I have had an interest in natural and holistic care for my pets for many years. Around 2000, I started by going to talks and seminars on holistic pet care, searching the internet and doing a lot of reading and experimentation. My lucky dogs got to be the guinea pigs.
One of the first decisions I made was to discontinue semi-annual and annual vaccinations (except for rabies as it is required by law) I made this decision after attending a seminar by a holistic vet. Some of the points she made stuck with me;
1.) vaccinations should never be given as a “cocktail” in the event your pet has a reaction to one of the drugs you won’t know which one.
2.) vaccinations given correctly should last 7 or more years and this can be determined by doing titers
3.) The rabies vaccine is the same for a 1 year or 3 year dose and for a 5 lb pet or 150 lb pets, which explains to me why people with small dogs tell me stories of how sick their dog was after being vaccinated.
4.) Vaccines should not be given to nursing puppies as they get all they need from the mother’s milk and the antibodies in the milk could eliminate the effectiveness of the vaccine.
My next venture into more wholesome pet care was diet. I had adopted a 6 year old standard poodle, Spike, who would have on again off again stomach issues with commercial dog foods, we also had issues with keeping his weight down even thought we fed as instructed and the dog got a lot of regular exercise. After much investigation and having a client who was feeding a raw prey diet I decided to make the switch. I didn’t go “prey” but a commercially prepared raw diet with additions of what ever fresh food I could supplement. I continued to feed this diet to all my dogs including fosters that passed through our home. They all loved it and thrived.
There are many benefits to feeding a raw diet. For the dogs, well first off they loved it, it was easy to maintain a healthy weight, virtually no more stomach upsets. For me, clean up was a snap. Literally the poop is compact and dry. No waste in the food so nothing to come back out.
I haven’t continuously fed raw. There was a time when my dogs, after 5 years of a raw diet decided they wanted a change. Go figure. So we went through a period of home cooked. I make a mean dog stew. I used all organic and free range food. (It was so good in fact that I am known to spice it up for myself and have it for dinner.) So they ate that for a few years and got tired of that. I have used commercial foods at times through out their lives. I think they like it more for the novelty factor of having something different to eat. But they would never eat it for very long and I would be left with bags and cans of food.
Currently I am feeding a freeze-dried raw diet. This has the convenience factor. I can take it any where with no worries about refrigeration or storage. I just need to rehydrate. The dogs have taken to it really well. I do still supplement them with raw meaty bones as a treat.
The downside of course is handling raw meat you need to take precautions and it can be very expensive. Not everyone has the resources to feed a fresh or raw diet but I would suggest if you are interested to incorporate some “real and fresh” foods in your pets diet when you can. This could include mixing some of the vegetables that you made for yourself for your dinner into their dinner.
Even my birds get fresh food everyday.
This of course are my own opinions. You need to do the work and make your own decisions about what is right for you and your pet.
My next blog I will discuss my venture into canine massage and healing touch for animals and how I went from skeptic to believer.