Joint disease, specifically arthritis, is a common problem in dogs and cats, especially as they age. The causes are many and include obesity, inflammation, immune dysfunction and normal wear and tear in joints. Conventional therapies include steroids, non-steroidal medications, analgesic medications to control pain and surgery, when applicable.
Knowing the “tells” that signal when a dog is comfortable or uncomfortable goes a long way to a harmonious experience. Allison Culver, assistant director of The Lightfoot Way holistic animal learning center, in Houston, remarks, “Knowing how to communicate with your animal can save a lot of heartache.” With a bit of applied attention, we can readily learn to understand the changes in canine body posture and behavior that communicate their emotional state.
Enzymes are among the most commonly used supplements for cats and dogs because they are widely beneficial. They support digestive health and enhance nutrient absorption, as well as reduce inflammation and boost overall wellness.
A nutrition school adage states, “If you have a question on your exam and don’t know the answer, put down ‘enzymes’ and you’ll likely be correct.” The point is that enzymes made by the body for specific functions are essential to life because they affect nearly every physical or biological process.
“Many people think an allergic pet should be switched to a lamb and rice diet. In some cases, that makes dry, itchy, skin worse,” she says. “That’s why it’s important to know what they are allergic to before trying out new foods or herbal remedies. Find a holistic vet to work with.”
“We rescue abused and neglected farm animals, including horses that come into play when patients are not responding to usual therapies,” he says. “It’s important for damaged people to learn to live in the light, and our partnering with the special needs animals helps put them on the emotional path to health.” The rescue’s mission is to provide hope, healing and a sense of security for children and adults that have suffered severe trauma such as abuse, domestic violence and witnessing violent death (Tinyurl.com/RanchHandRescueVideo).
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging patients and doctors in a partnership designed to improve health. This evolved practice better addresses individual needs than a traditional approach that focuses on illness and treating disease rather than restoring overall health. By shifting from an allopathic platform to a more holistic, patient-centered one, functional medicine addresses the whole pet, not just a set of symptoms.
Chubby kitties also are more prone to osteoarthritis, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, respiratory problems and non-allergic skin conditions. “Potential health problems make overweight cats harder to adopt,” says Deanna Schmidt, with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in Pittsburgh. “On Fat Cat Tuesdays, we waive the adoption fee for cats 14 pounds and over. We counsel adoptive families and follow up so that ongoing healthy eating and exercise continues to melt away the pounds.”
Households with multiple pets abound as families often opt for a mix of companion animals. Currently, more than 70 million dogs, 75 million cats and 6 million birds are kept as pets in the U.S., according to a recent American Pet Products Association survey. While we cherish their affection, downsides include pet hair dust bunnies, scattered litter, spilled seeds and potty accidents. Cleaning up can be easier with training and planning.
When encountering a bird or animal that appears to be abandoned, take only minimal steps to help. “People mean well but a lot of rescues we see, didn’t need help,” says Lacy Campbell, wildlife care center operations manager for the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon. Make sure the animal is away from traffic or predators, and then call a local wildlife rehabilitator before taking further action, especially if the animal is injured.