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Natural Pet Care

Pet care is big business in the United States and it is growing. As a matter of fact many people treat their animals better than they treat themselves. This article will deal with some of the aspects of animal care and how animal needs can be fulfilled. I am not an expert on animal health problems but in my studies there are many remedies for humans that work equally well for animals. Be sure to consult a professional trained in complimentary therapies.

Veterinary medicine has made great strides in the last decade. Veterinarians are now using the same therapies with animals that are used with humans. These therapies include acupuncture, homeopathy, nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplementation, herbs, Bach flower remedies and chiropractic.

According to Christopher Day, M.A., Vet.M.B., M.R.C.V.S who runs an alternative veterinary clinic in England states, “Complimentary therapies provide a vast therapeutic armory that not only outweighs modern conventiional medicine in scope but also in capacity. At our clinic we very rarely need to resort to modern drugs, and then only to provide symptomatic relief. Alternative medicine provides the keys to cure instead of suppression”.

The president of The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, Joann Stefanatos, D.V.M. Has found that holistic veterinary medicine has proven to be the best for treating animal disorders such as, feline leukemia, feline peritonitis, radial nerve paralysis, distemper, arthritis, cataracts, heart, liver, and kidney disease; chronic skin diseases, hip displasia and pesticide and chemical toxicities.

One reason for this effectiveness and the consistency of results can be explained quite simply states H.C. Gurney D.V.M. is that, “animals do not have the power to reason whether a treatment is going to work or not, it either will or it won’t”.

Let’s discuss the diet and nutritional need of animals and compare their diet to their health conditions. The diet is the cornerstone to the total health of your pet. Unfortunately most pet owners fail to pay attention to the food they feed their pet. Did you ever wonder about how pet food is made and where the ingredients are obtained? Most commercial pet food is processed, devitalized and filled with toxic chemicals and additives.

Additives like BHT, BHA, lead, artificial coloring, salt and sugar should be avoided. Slaughterhouse waste, known as the 4 D’s-tissue from dead, dying, disabled, or diseased animals are common ingredients in canned pet food. These wastes can be moldy, rancid, or spoiled before and during processing. This is a common practice and is the theory behind mad cow disease. It has been discovered that in the cattle feed there was ground up cattle (the 4-D’s) so it appears to be caused by a protein imbalance due to a form of cannibalism. I won’t go into that issue with this article.

So what do we feed our pets? Dr. Pitcairn recommends feeding your pet whole foods like meat, soft vegetables (yams are good), and fruits along with whole grains that can be flavored with broths. Raw beef bones once a week and to use natural oils like safflower or olive oil. Do not use processed hydrogenated oils.

Dr. Stefanatos also recommends the following:

  • Feed your pet twice a day instead of one large feeding.
  • Avoid heating food in a microwave.
  • Replace tap water with filtered or spring water.
  • Avoid irradiated, and chemical laden foods,
  • Exercise your pet regularly.
  • Offer a wide variety of food selections.

Our pets like us humans have ailments and diseases similar to our afflictions. The same remedies that we use on ourselves work well with our pets. Nutritional supplements are available to boost the nutrients not found in pet foods. The following are some of the conditions where nutrition has helped. The hair and coat of animals is regulated by essential fatty acids and the use of flax oil, dosage by body weight, has shown to improve the coat.

Fleas are a big problem and we have sold for year a product called nutritional yeast that seems to help deter fleas.Yeast is high in protein and the B complex vitamins plus many of the essential minerals. Well known local columnist Marie Wood wrote many years ago about the benefits of yeast with her dogs and the theory behind yeast is that it changes the smell of the animal and the fleas , which are attracted by smell, don’t want to jump on for the ride.

We have also seen the use of pennyroyal oil, diluted, to deter fleas and not harm the pet. The recipe for pennyroyal is to take 15-20 drops of the pure essential oil add it to 8 oz of alcohol and then dilute this with one cup of water to make a diluted solution. This can be put into a spray bottle and misted on the coat of the animal and its bed. Be sure to avoid the face and eyes.

There are many herbal remedies for ailments such as, nervousness, arthritis, dandruff and kidney problems. There are many good resources that will give you this information. A new magazine, Natural Pet, is full of advice on how to treat your pet naturally. Some other good reading is Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs And Cats, Keep Your Pet Healthy The Natural Way by Pat Lazarus and a video, “Holistic Pet Care” by Joanne Stefanatos. Good luck with your research and your pet.

Article by herbalist Dave Hawkins, MH, CNC

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