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General Health

The Nature of Animal Healing

by Martin Goldstein, DVM


A highly recommended study of holistic pet care, and a deal at only $16. This is a book no pet lover's library should be without.

Dr. Goldstein explains just what disease is, it's causes, and it's treatments. One hundred pages are dedicated to a list of common ailments, with nearly a third of that space taken to discuss cancer. Alternative therapies are covered, along with an entire chapter explaining the healing crisis, or detoxification. The more than thirty pages on vaccinations are an eye opener, as is the section on nutrition. Dr. Goldstein's writing style is down to earth, and his sense of humor shows through on every page.

Regarding his recommendations on diet, Dr. Goldstein seems to be in the process of changing his views on the subject. He states, "I've recently gone from wary endorsement [of raw foods] to real enthusiasm."

The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat

by Juliette de Bairacli Levy


Levy is one of the best known and respected authors on natural health and herbal medicine. Her knowledge stems from years of research and experience. She is passionate about her beliefs, and frowns on anything unnatural. While some of her views may seem a bit odd, the methods described have proven successful for many people and animals throughout time.

Topics covered in this book include: the natural rearing of dogs and cats, herbal medicine and the treatment of ailments, and the trouble with vaccinations.

A great buy for bookworms or those who are totally dedicated to the natural rearing concept. Those with more conventional views may be more satisfied with a book such as Richard Pitcairn's.

Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

by Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD & Susan Hubble Pitcairn


This widely read book comes highly recommended by veterinarians and natural health enthusiasts across the country. Topics covered include: the trouble with commercial pet foods, how to prepare natural diets for dogs and cats, natural pet care, and a reference section on diseases and emergency care.

I just love the way Dr. Pitcairn begins his discussion on pet foods. His description of "Insta-Meal," scientifically formulated fodder for humans, makes you laugh and think at the same time. He puts you in your pet's shoes, er, paws, and hopes you see what a ridiculous tradition feeding our pets from a bag or can has become.

In the chapters on diet, Dr. Pitcairn discusses each food group, and offers recipes for supplementing commercial foods, for use as the main diet, quick recipes for when you run out of food, and special recipes for growth, pregnancy, hard exercise and stress, vegetarians, and health problems. To ensure balance, the recipes given have been analyzed in order to meet or exceed AAFCO standards.

The natural health chapters cover many interesting things, such as exercise, grooming, flea control, indoor and outdoor toxins, choosing a healthy pet, behavior, and more. Also discussed are the drawbacks to modern medicine, and alternative treatments that are safer and more effective. Vaccinations are covered in the reference section.

This is an ideal book for those who want to learn about every subject concerning pets in one place. No pet care library would be truely complete without it.

The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog

by Wendy Volhard & Kerry Brown, DVM


This review refers to the 1995 edition of the book.

This was the second or third book I read on natural pet care. At the time I found it very educational. However, I no longer consider it one of my favorites and rarely do I refer back to it. Of course, with over half a dozen other nutrition texts, plus the internet, I have many other resources to choose from. People who are just learning about holistic health will likely find this book as valuable as I did back then.

The topics covered are similar to those in other natural pet care books, including commercial vs. natural diets, general nutrition, vaccines and other toxins, alternative therapies, and diseases. The majority of the book is dedicated to nutrition. Volhard's diet, which she based on the work of Juliette de Bairacli Levy, has been extensively tested to ensure optimal nutrition and balance. Unfortunately, her recipe calls for a long list of supplements and is rather strict. This could scare some people away from feeding naturally, if they believe such a diet is their only option. On the other hand, it may be comforting to those who are paranoid about providing for their dogs a perfect balance of nutrients. It should be said that dogs on the Volhard diet are absolutely radiant with fine health, so there is certainly nothing wrong with her formula; it's simply a matter of preference.

If you are a bookworm, or you are looking for recipes for scientifically formulated dog food, I recommend this book. Otherwise, you can likely find what you want elsewhere, in an easier to follow format. Remember, of course, that there is something different to be learned from every book.