Book Review: Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats



You know how sometimes when you eat something nasty, you have to rinse out your mouth to get rid of the horrid taste?  Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats  has that very same effect, when compared to the Book Review presented to you yesterday. When I say you should buy this book, I mean it sincerely.

Dr. Pitcairn is veterinarian with decades of experience. He was instrumental in bringing holistic methods of treatment to the veterinary field. Indeed, Dr. Pitcairn himself trains other licensed veterinarians in these methods. It should come as no surprise he was also instrumental in the creation of the Academy of  Veterinary Homeopathy, which remains one of the top guiding organizations for training and (emphasis added) research in homeopathic treatments for companion animals.

When I personally judge a book for its value, I look for certain things:

1.  Is the author actually experienced in the topic he or she is writing about, or has the information published simply been selectively pilfered from other sources to promote a personal view?  Dr. Pitcairn’s veterinary practice has been completely holistic  since 1985. I think he’s qualified  in the field and can be considered an expert.

2.  Is the author’s work cited in the work of other authors writing on similar topics? I only found Dr. Pitcairn’s book (s) because he was commonly cited in other books on companion animal homeopathy  and nutrition.  If other authors have that much faith in Dr. Pitcairn, it seems only reasonable that the reader can trust at least most of what he published himself.

3.  Is the author a one-hit wonder or does he or she publish on a regular basis?  Additionally, is the author so engaged in the subject matter that he or she will update prior editions with new editions, removing antiquated information for new, proven facts? Though not all of Dr. Pitcairn’s books have been updated, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, was at third edition, 10 years after publication of the first. Chances are, provided Dr. Pitcairn isn’t leaning heavily towards retirement, a fourth edition will be forthcoming.  A resume of many published articles and books,  and the belief that the information provided is important enough to update when necessary, at least to me, means the author is someone who truly cares about the subject matter and his or her books are worthy of taking a look at.

Dr. Pitcairn puts a lot of emphasis on the total well-being of the animal. Lifestyle, environment, the human-animal bond, and of course nutrition, nutrition, nutrition, are the building blocks to maintaining a healthy and happy dog or cat.  Yes, homeopathic remedies are covered in this book, but sprinkled in with the remedies and their uses is the repeated statement, (paraphrased) if your dog ( or cat) is being fed properly, you will encounter less need to use the remedies.

As far as nutritional section, I find this particular book much easier to read and understand than the multitude of tomes, some more technical, some less, that I have in my library.  Specific nutritional requirements for both dogs and cats are covered briefly, yet more in-depth than the average reader would find in any other off the shelf book.  The reader not only learns the what, but the why.  Personally, I think if I had read this one first, much of my earlier studies on the subject of nutrition would have made more sense.

I especially like that Dr. Pitcairn has provided recipes and supplements you can prepare at home, and with them provides nutritional analysis of both the recipes and components.  I found this information was easily transferred to my further understanding of commercial pet food labels.

For those who want to convert to a fully homemade or raw diet, this book gives you a starting point.  What you learn can then help you with your personal research to improve. For those not wanting to convert to an entirely homemade or raw diet, but want to feed your dog (or cat) better,  this book shows you how to boost the nutritional value of your current commercial food with homemade additives. Either way, the reader who follows the guidelines will see great improvement in their dog or cat in a relatively short time.

The presentation of the natural remedies section really appealed to me in that at no time was this book claiming to be a replacement for your veterinarian. Neither did it imply that only a holistic vet could properly care for your pet.  Sprinkled in the remedies for certain conditions was a statement that a remedy could be used until you get to your vet, or gave observations that you should be reporting to your vet. There were even a few sections where Dr. Pitcairn said simply, go to the vet (with no specification that the vet had to be holistic).  That this book was not written so that pet owners could self diagnose and treat, at least in my opinion, gives a lot more credibility than some of the others I’ve read, and I found myself more willing to try some of the remedies for less severe conditions with my own dogs.

It is understandable, given some of the books published on homeopathic remedies, that there are those who still believe it’s all mumbo-jumbo. Fact the matter is, many, probably most, actually do work. Whenever we have a sudden acute condition here at The Ranch that we have no experience with, our first action is to go to the regular vet. After the crisis is over, our next move is to start researching homeopathic remedies should the condition ever occur again.  It is possible for conventional and homeopathic to exist in the same world and I think the growing number of veterinarians who use both approaches is proof of that.  Point being; don’t write off alternative methods of healing based on presentation. Find sources such as Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats to at least get you thinking.

I don’t consider this book to be a know all tell-all on pet nutrition and holistic remedies,  but I do think it is one of the best introductions to the topics for any reader interested.  While I don’t believe this is the only, or even the best, book you should purchase on the subjects, I do believe it should the first.





4 thoughts on “Book Review: Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

    1. Just don’t over use those recipes! The 2 other good ones are out on loan right now, but remind me in a couple weeks to send them your way.

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