Tag Archives: Behavior

Side Effects from Raw Food


As a holistic practitioner, I treat the whole pet. Animals often come to me because they have a specific problem. The Western medicine way of dealing with such difficulties is to only focus on the issue at hand. In veterinary school we really learn more about disease care than we do about health care. The holistic approach is to focus on the patient. If we make the patient well then by definition the disease has gone away.

To this point, every time a pet comes to me I consider diet. I have found that if an animal is not getting proper nutrition (balanced, raw diet) it is not likely to become truly healthy no matter what I do. Some pet caregivers are put off by my seeming lack of concern over the disease they came in for. Most come to understand my approach once I explain it.

Meet Lucy. She is a 4-year-old yorkie mix. She came to me for her first holistic exam on 12/2/15. Her problem was that she was lame on her right rear leg on and off for the past month. Her owner wanted to try a holistic approach.

When I examined Lucy I found that she was very sensitive to my manipulation of her right knee. I could also feel a subtle grinding when I flexed her knee. She seemed to have a strain or sprain of her right knee.

As always, I discussed vaccines and vaccine titers with Lucy’s caregiver. I talked about holistic health and recommended Answers Raw Pet Food and Fermented Goat’s Milk. I also prescribed 8 weekly therapeutic laser treatments for Lucy’s right knee. (I never ignore the problem at hand).

I saw Lucy back on 2/16/16 and her lameness had completely resolved. After the exam, as her caregiver was leaving the room, she asked me about the food. She had taken my recommendation seriously and had switched Lucy from her “high quality” kibble to Answers food and goat’s milk.

Lucy’s caregiver asked me about a strange side effect she noticed from the diet. Lucy was listening to her better than she ever had. Apparently, Lucy had a tendency toward ADHA that her caregiver thought was normal behavior. She didn’t realize there was a problem until the diet fixed it.

I commonly see positive side effects from getting pets off processed food and onto a balanced raw diet. I love my job!

You Dirty Rat?


I have long thought that there is a natural, in-borne compulsion for compassion in both people and animals. I talked about this in my second book, The Holistic Health Guide. It has always seemed to me that we tend to want to help when we see someone in need.

Think of the news stories about people who have done courageous acts to save a stranger. When interviewed afterward they invariably say that they didn’t think, they just did what came natural. Compare these actions to those of pets who have risked their own lives to rescue people. Remember that cat that saved the toddler from the dog attack? I’m telling you, we all have an instinct for compassion.

I know what you’re thinking. “There goes Dr. Doug off in La La Land again.” Well, I finally have some research to back me up! Researchers from Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan put, of all creatures, rats to the test. They set up 3 experiments.

In the first experiment they placed 2 rats in a Plexiglas cage. One rat was in a dry compartment and the other in a compartment filled with water. (As it turns out rats don’t like to get wet). Between the 2 rats was a clear wall with a door that only the dry rat could open. In the study, most of the dry rats opened the door very quickly to save their buddy. Rats that had previously been put in the “pool” opened the door faster than those that had not. (Watch the rats in action here).

In the second experiment both rats were put in dry compartments with a door that only one could open. Rats did not open the door when their cage mate was not distraught. So opening the door was about easing suffering and not just curiosity.

The third experiment was the clincher. This time the dry rat was put into a compartment with 2 clear walls, each with doors he could open into other chambers. In one of the other chambers was a rat swimming in water as before. In the second compartment was a food reward, just sitting right there for the taking. In this situation most rats opened the door to save their friend before going for the food.

Who would have thought that the lowly rat would show such compassion? This study certainly seems to point to the validity of my assertion that both people and animals feel compassion instinctively. But I don’t think we’ll ever find a love gene. There is a non-physical force for good within all living beings. It is all part of the holistic concept of body, mind, and SPIRIT!

Have you experienced an animal’s compulsion for compassion?

Blueberries Combat Stress/Anxiety Better than Drugs


A recent study found that blueberries worked better than Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) to calm the brains of rats that were put through a process to simulate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This research is important for dog caregivers because SSRIs are sometimes used for separation anxiety, storm phobia and other behavior problems. When you think about it, some of our dogs probably do suffer from PTSD-like mental conditions.

SSRIs include such drugs and Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. They work by slowing the destruction of serotonin by brain neurons. This increases the level of this calming chemical in the brain. Unfortunately, SSRIs also inadvertently increase the level of norepinephrine which is a stress hormone. So, SSRIs cause the increase in calming and stress in the brain at the same time. This contradictory effect may be why studies show that these drugs work no better than placebo.

In the recent study, the control group was fed the normal diet and the experimental group was fed the normal diet plus blueberries. All rats were exposed to a cat for 1 hour on days 1 and 11 of the 31-day trial. In the end, the blueberry-eating rats had higher levels of serotonin in their brains. Incredibly, these rats did not have an increase in norepineprine as is seen with taking SSRIs. Food wins over drugs!

Blueberries have many health benefits for people. They provide potent antioxidants, help maintain brain health and function, and have even been shown to fight prostate cancer. No doubt these health benefits apply to dogs as well.

The kicker of the rat study is that the neurotransmitter balancing benefits were seen when blueberries made up just 2% of the diet. That’s just 1/10 of a cup (< 1 oz.) of berries for every 5 cups of food your dog eats. However, one key is that the rats were fed the blueberries consistently for 31 days.

Blueberries will not work like a pill that you give and expect to see improvement within hours. It will most likely take a month to start to see improvement. Natural methods often take time. Of course, you will also not see the side effects that medications can cause. If your pet is suffering from anxiety, why not give some blueberries and see if it helps?

Have you found any dietary changes that have helped your pet?