Toxins and stress are unavoidable truths in our lives. Even with our best efforts, it would be impossible to eliminate every offender. Luckily, we don’t have to. We are made to naturally rid ourselves of toxic accumulation – our bodies simply know what to do. And while we can’t control every environmental detail, we can encourage and support our bodies while they cleanse naturally.
A gentle nudge or two is all we need to aid the process. And the start of autumn with its cooler temperatures and change of scenery is a natural invitation for a fresh start. Ayurvedic wisdom emphasizes this seasonal transition as an ideal time to detox. Done with intention, it can help us eliminate bad habits, bolster our good ones and establish healthy additions – all of which help reset our bodily systems. And of course, dogs are no different. They benefit from a healthy reboot as well.
Canines encounter the same irritants that we do. The difference is that they live in a sensory-oriented world, making them more sensitive to the same input. We can help ease this overload by incorporating a few Ayurvedic solutions that are related to each of the five senses.
Your dogs may not be “watch dogs” but they still have the ears of one. They hear everything – much more than we humans do. Tune into the sounds around you to determine what may be frightening to your pup. Anything loud or startling is stress inducing – period. Pay close attention to extreme noises you may have become accustomed to and find ways to eliminate them. Don’t forget to start with yourself. Do you have a habit of calling for someone from another room? Or do you scream at the sight of a bug? Take strides to change these patterns for the sake of your dog.
Reduce any unnecessary noises and then consider adding in some soothing sounds. Free apps, like Insight Timer, will fill your dog’s ears with OM, Tibetan bowls, nature sounds and more. Never underestimate the power of silence, as it can be a refuge from the stressors of everyday ear turbulence.
Your fur family also need regular ear cleanings. Some of their ears are bigger, closer to the ground and even outward facing, making them little dirt magnets. Give them cleaner ears for their new soothing environment by adding purified water, five drops of apple cider vinegar and one drop of aloe vera to a cotton ball and gently wiping them out.
Dogs use their eyes to assess a lot. They watch for hand signals, facial expressions, body postures and routines to indicate what to expect or what is expected of them. Give their eyes a rest by simplifying their space. Take a minimalist approach to their personal area and keep only what they love and use. When it comes to toys, allow them to determine their favorites. Feel good about giving the rest to a dog shelter. Sometimes having too many choices is a stressor in itself.
A little eye massage to relax this tired area is a nice treat. Use a clean, warm compress over the eyes first, to dilate the blood vessels and allow more blood flow. It’s important to note the word warm; never hot. Use the pads of your fingertips to gently rub around the eye sockets in circular motions. Combine this with our ear tips and you’ve got a nice doggy day spa.
A canine’s sense of smell is their most developed sense of all. It’s acute enough to detect drugs or find victims in a disaster area. So, imagine how sensitive they are to everyday items like air freshener, perfume and candles. It’s best to stick with a “less is more” approach and give their noses a break when in the comfort of their own homes.
Some scents including frankincense, sage, palo santo, lemon grass, lavender and eucalyptus are healing, but only with a light hand. An oil diffuser is a gentle way to incorporate these smells into your pup’s environment. For more benefit, add one drop only to their bedding and allow them to inhale it while resting. Or better yet, a few drops added to a spray bottle of water to mist your fur family.
Your dog has taste buds. Not nearly as many as humans, but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality. Their tongues are equipped with taste receptors for specific things including water. That’s enough information to have you looking at their water bowl in a whole new light.
Start fresh by throwing out your pup’s old dishes and bringing in new ones. Always remember to wash them between feedings because a dirty bowl isn’t just unhealthy, it can also alter the taste of its contents. Your dog is a little water connoisseur, so offer them filtered over tap water. This will be more appealing and will likely alleviate scores of contaminates. Adding a small 1/4 inch chunk of fresh ginger root to their water will aid in digestion – don’t worry if they end up swallowing it.
For their food bowl, switch your dog’s protein source two or three times per year with the intention of creating more variety and balance in their nutrition. Turkey and beef are particularly beneficial in the fall because they are grounding and slightly warming.
Many commercial dog foods come with chemicals, GMOs and hormones. This makes a diet reset useful and explains why it is critically important to use 100% clean food and water during a cleanse. Nothing overly processed or unnatural. Think simple and easy to digest.
Loving pets and dog massages are wonderful anytime of the year for you and your pup. They reduce stress, improve circulation and can relieve pain. They are calming for you both, create trust within the relationship and strengthen your dog/human bond. Try incorporating tips from the Sound and Smell sections of this article to your massage to increase these benefits.
Remove any energetic debris your dog might be holding onto with an easy Reiki energy sweep. This is especially beneficial during times of change or seasonal shifts. Simply cup your hand three to six inches above your buddy’s body. Always start on the right side of the nose, using the right hand for the right side of the body and left hand for the left side of the body. Take your time and notice if the energy feels different in any one spot. If it does, keep your hand at this point until the sense neutralizes. Flick the energy you want to discard off your hands at the end of each sweep, away from the body.
These suggestions are meant for healthy dogs but as always, everything should be introduced subtly and with close attention to its effects. It is not appropriate to implement change on puppies, seniors, pregnant/nursing canines, the ill (unless it is medically supervised) or particularly stressed.
Many of these detox tips transfer to humans as well. Include yourself in the mix and you have a customized parent/doggy detox. Just in time to embark on a new and healthy season together!