The New Holistic Way for Dogs & Cats: The Stress-Health Connection
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The New Holistic Way for Dogs & Cats: The Stress-Health Connection
The New Holistic Way for Dogs & Cats: The Stress-Health ConnectionNewsThe New Holistic Way for Dogs & Cats: The Stress-Health Connection
The New Holistic Way for Dogs & Cats: The Stress-Health Connection
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"I really like the concept of looking at the whole animal from both a medical and an emotional standpoint. The New Holistic Way for Dogs & Cats offers a practical approach using mainstream and non-mainstream methods, along with valuable advice about how we can make our pets’ everyday lives less stressful.”

Temple Grandin
Author of Animals Make us Human and Animals in Translation

Orange Tabby

 

Past Excerpts from The New Holistic Way for Dogs and Cats

December 20, 2011

A Healthy Grain of Salt

Don’t be taken in by claims that you read or hear about pet foods, pet products, or medical techniques—whether holistic or not—that promise to do wonders for your cat or dog’s health.

  • Be sceptical of advertising. Its purpose is to make money for business by trying to convince people that a product is perfectly designed to meet their needs.
  • Be sceptical of information on the Internet. Te Internet proliferates unmonitored, unregulated material, some of which is purely promotional, and some of which is just plain wrong.
  • Be sceptical of research statistics. When presented to an unsuspecting audience without proper context or critical discussion, they can be manipulated and portrayed to suggest that almost anything is true.
  • Be sceptical of claims of major breakthroughs regarding both natural and mainstream medications and treatments. Only time and experience will tell whether they have any legitimacy.
  • Be sceptical of your neighbour’s advice. Whether he is a lay person or a professional, he, too, is exposed to information and conditions that may serve an ulterior agenda or motive.

The New Holistic Way, page 229 (see previous excerpts)

December 13, 2011:

The Stress of Heroic Measures

When a pet is dying, we need to ask how much stress we will put him through by giving him therapies—whether supportive or mainstream—to keep him going. And when we are able to keep pets alive with artificial means, are we equally able to maintain their quality of life? Because I see dying as a natural process that does not always involve great suffering, I wonder why we choose to keep alive, by artificial measures, pets who would otherwise naturally die.

Many of the ways we interfere with pets who are dying are very stressful to them. For example, at a certain point when a pet is naturally dying, he is sometimes put on an IV to maintain his fluid levels as he goes through the process. But this approach no longer makes sense to me. The animal is not in pain; he’s simply dying! His energy is depleting, which is a normal part of the process. And as it depletes, he no longer needs to maintain his own fluid levels. So why do we interfere with the process? Further, to carry out this kind of procedure the pet usually needs to be moved from the home into the hospital. But how can a pet who has spent his life in a loving home near his own people, possibly benefit from being placed in a strange or frightening environment, in an impersonal clinic, away from the people and perhaps the other animals whom he loves and who love him? What benefits do we gain from doing this to pets? In my view, sending a pet to a veterinary clinic to die is not an appropriate thing to do. The dying pet is better off in the safety and security of his own home.

The New Holistic Way, page 221

December 6, 2011:

How to Ease a Pet’s Natural Death

I advise clients who have chosen to allow their pets to die a natural death to give them the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum Album in the appropriate potency. This remedy is used with people to help alleviate the negative effects of the natural process and help the patient feel better about dying. I can’t say that it works for pets as well as it works for people; I have no idea whether it does because the animal can’t tell me. But, in my experience, most homeopathics do have beneficial effects for animals and at the very least can’t do them any harm. Although in various potencies Arsenicum Album may be used for many other conditions as well, to ease the passage into death I use the potency designated as MK**.

The New Holistic Way, page 219

** William Boericke, MD, “Arsenicum Album,” in Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica, 9th ed. (Philadelphia: Boericke and Runjon, 1927), 79. Direct quotation: “Gives quiet and ease to the last moments of life when given in high potency.”

November 29, 2011:

Why I Don’t Use Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs attempt to destroy cancer cells. They rarely cure cancer but more often achieve a temporary remission that allows the pet’s life to be extended for a short period of time. Although these drugs are intended to inflict greater damage to cancer cells than to normal cells, they also damage normal cells. The side effects that follow from this can cause a pet to suffer.

