by Laura Weis
Almost 90 percent of dog owners feed their dog kibble, but what about other commercial options such as frozen raw food or canned diets? The optimal dog diet is the least processed and the closest to a wild canid diet, and with a little research it is possible to improve even the best commercial foods. Continue reading
There’s no such thing as a free lunch—and in the world of flea and tick control products for pets, that phrase has never been more true. Fleas and ticks, and the diseases they carry, are the bane of our companion pets. One in 12 dogs tested positive for Lyme disease (carried by ticks) in our area last year, with actual cases thought to be much higher. Ticks and fleas transmit additional diseases, and fleas can cause horrific skin conditions and allergic reactions. But is administering poisons to your pet every month the right solution?
Ask any veterinarian and they will most likely tell you that their phone is filled with pictures of poop. Clients text and email photos, and they engage their veterinarian in lengthy discussions about frequency, color, consistency and odor.
Poop is the end product of the complex digestion process that starts with food and requires the assistance of trillions of microorganisms that rent space in the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of our companion animals. In exchange for nourishment and a place to live, these organisms provide essential elements needed for regulating our metabolism, healthy digestive functioning and a competent immune system. It is estimated that one-third of the microbiota in humans is common to most people, and the remaining two-thirds constitute a sort-of individual fingerprint; each dog likely has its own unique microorganism populations.
Environmental pollutants both outside and inside our homes have greatly increased the toxins we and our pets are exposed to every day. Our pets are sentinels of chemical hazards to human health. As they walk through urban neighborhoods with industrial activity, and are exposed to numerous household and garden chemicals, our pets accumulate toxins on and in their bodies, often at levels that far exceed those found in humans.
Holistic veterinary medicine encompasses many modalities, including Western herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)—which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine—nutritional therapy, chiropractic, and homeopathy. These methods are not new in treating disease; in some cases they have been used for centuries. In the United States, homeopathy is experiencing a resurgence of interest after many years.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were 22 colleges of homeopathy in the United States and more than 15,000 practitioners. A statue of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, was erected in 1900 in Washington, DC, by grateful patients due to the success of homeopathy in treating epidemic disease. Veterinary homeopathy offers a gentle approach to wellness throughout the lifetime of each pet.