Here we are at the beginning of a new year, one faced with financial insecurity and much stress. Our pets, as our extended family, feel that stress too. So how can we help our furry kids to thrive and be healthy in the New Year?
The past year we have uncovered tons of research and information on our pets that have given us so much insight into providing both them and ourselves a healthier future. Many of the “Breakthroughs”, to quote the title of Suzanne Somers latest book, revolve around natural nutrition, natural remedies, and caution when treating ourselves and our pets.
You may notice my reference to the word natural. I do not use this as a marketing term as many food companies do, but as in the sense of what are truly found in nature. For our pets, this means biologically appropriate foods and supplement.
You may not be aware, but pet food companies have continued to have recalls of major, national brands of pet foods since the 2007 recall. These companies continue to use the same poor quality ingredients and processes to produce these foods that killed and injured thousands of our beloved pets. Many of these foods are recommended by your veterinarian as safe and appropriate. You see, nothing has changed to help your pet.
The threats to our pets are the highly processed commercial foods, with there misleading numerous chemicals we find all around us.
You can do a lot to move your pets to a healthier future.
First and foremost is a proper diet. Remember, we are what we eat. Dogs and cat are carnivores, meaning their systems are designed to function on meat and fish! Mother Nature provides an all-balanced nutritional package in those foods.
Second, find healthcare providers that look at the pet as a whole, not at symptoms. Many veterinarians are nice, well-meaning people, but practice far too much of what drug companies push. A good homeopath is great place to start. The vet, not a technician or counter help, should be willing to spend the time to explain, other less expensive and “holistic” things you may be able to do yourself, not only what drug or procedure your pet may need, but how this will affect the rest of the body and ALL the side effects you may encounter.
As an example, the commonly used preventatives for heartworms not only does not prevent heartworms but also has dozens of side-effects, including scratching and itching, seizures, and even death! (These can be confirmed in the FDA records on the FDA website).
Since 85% of all problems veterinarians see are nutrition related, feeding appropriate REAL FOOD meals is the best start to a healthier New Year!
The economic climate we are now faced with forces us to look at all our expenses to find the best value for our dollar. This includes our pets, which, with food, supplies, veterinary care, training, and the “extras” can be a sizable chunk of our household budget.
While we can cut back on some of the goodies like a new leash or collar, the health and welfare issues need to be met. Food and healthcare are at the top of the list for keeping our pets thriving. It is of utmost importance, since we have fewer discretionary dollars to get the most for our money.
Let’s take a look at how we can do the very best for our furry kids.
Good health starts with proper diet. If we want to maintain our pets’ health, we must provide for the best diet we can afford. We all are familiar with many of the national brands of pet foods, some economy and many premiums. As our budget gets tighter, there is the urge to cut back from the premium, natural foods to the less costly economy brands. Is this the best way to save money and is it really the best alternative?
Commercial pet foods are the fast & convenience foods for our pets. They do not always use the most nutritious ingredients and are not the best value for our dollar.
Let’s look at an actual inquiry we recently had for one of our clients. She owns four large Doberman Pinchers that weigh about sixty pounds each. She is feeding a premium grain-free natural diet. A thirty pound bag costs her around fifty dollars. Like most pet owners, she also has to add supplements because of various allergy and health issues. There is also the vet bills for the reoccurring diarrhea issues. The feeding label on this food states that her size dogs should eat four cups a day. This chart is the bare minimum for an inactive, healthy animal. That weighs out at about two pounds per day per dog. At $1.70 per pound, the cost of feeding this premium food is about $3.40 per dog per day.
As you know, we are true proponents of feeding real, health food to our pets for a number of reasons, including value. As you will see, even in this challenging market, real food is a real value. This owners’ pets, if fed a real, fresh food diet would need about a pound and a quarter of meat pet day to get a higher quality, unprocessed, natural meal. At an average cost of $3.00 a pound for most meats, the cost of feeding fresh would be about twenty cents more per day per dog. In addition, since real food has the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes naturally, no additional supplements would be needed.
There are also those pesky vet bills that were popping up. As dogs, and cats, are better able to digest real, unprocessed meats, the chronic diarrhea will usually disappear along with the expense. That, in my book, is a huge savings and a beneficial step for both me and my pets.
Healthier pets and saving money…
I was reminded early this week how important it is to review and educate our customers and clients on the basics of common sense healthy choices for our pets. You may recall our last conversation in which we took veterinarians and their staffs to task over repeating the mantra drummed forth by the major petfood companies following the never-ending parade of recalls.
Earlier this week, a good client’s pet suffered a health event, a bout of diarrhea. Her regular holistic vet was not in the office so she was seen by an associate who practices conventional medicine. After doing a battery of tests including X-rays, the presumed condition was gas bubbles in the stomach. The cause of this stated to be the fresh food diet that her regular holistic vet recommends. The associate “prescribed” an unnatural, over priced commercial processed food that only they sell. At the supermarket, this is called the house brand.