I question the use of chemotherapy because of the damage it inflicts on the pet’s living terrain and also because it is very expensive for the client. I prefer the results I see using non-invasive methods that support the living terrain and motivate the immune response to challenge cancerous cells as it should. If a client insists on having her pet treated with chemo, that’s her choice, but I won’t do it in my clinic. If she finds another clinic that will do it for her, I will continue to support the pet with non-invasive therapy.

The New Holistic Way, page 209

November 22, 2011:

Why I Use Surgery for Cancer

Surgery can save lives in emergencies. An aggressive cancer that spreads rapidly or interferes with an organ or a system’s ability to function is an emergency. Surgical removal of the cancerous cells can buy the pet time to allow slower-acting therapies that support the living terrain to do their work. It takes time to shift a disturbed immune system to recover a healthier balance.

The New Holistic Way, page 205

November 15, 2011:

What do Do If You Can’t Get Bioenergetic Assessment

My ideal plan of action to support an allergic pet—as well as pets with autoimmune illness or cancer—includes bioenergetic testing. But what if, for whatever reasons, bioenergetic testing is not an option for you? There is still much you can do for your pet. Switch to a diet of unprocessed foods and put him on probiotics. Don’t give him the foods that pets are most likely to be sensitive to. (See the Stress-Busters Diet for Dogs and Cats in the Appendix for guidelines.) Consider what kinds of stress your pet may be experiencing (use Chapter 3 to get started), and think creatively about what you can do about them. These steps are the cornerstone of animal wellness and they will help most animals who have wonky immune systems improve significantly. Once these measures are in place, if you have access to one, a holistic veterinarian may be able to provide drainage remedies to help your cat or dog rid himself of toxins. And if, in the future, bioenergetic testing becomes available for your pet, you can customize his diet for his individual needs and help him that much more.

The New Holistic Way, page 193

November 8, 2011:

Use Supplements Only When Necessary

Part of establishing an effective plan for healing requires being able to learn continually about what works and what doesn’t work for the individual patient. We need to keep therapy simple and straightforward so that we can observe this as we go along. Introducing too many biochemical substances—even supportive ones—into the living terrain can prevent us from seeing whether dietary changes and drainage remedies are doing their job. And because tonics may relieve symptoms in the short run, they can also obscure the need for a more complete approach and delay the patient from starting it. I believe that whenever possible, our goal must be to help the living terrain become more self-sufficient for the long haul, rather than prop it up in the short run.

The New Holistic Way, page 193

October 31, 2011:

Holistic Health Care Is a Better Investment

At times, it may seem more expensive to support the living terrain to function at its highest capacity than to purchase mainstream medications in an attempt to keep the body going even as it breaks down. High-quality food and ongoing therapies such as chiropractic care may appear to cost more up front than some pharmaceuticals. It is true that the holistic way puts great emphasis on prevention; investing the time, energy, and money to prevent future problems can be a front-end-loaded endeavour. But its long-term benefits far outweigh the often temporary usefulness of invasive medications and reduce the likelihood of requiring much more expensive surgeries and high-end drugs down the road. A complete program of holistic care for wellness is a true investment in long-term health, and like any sound investment its payoffs are worth it.

The New Holistic Way, page 173

October 24, 2011:

A Depressing Trend

Sadly, there is a growing trend to give antidepressant drugs such as clomipramine hydrochloride to pets to manage their behavioural problems. These drugs invade the highest level of the terrain—the brain—and cause biochemical changes to take place within it. We have no way of understanding their ramifications because we cannot communicate verbally with our pets. My advice is to avoid these drugs. When an animal behaves undesirably, try to find out why and look for ways to rectify the problem itself, instead of masking it. Many better methods are available for addressing behavioural issues, including modifying the animal’s environment, giving them flower remedies to calm their energy, and positive training.

The New Holistic Way, page 171

October 17, 2011:

Be Wary about Pharmaceuticals

When pharmaceuticals are recommended for your pet, be sure to investigate every aspect of the drug being prescribed. Ask your vet why it is being prescribed and about any abnormal reactions that may accompany its use. Ask whether there are less invasive approaches to achieve the desired effects and whether your cat and dog needs the medication. Ask what would happen if she is not given it. Your pet’s wellness is at stake, so don’t hesitate to be proactive and use your own good sense about using any drug.

