Being a conscious pet owner is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. “Owning” a life form is a weird idea in the first place. These dogs are part of our family…they sleep in my kid’s beds and are always with us. When we travel, something feels off…the pack is not together.
In the old days, the dogs would run down a rabbit and eat together. Then they bonded with humans and we’d hunt together. They’d help us and we’d give them their share of the “bounty.” It was a match made out of camaraderie and partnership- a true example of symbiosis.
Cats? They’d get the rodents for us- free food for them and disease-free barns for us. They’d bring us birds. Again- symbiosis at work.
So what’s different today? If you live in an urban environment, there’s a lot that’s changed. The cat lounges in the living room and eats food out of a can. No mice being chased in the barn…
Dogs? They get a walk or two a day and they watch us watching our phones. Boo.
They eat synthetic kibble (no matter how much we pay for the good stuff) and get taken to special places for “exercise.”
It’s better than not getting it but, come on.
Animals (and humans for that matter) evolved in the wild and are meant to be running around. Free play, exploration, and a diversified nutrient-dense diet is where we came from.
So how can we approximate that kind of lifestyle for our pets today?
That’s the challenge.
Getting them out and active is key- no matter where you live. A couple walks a day for dogs is the bare minimum. Climbing apparatus and free play for cats. These things are key. Animals need to move around. Their spirits are wild. We’ve seen what happens when we ignore that. They mirror us. Dogs get depressed. Cats get feisty. As they should…
Life is to be lived.
What about food?
Short of feeding them live mice and rabbits, we need to approximate those diets for them. Not all kibble is created equal. Probiotics are now a thing for our pets.
Because they’re no longer eating the guts of an animal they just killed. I know it’s gross but that’s the reality. Cats and Dogs are carnivores. They’d inoculate a healthy microbiome by eating guts of fresh kill.
They never ate grains over the millenia. So why are those the main ingredients in pet food? Because it’s cheap.
There are places to save money and other places to invest in the health and happiness of our pets. Grains should not be in a pet’s diet.I spent several hours with Dr Rob Franklin, a holistic veterinarian, discussing these items. He helped us put together a course called “Healthy Pets” which is filled with wisdom about how to feed and care for our pets.
A key take-away is that prevention is the name of the game. Keep them healthy and keep them moving. Get them the right supplements and avoid the crap diets. They will live longer, be happier, and thrive. In fact, it’ll likely cost you less in vet bills and hospitalization in the long run.
They are part of our families and need to be treated accordingly. They deserve health and happiness.I was never handed a “how to” manual with my puppies yet I was in charge of their wellbeing the minute I put them in my car.
With the help of Dr Franklin, that “How To” manual now exists. Check it out.