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DogNatural

Our range of 100% natural, organic herbal supplements for your dog

I've always had dogs in my life, as mum bred and trained gun-dog Retrievers. Like many of us I'm sure, my own dogs have also been my horse-dogs, coming to the yard with me and out riding. There are few better moments in life than heading out on a forest trail ride on a glorious day with your faithful dogs running with you.

Here's our range of home-tested DogNatural herbal supplements we've happily and safely used over the years - Shop link at bottom of page. Further on, I've been gloriously indulgent and introduced you to our beloved dog family 😊


Our DogNatural blends ...

BARF-Balance

Whether you call a BARF diet a 'Bones & Raw Food' or 'Biologically Appropriate Raw Food', the principal is the same as our horses; feed a species-appropriate diet and add in any missing nutrients.

Our domesticated dogs' physiology is no different to that of a wild dog - their gut system is evolved to eat every part of their prey that they catch - fur, bones, flesh and innards, where it's likely that their prey's gut contains plants, grains and seeds - all very different to a tin's cooked contents. A BARF feeding programme is the nearest to what a dog's system is designed for.

That said, plain raw mince from varying sources will not a complete nutrient-profile make, so, just like our EquiVita range for our horses, we need to add in the missing nutrient nuts and bolts. Enter our BARF-Balance, a completely natural organic supplement, with no artificial ingredients, premixes or fillers, to nutritionally balance the BARF diet.

Calm&Safe

Behavioural anxiety - maybe caused by past trauma or abuse; Separation anxiety - afraid of being left home alone or separated from their owner; Situational anxiety - storms, fireworks, vet visits. You name it, all can lead to destructive behaviour, barking or crying, pacing, trembling/shaking, increased urination/diarrhea, upset tum, aggression, loss of appetite - many of which we experienced with Doris.

As always, there are some lovely herbs that can help take the edge off. Probably my favourite of all the adaptogens, Ashwagandha helps the body adapt to stressors and works to normalise the stress response. Then there are the nervines, natures lovely nervous-system calmers. First up, Chamomile, a renowned relaxer and tummy soother, useful for car nerves or car sickness. I got very nifty at wielding the Chamomile tincture for Woodie if we were going to attempt a car journey.

Next, Passionflower, a really effective anxiolytic. Passionflower's very clever as it's medicinal ability prevents the vital 'happy' neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) from breaking down, so if they can't break down, anxiety can't take hold. This makes Passionflower perfect for calming separation anxiety. If I didn't have the herbs available for Doris, I'd make a passionflower tea, let it cool, dilute it and give it her in her feed.

We also have Valerian, widely recognised as an effective herbal sedative, safe and gentle as it calms nerves and physically relaxes as it's also an antispasmodic. This makes it really useful for hysteria, overexciteability or stressful events. Bartie was terrified of loud storms and fireworks, and always got Valerian tincture in his feed during the Bonfire Night week.

This is a lovely effective blend to use in any event, or if there's something coming up that might affect your dog. Feed for 3-days before and continue for 3-days after. Equally each of these herbs are great to use independently - my preference is via tinctures.

NB: Don't give this blend to pregnant or lactating dogs, as passionflower is a uterine stimulant and may cause contractions.

CCDTonic

- Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, aka Doggie Dementia

A dog’s brain ages and wears out just like the rest of us, but in some dogs a spectrum of symptoms can lead to Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), or put simply, dog dementia.

The degenerative changes in the brain tissue that cause dementia in dogs aren’t well understood, other than the number of nerve cells reduces as dogs age, with a build-up of neurotoxic deposits in the brain also a contributing factor and high levels of free radicals also leading to a decline in cognitive function.

It’s thought that around 50% of dogs over 11yo, and 68% of dogs over 15yo years of age show at least one sign of CCD. It’s a progressive disease, with more symptoms developing within at least 12-months thereafter.

