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Healthy, chemical-free dogs

When we first got our house cow Bella, we decided to make a real effort to eliminate the chemicals that we had been using on the cattle.  Bel from Homegrown recommended a book called "Natural Cattle Care" by Pat Coleby, which I bought and have read several times.  We have stopped using any chemicals on the cattle, and hope that Pat's advice, to feed sufficient minerals in the form of a mineral mix, sulphur, copper sulphate, dolomite and kelp powder (read more here and here), will keep the internal and external parasites at bay.

However, the poor old doggies were still getting their monthly flea and worm treatments.  Not only are these expensive, I started to wonder about the effects on their health.  Surely its not necessary to medicate the dogs if every other animal on the property (including ourselves) was just being fed good quality food and minerals.  If only there was a similar book about dog health......

I finally got around to doing a google search, and there it was!  "Natural Pet Care", by Pat Coleby, I couldn't put it in my online shopping cart quick enough!  Once again, its not a complicated book.  Feed the dogs appropriate food and minerals and they should stay healthy.  Also note that this book includes cats, rabbits and guinea pigs, but as I don't keep those pets, I've not reviewed those sections here.  If you have a cat, most of the dog stuff applies, just reduce the dosage.

While Pat does not approve of canned dog food or fancy biscuits due to the unnatural additives (think colours, flavours, preservatives, bits of dead pets), I was surprised (and relieved) to find that she does recommend good quality "kibble".  She recommends a brand called Farrells that is used in the greyhound industry.  I haven't heard of it and don't know where to get it from yet, however, I'm quite happy that our current brand is ok for now as I did make sure that it was natural.

Pat warns against excessive protein in the diet, don't feed too much muscle meat or eggs, the dogs need plenty of carbohydrate and can get some protein from grains too.  She says to give them a little of whatever you're eating (but not the meat), so a little rice, pasta or potato with some veges.  This might help wee Cheryl to lose some weight (a 28 kg kelpie is getting a little tubby, don't know how Chime stays so slim, as she eats the same amount).  Organ meats are also good in moderation as they contain valuable minerals and vitamins.  We are still feeding them the offal from Bruce and only occasionally because I keep forgetting to get it out of the freezer!  So that's just another excuse for me NOT to eat it as the dogs need it :) (see the advantages to humans of eating organ meats on Craving Fresh - maybe on the next steer...).

We also give the dogs bones everyday, we just buy a few big bags from the butcher or supermarket when they're cheap and put them in the freezer.  One bag lasts a week if we give out one bone each a day.  The bones are supposed to be good for the extra minerals and keeping doggy teeth healthy.  The only downside is we have to pick them up off the lawn before we mow the grass!

A few different mineral supplements are recommended by Pat.  As with the cattle, she usually prefers minerals in their natural form, rather than a manufactured supplement.  For external parasites, its sulphur again, at a dose of half a teaspoon daily.  Cooper is used to control internal parasites, just by placing a piece of copper in the dogs' water bucket they can get all they need.  Calcium and magnesium can be provided by feeding a little dolomite (half a teaspoon twice a week).  For all other trace minerals/elements, such as cobolt, selenium, boron, iodine and zinc we can feed a little kelp powder, a quarter of a teaspoon once a week.  I have also been putting a splash of apple cider vinegar in their water, which helps with potassium and a few other trace elements (we all drink that now!).  So are you confused?

Here's the plan.  I made up a jar of kelp and dolomite (in a ratio of 1:4) to be feed as one teaspoon each once a week.  I've also made a jar of sulphur to be feed as half a teaspoon each daily, especially in tick/flea season.  I've also put a piece of copper in the water bucket and some ACV.  That should be enough to keep my girls healthy.

jars of sulphur (once a day) and dolomite and kelp (once a week)
(gets eaten if mixed with yoghurt or gravy)

Copper pipe in the water - maybe ask a plumbing shop for an offcut?
we happened to have some lying around, but you've seen our metal collection!

