Monthly Archives: April 2015

What’s so Natural about “Natural”?

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I am all for natural care for the body, mind, and spirit. Unfortunately the word “natural,” especially when applied to all things related to pet diet and health, has become a bit of a meaningless buzzword. We have natural pet foods with natural ingredients like natural flavors. There are also natural supplements, natural shampoos, and even natural pet magazines. It leads one to wonder what it really means to be natural.

The word natural can be defined as something relating to or derived from nature. This word is often thought of as the opposite of “synthetic.” Something is synthetic if it has been removed from nature and chemically manipulated by man. So we consider grain which is grown in Mother Nature’s soil to be natural while plastic is synthetic.

Of course, who eats corn on the cob without first cooking it or subjecting it to some other, more extreme processing? Since we’ve changed the corn from its natural state, is it still natural? And what of plastic? It is made from petroleum products which come from dead dinosaurs. What could be more natural than that?

So there seems to be a spectrum of naturalness. While we would all agree that an ear of corn is natural and a plastic cup is synthetic, where do we draw the line between the two? Is corn always natural no matter how it has been processed?

The naturalness of corn ranges from an ear of corn, to ground corn, to corn flakes, to high fructose corn syrup, to “corn plastic” used in biodegradable packaging. I would suggest that somewhere in that progression, the corn has ceased to be natural.

The same thing can be said for natural pet foods. Sure, grain, potatoes, or any source of starch could be considered to be natural ingredients. They may even be organic. But, after the high-heat processing their naturalness has been corrupted. Even more importantly, it is extremely unnatural for dogs or cats to eat large amounts of starch in any form. As far as I’m concerned, calling any processed kibble “natural” is very misleading.

The natural ingredients in natural pet foods often include natural flavors. Chemicals used as natural flavors are produced more naturally than are artificial flavors. However, the processing of the raw materials into the flavor chemicals results in unnatural end products that often resemble MSG in character. If the natural flavors are so natural why doesn’t the label just come right out and say exactly what they are?

When it comes to caring for our pets, there is a range of naturalness. My professional opinion is that most pets thrive on a balanced, raw diet. But, I know that not everyone can pull that off for various reasons. Just do the best you can.

Also, remember that just because it says “natural” does not necessarily mean it is good for you or your pet. Poison ivy is natural but that doesn’t mean you should rub it all over your body.

Have you ever been fooled by a “natural” claim?

Eight Reasons Your Pet Needs Chiropractic Adjustments

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The job of the animal chiropractor is to locate and correct spinal misalignments. Several techniques exist for adjusting animals. Fortunately, none of them involve laying the dog down, belly up, on a chiropractic table and wrenching his neck from side to side. Most commonly the animal is adjusted while standing. The doctor gently presses on one vertebra at a time to locate any joints that are not moving appropriately. When a subluxation is located, a quick, accurate thrust is delivered to correct the problem.

Subluxations have numerous causes. Trauma is the most obvious. This includes not only severe trauma but also more subtle disturbances such as slips, falls and missteps — basically living life. In fact, birth itself sometimes causes damage to the spine, starting the poor pet off on the wrong foot. Plus, some pets have been bred for traits, such as long backs and short legs, which predispose them to back problems. Finally, performance dogs are especially prone to back-jarring incidences. Jumping, racing, and lead jerks can all knock the neck and back out of whack.

Here are 8 reasons your pet needs chiropractic.

  1. Back Pain – Many animals suffer in silence with mild to moderate back pain. I commonly get reports from clients that their pet seemed happier after a chiropractic adjustment, even if they were not having an obvious problem.
  2. Head Ache – Does your pet have a head ache? How would you know? Misalignment of vertebrae in the neck can cause such pain. Regular spinal adjustments can prevent and treat it.
  3. Lameness – Spinal subluxations can cause compression of nerves that cause pain to radiate down the limb resulting in lameness.
  4. Organ Dysfunction – The restriction of nerves that serve internal organs can cause those organs to malfunction. Chiropractic can help.
  5. Rehab – Whatever the musculoskeletal issue your pet may be battling, the spine is inevitably involved. Adjustments can speed recovery.
  6. Prehab – Regular chiropractic adjustments can help the body resist injury, avoiding the need for rehab.
  7. Recovery – Animals who get regular chiropractic treatments often recover faster from trauma.
  8. Health Maintenance –  Keeping your pet’s spine aligned with regular chiropractic treatments keeps her healthy!

When taking your pet for a chiropractic treatment, be sure to seek a professional with proper training. Your chiropractor may do a great job on you, but because of anatomical differences between people and dogs, without special training a chiropractor is not the ideal candidate to treat your dog. America Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) certification assures education and skill in the specialized field of animal chiropractic. For a list of local, certified animal chiropractors log on to www.animalchiropractic.org.

Has your pet had chiropractic adjustments?