Doggie dementia can be easy to miss as it’s slow to develop, but signs include:

  1. Disorientation – our Bartie had this. This can include staring into space or getting lost in familiar surroundings, not able to find their way in and out of the house, getting stuck in corners or under tables. Some dogs will forget you’ve fed them, and you may also see anxiety develop with a range of triggers, i.e. barking at nothing or continual pacing.
  2. Changes in Interactions – irritable, extra grumpy, they may either show decreased affection or become overly attached and stick to a particular person like glue.
  3. Sleep-wake cycle changes, aka sundowner-syndrome – they can become unsettled in the evenings or all through the night; some dogs won’t sleep at all and others will wake often, be restless, etc, often barking in the night for no reason.
  4. Whoops - housetraining starts to become forgotten, but this can also happen because they can’t find their way outside, or in time.

Yes, dementia in dogs is a progressive, degenerative disease that gets worse over time, but we can help slow it down.

First up, try to feed a healthy, complete, whole-food diet. Raw is usually best, but some older dogs do better on a home cooked diet if their digestion’s struggling. Adding a slosh of Bone Broth/Stock will help palatability enormously, as well as adding beneficial collagen for stiff joints.

Now to supplements:

  • High-quality omegas-3s – EPA and DHA play an important role in brain health. I like to add a slosh of our organic cold-pressed linseed oil.
  • Vital antioxidants will help lower toxic free-radical levels in the body - blueberries and green tea are awesome, both of which we include in our CCDTonic.
  • CBD oil is thought to be one of the best medicines for doggie dementia.
  • Alleviate any pain - dogs with dementia may have significant undiagnosed pain from arthritis or back pain, so alleviating pain may improve symptoms significantly. Adding a separate teaspoon of turmeric may make a big difference - I'd add it into our CCD blend but it would end up all turmeric and nothing else, so best to add it separately.
  • Hands-on bodywork can also be a huge help with increasing quality of life by reducing anxiety and pain while increasing connection.

ComfyJoints

Dogs with degenerative arthritis experience varying degrees of lameness, stiffness, and joint pain which tends to be more apparent in the morning or after getting up from a nap – a bit like me really 😉

Back to my favourite adaptogenic herbs, not just for me but with animals, especially as adaptogens are so brilliant at helping the body adapt to stressors without being stimulating or suppressing, and ... big bonus, almost every adaptogen herb has anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, Eleuthero’s claim to fame is its increased circulatory action, helpful with any inflammation, especially joint, cartilage and tendon.

Meadowsweet and White Willow Bark are renowned analgesics to help with pain and inflammation – our equine DuoBute & TriBute are testimony to this. NB - they should not be used with cats!!! Devil’s Claw takes us to a higher level for pain and inflammation, ideal for chronic conditions. I keep a small jar of DC on the side and add into Pog’s meals daily.

Turmeric – well, nuff said - awesome. Again, we have a jar-full in the kitchen for Pog. And Boswellia Serrata contains phytochemicals that stop the production of leukotrienes, which cause inflammation. I personally swear by it, using it's essential oil version, Frankincense, topically for every ache and pain that comes my way.

Hemp seeds - no other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form as Hemp seeds. Wonderful for joints, as well as a great vitamin source (B6, C, D & E) they contain Linolenic acid (GLA), Omega-3s, and are a pure protein source with anti-inflammatory effects.

Now to Collagen, and it seems only fair that the collagen we include is the one I use myself, and trust me when I say that for me I research the universe for the organic, GMO-free best! I’ve already got a bit of unfriendly arthritis knocking on my door, but then again, show me a middle-aged horse owner who hasn’t?! When collagen's in peptide form it’s more bioavailable with enhanced absorption, going straight to the cartilage, tendons and bones for better joint flexibility and bone strength.

