Twenty years ago I had a little dog that
used to follow me around and sleep at my feet. She was my shadow and I
always tried to take good care of her. But, no matter what I did, she always
had a problem with her teeth. When we moved, her new vet found she needed
a tooth removed, and I proceeded to sing him a litany of my little dog's
dental woes. The first question he asked me was if I fed her those famous
dog treats. "Why, yes," I replied, "she loves them. How did
you know?" He proceeded to explain about the sugar (molasses, corn
syrup, fructose etc.) in the dog cookie; how dogs can't brush their teeth
to remove the sugar and it just sits there like battery acid and destroys
their teeth. Naturally, I ran right home to read the ingredients on my
familiar box of dog cookies. I was stunned. How could they do this to
millions of dogs? What was my pooch to do?
Since this was before the internet, I
made a quick visit to the library. That was how I found Dr.
Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. The
recipes for dog cookies were just what I was after. I was a bit worried
that my pal might not take to the new treats, but she loved them. I
learned a lot from that book. It reinforced my innate (negative) feelings
about canned dog food and bagged dry food. The first chapters deal with
diet and contain explanations of what is found in commercial dog foods and
why and how to make your own. There are diets for dogs and cats in
different stages of life; puppy, older adult pets, lactating females, even
orphaned or abandoned babies. Because it may be difficult for both you and
the animal to make the transition from commercial foods, there is a
chapter that deals with that.
This book is much more than just food,
though. It deals with the total environment in which the animal lives.
Much of it is common sense--fresh air, exercise and a safe and warm place
to sleep--but much of it is detailed information about how to care for
your animal. It is these details that make the difference. The
second half of the book is an encyclopedia of medical situations. To help
you recognize the problem your pet may be having, each condition's
symptoms are clearly presented. Holistic remedies are presented that
include Vitamin, Homeopathic, Flower Essences and Herbal treatments. Dogs
and Cats are treated differently when necessary. Acupuncture and
Chiropractic treatments are also discussed. There is also a chapter on
emergency situations. At the back of the book are lists of suppliers.
My little friend has been gone for many
years and now I have two medium-sized mutts that have come to live with
us. Abandoned as puppies, there was more than one time the need for advice
reared its head. I still cook for them. Laugh if you will, but they are
healthy and happy, and I feel good about what I am giving them. One way I
have found to prepare food for them is in our crock-pot. It works while I
do and I can usually make a week's worth at a time. Even so, there are
times when I fall back on canned food. But, I try to pick out brands with
no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. I don't eat that stuff, so
why should they?