The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog


The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, DVM

This month we dove into The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog 2nd Edition by longtime breeder Wendy Volhard and Veterinarian Kerry Brown.  The term “holistic” may be a buzzword, but philosophically it means considering the whole animal when dealing with its well-being and care.

The book especially highlights the holistic when it comes to healthful feeding.  In large part it recommends Volhard’s “Natural Diet,” which she uses for her own dogs.  Additionally, the guide explains the applications of many natural remedies.  Your dog has arthritis?  You may want to try arnica.  Is he a stool eater?  Does she have dry skin?  There are natural remedies for many afflictions.

In regards to feeding, the plan for the Natural Diet is detailed through menu choices for dogs of various ages, sizes, and activity levels.  Dr. Brown lends credibility by advocating for yearly blood tests to make sure the diet meets your pet’s needs.

Even if you do not intend to change what your dog eats you may be interested in the detailed explanations of the advantages of raw food from a biological point of view.  Instead of using popular phrases like “what a wolf would eat” the book explains how the canine body digests food and why raw is appropriate and kibble is not.

Upon first read, some of the ideas seem outlandish in the face of western medicine and modern feeding methods.  Some practices (such as once-a-week fasting) sound extreme, but dogs share 98 percent of their DNA with wolves.  Domestic dogs rarely exercise as much as wolves, but the processes of digestion and nutritional requirements are proportionately very similar.  Today’s pet owners battle obesity, diabetes, liver failure, cancer ,and other canine maladies with so much regularity that it makes great sense to learn about keeping your dog healthy through holistic means.