The point here is that the associate vet contradicted his colleague, causing the client great confusion over the welfare of her pet. While vet has the right to express their opinion, as we all do, they have an obligation to their clients to base their recommendations on factual, scientific information. The facts here were thrown out the window for the sole purpose of selling the client a bag of dog food.
The result of this episode is that our client, like so many others, is confused by the conflicting claims made by the petfood companies, veterinarians, nutritionists, trainers, and other pet care givers. This reminds me of a similar situation from fifty or so years ago, when tobacco companies made similar claim, doctors were actually agreeing with these claims and a lot of innocent consumers were misled and harmed.
I’m asking all of you who own and care for pets to consider what is published before and that is:
After over a year of non-stop recalls, market withdrawals, discontinued products, false advertising claims and corrections by the major pet food companies, you would think that YOUR veterinarian would start looking at the healthy, biologically natural foods and diets that should be given to your pets. Instead, as a business, they put profit first. No matter how much they seem to care, how “nice and compassionate” they seem to be with your pet, if they recommend or insist that you feed these products that are subject to recall after recall, killing thousands of trusting, loving, dependent pets, you really have to question the truth, honesty, and professionalism of these vets.
There is a reason why so many pets don’t eat their kibble. They instinctively know it’s un-natural and unhealthy. While some may argue that our pets have evolved to eat dry food, evolution does not occur in fifty or so years. If so, we would have evolved to the benefits of tobacco.
A question we get on a daily basis from our clients and customers, and even some vets is “How often do I need to take my pet to the vet and do I really need all the things they recommend?” Many variations of this question often include foods, flea preventatives and treatments, heartworm products, supplements and topicals like shampoo and grooming products.
This poses an interesting challenge. We know that pet owners and lovers are looking for the best information available to keep their pet healthy and yet not throw away their hard earned dollars on items that are unnecessary.
Let’s start with the questions you need to ask yourself.
You get a reminder in the mail that “Fluffy” is due for a check-up. Ask yourself, what does this mean? Has your pet been suffering and your provider is doing a follow up to track your pets’ progress? Is your pet due for a test for a condition or for license purposes? Is it a tool to get you back to the clinic to sell you new products and services? These can all be legitimate reasons and it’s sometimes difficult to choose what to do.
You must remember that your vet or clinic is in the business of selling you the products and services they provide. Are these all needed and necessary? Well, since they sell these products and services, they think they are absolutely necessary, and their approach can resemble that of the car salesman that needs to meet their quota.
You need to define your goals and needs and then ask them to fill those parts you cannot do yourself. There are books, videos, seminars, and unlimited information available on line that can help guide you in your search. The more informed you are the better consumers you will be.
Let’s look at diet as an example. This is easy for me because it’s a major component of our programs but it wasn’t always so. Today we are advocates for feeding real, biologically appropriate diets, for all out pets. However, for most of my professional life, I too believed much of what the pet food representatives told me. I even worked for one and introduced hundreds of products to my customers. Then I started to realize that the claims for many of these products were to help problems that didn’t even exist years ago. Claims like “will add two years to your dog’s life”, does that compare to the food they sold me last week or on to their natural expectancy of my pet. What about “sensitive stomach diet?” What were you feeding before that caused this condition?
Same is true of vaccinations. If we have been vaccinating for any disease for many generations, shouldn’t that disease cease to exist? How do I know that my pet is really protected? Have you ever vaccinated for “kennel cough” before you board you’re your pet, only to get him back coughing? Did that vaccine perform as claimed? If it doesn’t, will your vet give you your money back and pay to correct the problem? You’d expect that of your car dealer or most retailers.
We offer guidance to all our clients but the responsibility still belongs to you! Your care providers, regardless of how compassionate or caring they appear to be, have no real vested interest in your pet. They are there to provide specialized services for you.
You can visit us on the web at the Pet Health Café. Com and expand this question on our radio show or email, or just visit us at Fiesta Pet Deli.
It seems like everywhere I turn today, new and old products alike are splashed with banners, starbursts, and names proclaiming them “holistic” and “natural”. And if you’re familiar with us, you know that we are all for and about truly natural and holistic products.
Today’s question for you is “Is this product really “natural” or “holistic” and how can I tell?”
According to the Natural Products Association, “anyone could claim their product was ‘natural’ even if it’s 100 percent synthetic or petroleum based.” You see, for most categories of products, there is no legal definition for “natural”. In pet food, for instance, AFFCO guidelines say that companies may use the term “natural” as long as the ingredients are derived from natural sources. What does this mean? In essence, if I take a bushel of corn and extract all the major nutrients and useful parts from it, whether mechanically or chemically processed, the remaining “by-product” would still be considered “natural”. Sound like something you’d like in your diet?
