Who says healers only come with two legs? Not in our world. Our Giant Schnauzer, Lyla, is the light of our household, our best companion.  It is true. I refer to her as our family healer, our therapist and even our very own shaman all rolled into one.  She is an instant destresser and instinctively knows just when we need some extra TLC.  She is a total crack-up and my daughters request daily pics of her to be texted to them when they are away to get their fix! Yes, Lyla has a permanent place in our hearts and all of those that get to know her.

It makes no sense to make the effort to take care of our own health so carefully in ways that I write about in this blog and not include extending that care to a most vital family member: our pets. They deserve good health and I have 8 simple and natural ways you can help provide it!




Besides regular exercise, lots of affection (no problem there!), check-ups, and good quality food, here are some other practices that we incorporate into our care for our precious Lyla to keep her feeling her best. But, always check with your vet before trying something new for your canine pal.



Our Lyla is sharp.  She is a fast learner and loves to play games.  Stimulation is so important for all of us including our four-legged friends. Hide and seek, retrieving, obstacle courses, chase — Lyla loves all if it.  And. wrestling? She could do that all day!  All these are great ways we keep her (and ourselves) from not taking life too seriously and creating some free fun in our day. 



Lyme disease is no joke, but those pesticides we reach for to spread on our dogs’ skin aren’t either. They carry a lot of toxicity for your dog and you (as you get exposed as well when you pet her). In fact, years ago, Lyla was throwing up on a monthly basis. After we ruled out other possibilities, we suspected it was the monthly tick repellent we were administering to her.  Sure enough, when I stopped giving her that, the vomiting stopped as well.

There are many natural tick repellents on the market now that you could try or you could make your own.  Fleas are repelled by the essential oils contained in these mixtures and they smell pretty nice too. For example, the essential oil rose geranium has been shown to be successful for repelling ticks from dogs. Here is some other information on essential oils that could help.

Keep a spray bottle by your door so that you can mist your pooch upon going outdoors.  I keep it in my car as well for those impromptu hikes or other times I throw my favorite travel companion in the car for an outing. To make your own repellent spray, check out this post.

Don’t miss this: Here is the best way to remove ticks to avoid disease.




Keep fresh water always available and include a portable bowl and water bottle in your car.  Watch those darker coated pets (like mine!) as they absorb more heat than lighter coated canines.  Kiddie pools, ice in the water bowl, water spritzers and sprinklers are all good ways to cool off your favorite playmate.



Plain yogurt is a healthy treat for your dog and the live acidophilus in the yogurt keeps the good bacteria in your dog’s intestines in balance, especially if your dog is on antibiotics.  Puppies can be prone to yeast infections as well so a little plain yogurt on top of their meals can help while the intestinal system is building immunities. There is also a powder form you can sprinkle on your dog’s food as well that I obtained from my vet when Lyla was having tummy problems.


Check out these fun and effective ways to care for your loving family member with four legs:


Chamomile tea is great for alleviating skin irritations for pets. Go ahead and make a cup for yourself before bed (as it has great calming effects) but make a little extra.  Let it cool overnight and pour it into a spray bottle. Mist over aggravated skin areas for some relief.



Those teeth offer serious protection, but not if they fall out or get a painful infection.  Brush your dog’s teeth often (daily is best) or even as my vet suggested, take a bit of gauze to cover your finger and brush the teeth with your finger. The gauze provides friction to brush away tartar buildup.

Don’t miss this: Your teeth and gums can help you fight cancer, diabetes and lung disease! Get your 5-minute plan to take care of your teeth the right way here.  And if doggie bad breath is a thing for your sweet pet, check out these ideas to help curb doggie halitosis.


Use stainless steel bowls to feed your dog as plastic can get nicks and scrapes that will trap bacteria that your pooch may ingest.  Stainless will not do this.  Remember to wash the food and water bowls regularly with very hot, soapy water to keep bacteria away as well.



Uh . . . have you read up on what is in some of the commercial dog foods?  It is a crime, really. We try to focus on a whole foods diet at our house and that goes for Lyla too. When I am preparing dinner, Lyla comes running once she hears that knife hit the cutting board.  Why?  She knows she is getting her evening snack of fruits and veg!  No picky eater here.  She loves it all!  Here are some raw vegetables/fruits I include regularly depending on what I am making for the family that evening:

  1. zucchini
  2. green beans (I always save the tips for her!)
  3. cucumber
  4. romaine lettuce ribs
  5. carrots
  6. banana (not too much because of natural sugars)
  7. apples (no seeds!)
  8. pears (no seeds!)
  9. peas
  10. blueberries
  11. red bell peppers (not the hot ones!)
  12. sweet potatoes (These are cooked.  Before seasoning them for the family, I take out a big scoop and let cool for her.)
  13. white potatoes (cooked and unseasoned)

I also give her canned pumpkin often and coconut oil sometimes, too (great for her skin and a parasite preventive). And I have yet to see her pass up a spoonful of peanut butter or some leftover plain roasted salmon or chicken!

Don’t miss this:  Not all vegetables are safe to be eaten by your dog. In fact, they can harm.  Always confirm with your vet before introducing a portion of new food and check out this list of harmful foods for dogs.

And, here is a great in-depth article on using coconut oil for dogs and if it might be a good choice for your pup.

So what about you and your four-legged pal?  What special measures do you take or home remedies you could share?  Lyla and I would love to know!


Thank you so much for sharing such amazing information.

You are so welcome! I am happy to hear you found it helpful and useful. I am an immense dog lover and so believe we need to give them the best care we can.

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing…

Mike – so nice of you to say so. I really appreciate that. I am happy to have you here and I hope the pet care tips help you out!

I enjoy the way you have presented this great information.It makes me wonder why I had not thought of it before! Thanks for sharing

Thank you so very much, Levine! Comments like yours make my day. Thanks for taking the time to let me know and do take the very best care of your furry friends.

Hi Shelley, fellow dog lover! Yes, we are dog nuts over here and proud of it! Gotta laugh with your story about Finn (love the name!) as I, too, have Lyla by my side when I am typing away and she rests her head on my wrist. Could she be telling me something? Take a break, maybe? Well, her head is heavy!! Take care of Finn and give him a pat for me!

Of all your posts that I have so, so enjoyed, this has got to be one of my very favorites! I'm a dog lover, too, and totally understand the de-stressing role a pup can play in the days of a busy family. I loved reading about Lyla and how you text pics of her when the kids are away! We do that, too – I send pics of our spunky little Jack-Rat to my husband sometimes, just to brighten his day! We spend untold hours spontaneously laughing at Finn and cooing about how he's just so darn cute! He's actually in my lap at this very moment (it's so hard to type with only one hand while I pet him with the other and try to keep him from stepping on the caps lock!) 😀 Anyway – these are such great ideas, and you make a really terrific point about putting just as much effort into our pets' health as we put into the health of others we love so much – especially true since pets are so totally at our mercy and can't take proactive steps to take care of themselves.