Green or No Green?
What's Best For Our Animals
by Betty Lewis, RVT, Dr. AN
Every morning, my dogs and I take a two mile walk around our neighborhood. We live in New Hampshire, in a wooded suburb where the living is, for the most part pretty clean. But, this morning, I noticed the tell-tale signs from a chemical lawn company on a neighbor's lawn indicating that they had recently been treated. I thought about the fact that I take great care to avoid as many toxins as possible, but here I find that a neighbor deliberately put poison not only in her own environment, but mine as well. For most of us, living cleanly in this toxic world is not possible. There are many toxins that we come in contact with every day whether we know it or not. This means that we really need to concentrate on eliminating the toxins we do know about.
To paraphrase Shakespeare, the question is: "To Green or Not to Green?" and the answer is yes...and well...no!
The media buzz word these days is to live a greener life, that is, closer to the Earth, living with a thought to the impact on our world, and trying to "leave the park cleaner than you found it." In that sense, of course, we should all be doing as much as we can to be Green.
But, in the context of feeding our carnivore pets, should we be feeding greens or vegetables? The answer is no. Let me explain.
In the 1993 publication, Mammal Species of the World, published by the Smithsonian Institution, the final authority of the scientific community on mammal classification, dogs and wolves are classified as the same species. Therefore, we can categorically say that dogs are domestic wolves. We can also look to wolves to get many clues about our pet dogs, particularly in the area of their internal functioning, an area where man has not meddled.
Yes, we now have Great Danes, Springer Spaniels, toy companion dogs and many other breeds. They have been selected over the years to perform different functions for Man. They look different from each other and some of their behavior differs as well, but no one ever selected for different functioning of their internal organs or their digestive systems. In fact, until quite recently, in evolutionary terms, dogs mostly hunted for their own food even when they were already owned by someone. In my own childhood, people let their dogs out to roam the neighborhood daily and they supplemented their domestic diets with freshly caught morsels.
So, dogs (and other carnivore pets such as cats and ferrets) are designed to eat whole prey. This is what they evolved to eat for millennia. If this weren't the perfect diet for them, the species wouldn't have survived evolution and wouldn't exist. And, to refer again to the title of this article, they don't hunt vegetables, therefore, greens should not comprise a significant portion of their diet.
The subject of proper nutrition is often the subject of intense discussion and there is no room in this paper to re-create it all. However, please read my article on Nutrition for Companion Carnivores.
What our pets are fed is the foundation of their health and, fortunately for us, it is an area where we have complete control.
Related to the discussion of nutrition is the topic of clean water. We are all approximately 75% water which needs to be replenished every day. There are excellent books on this topic, including the popular one, Your Body's Many Cries For Water, by F. Batmanghelidj. You can read why water is necessary, and you must also know that unadulterated water is essential.
Many municipalities add toxic chemicals to their water, such as chlorine & fluoride. There are lots of articles, books and more on the folly of ingesting fluoride, but here is one quote from the NY State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation:
"Elk that graze near the fluoride-rich hot pools and geysers of Yellowstone National Park are dying about 5 years earlier than other elk in the park," says Robert Garrot, geology professor at Montana State University.
And, here is an article about fluoride in pet foods: Some Dog Foods Deliver Toxic Doses of Poison.
Many people who have their own wells think that they are safe from water contaminants. It's true that we don't have anyone *deliberately* putting poison in our water supply, but it also means that we have no idea what contaminants might be in there.
So, for water, the answer is to purify it inside your home. I'm not sure I know the definitive answer on which water purifier is "the best", but experts appear to agree that a reverse osmosis purifier is a reasonable choice. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of the alternatives, but this process can deliver safe water at a reasonable cost. The biggest disadvantage is that there is a high proportion of water "excreted" during the process. However, this can be offset by dumping the waste water into your washing machine to be used in that way.
The third major area where you can live greenly and have a positive influence on the health of your pets and human family is in the choices of cleaning supplies. Baking soda, salt, white vinegar, and lemon juice, among other items can all be used effectively and safely to replace the commercial products you might be using currently. Clean Your House Safely and Effectively Without Harmful Chemicals: Using "from the Cupboard" Ingredients, by Randall Earl Dunford, is an excellent resource. You can also find safe cleaning supplies in your local health food store or even the grocery store.
The final area I want to touch on is that of toxins we ingest or inject deliberately. Anyone who watches television has got to be aware that the list of serious effects of prescription medications is long and horrifying. In fact, after watching any given television drug commercial, I find it hard to believe that anyone would chance taking any of those drugs at all. They call them "side effects", but they aren't "side" at all. They are part and parcel of the effect of the drugs. Many maim and kill. This is true whether we call the drug a "medicine" or a "vaccination." The immune system is attacked on some level, very often at the level of our DNA.
Here is my own article which addresses the topic of vaccination, What About Vaccines? Vaccinosis. It has many links and resources for follow up at the end.
What is health? It is not simply the absence of disease. It is having vigor and longevity and being free from chronic disease. The topics touched on in this paper can make a significant difference towards the goal of creating health. Please follow that path for yourselves and your families, both human and animal.