The Wonder of Proper NutritionDr. Sasan Haghighat (Hyatt) DVM, CVA March 1, 2014
It is estimated that two out of three human diseases are preventable by diet. Cancer, arthritis, anemia, diabetes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and autoimmune diseases are just a few of a long list of health conditions that are related to diet in humans. It stands to reason that the same holds true for dogs and cats. Fortunately, a whole food, non-GMO, pesticide-free diet provides the necessary nutrients for the body to recover from disease and heal itself.
Jesse’s handsome days seemed long gone when he limped into our veterinary clinic for his first visit. Lameness, discharge from the eyes, bad breath, and a dull, smelly coat were just the tip of the iceberg. Eleven is not that old for a Golden Retriever, but Jesse looked not only old for his years, he also looked unhealthy. Yet we know from experience that aging animals can be healthy and beautiful.
The physical examination revealed mild arthritis but no serious disease. However, the diet history pointed to malnutrition; Jesse fit the profile of “Toxic Dog”.
He was first given an acupuncture treatment to alleviate his lameness, and like most dogs he was not at all stressed by this treatment and in fact felt totally relaxed.
Regarding dietary changes, the key recommendation was to switch from commercial dog food to a simple and easy to prepare homemade diet consisting of fresh meat, fruits, vegetables, fish oil, and a probiotic supplement. In the first month, his detox diet consisted of:
– about 40% organic meat (fish, turkey, chicken) and 50% fresh veggies (steamed and chopped kale, spinach, green beens, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, cabbage, sweet potato – basically all the deep green or colourful veggies)
– about 10% fruit (including organic apples, banana, berries – but no grapes or raisins)
– probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus were mixed with the food.
Generally this diet is introduced gradually over a period of 2 to 3 days, so that the digestive function of the gut can adjust itself. After one month, the diet is adjusted yet again, based on the specific needs of the animal. (Note: this diet is not suitable for young, growing animals.)
In addition, Jesse was sent home with prescriptions for two homeopathic remedies to support detoxification, and one herbal remedy for arthritis. The homeopathics where mixed remedies formulated to clear old waste matter from the interstitial spaces in the dog’s body and help with the detox process. And the prescribed herbs included Boswallia, Turmeric, and a good amount of fish oil.
Two weeks later, Jesse’s owner called with the news that the dog had climbed the stairs on his own and jumped on the bed for the first time in two years. A visitor asked if they had gotten a new dog. I could hardly believe my own eyes when Jesse walked in three weeks after his initial visit with a bounce in his step, a shine to his coat, clean eyes, sweet breath and no doggy odour. Honestly, he appeared five years younger!
Moral of Jesse’s Story…
In this case, excess vaccinations and chemicals in the form of heartworm medication had added insult to the primary injury, which was his poor diet. The commercially prepared food that Jesse had been fed all his life consisted mostly of GMO soy and corn, wheat, and added preservatives. Nature did not design a dog’s body with the ability to fully digest and thrive on such processed foods.
Jesse’s body was overloaded with toxic residues and lacked the proper nutrients to complete the detoxification process. Homeopathic remedies and acupuncture were used to support detoxification. The necessary nutrients for tissue maintenance, repair, and detoxification were supplied by the new biologically appropriate diet. It may seem amazing that at 11 years of age a dog’s body still has the ability to shift itself to better health. However, the bodyalways aims to heal itself and does so magnificently when given the proper tools to do so.
This is a reminder of what Hippocrates said in 400 BC: “Let food be your medicine, your medicine be your food.”
Note: before making any radical changes in your dog’s diet, consult with a holistic veterinarian
Notes from the Editor:
As I was standing in line at my local pet food store one day, I heard a customer complaining to the cashier that his dog’s body was covered in an angry red rash. The dog was licking and biting himself excessively, creating raw open gashes, probably because his skin was so irritated. The cashier had nothing to offer in the way of advice, so I took the customer to the side and asked what he was feeding his dog. Somewhat taken aback by my interference, the man nevertheless answered my question: “Canned dog food made from lamb, prescribed by my vet.” Now I’m no vet, but I do recognize the symptoms of dietary distress (as described in the article above). So I launched into a tirade about conventional canned dog food, which is akin to junk food because the pet food industry is unregulated. No wonder the dog’s body was covered in a rash. I further explained that lamb is considered as a “hot” meat by Chinese medicine, and is only recommended for dogs that are in need of more internal “heat”, and certainly not everyday, and definitely not canned. Then I explained what I feed my own dog, who is now 18.5 years old:
• Raw organic lamb (available at Global Pet Foods) alternating with cooked organic chicken or fish. To that is added half a grated raw apple, 1 Tbsp of essential fatty acids, a multivitamin supplement (OmegaAlpha), 1 tsp andrographis powder (to strengthen immunity and prevent cancer), 1 tsp Greens+ (to cleanse the blood and boost energy), 1 tsp of unpasteurized organic apple cider vinegar (to alkalinize the body and prevent arthritis). On top of the food I sprinkle 1 tsp of digestive enzymes, plus 1 tsp of probiotics. (My dog is now 129 in ‘people years.’)
Dr. Sasan Haghighat can be reached at North-East Newmarket Veterinary Services, a holistic clinic in Newmarket, Ont., at 987 Davis Drive. For appointments call (905) 830-1030, visit his website: www.holistic-vet.ca or email: firstname.lastname@example.org