Healthy Pets at Ho-Ho-Home For The Holidays (& Beyond)

This past month I co-hosted my 1st “Facebook Party”, which turns out to be a pretty excellent way to share a lot of information with people all over the country that can’t be in person with you for a presentation. People can ask questions in real virtual time or just peruse it later. I decided to include the event here as well by basically cutting/pasting since it could be helpful for other “pet parents” out there. Here’s how you can make the year ahead healthier for your furry family members…

Summer: Hi everyone! Thanks for joining. My name is Summer Marasco and along with my sister I run RLEI’s harmonE Wholeness Center & Market, I am the 3rd generation of a 52 year old Shaklee Independent Distributor business, and a Holistic Wellness Coach specializing in plant-based nutrition. I am a Co-founder of Portland Animal Welfare Advocates (PAWA) in Oregon where I have a home and I am also a volunteer dog walker at the Orange County Humane Society here in SoCal where I am living at the moment and currently have 4 adopted dogs: Baby, Cookie, BeeZee, and Henry. Today we’re going to share some valuable info about a topic near and dear to our hearts because we are pet guardians ourselves and want them to be as healthy as all our family members and live as long as possible. Normally we are helping other humans with their nutritional and wellness needs but this event is all about our furr friends at ho-ho-home. (Just a note: This is going to be more dog-related than cats or other companion animals, but some info will apply to all. And I am NOT a veterinarian; you should always consult with your medical professional about health concerns.)


Cath: Hi all. I’m Catherine Cobb and I’m a Pet Care Specialist. With more than 12 years as the owner of Fido Fitness combined with 4 years at Los Angeles Pierce College with an Associate of Science Degree in Veterinary Technology; I provide dog walking, pet sitting, B&B style boarding care and now a personal Puppy Stork delivery service to new pet owners with a little bundle coming from out of state. In addition to all that, I too grew up in a Shaklee home and have 47 years of personal experience using these amazing products. My house has become a K9 Senior Care Facility in recent years because four of five my housemates are twelve years old and up.


Summer: So let’s get started! If you “like” or comment along as we go, not only will we be able to address or answer any questions if you post them but you will be eligible to win our raffle at the end. Check out TIP #1 posted below for a reminder on what you would get. It’s a really amazing water filtration pitcher system that we use in our own homes every day. Say farewell to contaminants and heavy metals! And it’s valued at $125.00.

gcwfbeventpicSummer: TIP #1: Always have clean, fresh, chemical free water available for your pets to drink!

“Most of us are guilty of “topping” off the water bowl when it gets close to empty but it’s important to wash the bowl and fill it with new water. Water that sits around will form a slimy residue along the inside of the bowl. Bacteria and fungus will begin to grow. Pets will also eat their food and then go to their water bowl, depositing food in the bowl while they drink.

Optimally, cleaning water and food bowls every day is the best – and if you’re feeding them wet food, you definitely should clean the bowls every day. If you are giving your pets dry food, PLEASE at least do a warm water rinse every day and clean the bowls at least every few days.

The best bowls to buy are stainless or porcelain bowls.”
(From Pet Friends Magazine)

Get Clean® Water is a revolutionary new water filtration pitcher system certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) to reduce up to 99% of lead —as well as dozens of other nasty contaminants that can turn up in your water and may be harmful to you and your pet’s health.

Cleaner, healthier water and a cleaner, healthier planet? We can all drink to that!

This Starter Pack contains all you need to get one full year of healthier, great-tasting water*:

Get Clean® Water Pitcher – Food Safe: BPA-Free; 10 cup capacity
Get Clean® Water refillable Filter Housing Kit (with 1 filter – 80 gallon capacity)
Get Clean® Water Filter Refill 3-pack (80 gallon capacity each)

beezeepicfbeventTIP #2: Safety 1st. I think most us know the basics about keeping our pets safe. Pet stores are full of pretty much anything you can think of, from safety gates, crates, and carriers to tags, harnesses, and safety lights to wear while walking your dogs at night. (I like the rainbow colored ones that clip on.) There is one thing you won’t find there even though I believe it should be a priority because it’s around your pets pretty much all the time in your home, not just during the holidays. It’s your cleaning products! Chemical cleaners can be seriously dangerous to everyone, even those with paws.

My grandmother discovered one of the first natural, biodegradable, and non-toxic cleaning products on the market in 1964 called “Basic-H” and 4 generations of my family still use it to this day. (I even wash my produce with it.) There is no need to worry about your pets accidentally getting poisoned by a cleaner plus it’s extremely economical, super concentrated, and has hundreds of proven uses. I soak my dogs’ collars in a sink with just 1 drop of it to clean them. 1 drop! And it’s so nice it comes in handy wipe form for BeeZee’s muddy moments.

