/April 2002

  • Photo by Toni Tucker

  • Photo by Toni Tucker

  • Photo by Toni Tucker

  • Photo by Sharon Riesdorph

You live naturally. You eat organic, cover the floor with hemp rugs and clean with vinegar. But where do you turn when you want to share this lifestyle with your pets?

“There’s a definite trend in the pet industry to go as natural as possible,” says Leo Malantis, president of Earth’s Balance, a company based in Bedford Park, Illinois, that manufactures and sells natural pet products. While Malantis notes that “it takes an act of God to get [natural products] into some pet stores,” hemp leashes, organic kitty litter, natural shampoos, stool composters, and dozens of other environmentally friendly pet items are prevalent in animal-supply catalogs, on the Internet, and in natural products stores.

In fact, natural pet care has become so popular it’s moved beyond the healthy lifestyle crowd. “Owners want to give their pets things they don’t have to have a degree to administer—that they can feel safe administering,” Malantis says.

Hot trends to watch for in natural pet care 

Probiotic pet products. These beneficial bacteria digest organic waste and convert it to carbon dioxide gas. Taken internally, the bacteria colonize in the digestive system and break down proteins. Put a probiotic liquid such as Earth’s Balance G-Whiz in your dog’s water, and not only will his breath smell better, but his waste will be odor-free, won’t stain carpets, and won’t burn grass. These wonder-bacteria also chow down on fleas and skin flakes to eliminate itching. And because skin flakes are the chief component of dander, a probiotic powder such as Earth’s Balance Dander Free eliminates dander and the human allergies associated with it.

Bach flower essences. The same flower and tree bud essences that relieve stress and help care for a host of human psychological problems work just as effectively on animals. According to Diane Stein, author of ­Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats (Crossing Press, 1993), animals can’t overdose on Bach flower essences, but there are varying theories as to how much should be given each day. Stein recommends one drop, daily, on the animal’s tongue, lip, or gum, unless the stress is acute.

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