New Holistic Way, pag 169 (see previous excerpts)

October 3, 2011:

A Word about Terms

When discussing modalities, I try not use terms such as Western, Eastern, complementary, alternative, and so on, because I find these terms problematic. For example, mainstream medicine is often referred to as Western. But homeopathy, which was discovered in Germany, is also Western—and it has major contributions to the development of holistic theory and practice. Further, modalities such as acupuncture that came from the East may take on altered forms when imported into a Western context. None of these terms sufficiently take into account methods arising from continents such as Africa or Australia. And to me, each of the terms complementary, alternative, and conventional reflects in its own way the status quo of the twentieth century, in which the mainstream approach has been widely viewed as the enlightened form of health care and any other approach has been seen as deviant from it. I believe it is more useful to discuss modalities in terms of how they affect the living terrain.**

The New Holistic Way, page 161.

** I sometimes use these other terms because the English language hasn’t yet caught up with the changing health care landscape. Please take this as my nod to established terminology, but do not let it confuse you about my position.

September 27, 2011:

The History of Bioenergetic Assessment

The idea that life force energy flows through every being is not new. It dates back in healing traditions for millennia. It can be found, for example, in the approaches of Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, and among peoples of Africa and Hawaii, the aborigines of Australia, the Maori of New Zealand, across the Americas, in major world religions including Judeo-Christian traditions, and among healers and scientists throughout European history. Hippocrates, the founder of what has become mainstream medicine in the West, maintained that good health depends upon the free flow of this energy. Since early in the twentieth century, Western scientists have made discoveries in quantum physics that support the notion that there’s a vital life force. Although they have developed ways to measure it, their research is not yet reflected in the practice of most mainstream doctors or veterinarians.

However, highly developed contemporary diagnostic technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrocardiogram (EKG), electroencephalogram (EEG), and others are based on this concept and research.

The New Holistic Way, pages 146-147.

Kenneth S. Cohen, “Roots and Branches,” in The Way of Qigong, the Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing (New York: Ballantine Books, 1997), 23-27; Larry Trivieri Jr. and John W. Anderson, eds., “Energy Medicine,” in Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, 2nd ed. (Berkeley/Toronto: Celestial Arts, 2002), 201-202.

September 20, 2011:

Caleb’s Mystery Illness

Caleb, a lively Bouvier des Flandres dog, went off his food one day. He seemed depressed, was warm to the touch, and had several bouts of diarrhea. By midnight, his worsening signs of unwellness worried Susan enough to prompt her to make an emergency call to her rural mainstream veterinarian, who agreed to meet them at the clinic as soon as they could get there. In the wee hours of the morning, Susan sat with her dog as he lay resting on the floor of the clinic while the vet examined him.

Caleb was running a low fever, but a physical exam revealed no other signs of illness. The vet suggested that blood tests might offer more clues to what was wrong, and Susan agreed to have them done. After the vet drew a vial of blood from Caleb’s leg, Susan took him home again and waited for the results.

The next day the vet called to report that the tests showed a strange pattern in Caleb’s blood work—his platelet count was abnormally high. However, this information alone was inconclusive, and all the signs put together did not fit a clear diagnostic picture. Because the vet was concerned that Caleb might have a serious condition, she said that further biochemical tests might be helpful; even so, there was no guarantee that they would clarify his situation.

Susan was grateful for the vet’s responsiveness and her honesty about the limits of the methods she had available to assess Caleb’s problem. She tried to figure out the most balanced road to take. Doing more tests would mean putting him through the stress of another trip to the clinic and having blood drawn again. It would also be costly. The first round of blood work had already cost $300 and hadn’t helped solve the problem. And by then, Caleb seemed to be rallying on his own. Susan and the vet agreed not to go ahead with further tests as long as Caleb continued to improve.

Caleb recovered from his mystery illness and appeared to be fine for a while. The next time his blood work was checked, his platelets were back to normal. But because mainstream medicine monitors illness rather than wellness, the underlying unwellness that made his susceptible to illness was not identified. A few months later, he became gravely ill with canine distemper. (See Chapter 7 to find out how remedies that support the living terrain saved Caleb’s life, beginning on page 157.)

The New Holistic Way, pages 146-147.

September 13, 2011:

Let Your Vet Know How to Relate to Your Pet

Your veterinarian will probably start the physical examination while you are discussing your pet’s history. Remember that you know your pet best, and if you can think of less upsetting ways to approach and handle him, don’t hesitate to say so. Say a bit about his nature—whether he’s fearful, had once been abused, or has strong protective tendencies. For example, if your cat is afraid to be picked up, let your vet know that so she can approach gently. If your dog is the type who takes a direct stare as a challenge, tell her not to look him in the eye. Not only will your guidance make the experience easier for the animal, but it might also help prevent the vet and her staff from being bitten or scratched.