(TIP #2 continued, part II) Shaklee’s Get Clean line features the next generation Basic H2® Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate – just 1/4 tsp. makes 16oz. of all-purpose cleaner for only 3 cents. No harmful fumes or hazardous chemicals. Outperforms 20 national leading brands. You would spend $3,400 for ready to use cleaners to get the same amount of clean found in the Get Clean Starter Kit! And when you purchase the Get Clean Starter Kit you also make a positive impact on the planet: Keep 108 pounds of packaging waste from landfills. Eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas. Safe for You, Your Home, and Your Planet®

Our business has a relationship with a rescue organization in Portland, Oregon called Animal Aid, Inc. that we donate Get Clean products to regularly. Their favorites are the Dish Wash liquid for washing pet bowls and the Hand Wash concentrate for washing their hands after basically everything they need to do there. One can only imagine!


(TIP #2 continued, part III) You can replace every single cleaner in your kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room right now with just the products in that Kit and you’re good to go. I have to sing the praises of the 1 additional product that doesn’t come in the Starter Kit which is the Basic-G Germicide.basicgfbeventpic

Now that I also volunteer to wash some of the towels and blankets the dogs and cats use at the local shelter I dog walk at 2 times a week, it has been a lifesaver to both disinfect and deodorize. There can be a lot of germs and fungi and viruses at animal shelters unfortunately so I put a small capful of this in the washing machine with each load. To protect my own dogs. And my husband and I. It kills all kinds of things like salmonella and strep and over 60 pesky microbes but without the harshness of bleach. I can’t think of a better tip for the safety of pets inside your home then going fully “green” with your cleaners.

1798057_10207989450919248_7798041888250533235_nCath: Tip #3: Tinsel & Toxins. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays it’s important to take note of a few hidden dangers in the home that we might not even think about. A live Christmas tree, what could go wrong there? Well, they’ve been sprayed with harmful chemicals and pesticides and the stagnant water in the tree stand is a breeding ground for bacteria, so keep it covered. If you opt instead for a fake tree, they’re not much better. Consider where it was made, if China, it may contain lead. If you have a chewer, check your tree lights and be observant of bite marks or loose wiring. Electrical shock can cause burns, loss of consciousness and even death. Do you have a cat that can’t resist all the tinsel and ribbons? If ingested it can cause a serious life-threatening intestinal blockage. Look for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance and lethargy. If you see ribbon exiting your dog or cat (you get my drift) – DO NOT pull it out. That can cause more damage. Call your vet immediately.

Summer: TIP #4: Dogs love to eat and they will try to eat just about anything, but just like humans, whole unprocessed foods are the foundation for life-long good health. Like most people, I grew up with “family dogs and cats” and we always fed them any commercial food, picking up a giant bag of dry kibble at the store. And I didn’t think much about it. Eventually, with my first pets as an adult, I switched to higher quality brands. And that upgrade alone is pretty important.bluepicfbevent

Until the spring of 2014 when my youngest rescued dog at the time, Blue, was diagnosed with a rare kidney carcinoma. He was only 4 years old and showed only 1 symptom of being sick at all right up until I pushed for further testing, which was just some mild weight loss. We attempted 2 failed surgeries with specialists to remove the cancerous tumor along with the 1 affected kidney, but by the time we even knew anything was wrong it had grown so large it had blood vessels attached to multiple other organs like the spleen and pancreas. I was devastated obviously and felt like I failed him. But the truth is that it’s hard to know when our pets are in pain or ill because they can’t just tell us, right? Not unless we have that medical expertise. So I became resolved to do at least everything I could holistically to either heal him or just extend his life as much as possible comfortably when medical intervention couldn’t help. And lucky enough a good friend introduced me to an “anti-cancer” dog food recipe that one of her friends has used successfully…

(TIP #4 continued, part II)…I took that recipe and educated myself further and began making my own version of it for all of my 4 dogs at the time. Along with some other supplements I was giving him (I’ll share more about that too) not only did he live another 6 months when he was only given a couple of weeks, but he was still exercising and enjoying most normal activities right up until the last week or so. By that point the tumor was so large it was diverting all of his nutrients from the other organs and they were worn out. He let me know it was his time to stop fighting by choosing to stop eating, which animals often do, and we made the compassionate choice to not prolong any suffering. Never an easy choice!