And what about “holistic”? A quick Google search gave me at least 20 different definitions, the most common trend being a “total or complete approach”. In our case, this would be the approach to both nutrition and it’s affect on the whole body. In the pet food industry, AFFCO has NO guidelines or recognition of the term “holistic”. What does this mean for you? It says that anyone can take a bunch of ingredients and chemicals, mix them into a food or cookie, package them into a beautifully designed package and call them “holistic”. And on the service side, what does the term “holistic Veterinarian” really mean? Does this raise a red flag?
When you look at a “natural or holistic” pet food, let a little common sense sneak in. If it is a kibble or dry food, how natural are the actual ingredients? Is beet pulp or gluten meal naturally found in nature? Is the extrusion (baking) process of 5 hours at 450 degrees natural? How can it stay in that bag “fresh” for up to 2 years without preservatives? Since all pet foods claim to be meaty, I assume that that bag is full of meat. Why then, does the meat in my refrigerator go bad in a matter of days and the meat in the dry pet food stays fresh forever?
When we think of commercial pet foods today, with all the graphic packaging and commercials, we believe we are feeding our beloved pet a product that is really made from those fresh ingredients we see pictured.
Take a good look at that kibble you just poured in their dish. The product is probably a very hard, greasy, brown colored nugget (although some now have added colors). Does that look like anything that you would find in your kitchen or in nature?
Now take a deep breath and smell it. Does it smell like roast chicken or beef, smothered with baby carrots, new potatoes, and a tasty gravy?
When we talk about natural foods, there is nothing natural about kibble. The only animal on the planet that would take industrial waste products, develop special equipment to reprocess these wastes, add secret chemical flavoring sauces and call it a meal is man. Animals in a wild and natural setting, including man, do not eat processed food. The only animal in nature to cook any food is man.
The cooking process alone renders the food “dead”. We destroy the live enzymes we need to digest the food, most of the vitamins we need, degrade proteins to worthless compounds, and change the essential fatty acids into cancer causing agents. We then attempt to improve these destroyed foods with man-made, synthetic chemical substitutes.
Why then, do we believe that feeding any animal, our precious dogs and cats, horses, parakeets, and hamsters, an artificially processed and prepared food to be in any form natural?
In nature, dogs and cats eat meats, fowl, and fish. Horses, rabbits, and deer eat natural grass. Nature has provides a system and a product, so unique, that every piece of raw fruit, grass, meat and fish is packed full of the life giving nutrients that body needs and that provides a guidance to lead that animal to the proper foods.
Next time you pour that rancid, stale, artificial, synthetic food into your pets’ dish; ask yourself, would they feed you a meal like this if they were your caregiver?
If you want to provide truly natural products, for yourself and your pet, let’s use the “pure” definition of natural food, which would be the biologically appropriate diet, or what this animal would normally eat in nature!
As always, there are many more questions about going “natural” than there are answers.
In our continuing quest to find safe, effective ways to keep and improve our pets healthy, we are taking a different look because of today’s economy. As I’ve read in several news stories and have seen on TV, pet owners by the thousands are abandoning or eliminating their loving pets as they can no longer afford the high price of veterinary care. Let’s look at what’s happening.
I remember as a kid growing up in a cold, snowy, windy city in western New York, yes, it’s Buffalo, and having pets all my life. Back in the ‘60’s, dogs were mostly relegated to the back yard and cats, being as independent as they were, came and went as they pleased. Our usual contact with our vet was the arrival of a new puppy or kitten, who we took for a physical exam, a puppy shot, and maybe, if the test indicated, a worming. Our next visit to the vet was usually because our beloved pet decided to bite the tires of a moving car, tried to make friends with a porcupine, or ate “something” indescribable.
Our pets’ did not have annual or bi-annual checkups, multiple vaccines, or for that matter, pet food. Dogs and cats ate our food, real food! Mom fixed us eggs for breakfast, always perfect, yolks intact, never broken. Was mom always that perfect? Why do you think your pet had such a perfectly shiny coat? Gee, what happened to all those imperfect eggs mom messed up? “Fido” was right there to help YOUR MOM, and was all so pleased to do so. Those broken yokes provided the fatty acids your dog or cat needed to build that healthy skin and coat to survive those New York, New England, and Midwest winters.
Now back to our question, is your veterinarian advising and prescribing for your pets’ optimal health or for their personal gain?
Let’s look at the facts. Vaccination is a multi-billion dollar industry. Let’s look at just one. Canine Distemper is the dog version of measles in us. I ask clients daily how many measles vaccines have they had in their life. Most say one, a few say none. If one is good enough for us, then why do our professional Veterinarians give the average canine (dog) as many as ten (10) in their first year of life? Over a ten year life span, with recommendations of twice a year boosters, which by the way do not booster or add to immunity, your pet will have thirty (30) sets of vaccinations! The fact is the vet and the pharmaceutical company sold you a lot of product for a lot of profit with little or no documented value to your pet.
Now, as a question to ask your vet, why do they use the same size vaccine on a 2 lb. Maltese and Yorkie as they do on a 40 lb. Rottweiler puppy. They may tell you that the antigen won’t cause a problem. I ask you, but what about the chemical carriers such as Aluminum, Mercury, and the other preservatives in the vaccine? It just seems to me, if I inject my puppy with 2cc of vaccine that contains Mercury, a known toxin, the effect on my precious 2lb. Maltese will be far greater than on the next patient with the 40lb. Rottweiler.
Why would your vet do this? Is it because they believe the sales presentation from the drug company? Or are they looking after your interest as a pet owner and that of your pet?
I once offered a product line to a prominent vet in our area a whole food, with a natural health benefit to YOUR pet, only to be turned down only because it was not prescription. Further discussion revealed that his PROFESSIONAL advice for my newly acquired puppy, for its optimal care for me was to go to a major pet chain, buy what the 16 year old kid in the dog department suggested and if problems arise, come see this vet to “cure” the problems.
Is this a Professional answer or a business decision based on a need to produce a good income?
We hear these kinds of questions and problems every day! We ask pet owners why you are subjecting your trusting pet to someone that you really know so little about.
Hair analysis allows us take a sample of your pets’ hair (it works on yours too!) and run a test on it and see things like mineral balance or imbalance, the presence of metal toxins, and then monitor the changes as dietary and therapeutics are added or removed. Over time, we can actually map the real physiological changes in the body that blood tests and treating symptoms does not.
The natural way we accomplish these physiological changes is with the use of “superfoods”.
So what are some of these “superfoods” and where do we find them? They are called “superfoods” for the extraordinary benefit our pets’ (and we) can derive from them and are usually given as whole foods, unprocessed, and in their natural form. Many of these are used in treatments for cancers, cleansing toxins and many other challenges.
The first superfood that I have used most in my 40 years in animal health is whole raw milk. This is not the highly processed milk you buy in the supermarket. This is the milk we (those of us over 50) drank when we were kids, as it comes directly from the cow or goat, unpastuerized, unhomogenized, packed full of natural vitamins, minerals, probiotics, natural antibodies, enzymes, amino acids, and much more. Some may question if in the wild, how a wolf, wild dog, big or wild cat would drink milk. Well, they do, every time the kill and eat a lactating prey.
In that same group of superfoods is natural colostrums, or sometimes referred to as mothers’ first milk. This has many of the same benefits as whole raw milk, but is supercharged. Both these superfoods also aid in hydration, making it supportive for many digestive challenges.
Another major group of “superfoods” are some of the simplest plants in the world. They are found in puddles, ponds, streams, and canals, all the normal places in nature that animals would drink. It is that “slimy, green gunk” that turns the water green. They are algae’s with names you may have seen in supplements and health food stores. Names like spiralina and chlorella. These fresh water algae’s soak up heavy metals like the mercury and aluminum that are found in many drugs and vaccines, help balance mineral levels which corrects hormone levels, and aids in detoxification of the body.
Then there are marine algae’s like nori and kelp that do similar tasks and add valuable minerals in usable and bioavailable forms.
All these “superfoods” are easy to administer, as simple as adding to your real food diets and letting the body use what it needs to heal itself. You see, doctors and veterinarians, nutritionists, and care givers do not heal our pets’ Our pets’ heal themselves when we give them the tools. That includes the real foods that their bodies were designed to digest and use, the natural sources for vitamins, minerals, and yes, even cleansing agents.
While all these items can be obtained without prescription and should be used in their natural forms (not processed in tablets of pills), you may have to search a bit. Visit, call, or email us for more detail on these and other “superfoods” and their specific uses.
Dealing with both health and behavior problems can sometimes be very challenging but as we’ve discovered, with the right tests and the right foods and diets, the true problems reveal themselves and allow us to help the body heal.
Bill Piechocki and Diane Sudduth are co-owners of Fiesta Pet Deli in Festival Flea Market Mall at 2900 W. Sample Road, Pompano. Bill Piechocki has a degree in animal science and 40 years experience in the pet industry including working as a pet nutritionist. He has raised show dogs and also trained dogs. Dr. Diane Sudduth has a DVM as well as master’s degree in Parasitology and Public Health. She also served as a Veterinary Medical Officer for the FDA and USDA for 10 years. Currently she consults for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. You can contact them at: 954-971-2500, petdeli@BioVanceAH.comor www.realfood4pets.com