The New Holistic Way, page 143.

September 6, 2011:

Reassure Your Pet

Animals often become emotionally stressed out when taken to the vet. After all, once there, someone they may never have met before and who is not part of the family will handle them. They may also be upset about riding in the car if they aren’t used to it. As well, some medical tests are uncomfortable or painful, and animals don’t understand what it is all about. There are several steps you can take to make the appointment less difficult for your dog or cat.

For starters, calmly explain to him that you’re going to see someone who will offer some help so that he can feel better. It doesn’t matter whether he understands your words as long as he feels your love, reassurance, and good intentions. Assure him that he will be fine. Do this, but on the other hand don’t make too big a deal out of it, lest he take it to mean that he does have reason to be anxious. Flower remedies can help soothe his fears and ease his stress. Give them as needed before you leave home, during the ride, possibly again at the clinic, and on the way home. (See Chapter 7.)

While your dog or cat is being examined, stay nearby and watch for him to communicate with you. Don’t ignore him. One reason animals get frightened at the vet’s office may be because they are often handled as objects to be inspected, instead of as living beings who have their own integrity. If he looks at you questioningly, reassure him. Be calm yourself so he can take his cues from you. Because you are the person closest to him, he make look to your for clues about whether he is safe. You are probably his only familiar landmark in the place.

It is understandable that you may be anxious about your pet’s health during the visit, but be aware that your anxiety may be contagious to your dog or cat, so do what you can to keep yourself on an even keel. If you breathe deeply and sigh occasionally, it may help to calm both of you. If you are concerned that you won’t be as steady as you’d like to be, ask a calmer family member or friend whom your pet trusts to be with him during the physical part of the exam, instead of you.

The New Holistic Way, pages 138-139.

August 30, 2011:

Some Good Things Aren’t for Everyone

Some dogs’ inability to handle brewer’s yeast, a substance that most pets seem to take without a problem, shows that even though a supplement or remedy may be natural and widely accepted it doesn’t mean it’s right for every dog and cat. When looking for ways to support our pets, we must always remember that every animal is an individual with his own particular needs.

The New Holistic Way, page 135.

August 23, 2011:

When You See Signs of Illness

When an animal has been injured or shows signs of outright illness, she needs qualified help as soon as possible. A few possible signs of illness include blood in the stool or urine, trouble passing stool or urine, fever, an unfamiliar lump, and discharge from the eyes or nose. Keep yourself very well informed about signs of illness and emergencies.

The New Holistic Way, page 132.

August 16, 2011:

Rabies Vaccinations Should Follow Suit

Most regions have legislation requiring that dogs and sometimes cats, be vaccinated against rabies either annually or once every three years. But the duration of immunity of rabies vaccinations is currently under study, and I believe that up-to-date research will likely show they are fully effective when given every five years to even less frequently. Although I do not advise you to violate the law, I look forward to the day when, on behalf of animal wellness, the law will reflect the scientific research on this subject. How long that might take is anyone’s guess.

“Why Challenge Current Rabies Vaccine Policy?,” Rabies Challenge Fund, www.rabieschallengefund.org/page4.html (accessed January 8, 2009).

The New Holistic Way, page 114.

August 9, 2011:

About the Cost of Titers

The cost of titering is more expensive than the cost of vaccinating, and some clients worry that it will be prohibitive. But we’ve found this not to be the case. Titering once every three years for the two diseases I recommend brings the price of titering close to the cost of vaccinating yearly against a large number of viruses. You can further reduce the amount you will pay for tittering by asking to have it done when your pet is having blood taken for other kinds of tests. This way, you’ll only need to pay for one office visit and one fee for extracting blood.

The New Holistic Way, page 113.

July 26, 2011:

The Melamine Tragedies of 2007 and 2008…

In 2007, when melamine and other toxic industrial chemicals turned up in hundreds of pet foods, reliable sources at the time reported that thousands of beloved dogs and cats were killed and countless others damaged.* As if this warning bell weren’t enough that manufacturers could contaminate the food supply, melamine turned up again in 2008—this time in infant formula—and sickened possible more than 300,000 human babies in China.** In this case, the toxin found its way into formula through not one but dozens of different upstream manufacturers.***

The presence of inappropriate stressors in the food supply has become an everyday concern for pets and people alike. You can significantly reduce the risk of contamination from manufacturing practices by providing your pet with unprocessed foods that you prepare from scratch. If you want to chew on a full account of how globalization of the food supply creates dangers for both pets and people, read Pet Food Politics by Marion Nestle.****

The New Holistic Way, page 109.

