Natural Tips for Happier Pets
There are many ways we can make our pets happier - not just with
treats! The following are a few suggestions for things we can easily do
to help our best friends stay healthy and happy.
A lot of
products used around the home can be harmful to animals - garden and cleaning
products for example can be irritants to their skin, and remember they lick
their paws and hair to clean themselves so they are also ingesting
these chemicals long after you use them. Try to use products which are as
natural as possible - this is often a lot easier than you would think.
Plain white vinegar is an effective cleaning agent, and you can kill weeds and
grass with just boiling water - there is no need to use poisons which can be
dangerous to your animals.
Mint is a deterrent to mice, ants, flies and other
insects. Grow a mint plant near entry ways and scrunch the
leaves to release the scent. Or, even easier, get a bottle of peppermint
essential oil and spray or drop some around doorways, windowsills, anywhere you
think they might be getting in. The aroma repels them without harming
them, and is safe for your animals* - and your house smells lovely and fresh as
well. To really discourage mice, soak some cotton balls in the peppermint
oil and place them behind the furniture or wherever you think they might be
hiding. Make sure you get the essential oil, not just a fragrance oil
(which may actually attract them). Essential oils are available from
health shops, chemists, and many supermarkets.
sure your animals are able to get away from the smell though in case they find
it a bit overpowering.
Ground cinnamon is also said to repel ants if sprinkled around entry points, as
are cucumber skins.
Health and Wellbeing
Many animals get distressed during thunderstorms, fireworks, or even just
when you go to work for the day. There are some very
easy ways to help them relax and feel calmer.
Studies have shown that classical music has a soothing effect on some animals,
so you might like to tune your radio to a classical station and have it on in
the lead up to stressful times - or even all the time. Try it out before
a stressful situation arises though, so you are not adding something completely
unknown whilst the animal is already upset.
Essential oils Neroli and Lavender are both calming scents for animals as well
as people. Spray
a little on their bedding, collar or coat (somewhere they won't lick it
off) if you know a storm is looming or fireworks might be going off. You could also dab a bit on your hands
or shoes if you are taking them to the vet, so they will be smelling it whilst
beside (or on top of) you. Make
sure you get an essential oil, not just a fragrance oil. Essential oils are available from
health shops, chemists, and many supermarkets. Always dilute essential
oils in water or a carrier oil, and use sparingly with cats, as they are
even more sensitive to them than dogs. And don't use oils with dogs
who have nerve conditions such as twitches or leg jerking, as essential oils
can exacerbate these problems.
Rescue Remedy is also helpful in stressful circumstances, and can be added to
your animals' water, or directly into their mouths. It is available in health shops,
chemists, and some supermarkets.
If your animals panic when they hear the word "vet", try taking them
there occasionally, giving them a treat in the waiting room and then leaving,
so they come to associate it with good things instead of as a scary place.
Consider natural therapies - there are many practitioners available now to give
your animals Bowen Therapy, Acupuncture, Massage, Reiki, etc. Animals can
benefit from natural and holistic therapies just as humans can, so if your vet
doesn't consider all aspects of your animals' health and environment, look for
someone who does.
There are a lot of natural treatments for fleas, for both cats and dogs, which
are a lot less toxic to your animals than some flea powders can be.
One of the simplest is Apple Cider Vinegar, which you can buy from health food
shops and some supermarkets - make sure you get the unfiltered type, with the
murky 'mother' in the bottom of the bottle. Mix with equal parts water
and bathe your dog or cat in it (or dab/spray it on if they prefer
this to a bath.* Adding a small amount to their drinking water will
also act as a deterrent to future infestations, but start out with a tiny
amount and gradually increase as they get used to the taste. Apple Cider
Vinegar in drinking water also alleviates tear stains, and helps with
apply to broken skin or sores, or it will sting.
Adding a small amount of raw garlic to your dog's food can also help ward off
Essential oils Lavender, Peppermint and Citronella* are flea repellants so
it can help to spray these in places fleas might be nesting, like under couch
cushions and rugs.
using these with dogs who have pre-existing nerve conditions, like twitches,
seizures, or leg spasms, as essential oils can exacerbate these problems.
If the weather's warm enough to make you hot, imagine what it must feel
like to be covered in a thick coat of hair!
There are a lot of simple ways you can help your animals to be more
comfortable during summer. First
and foremost, it is imperative that your pets have enough shady spots outside
and cool places inside, and access to plenty of water.
Always leave out more than one
water bowl in case they knock it over or play in it and don’t leave enough for
drinking for the rest of the day.
Freeze a bowl or plastic container of water and give it to your animals before
you leave in the morning, so they will have cold water later in the day when
the temperature is soaring. You could also give them a bowl of icecubes -
they will melt quicker, but some dogs enjoy crunching on them.
If your outside pets like water, consider putting a little wading pool in the
shade for them to paddle about in to cool themselves off. For inside
animals, you could put a little bit of water in the bottom of the bath or hand
basin for them to drink and cool off in (don’t fill it up too much).
Don't walk dogs during the heat - if it's too hot for you to go out
walking on the concrete in bare feet and wearing a heavy coat, it's too hot for
If you live in a bushfire risk area, make sure you include the animals in your
fireplan. Have crates, leads, bowls, food, toys etc ready for
evacuations and make sure animals are allowed at the place you will be
Cats and dogs shed their winter coats as the weather gets warmer, but you can
give them a helping hand with this - a good brush not only makes them feel
relaxed, it removes the loose hairs a lot quicker (and lessens the amount you
have to pull off your clothes and furniture!)