Finally, don't forget Vitamin E, as it's an important antioxidant that prevents oxidation in the body. Essential to the use of oxygen by muscles, vitamin E helps improve circulation, prolonging the life of red blood cells. The best way to get vit.E into mealtimes is via whole-food sources; chop up Swiss chard, spinach, kale or broccoli and add in a small sloshes of olive oil 😉

ComfySkin

The skin is an indicator of health, and apparently, doggie skin conditions are the No.1 reason for vet visits. You can understand why - skin isn't a separate system from the rest of the body; skin functions as a complex integrated organ communicating with the rest of the body through systemic pathways, i.e. the lymphatics, kidneys, liver and immune systems.

There are many reasons why a dog may have over-sensitive skin, i.e. stress, malnutrition, food allergies, immunity imbalance, old age, or as with our Bartie, external environmental factors.

I love Burdock for its blood cleansing anti-inflammatory support, plus it works well with Dandelion to help clear out toxins - dogs love to dig up dandelions to chew on. Calendula and Cleavers always feature for skin as together they're an effective lymphatics tonic combo, upon which the skin relies on to draw out congestion. Nettle is packed with nutrients, and an excellent anti-inflammatory kidney support which makes it useful for environmentally skin-reactive dogs.

I made up our ComfySkin herbal blend, very much based on our EquiNatural SkinTonic, to help Bartie, who would develop sore red skin on the back of his legs and his underbelly from the grass in summer.

ComfyTum

Like our horses (and not forgetting us humans!), what comes out the other end tells us everything we need to know about how a gut is functioning. Even if we’re paying for prime steak, the best bones and organic veggies, there’s no guarantee our dog's system is utilising it all.

So, what can you see? Are they constipated, is there diarrhea, and what about poop size and frequency – this will tell us how fast - or slow - our dog is digesting their food and how much of it is being used.

Constipation, and this is our Pog - he gets completely constipated if he has a bone, which breaks my heart as he loves them. Too much bone means his poop will be much lighter in colour, almost white - my heart goes out to him as he shuffles round the garden in poop-squat mode with nothing coming out. It also means his next meal will be very sloppy, courtesy of me to try and loosen up the solid mass in his intestines 😉

If this is your dog, make sure he’s drinking enough water - I know I'm stating the obvious here but I usually tell by how often I’m filling the water bowl.

Psyllium is basically my initial go-to for all-things-dog-gut, as they work well on both constipation and diarrhea. Psyllium swells into a gloopy mucilaginous gel when it contacts water, sticking together and bonding to the waste to help move it through the intestines. Mix ¼ to 1-teaspoon psyllium husks with 250ml water, add a small dose and increase each mealtime.

NB. Psyllium will basically clear out the gut so if your dog is on vet meds it may interact with them. It may also be contraindicated for dogs with kidney disease.

Diarrhea should be taken seriously - the more liquid it is, and if it continues 3-4 times in one day, they need a 24-hr fast. This gives the body a rest and a chance to heal itself. In lieu of food, serve a bone broth - Waitrose do a lovely chook or beef one. Again, Psyllium is a godsend, and you could add a small amount of fresh grated ginger into it to calm the tum.

If the fast doesn’t help, check the urine output – if it seems abnormally high it could indicate kidney problems. Bone broth added to tiny meals may help.

Now to Size &Frequency, and the larger the poop size, the less food is being digested. This is why commercial dry food causes big stinky poos as they’re mostly undigestible filler. If you feed BARF and there's a size increase, it may be time to add probiotics to help digestion. How often a dog eliminates tells you how long it takes to digest their meal - any changes may be a signal there’s a small battle going on inside.

One of the best surprises of switching my dogs to a BARF diet was infinitely better poop! Much less stinky, and the output was noticeably less than when our dogs had been on tinned and/or dry food. Happy Days 😊


Our dogs

Forgive my absolute indulgence here, but I know every dog owner out there will understand 😊

Doris

Dear old Doris, our surrogate JR mum to whom we still call 'The Pups' (17-years on!), lived to the astonishing age of 24. Sadly we didn't have Doz from a pup herself; she came to us in 2004 aged 7 (allegedly), from Bath Cats & Dogs (Claverton) animal shelter, thought to have been been dumped on the Mendips from a Welsh puppy farm. A common practice apparently; when the females no longer produce quality pups they're often driven over the border to Somerset and dumped.

