If you understand this, your dog is likely to live longer
If you are a dog lover, I have no doubt that your main goal is to have your canine friend live the longest and healthiest life possible. It is my experience that people interested in a natural, holistic approach to health and diet are keen readers and learners who know about the dangers of processed food and drugs.
In addition to feeding your dog well and minimizing the use of chemicals in treatment, there is one other part of care that is critical to maintaining your dog’s health and that is knowing what you don't know.
For example, when you ask 10 people if they eat healthy, it is very likely that eight out of 10 will say they do. However, when an expert nutritionist asks about their diet, you will learn that only two to three people really understand healthy eating and the rest simply do not know that they eat food that is not good for them.
Just recently, a friend who lives overseas asked me what anti-inflammatory medication she should use for her dog. Most people believe that suppressing inflammation is good. They are not aware that a short period of healthy inflammation leads to faster healing, rather than suppressing or blocking the reaction. They also do not know that anti-inflammatory medication used in dogs causes kidney disease, hepatitis and stomach ulcers.
Another example is heartworm prevention. Most people believe that heartworm meds are needed every month and do not know that there is a better, safer protocol available.
I could list hundreds of other examples of "not knowing”, but instead, I have made a plan to teach you step-by-step what I have learned in almost 30 years of practicing veterinary medicine.
Sounds too good to be true? Let me clarify. You do not need to become a DVM to make a huge difference in your dog’s health. All you need to understand are some simple principles of creating and maintaining health that can be used for a variety of diseases and health problems.
Often, this knowledge can help you prevent disease altogether, at other times, it will help you decide on the best options when you primary veterinarian proposes a treatment plan.
The core principle of health is in following nature.
I love the term natural healthcare, mainly because the term suggests the connection of healing with nature. As a veterinarian, I follow the principles observed in nature whenever I need to come up with the best treatment plan and deal with a difficult decision.
I look for an example in nature and derive a treatment plan from such example.
Everything in nature and the universe is a cycle
Some time ago, I had a conversation with my brother-in-law about his business. We argued because he thought business growth is an upwards spiral and I believed that it is a cycle because everything in the universe is a cycle.
The only difference is in the length of these cycles.
The longest cycle we know of is the existence of the universe itself. It is now confirmed that the universe is expanding, but eventually, it will contract.
The life of our sun is similar. Now it is a bright, life-giving, powerful star, but eventually it will by running out of fuel.
The history of life on Earth is no different. Meteorite impacts, changes in temperatures and other factors made life change or almost disappear for a while only to rise again.
When it comes to our lives or lives of our dogs, the cycle is much much shorter, but similar to all the other cycles, the end of it is inevitable.
How can you extend your dog's life?
If you expect me to give you the abc’s of longevity right in this paragraph, it is not that simple.
Learning a new skill such as playing music, painting, speaking a second language, reading or writing takes time and so does learning how to maintain your dog’s health.
For example, when someone is learning how to write, first, we have to show the student how to hold the pen, write letters, spell words, learn punctuation and sentence structure. With music, we need to learn how to read notes and play the instrument before we can play a song.
Learning how to keep your dog healthy and long living requires the knowledge of a few simple principles of healing. In practical terms, good health represents a large life cycle and poor health and shorter life could be visualized as a small cycle.
As you can deduct from the image above, the smaller wheel will go a shorter distance to complete a rotation and the larger wheel will get much further per rotation. Your goal is to make your dog’s cycle of life as large as possible.
Everyone understands that polluting rivers, burning fossil fuels, making mountains of plastic, over-fishing and over consuming makes Earth's cycle smaller.
The same applies to our dogs. Respecting natural processes of the body makes his or her life longer on average and polluting the body with chemicals by feeding poor food full of toxins leads to a shorter life.
I can imagine that at least one person reading this will remember the grandmother that smoke, drank and ate bad food and lived till the age of 90, but such cases are rare.
Heal the way Earth heals
I am fascinated by nature's perfection and am puzzled why we humans constantly try to invent new technologies when nature offers all we need in a flawless perfection. It grows the best food, it makes the best materials and it also heals the best.
There are three steps in each process of healing, which I call the Healing Cycle.
1 CLEANSE AND DETOX
The earth has many ways of detoxing and cleansing. Rain flushes impurities down the rivers into the oceans and the oceans get cleansed by sun, surf and sand.
Solar UV rays are known to keep bacteria in check, sterilize and disinfect surfaces. The oceans also absorb huge amounts of CO2 and so do the forests that use carbon to grow plants and trees.
Earth would be in absolutely perfect condition if we humans didn’t constantly tamper with the system. We love making new "things" and inventions, but often do not think through the dangers and consequences. Just try to think of one manmade system that is better than the natural one.
The body is very similar. It maintains its functions through a detox process from breathing, urine elimination, liver processing, digestive elimination. Even the anal glands play an important role in the cleansing process.
In the case of the earth, you and I know that introducing foreign substances into the environment leads to a shortening of the life cycle. The way to increase the chances of a longer cycle include the detox process, eliminating or reducing the amount of artificial substances and providing the body what it needs.
Some people object, mainly because they do not understand the full effect of drugs, preservatives and chemicals on the body. While the primary effects of most drugs and chemicals are known, no one can say with confidence what all the long-term effects of these artificial substances are.
And because we can't know if an artificial substance contributes to diseases in the future, it is better to minimize their use whenever possible. This is your first principle for keeping your dog healthy and happy for many years to come.
In the next article you will learn what you need to know about disease to prevent it.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM