Let’s talk natural pet health. Those of you who have been following me for any length of time know that one of my biggest missions in life is teaching you, as pet owners, how to keep your pets healthy so that you never need the veterinarian.
I talk a lot about the fact that real health starts at home.
I was recently in a store that sells a lot of toys. My kids were wandering, and my daughter (who swears she wants to be a human doctor but plays with her stuffed animals and Doc McStuffins kit all the time) immediately found the veterinary play set.
The box said “Everything animal lovers need for happy and healthy pets.”
So what was in the box?
Well, there was a toy stethoscope and a thermometer (which, by the way, we use when we’re worried the pet is sick, not as much when they’re healthy). But there were also bottles of soothing cream, healing ointment, medications, and bandaids. Basically, it was a kit full of things I use every day as a veterinarian, things which help me HEAL pets.
Not things to KEEP them healthy. But things to help them GET healthy again.
And up until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. That’s how things work in our society. We don’t think about health until we have a problem. And then we go to the doctor (or the vet) who pulls out their handy tools and medications and helps us get better.
That’s not how health should work.
Obviously it’s nice to have the professionals when illness occurs. But what if we could keep ourselves and our pets healthier in the first place?
Real health starts with what you’re feeding your pet. And how they’re vaccinated and what medications they’re on. And what the stress level in their environment is like.
Real health starts long before you get to the veterinarian.
I’ll be honest, it’s a weird concept for me to be teaching this. I was the little girl, a million years ago, who knew by the time I was eight years old that I wanted to be a veterinarian.
I knew from day one that I wanted to help animals. I wanted to help animals get better and help keep them healthy.
I didn’t find out until many years later, after I’d already been a vet for several years, how mistaken that concept was.
Let’s think about this for a second.
When do you take your pet to the vet?
Well, sure, there are annual wellness checks and vaccine appointments.
But beyond that, people only bring their pet to the vet when their pet is sick. They bring them to us because they’ve been vomiting, or because they’ve cut themselves open, or because they have an ear infection… again.
What does this mean for me as a vet? It means that I’m helping to heal the pets, just like I’ve always wanted, but it also means I’m teaching how to keep pets healthy after the fact.
It means we’re trying to recover health instead of just keeping the pet healthy in the first place.
Keeping pets healthier
So what is our goal?
What if we could keep pets healthier from the day they were puppies or kittens?
What if we could only ever need to see the vet for wellness visits?
What if our pets were healthy for their entire long lives, all the way up to the end?
But we have to start now.
We have to start paying attention to what we feed them, how we vaccinate them, how much stress they’re experiencing.
We have to start paying attention to the fact that every choice we makes or everything in their lives affects their whole entire bodies.
We have to pay attention before they’re sick.
And it’s not always easy. Trust me, between my own dog and myself, I’ve been through all this.