Doris was found during a freezing February, and Claverton believed the trauma led to her all-consuming anxiety. She couldn't be left alone, and had already been returned by two other families. She was also completely deaf.

We took Doz home in a new red coat, via the pub where she sat proudly in front of the pub fire. We were soon to see during the following week just how traumatised she was. I worked from home at the time but I still popped out to

the shops and to do the horses, and would come back to a terrified, howling Doris who'd hit such a plateau of anxiety and stress that her bowel had emptied repeatedly.

We took her everywhere with us thereafter, but even if she was left in the car for a matter of minutes, she'd die with panic, howling the neighbourhood down and pooing all over the car seats.

Then husband had a brainwave. As she'd been a whelping bitch, maybe a puppy would help calm her? As coincidence had it, the village shop had a photo in the window of JR pups ready to go. We came home with two, Bartie BartRussell and Woodie Woodstock. It was the making of Doz; she instantly stepped in as surrogate mum and never panicked again. Doz became the true love of my life, following me everywhere for the next 17-years with our own special sign-language.

Finally, at the age of 24, Christmas 2018, we lost our darling Doris. She'd hung on forever, lumps and bumps all over her and completely incontinent, until finally after a couple of bad nights she told me it was time. She passed peacefully courtesy of the happy-juice at the vets, with me holding her and my face to hers.

RIP my Darling Doz, you were a perfect surrogate mum to your 'pups' who adored you, and for 17 years my best friend ever x

The 'Pups'

This photo says it all with these two - terrorists! Who grew into the most gorgeous - and thankfully mellower - adorable lap boys, ferociously protective of us and our home.

As the pups grew older, Barts developed a summer grass allergy on his legs and underbelly - herbs soothed it each year (this became our ComfySkin blend). He also developed a touch of doggie dementia in his early teens, so I helped him with a blend of neuro-protective herbs such as ginkgo and gotu kola, with antioxidants and a sniff of valerian, which morphed into our CCDTonic blend.

Woodie sadly had a toxic-shock reaction to his puppy jabs and developed chronic ADHD, barking hysterically at everything and wanting to kill every dog he met. As he grew older he started having seizures, where uncontrolled electrical activity between his brain cells literally sent him into a 20-minute fit. He was also a terrible traveller, barking to deafening decibels in a car (I had to get ear plugs, seriously) as well as being regularly car-sick.

8.10.20 - RIP Barts, he was taken from us way too soon with sudden kidney failure that completely overwhelmed him.

As I type (Nov'20), at the age of 16 Woodie's still like a puppy, with boundless energy and no impulse control at all! Gentle nervine and adaptogen herbs have helped him over the years, and he now gets CBD oil which really helps his seizures to where he now hasn't had a major one for a couple of years, just has an occasional twitch.

Nov'21 - what a difference a year makes. Woodie's now a proper old man. He sleeps all day, but still loves his walks with plenty of enthusiasm at the beginning. However, he's now losing energy after around 15-minutes and is struggling with hills. 🙁 All inevitable considering he's now 17, but he's still eating well so still very much with us! 😀

Pog

Pog's Daily Pose - here he is on the office futon, spread out, legs in the air and fast asleep, snoring away to himself 😉

2011, and a 3yo labrador crossed my path. He was owned by an elderly pub-landlord in his mid-70s, who'd had a triple-heart bypass, smoked like a trouper, and couldn't walk more than 20-yards on the flat. Yet his daughter thought a pub dog would be a good idea for him (!) so Yogi arrived from Battersea Dogs Home where her horrible father incarcerated him for 2-years in the flat above the pub.

He was never walked, was completely isolated, desperate for company, and food-obsessed, thanks to his owner placating his guilt of not walking him by throwing him mountains of prime steak, sausages and frozen burger buns from the pub kitchen. This poor dog was beyond obese - the only thought that came to my mind when I first met him was 'Michelin Dog' due to his multiple tyres of blubber from head to tail.