* - “Melamine Contamination Killed Thousands of Pets, Says a New Report,” Bio-Medicine.org, latest biology and medical news/technology, April 10, 2007, (link no longer active); “Brothers charged over Tainted Baby Milk,” Canadian Broadcasting Company, September 15, 2008, .

** - “China’s Tainted-milk Toll Rises to 300,000 Sick Children,” Canadian Broadcasting Company, December 2, 2008,

*** - “Food Recalls Grow in Chinese Tainted Milk Crisis,” Canadian Broadcasting Company, December 2, 2008, .

**** - Nestle, Marion. Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

July 19, 2011:

If You Can Cook for Yourself…

Most of us believe we can prepare a proper diet for our children and ourselves. How, then, have we come to believe that we’re not capable of doing the same for our cats and dogs? One possible reason is that pet food companies, given their need to sell products, may promote the impression that they alone can prepare a properly balanced diet for pets. This implies that pet owners aren’t capable of feeding pets properly on their own. If we can feed our kids and ourselves just fine every day, surely we can do the same for our dogs and cats.

The New Holistic Way, page 108.

July 12, 2011:

Be Present With Your Pet

If you’re out walking with Fido or home rubbing the Monster Cat’s chin, be present with your pet,—especially if he’s been waiting hours for you to join him. Don’t be mentally “elsewhere,” such as talking on your cell phone. That may be fun for you, but it’s not fair to Fido or the cat. Your pet needs socially meaningful, wholesome activity with you and other people or pets that he loves.

The New Holistic Way, page 104.

July 5, 2011:

Fresh Air

Recent studies have shown that air pollution may be worse inside our homes than outside them. Fresh air helps clear out accumulated toxins and odors, changes the temperature of a room, and brings in the stimulating natural scents your pet needs. Unless you live in a very polluted town, try to let fresh air into your home whenever possible. If you cannot open your windows, you may be able to bring in fresh air with an air exchanger. Avoid the use of air fresheners and deodorizers, which may introduce more industrial chemicals into the indoor environment than are already present.

The New Holistic Way, page 103.

July 28, 2011:

Don’t Wash Your Pet with People Shampoo

Did you know that shampoos and conditioners made for people—including baby shampoo—can irritate your pet’s skin? Dogs and cats have higher skin pH levels than we do. Human skin is naturally acidic, whereas cats’ is only slightly so, and dogs’ is alkaline. Shampoos and conditioners adjusted for human skin are too acidic for dogs or cats, which may explain why some pets hate being bathed. Wrong pH products can also cause skin to flake and throw its normal bacteria flora off balance. This dysbiosis can lead to other problems.

Compare the pH levels below to see the difference between human, feline and canine skin.

Human Skin Feline Skin pH neutral Canine skin
4.8 = acidic 6.4 = slightly acidic 7.0 = neutral 7.4 - alkaline

Use products made specifically for dogs or cats that state they’ve been adjusted to the correct pH level. Ideally, they should contain but a few simple ingredients and be as unprocessed as possible. If you can find them, aim for products that are free from industrial toxins, additives, and synthetic chemicals. For example, avoid detergent-based shampoos; although they create a nice foam they deplete fatty acids in the in the skin. Avoid insecticides such as pyrethrins found in flea and tick shampoos—use them only in rare cases of massive infection, and never use pyrethrins near cats. As well, be alert to your pet’s sensitivities, which you will discover through trial and error. For example, oatmeal may be wonderful for most individual’s skin, but some pets are allergic to it. If your choices are limited, select the best you can find and use it sparingly. Occasional use of a product containing industrial chemicals won’t be the end of the world, especially if you support your pet’s living terrain with a balanced, unprocessed diet.

DODGE THESE INGREDIENTS
Here’s a starter list of shampoo and conditioner ingredients to avoid. They may be carcinogenic, immune disruptors, neurological disruptors, hormone disruptors, or reproductive toxicants. The list is not exhaustive.

PEG or polyethylene glycol; TEA or DEA; selenium sulphide; SLS, SLES, or sodium laureth sulphate; diethyl phthalate; iodopropynyl butylcarbamate; lecithin; resorcinol; FDC yellow 6; parabens; sodium lauryl sulphate; propylene glycol; tocopheryl acetate; and fragrance. (See the Selected Bibliography in the Appendix for more information.)

