My Top three ways to save your pets and save the world.
At my clinic I see a different person nearly every 20 minutes. I am often impressed by my clients who come in caring about the well-being of their animals and are worrying about the well being of our planet.
I know many of us feel overwhelmed by all the doom and gloom stories we see in the media. My clients know I am often in contact with activists and have been involved in many organizations focused on improving the condition of our planet, so they ask me if they, as one person, can even make a difference. Most don't even know where to start.
As an advocate for my clients and their pet and human families, I offer this advice:
Make a difference where you live. Make a difference with the people and animals that are already in your life. Find the thing you can do and do it well.
As a veterinarian, I recommend to my clients the top 3 things that are essential for your pet's health. As an earth advocate, I have my top 3 things that are essential for global health. I've always believed that the earth is my patient too.
Top 3 things that make a difference for your pet's health:
1)The most important health decision for a pet is what you choose to put in the food bowl. A species appropriate diet means dogs and cats eat diets that are made for carnivores - mostly meat and fat and light on the carbs. Commercially available preprepared frozen raw foods make the most sense biologically. I've watched animals eat themselves healthy with raw foods in the last 20 years of my practice. They are good for the body, for weight control, immunity, strength, create healthy teeth and gums and regulate healthy GI function.
Kibble foods make the least sense biologically and in terms of health in my experience. They have too many carbs, too many additives, too much filler and are typically high heat processed which makes two potent carcinogens in every bite.
Canned foods can be useful as an option, but we still have to worry about ingredients and also the lining of many of the large cans is BPA - a carcinogen.
2) Judicious use of vaccines makes sense. Don't overvaccinate and don't do all your vaccines in one appointment. Wait a few weeks between vaccine injections. Vaccination are serious immune stimulating injections and can potentially have some serious side effects. We should follow the science about vaccines, not the scare tactics and mis-information that we get from the companies that make and sell the vaccines.
Ask your vet about doing titer testing for some vaccines to prove that immunity is still present and that you don't need to vaccinate. The titer tests are often accepted by boarding, day-care and grooming facilities for at least 3 years. They are worth it.
Wherever possible ask how long vaccines really last, and ask for the vaccines that last longer. Typically the longer lasting vaccines are not stronger or a larger dose, they are simply the same product that is now proven to last longer than previously thought.
Rabies is the only vaccine that is required by law. Ask about the real need for any other vaccinations before giving them.
If you are near a holistic veterinarian, ask for a post-vaccine detox - this can include homeopathic supplements. Support proper laws and information that follow the science about vaccination.
3) Don't use pesticides and chemicals on or in your pet. They are not healthy additions for your pet's well-being, for the world or for your family. Just because we can use them doesn't mean we should. There WILL be exposure to your pet, and there WILL be exposure to your family, and they add more pesticides and chemicals to our world. There are organic essential oil sprays and squeeze-on products that contain essential oils that are very effective in repelling fleas and ticks.
Top 3 things that make a difference for your planet's health:
1) Don't support animal abuse anywhere. This includes asking about where the food animals that are feeding your pet are from. How are the food animals treated? Do they have access to sunlight, exercise, fresh foods, clean, healthy environs? Are they free from the overuse of antibiotics, growth hormones and chemicals? Are they raised in an organic and healthy manner?
How we treat our food animals affects our pets, our world and says something about our own humanity. If we love animals, we should love the animals that feed our pets. We need to demand better care and better management of our food animals. This will have a good effect on the management of our planet too.
2) Don't use pesticides, herbicides and fungicides on your lawn or in your house. Not only are they are implicated in many serious health concerns for pets as well as humans, even when properly applied, but using them hurts our planet as well. When we kill broad swaths of species with chemicals, we are negatively impacting the precious balance and health of our natural world. Is it worth it in favor of a well-sprayed monoculture of green lawn and a weedless garden? Pulling weeds can be another way to exercise... There are other ways.
3) Go Organic, non-GMO and local in every way you can. Choose vegetables, fruits and meats that are not full of chemicals, consider growing your own garden, even if you are in an urban setting, it's possible. Buy from smaller stores that source locally. It's not only shown to provide healthier foods, but it will help our planet too. And while you're at it, conserve and filter your water too.
When I hear from clients, "I'm so overwhelmed every day, I just want to give up and go back to bed!" I can give them my top 3 for pets and my top 3 for the planet, but I also have my new book, to give them: One Hundred and One Reasons to Get Out of Bed. An inspiring and tangible answer in book form -- flip through colorful photos and read the engaging success stories of 101 single individuals who found their "one thing" to improve their world and made it happen. These amazing people who are doing surprising and often quietly heroic deeds all answered three simple questions for this book, that think we should all answer:
1)What gets you out of bed and why,
2)What you are doing about it,
3)What everyone can do about it.
With proceeds from the book going back to the charities suggested by the contributors, we hope it encourages our readers take part and to take a moment to find the thing that gets them out of bed and take small planet steps to become big planet heroes themselves.