Doggy First Aid Kit
Pat has included a section of remedies for specific problems, most involve doses of vitamins.  She went into more detail about vitamins in the cattle care book actually, so I wasn't surprised to see it in this one too.  Basically, she says that you normally don't need to feed vitamins if minerals are sufficient, however if the animal is sick or in shock it will not be able to produce vitamins normally and may need a supplement.  Most long-term chronic conditions, such as arthritis, are controlled by feeding minerals, however for acute conditions, such as infections or snake/spider/tick poisoning, vitamins apparently give amazing results.  Pat recommends a supply of liquid vitamin C and vitamin B12 in particular are kept ready to be administered in case a vet is not available immediately (or even prior to taking the animal to the vet).  Vitamin C in powder or tablet can also be given on an ongoing basis until the patient recovers and to keep the immune system strong in case of viral infection (we are also feeding dried rose hips as a good source of Vit C).  The doses depend on the ailment and are given in more detail in the book (also on the vitamin box if you buy some).  It made me wonder if a shot of vit C would also be sensible for a human suffering from a snake bite? Any thoughts?  I still need to learn how to give the shot to the dogs though (there is an explanation and drawing in the book, I just prefer demos)!


The dog first aid kit contains: rescue remedy for shock, vit B and C liquid
for immediate injection in case of poisoning (including syringes etc)
and vit C tablets for ongoing recovery
- total cost about $50 and can all be used on humans too if required
(note that the liquid vitamins have a meat withholding period
list for horse (nill) but nothing mentioned for dogs!
I thought it was funny that they even had to put one for horses)

I'm so happy to have found this book and confident that the dogs will be far better off with this natural diet and healthcare compared to the chemicals they were receiving in the past.

Do you use natural remedies for your dogs?


  1. I Live In Iowa and would like to know what brand of kibble to feed my dogs? I can not find Farrels brand in the USA. I have been raising my goats from Pat Coleby's book for 6 years now and they are always healthy. I know her advise works. I am confused about your sea kelp and dolomite ratio? is that I cup dolomite to 4 cups sea kelp? Do you also feed them cod liver oil? I buy cod liver oil and poke a whole in them and squeeze the oil in the goats food once a week.

    1. I can't even find Farrels in Australia! I just try to use a very simple dog biscuit/kibble that states that it has no artificial flavours/colours etc and hope that they are right. Yes the dolomite/kelp ratio is as you say. I haven't thought to use cold liver oil, but this is a good suggestion, thanks.

    2. I found Farrells once and they are just wheat biscuits with one or two other ingredients, maybe beef stock. I know Coleby raves about them, but I don't believe in feeding carbohydrates to dogs: see my other comment below.

    3. Yes I agree with you, this is an old post... since then we have stopped feeding any dog kibble (emergencies only), and mainly feed raw meat, offal, vegetables. See my more recent post here:

      I do think Pat Coleby's book is useful for thinking about minerals and vitamins needed by dogs.

  2. Would the "meat withholding period" mean not using the supplement for the period before slaughter, if the animal is to be fed as meat? Horse meat is, or at least was, commonly fed to dogs. Hence the lack of a withholding period for dogs, which are not used as food for other species.

    I disagree on feeding carbohydrates to dogs: Ian Billinghurst's books emphasise feeding vegetables, fruit, bones, offal and some muscle meat but no or few carbs, which dogs are not able to digest properly. They can stay in the gut and rot, causing infections. I used those principles for my 45kg dog who lived to 14.5 years, which is ancient by accepted standards for such a large dog. And he shone with good health. It's "Give your Dog a Bone", really worth a read.

    But I used Coleby's principles for my horse, who grew a dark coat that was the envy of all my neighbours every year, due to feeding copper sulphate as recommended by Coleby in her "Natural Horse Care".

    1. yes, I think that's what the witholding period was about, it just struck me as odd at the time.... :)


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