But one of the results of that experience with Blue is that it made me very passionate about being proactive with all aspects of my dogs’ health. And so I have continued making dog food for all my dogs. I was overwhelmed at the thought at first but my goal here is to demystify the idea for others. I am not saying that you shouldn’t continue with prescription dog food from your vet or even that all commercial dog food is bad (but you want to avoid all the preservatives, artificial ingredients, and fillers commonly used), there are some excellent brands and I am including a link here to check out:

dogfoodfbeventpic(TIP #4 continued, part III) But if you are interested in a more hands-on approach with what is going into their bodies, I wanted to be able to offer this alternative. I only make my recipe once a week! And it’s full of all the same great organic, non-GMO whole foods that my husband and I use for our meals. Dogs are omnivores just like humans and can thrive on a plant-based diet. And more and more research is showing that the nutrients in plants strengthen our defenses against diseases like cancer. The best defense is an offense! Here is the picture I took of what I prep each week to make my dog food recipe. Looks like human food, right? You’ll notice there are some critical herbs and spices there too – rosemary, oregano, parsley, and turmeric. It’s all pureed and soft at the end which is easier for senior dogs to eat versus kibble. Please watch the full 15 minute video that I made to see exactly how it’s done using a slow cooker, later at your own convenience:

TIP #4 continued, part IV) And here is a quick graphic to keep on hand about what foods you CAN and CAN’T feed dogs. They need protein, like beans and legumes, healthy fats, and carbohydrates in grains like brown rice and quinoa, vegetables, and they enjoy certain fruits too.


(TIP #4 continued, part V) I don’t have cats at the moment though I did growing-up and I want to make sure I point out that cats have different needs. They are carnivores and may not be able to be fed a 100% vegetarian diet. My recommendation is a fish-based diet. And I hear they love nutritional yeast! This is one of my favorite experts on the topic for you to find out more:

12371199_10207989482320033_6874757918559185550_oCath: Tip #5: No Turkey Gravy! As tempting as it may seem to let your dogs lick the pan, DON’T do it. The high fat concentration is too much for their system to process. You’ll end up with a very sick pup, or worse, a life threatening risk of pancreatitis and an expensive trip to the hospital. I must credit my mentor, Dr. Leland Shapiro; affectionately know to his Pierce students as Dr. Cows. His recommendation is that if you really want to share your tasty turkey gravy with Fido, you may share a no more than a tablespoon cut with a pint of warm water and used as a topping to his food bowl.


Summer: TIP #6: Another nutritional issue that concerns me and I hear from a lot of other pet people are skin allergies and yeast ear infections, which can go hand in hand, so a little supplementation can go a long way from the inside out. And I know all about that one personally too! My eldest dog, Baby, is almost 17 years old and he has battled chronic skin and ear problems his whole life. Even before I really understood all the trigger ingredients in the commercial food we used to give him, I started him on a supplement program years ago. And so this 2nd decade of his life has been vastly improved. (The homemade food helped him with this too because it is also anti-inflammatory.) I give much of this credit to the powder recipe I designed using strictly Shaklee brand vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements. Please watch the full 12 minute video that I made to see exactly how it’s done later at your own convenience:


(TIP #6 continued, part II) Shaklee doesn’t make supplements specifically for pets. (I want to be clear that Shaklee does not recommend any of their products for anything but human use.) But there are many of us that use them for our furry companions because they work and we don’t trust other companies that don’t have the clinical track record and history that Shaklee does. There literally is such a thing as The Shaklee Difference. And I invite you to watch this video which illustrates that perfectly.

12366061_10207989506360634_7659772055787979554_oCath: The Shaklee Difference! Alorra is 13 years old. The average lifespan of a Newfoundland is 8-10 years. Winston Douglas is going to be 6 next month. They both get OmegaGuard and Alfalfa every day. Alorra also gets Joint Health Complex and Pain Relief Complex for occasional aches and pains.

…and, getting the supplements in for the dogs is as easy as making the coffee. Just part of my morning ritual.


Summer: My grandfather, Bob Ewing, turns 91 years old this month (today in fact!) and he has been taking Shaklee supplements since he was 39 years old. Really!SONY DSC

(TIP #6 continued, part III) I am blessed in that I have had Shaklee available to me my entire 36 years on this earth. I take some of these exact supplements I give my dogs. Like the Alfalfa Complex for respiratory support, Liver DTX Complex for liver cell function and filtering of toxins, Optiflora Probiotic for balanced gut bacteria, and NutriFeron, which is a patented, clinically proven blend of immune-strengthening plant extracts. When used daily, it increases the production of your body’s natural interferon, a critical activator of the immune system.jhcfbeventpic

To me the ABCs of natural health supplementation for dogs really begins with a D for a normal Digestive system and bowel movements, E for Energy and tail wagging, and F for Fun and play without joint and muscle pain. I may not need this help yet but all 4 of my dogs are seniors now from age 8 to almost 17 and susceptible to arthritis building up so I include Shaklee’s Joint Health Complex as part of their powder.

