“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.”
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.