The New Holistic Way, pages 100-101.

June 21, 2011:

Feeling Alive

Not everyone agrees that dogs and cats are capable of feeling self-consciously alive and happy. It’s a subject that people debate from time to time, and one about which you must ultimately draw your own conclusions. However, I personally believe there’s no question that animals feel happiness and joy, and that they take pleasure in being alive.

The New Holistic Way, page 99.

June 14, 2011:

Resources for Socializing Dogs

Choose your trainer carefully; ask lots of questions and trust your gut feeling about whether this person and approach is right for you and your dog. The following experts offer different approaches for socializing (training) dogs. Their material can help you become aware of some of the perspectives available today.

Silvia Jay is an experienced dog behaviour expert who teaches a noncoercive approach called Mindful Leadership. Contact her at: (902) 843-2182 or visit www.voice4dogs.com. Book: Dump Dog. Available from DogWise at (800) 776-2665 or dogwise.com

Pat Miller is one of the leading trainers and developers of dog-friendly, positive methods. Contact her at: (301) 582-9420 or visit www.peaceablepaws.com. Books: The Power of Positive Dog Training and Positive Perspectives: Love Your Dog, Train your Dog. Available from DogWise at (800) 776-2665 or dogwise.com.

For further information, see the Selected Resources in the Appendix.

The New Holistic Way, page 97.

June 7, 2011:

When You Adopt

When you adopt, you take responsibility for another living being’s life. Take your decision seriously for both your sakes. Few things in life are as rewarding as seeing a beloved animal become trusting, happy, and well.

The New Holistic Way, page 95.

May 31, 2011:

Look after Your Pet—Look after Yourself

Samantha spent her days working at a computer, so she didn’t get much exercise and wasn’t in great shape. But she loved big dogs, so she adopted a Great Dane. Little did she know that her commitment to Newton’s well-being would have great payoffs for her own wellness.

Because she couldn’t let Newton run around the neighbourhood on his own, Samantha felt obliged to provide him with daily exercise. So she walked him twice a day and tried to make each walk last a half hour or more. And rather than holding Newton back to her slow human walking pace, she let him trot when he felt like it while she casually jogged along behind him. It made her happy to see how much Newton enjoyed his walks.

Although Samantha knew that Newton benefited from these outings, she didn’t first recognize that her own wellness was improving, too. She found this out one morning when she left Newton at home so she could attend a meeting. Realizing she had only a minute or two to catch her bus, she sprinted the two blocks to the bus stop. As she leapt onto the vehicle it occurred to her that for the first time in ages she was not out of breath from a hard run. Her stamina had increased thanks to her daily jaunts with Newton. By doing what was best for her dog, Samantha had increased her own well-being.

The New Holistic Way, page 92.

May 24, 2011:

More Toxins in Pets Than in People

Animals live closer to the ground than we do. When they come across something they want to investigate, they sniff it, stick their faces into it, often taste it, and may even lap it up. Because they don’t wear shoes, their bare paws directly contact what may be on the ground. So pets are especially vulnerable to harmful chemicals that may leach from manufactured products.

In 2008, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of the United States checked the blood and urine of twenty dogs and thirty-seven cats for seventy chemicals commonly present in household products and furniture. They found that both species were contaminated with forty-eight of these chemicals, forty-three of them at higher levels than those typically found in people. And compared to people in national studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the EWG, dogs showed nearly two and a half times greater levels of stain- and grease-proof coatings (perfluorochemicals). Cats had twenty-three times more fire retardants (PBDEs) and more than five times the amount of mercury.

Second-hand smoke’s potential threat to your pet should also raise your hackles. The Québec Lung Association states that along with its effects on people, “Second-hand smoke also affects the health of household pets. Their fur coat traps the smoke particles which the animals then absorb when they groom themselves. Second-hand smoke may cause leukemia in cats, and increase the risk of cancer in dogs.”

The New Holistic Way, page 82

May 17, 2011:

Help Your Pet Cope with Your Emotional Stress

Dogs and cats are caring, sensitive creatures who become highly attuned to the ones they love. They tend to take care of our emotional needs, so when we are emotionally stressed they will be affected. For example, tension between family members can stress pets severely. So can moving, as well as people or animals joining the family or leaving it.

