For the many years I’ve been in practice as a holistic doctor for people, I have always been intrigued with healthcare for dogs and cats. I have continued to experiment with my own dog Harry continuously doing research, learning, and investigating on my own about what is really going on with the pet industry, veterinarians, and dog food companies. I guess it was not so surprising to see that the misinformation, negligence, and outright greedy money-driven people in this industry are actually causing quite a bit of harm to our best friends. I do want to say that I am not a licensed veterinarian but I am a healthcare professional and I continue to do the work to help my dog and others to be as healthy as they possibly can be. So I want to touch on a few key issues and give everyone something to think about. Then you may do your own investigations and come up with your own conclusions.
Let me first start by saying that although French bulldogs are well known for their health problems and overweight bodies, I have been told by all of our vets that Harry is the healthiest, happiest, most youthful dog they have seen, even by bloodwork results. So what are some of my choices and secrets?
Secondly, let’s have a quick talk about vaccinations. Ponder this one; when you immunize children (with the exception of seasonal viruses, etc.), they create their own antibodies and are immune for life. That is the purpose of a vaccine. To create a memory in the immune system to help fight future exposures by familiarity and antibody support. Why would one think we should vaccinate our pets every single year, with the same exact antibodies? Well the truth is, the veterinary association realized years ago that it brings more business into their doctors’ offices on an annual basis, and gives them more opportunity to find other things going wrong with your dog. But at what cost? My Harry was vaccinated for the first year, and never again, because it is NOT necessary. It is harmful and shortens dogs’ lifespans, period. There are actual titer tests that can be performed on your pets every few years to make sure that they are still carrying active antibodies at a safe level, just in case you are worried about that. As for doggy day-care facilities, if your vet writes a note excluding him from shots, he will be allowed into day-care. And the idea of heart worm monthly medication is also horrible as it is actually an internal pesticide with terrible side effects. The flea/tick medications that you rub into the neck of dogs… well that’s a whole other ball of disaster as well. The long term effects of these things are staggering. There are natural treatments and preventatives for all of these issues.
Dog food in general is absolute garbage for our dogs. Pure dry kibble is the worst thing for them. A few indications that it’s not doing much for the dog, is if they are actually pooping almost as much as the amount of food being eaten. If they are pooping more, it means very few nutrients are actually being absorbed by the dog’s digestion, so most of it just goes back out as trash. Also, if your dog has irregular pooping schedules, constipation, diarrhea, foul smelling poops, it means their intestinal health is seriously at risk. I made a choice years ago to switch my dog to a raw food diet (Stella & Chewy’s® and Primal™ are great examples). There are no grains, sugars, fillers, or artificial additives in their food. Dogs do NOT need potatoes, rice, starches, and most certainly gluten or sugar in their diets. Dogs are just like kids: if you expose them to healthy foods, they will take to them. Likewise, if you do not ever give your dog table food (especially junk food), they will never know what they’re missing. I will say that Harry loves carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, arugula, apples, pears, and most of all avocados, which are super healthy for dogs just as they are for humans, contrary to popular belief… Yes, it’s a wives’ tale that it’s poisonous for dogs! Lastly, overfeeding dogs/cats is the number one cause of illness and death in pets, so stop feeding them scraps, snacks, and treats. It’s only making them fat and basically killing your best friend.
What else does Harry get in his food? He takes a probiotic every single morning (Rx Biotic Powder) with his raw food. He cycles twice a year through a few months of an immune system support supplement (Liquid Immuno Drops). For dinner, he has good fats in his food like olive oil or avocados. He has cardiovascular support (Ubiqinol – Mercola) and an amazing antioxidant (Spirugreens – Mercola) as well.
One of the best resources I have found thus far, is the website www.healthypets.mercola.com. Dr. Becker is a brilliant holistic vet, who has great alternatives to all of these mainstream toxic products for pets. Sign up for their newsletter and you will be informed frequently on all the issues you have been concerned about with your pets.
A few personal Dr. Dardano tips:
• If your dog gets diarrhea after going to dog parks or eating something off the street, one of my most successful remedies is to add 1-2 droppers full of colloidal silver to his water/food for a few days and increase the probiotics to twice a day in his meals for at least a week. This has been very successful for Harry. That being said, if you try this and the dog’s health doesn’t improve steadily, take them to the vet!
• Do not have your dog sedated for teeth cleanings (yes, you need to have their teeth cleaned). Many diseases begin with oral hygiene, but there are plenty of people out there who do sedation-free dog teeth cleaning treatments and it is just as effective as the other, without putting your dog at risk.
• Dogs need a rotational diet and many of their allergies come from eating the same food for prolonged periods of time, so changing their food every 3-4 months is ideal. Also, two of the foods that most commonly cause allergies for dogs are turkey and chicken. That’s right. Stay away from them!
• Nylabone® products are actually severely dangerous for dogs! They can get lodged in their intestinal tract and there is nothing that can be done to save them. So please avoid those rubbery toys!
• Don’t neuter your dog prior to 1 year old, as you are cutting off their hormone supply and stunting their body’s development in a critical stage.
• Make sure you span out the first year of their vaccines as much as you can, and never bring your dog to the vet on an empty stomach when they’re sick or dehydrated for his shots. The reason for this is that the likelihood of negative reactions is greater.
I hope that this information will set your mind on a path to further consideration, investigation and action, so that we can be our dog’s best friend as well. Again, I strongly urge you to visit www.healthpetsmercola.com to learn more about everything I talked about in this article. Thank you for reading. May you and your furry friends live a long happy and healthy life together!