Natural Health Measures

CH Tempest Quick As Can Bee, “Zoom”, CD, RE, CGC achieved his championship from the Bred-by class. He is continuing in obedience. (Click To Enlarge)
Thanks to Betty Hodges of Rosewood Kennels for making this beautiful boy possible

How many times have you heard from your parents or an older friend how they used to feed all their dogs table scraps and they lived to be twenty years old?  Then you go to your veterinarian and he tells you absolutely not - dogs need balanced nutrition: like that provided in a commercial dog food.  So you figure the vetís education must be correct and you feed your dogs a packaged dog food.  Now when you sit down and think about it, has it bothered you that our companion animals are dying at a much younger age and suffering from various autoimmune diseases, cancer, etc. at a much higher rate?  There has to be a reason!

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Our companion animals descended from wild wolves and dogs.  These animals did not eat grain products but were meat eaters.  So does it make sense to feed something that is primarily composed of grains?  The canine intestine system is much shorter than ours and therefore food travels through much faster.  Thus bacteria that would cause us multiple problems is readily handled by a dogís system.  The best food for your dog is raw meaty bones.  Add to this finely chopped or juiced vegetables and fruits, occasional organ meats and oatmeal if you desire.  Most dogs will readily gobble this up and look for more.  Of course we have an advantage with Manchesters that will eat anything that does not eat them first!  Transitioning to this diet for an animal that has been fed commercial dog food can cause a period of loose and mucousy stools, some vomiting and possibly some skin problems.  This is the bodyís way of detoxifying from the poisons that have been introduced into their system.   Despite what you see on TV, commercial dog food contains very little meat and it is usually the by-products swept up off the floor from meat rendering plants.  For more information search the WWW - there are many references that will sicken you.  Warning: do not be eating when you read some of these articles!!!

The second factor in our petís lives is vaccination.  Many studies have now been done to prove that vaccination can cause more problems than it relieves.  One thing that has absolutely been proven is that dogs do not need yearly boosters.  This only weakens the immune system and lays the dog wide open for all types of diseases to take hold.  The new protocols recommended by most major veterinary schools are to have puppy shots - preferably individual shots not combinations - and a booster at one year.  Then boost no more than every 3 years.  Older dogs need no further vaccinations.  A Holistic veterinarian may recommend fewer than this.  Some people are recommending titer testing to determine the levels in your dogs system.  These tests can be very subjective and must be done by a competent laboratory.

Finally,  be very careful about any chemical products used in or around your pet.  If you live in an area where Heartworm preventative is recommended, then use the daily.  I know it is not as convenient but it is much safer for your pet.  Ivermectin in particular has been proven to cause liver disease in many animals.  Flea preparations can cause problems also.  Look into natural preventatives such as adding Brewerís yeast and garlic to the diet, Diatomaceous earth for your yard or the use of Nematodes.  Constantly bombarding our pets with various chemicals can be hazardous.  I have heard of people describing rashes, hot spots and other problems with the use of Advantage, Frontline or Bio Spot.  Investigate all things carefully before using.  Watch your animal after applying and be prepared to remove it immediately if you see any adverse reaction.

Searching the web can lead you to much information on natural care.  There are sites for alternative medicine.  Many veterinarians are now holistically prepared - meaning they prescribe conventional medication as well as using herbs, acupuncture and homeopathic remedies.  You can find many books also.  Some recommended diet books include: Dr. Ian Billinghurstís - Give Your Dog a Bone,  Helen McKinnonís - Itís For the Animals and Kymythy Schultzeís - The Ultimate Diet. 

Remember our beloved pets cannot tell us if things are bothering them.  They rely on us to do what is right.  Think before you reach for any chemicals in the future and investigate thoroughly!

--contributed by Donna Gates