When you go through your own tough emotional times, you can help your pet cope. Reassure her that her place is with you and that your love for her won’t change. Play with her or go for a walk with her: you may soon find yourself shifting out of your worries, and both of you will benefit. Flower remedies (see page 166) can gently support an animal who suffers from emotional stress. Finally, if a beloved person or animal dies or leaves, your pet may grieve. Don’t confuse grief with negative stress. In animals, as with people, grief must be compassionately received. Negative stress sets in when grief is not given the space and time it needs.

The New Holistic Way, page 79.

May 10, 2011:

Leave Inner Ear Hairs and Anal Glands Alone

Don’t invade your pet’s living terrain without true medical need. For example:

Don’t pull hair out of your dog’s ears. The hair is a natural cleansing device, so you never need to put cleaning agents of any kind into her ears. If her ears are dysbiotic and have become infected this normally signals an underlying systemic problem that needs to be addressed through dietary adjustments and supportive therapies.

Don’t let anyone squeeze your pet’s anal glands without medical justification. These glands are part of an olfactory recognition system that dogs use to identify each other. They express a substance on stools when the animal has a bowel movement. Emptying them is a horrible experience for the animal and serves no purpose since the glands fill up again and return to their natural state. Infection or blockage is a sign of rectal dysbiosis that requires holistic support. For regular maintenance, a balanced, unprocessed diet based on meat and bones will produce stools of the ideal, bulky consistency that will keep a dog’s anal glands expressing themselves as they should.

The New Holistic Way, page 77.

May 3, 2011:

Respect the Integrity of Your Pet’s Body

Don’t de-claw your cat, crop your dog’s ears, or dock his tail. These practices are abnormal and unnatural. They are done for cosmetic purposes and do not provide health benefits in spite of arguments to the contrary that their advocates may put forward. Usually done at a tender age, they are inhumane and cause the animal distress. They also can produce negative stress for the animal later in life as he lives their effects. In both respects, it’s even harder on pets when these practices are carried out when they are adults. Cats are meant to have claws. Dogs are meant to have tails, and dog breeds that have specialized in various activities have developed different natural ear shapes accordingly. Let them be.

The New Holistic Way, page 75.

April 26, 2011:

How to Measure a Pet’s Immunity

Your veterinarian can help you determine your companion’s susceptibility to specific viruses. With a simple blood test, you can obtain an antibody titer for canine distemper virus, parvovirus, feline panleukopenia, and many others. A titer measures the antibody level a pet has built up against a virus. If her immunity is low, the holistic approach provides many ways to help strengthen it.

The New Holistic Way, page 55.

April 19, 2011:

Inflammation Is a Good Sign

When an area becomes inflamed, it means that blood flow to that spot has increased. The greater flow of blood brings important immune cells that keep the area clean and safe so it can heal. Injuries and infections need this support from the immune system so the living terrain can return to homeostasis. In holistic thinking, acute inflammation is a part of the healing process although it may be gently soothed, it must not be suppressed. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, reveals a weak living terrain or the presence of an inappropriate stressor, or both. In either case, the holistic approach supports the living terrain and takes steps to reduce the problem stress.

The New Holistic Way, page 54.

April 12, 2011:

The Importance of Joy

As animal lovers, we know that dogs and cats are both physical and emotional beings. They delight in the loving, focused attention we give them; in exercise that makes them feel wonderfully alive; in having time every day for fun and play with you or others of their own kind. Dogs in particular must have a sense of responsibility or role to play to help look after the household pack. There’s no such thing as having too much joy.

The New Holistic Way, page 53.

April 5, 2011:

Raisins Can Be Dangerous to Dogs

Raisins and grapes are an environmental toxin to some dogs, in whom they cause kidney failure. Lots of dogs eat raisins and don’t respond badly; it depends on the individual. But the possibility exists that a dog may react in this way. Raisins are but one food that dogs and cats should not eat. See the Stress-Busters Diet for Dogs and Cats in the Appendix for a list of others.

The New Holistic Way, page 51.

March 29, 2011:

How Dogs Respond to New Situations

According to highly respected Canadian dog behaviour expert Silvia Jay, most dogs are not born confident, so they approach each new situation with caution. When confronted with a social or an emotional stressor, such as a new dog next door, a dog’s pupils will dilate and he will briefly hesitate before he responds. This momentary withdrawal enables him to increase his social distance from the stressor until it becomes more predictable in his mind. If he is not permitted to withdraw or else continues to perceive the stressor as unpredictable, he will then likely try to compete with it. Competing may also be learned behaviour; dogs who have learned to compete before sizing up a situation will respond this way first instead of withdrawing. Finally, once a dog is confident that a stressor is not a threat, he will cooperate with it. For example, he may befriend the dog next door or agree to peacefully coexist in close proximity with him.

