Learn, Unlearn, Relearn…
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the Healthy Dog Expo in Albany New York and I can honestly say it was one of the most inspirational weekends I have ever spent and I almost missed it.
To spend the weekend with likeminded people who want to improve the life of their pets and listen to the absolute rock stars of our movement was very humbling for me and reinforced my belief that through education and armed with up to date research, we can make a difference.
We have to give thanks to Dr Laurie Coger who is the brainchild and organiser of The Healthy Dog Expo. Dr. Laurie Coger is a holistic veterinarian, author, trainer and breeder whose mission is "to guide owners down the natural dog care path, helping them to become educated and empowered advocates for their best friend's health." An honors graduate of Cornell University, with advanced training in nutrition, she received her DVM degree from Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine. Her practice and dog care philosophy emphasize natural methods and the benefits of a raw, natural diet, and she regularly integrates chiropractic, low-level laser, herbal, nutritional and physical therapy techniques into her treatment plans.
This was the third event that has taken place and I recommend everyone to watch out for next year's date and list of guest speakers.
There were many highlights for me and I will provide links to speakers' websites but one very sad fact highlighted by author Rodney Habib, co-author of "The Forever Dog" and the frankly horrifying Netflix documentary on the Kibble industry ("PetFooled") is that, despite the latest research available to us, the lifespan of our dogs has actually decreased over the past couple of decades. I have long felt intuitively that this is true but to see the evidence was still very shocking. It is also not very difficult to understand why this is the case!
Sadly the majority of pet owners today buy poor quality, over processed diets that masquerade as healthy! holistic! Even “organic!” and the effect they are having on our pets is becoming increasingly clear. We are also persuaded to over vaccinate our pets and routinely use harmful chemicals that we now know are contaminating our rivers to ward off ticks and fleas etc.
So, is there good news? The answer is YES. This is because we, as pet parents, have the power to make real change. My top 3 things to do first?
1. Provide wholesome, natural raw food for your dog (and/or cat)
2. Minimise the use of chemicals in the environment your pets inhabit (inside and outside)
3. Consider the risks and benefits of the vaccines you give your pet. Not all are necessary or work very well (Lime, Lepto) and it is worth understanding the dangers of undermining the immune system through over vaccination.
I also came away as a new convert to using supplements. In the past (distant past lol) I believed a species appropriate diet that offered lots of variety was all we needed for optimal health and, to a degree, I still believe that, but there will always be times when we need a boost for whatever reason or, as a preventative and the sad reality for all of us is, we are living in a toxic world and as much as we try, we cannot escape entirely from it.
When I use the term 'we' I am always including us humans in the conversation because we are susceptible to the same stressors and seek the same solutions...
So, to steal a quote from Rodney Habib's presentation!
'The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn'
- Alvin Toffler, Future Shock
I came away from the weekend with three topics I knew I had to research further as I wanted to enlighten both myself and our customers. They are:
1) AGE's. (Advanced Glycation End Products).
2) Broccoli Sprouts
I will cover each in more depth in my next blog. As ever feedback is welcome!