Cath: Tip #7: The Comings and Goings of Guests. When visitors come to share the special moments of the holiday season be aware that they may not have pets and won’t necessarily be as careful as you will with the front door. Warn them to be watchful and take care if you have door dashers or opportunists. Make sure you have current identification on pets at all times when guests are in your home, just in case one gets out. Provide your pets a special holiday retreat, a quiet space in your home to escape the noise and stress of the party. Or, consider a petsitter to look after your furry friends so you can have a worry free feast.


Summer: TIP #8: You have to be careful about any topical products that go on your pets. Shampoos, conditioners, and other grooming products may have irritants. Some dogs have really sensitive skin like my Baby and there are plenty of environmental factors to consider. For example, there are residentially used pesticides, industrial residues, and agricultural byproducts that your pets may be literally walking, running, and rolling around in then licking off themselves.hbcreamfbeventpic

One final product that Shaklee makes that translates really well to dog skin is the Herbal Blend Multi-Purpose Cream. It is a cooling mentholated formula enriched with natural extracts, including rosemary, chamomile, corn oil, and salvia. When Baby has an occasional rashy, red outbreak on his underside, I usually slather some on him (which he tries to lick off immediately but that’s okay) before bedtime and by the morning, his skin is back to normal. I keep a tube of it by my bed at all times!

(And for my vegan friends, their personal care products are cruelty-free. Shaklee never tests on animals.)

920746_10207989545321608_5087955176503832637_oCath: Tip #9: Puppy Kisses Under the Mistletoe? Yes and no. Mistletoe is very toxic to dogs. So is Holly. When ingested, they can cause severe stomach upset. Even poinsettias are mildly toxic. Look for signs like drooling, lip smacking and head shaking.
Above all else, during the holidays, and EVERY DAY, love on your pets with all your might. They give us so much back.12370815_10207989545401610_4530032277510131683_o

Summer: TIP #10: I wanted to come full circle as we close and mention one more thing that goes along with helping our pets feel safe, secure, and happy. Some dogs can suffer from emotional anxiety and mental distress. Sometimes it’s related to a specific incident, like being stressed out with company or the noises of fireworks on the 4th of July, and sometimes it’s chronic every time there is separation. I have a 3 prong approach with one of my dogs, Cookie, who was severely mistreated in her former life…

1. I put a ThunderShirt on her. Find it here:


(TIP #10 continued, part II) 2. I leave my dogs with toys, blankets they can bury themselves in, and whenever possible, I exercise them thoroughly before we go. Why? A bored, unfulfilled pet is an unhappy pet in general. When you take them out for walks, they are stimulated by all the sights, smells, and sounds, and they come back home with tired bodies, which decreases their frustration in general. If you have a dog park, or bark park near you, socialization can be critical for certain dogs. And if you have a little rebel, it might be the only place you can take them off leash and let them really run around good without fear they will run away. Many of the undesirable behaviors in my home that I would call “acting out” have resulted from lack of enough exercise.


(TIP #10 continued, part III) 3. And I use Rescue Remedy in their water when needed. Learn more here:

12390884_10207989573522313_4709658923119241138_nCath: Body/mind/spirit. Your pets feed off your energy so if you’re stressed out getting ready for company you may notice that as if on queue the animals all go nuts, just what you need right? Well, they’re picking it up from you. This used to happen to me every Thanksgiving until I figured it out. So just take a deep breath, say Namaste, and relax!

And along the lines of what Summer shared on anxiety, I highly recommend the works of Janet Marlow. She is a Sound Behaviorist and fifth generation musician. Janet has such a special gift; she composes species-specific music for animals. Crazy, right? You’ve got to check out her website, you’ll be amazed. I had the pleasure of meeting her in 2003 at my first Pet Sitters International Conference, and my canine guests at Dougal’s Bed and Breakfast have been enjoying her work ever since.

If you have an interest in further information from Fido Fitness you can reach me at: or text me at 818-271-9990.


Summer:  Just a reminder: you can scroll back and read more in depth later, we will leave this Facebook event open. Especially for watching videos and investigating the links we shared.

Thank you so much for following along with us today! This has been a lot of information, but hopefully there is at least something you can take away and put to good use in your home to have healthy, happy pets. Somebody here is also going to get our raffle prize shipped to their doorstep to ring in the New Year! I have put all your names on pieces of paper in a bowl and will pick one out and announce momentarily…

…And the winner is Wendy Rissman ! Congratulations!

Please email me at with your shipping address/phone #.

And if any of our guests would like to purchase any of the Shaklee products mentioned during our event today, please refer to the person who invited you, or use the following links:

For Summer:

Have a great weekend! And Happy Holidays!


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