The New Holistic Way, page 48.

March 22, 2011:

Speaking of Stress…

Although stress can have positive and negative effects, this book emphasizes the need to reduce as much negative stress as we possibly can for our pet’s optimal wellness. To make communication easier, whenever I talk about getting rid of stress and don’t specify which type, I’m talking about negative stress.

The New Holistic Way, page 45.

Energy and Stress

Every aspect of wellness and illness flows back to the relationship between energy and stress. Ancient approaches to health care, plus some of the newer ones, are based in various ways upon this awareness. That’s why they work.

The New Holistic Way, page 47.

March 15, 2011:

Normal Stress Is a Part of Life

In the dog park, all kinds of interactions take place. For instance, Mollie and Saba are good friends who play hard together until they are tired. While they are romping one day, Bruiser enters the scene. A territorial fellow, Bruiser likes to strut about for a while before he lets his hair down with the other dogs. Saba, more highly strung than Mollie, stops playing and keeps an eye on Bruiser until he settles down while Mollie remains more relaxed and tries to prompt Saba to play again. Nearby, Dingo the retriever loves nothing more than to chase a ball or stick, but Jellybaby, a competitive large brown mix, growls threateningly at Dingo because he wants to claim the stick. Snowflake and Glacier, two Huskies, love to run far away from their person, who shouts after them to come back. This concerns Baron, who hails form a herding breed, so he rounds up the wayward Huskies and brings them back time and again. As long as the stress in the park doesn’t become overwhelming, most of the dogs enjoy and benefit from the socializing and exercise they get there. Reasonable stress is part of life.

The New Holistic Way, page 42.

March 8, 2011:

Two Different Kinds of Specialists

The different frameworks of mainstream medicine and the new holistic way create different kinds of experts. The holistic veterinarian often becomes qualified in many therapeutic methods. For example, a holistic vet who is trained to perform surgery and prescribe pharmaceutical drugs may also become a homeopath, an acupuncturist, and a nutritionist, or qualify in other therapies. On the other hand, mainstream medicine’s tendency to study elements in isolation has led it to create specialists who concentrate on one narrowly defined field of health and rarely look for connections to other realms—often, not even to the realms of other mainstream specialists. The refined, exclusive focus of the medical specialist is exactly the opposite from the all-inclusive viewpoint of the holistic veterinarian.

The New Holistic Way, page 34

March 1, 2011:

Izzie and Ozzie

Let’s say that Izzie has a rapidly growing skin cancer, and Ozzie is rushed into the clinic with internal injuries due to an accident. Neither of these pets may have enough time to regain homeostasis before these overwhelming health threats take them down. In cases like these, aggressive modalities, skilfully applied, may buy them enough time to heal themselves after all. For example, surgery can remove Izzie’s cancer before it gets any worse, and it can reconstruct Ozzie’s damaged tissues enough to help him hold his own until his body begins to recover.

Anesthetics will spare them the pain of the surgery, and other drugs, given intravenously, will help stabilize them immediately afterward. Surgery and drugs are designed to save lives in exactly these situations.

But invasive modalities should only be used when they serve holistic goals. After we’ve dealt with an immediate danger, we must tailor an individual plan to nourish each pet’s living terrain and enhance his return to the highest possible level of wellness. This will likely include short- or long-term dietary changes, plus the use of subtler modalities such as homeopathy, Reiki, or acupuncture. For Izzie, We’d look at which stressful factors may have preceded his cancer to see whether we can improve his environment. For Ozzie, we’d want to find out what circumstances led to his accident to try to prevent a similar event in the future.

The New Holistic Way, page 33.

February 23, 2011:

Fighting Words or Healing Words?

The language that a health care approach uses gives us clues to the way of thinking that shapes it. For example, mainstream medicine uses competitive and military terms such as “fighting disease,” “we’ll beat this thing,” “taking aggressive measures,” “the battle against cancer,” “curing” illness, or “succumbing” to it. It equates being healthy with being “not sick.” In contrast, the holistic way uses terms that speak of harmony and realignment, such as “becoming whole again,” “supporting the terrain,” “freeing the energy,” “restoring balance,” and “encouraging healing.” It equates being healthy with the presence of “wellness.”

The New Holistic Way, page 28