I volunteered to take him out for a walk, where poor Yogi, overwhelmed with enthusiam, charged down the pavement dragging me to the field like a stampeding rhino. When we got there I let him off the lead to let him run his heart out. He tried, oh boy how he tried ... but with every galloping stride his Michelin tyres ricochet'd into themselves and held him back. He was utterly exhausted after a matter of seconds.

A week later Yogi was mine. After reluctantly returning him following his walk and feeling so desperately sorry for him, his owner equally reluctantly took him back and said he wouldn't miss him if he was gone. That was enough for me. I offered to take him off his bands, and a week later he came home to Doz and the pups. He lost all his blubber within 2-weeks just from running with them in the fields every day 😉

His name changed by default. To us he was never a Yogi - Yogi became Yogi-Pogey, then Pogey-Pogues, then Wing Commander Pogues because he was very much a Wing Commander. Then Pogues became ... well, Pog, for some reason. He stayed a Pog from then on, and quite rightly became the Poggiest Pog in all of Pogdom.

16.12.20 - RIP Pog Unbearably, we lost Pog a month after originally typing up this page. With no warning, the week before Christmas, a fist-sized tumour sprung up literally overnight on his RF humurus and, as the vet told us, was already on his lungs. It was inoperable, and he was in so much pain that we couldn't avoid the inevitable. To say we were utterly broken-hearted doesn't come close ...

We were so lucky that he thrived with us until the ripe old age of 12. Truthfully I was surprised - but eternally grateful - that he lasted that long after his early years of morbid obesity. He did, however, have onset arthritis in his LF, no doubt from carrying all that weight for the first 3-years of his life, so he got a daily measure of joint-comfort herbs and collagen (which became our ComfyJoints), and on really stiff days a teaspoon of Devil's Claw. His gut occasionally also needed some assistance so he got a shake of Psyllium, and I kept him on Hawthorn since the get-go to support any risk of fatty heart.

We loved Pog with all our hearts, and husband was devoted to him.

Bruno

Joined our family on New Years Eve, 2020

After we lost Pog, sole-survivor Woodie went downhill rapidly, missing his bestie and going off his food, so I contacted our local rescue to see if they had a possible friend for Woodie. Enter Bruno, a 6yo Border Collie who'd been with them for just 3-weeks after his owner died. He wasn't doing at all well in kennels, shutting further down each day - they were desperate to find a home for him.

Bruno knowingly came to us with a suitcase full of baggage. Apparently he'd lived as an indoor dog his entire life (a border?! As an indoor dog?!) and not in a terribly nice environment (druggies/violence/police around all the time). Apparently after his owner died he'd been locked in the lounge for 3-days with no food or water until the police found him. He'd already eaten away a chunk of the door to try and get out, ingesting much of the door which was also evident in his faeces found on the lounge floor, so his gut was in a bad way too.

During his young life he'd apparently never been outside (as confirmed by neighbours), no walk, nothing - when the rescue team arrived they could immediately see he was utterly terrified of literally everything - people, traffic, noise, you name it, completely sound-reactive and hurling himself into a blind, uncontrollable panic.

One month in and what a changed Broo! He's now loving his walks, bouncing in the kitchen when we get his harness out. He's already sooo much braver on pavements, going from a whirling blind-panic dervish at the sight of traffic, to now occasionally stopping and watching each car go by.

He's also now off his short, super-strong, seat-belt-fabric lead which he had to have in the beginning as he mega-pulled from start to finish - it's astonishing how strong a 22kg dog can be when desperately trying to find safety - I couldn't walk for 3-days after that first walk! He's now much calmer on a long-extender lead and no longer mega-pulling.

In the home he's the most affectionate, loving and cuddly furball dog I think I've ever known - nothing like a deep dive into that fluff! Bruno's already a heartbreaker 😉