With my, to put it mildly, obsession, with what I feed my kids, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for advice on reading material recommendations to help others travel the same road as me.
Here’s my first recommendation for those of you who are interested: BUY THIS BOOK! In the event of an EMP strike, and we lose all modern technology as a result, you will need things to burn to keep warm! Yup, that is the value of this particular book.
The author, Martin Zucker, has a background in nutrition, fitness and other health issues – pertaining to humans – and is an accomplished author in those respects. In the late 90’s, realizing a whole new market for his books, Zucker decided to delve into companion animals. (OK, so that’s just my take having read two of his 3 “Masterpieces”). So enthusiastic was he on the subject of natural remedies for pets, he published 3 books in 2 years (1999 and 2000), and never wrote another word on the subject. I haven’t actually read the one he co-wrote, with a veterinarian in 1998. Something tells me that was the experience that directed him out$$$side his area of expertise. Yes, the $$ were added to be snarky.
Of Zucker’s expertise as to human issues, I am not qualified to offer an oppinion. As far as the ‘expertise’ required to write a book, transferring his knowledge with humans to companion animals, I do consider myself qualified, and I find this book to be dangerous in the hands of those who might believe everything they read.
The Veterinarian’s Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs is series of interviews with select veterinarians, giving some pretty dangerous and sometimes hysterical advice to readers, combined with marketing of specific concoctions, several of them which worked so well, the manufacturers are no longer in business. But the reader should be rest assured: The direct contact information for all vets interviewed is provided in the Appendix, so if you don’t believe what you read, just ask the sources if what they said is true! That none of them were ever cited in another book, peer reviewed journal, etc., irrelevant.
To be fair, Mr. Zucker did actually interview some veterinarians I wouldn’t be afraid to go to, but the majority, my guess is they had no clients, ergo, plenty of time to speak to the author. Of the latter group, here are a couple of my favorites:
1. It is recommended before transitioning your dog to a raw diet, to water fast your dog for 2 days. Let’s have some fun, shall we? Go to your regular vet, be it shaman, holistic, alien, conventional or a combination of the 4, and tell him or her you will deliberately withhold water to your dog for 2 days. Can we all agree your vet would have a few choice words? That this recommendation appeared in the very same chapter where later the reader is told to never restrict water – well, let’s all sit back and wonder just exactly what it is the book is recommending we do!
OK, so that was a little unfair, water fasting actually means omitting solids but continuing to offer water, but that the definition was what a water fast is was missing from the direction, I could see those not familiar interpreting it as withholding water. 2 relatively intelligent friends, when asked to define water fast both came back with withhold water.
2. Vaccinations are covered, as one would expect. No arguments over the hypothesis that we might be over-vaccinating. On that one point, I give it to the book for seeing into the future, and almost had a little respect… until, we got to the part about reactions to vaccines:
Yes, Vaccinosis is a real condition. Indeed, our Forever Beloved Maude had a serious reaction to her first rabies vaccine. For that reason, she never received another one. When Maude had her problem, we sought immediate veterinary attention, and her reaction was only moderate. According to this book, if your dog has a severe reaction, your first move should be to quick, pick up the phone and order a special, holistic remedy, created for humans, called Vaccine Detox Tabs. That your dog might die before the magical Tabs arrive, irrelevant. That neither the product nor the manufacturer exist anymore… well, this author no longer writes books for companion animals either, now does he?
3. My personal Favorite: For intramuscular collapse or paralysis, attach a ceramic bead to the dog’s collar to absorb electromagnetic pollution. No need to see a veterinarian to make your dog comfortable, no need to do x-rays or any other diagnostic test to see what the physical problem is, it’s all about the Polar North! What I’m not sure is if the color of the bead matters…
I think what bothers me most about this book is that other than the usual disclaimer on the publication information page, more than likely a requirement by the publisher’s attorneys, the entire book appears to say that if you do not have a holistic veterinarian, find one or see no veterinarian at all. This is the only book on holistic remedies, for humans or animals, I have ever seen handle it’s content in that way.
As far as my obsession: The nutritional part of the book: Don’t even bother. The recipes listed are no better than the kibble of the days of yon; too low in protein, the primary components are grains, and kid you not, one vet recommends purchasing, and yes, this is quote “…the cheapest stew beef possible…” to feed your dog. OK, so sounding the alarm about nutrient loss through over cooking – two thumbs up. However, call me silly, but if the study is on nutrition, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the instruction would include teaching the reader to feed to the nutritional requirements of the organism? Rather than doing that, this book seems to slap generic ingredients together, and then refers the reader where to go to purchase manufactured supplements to balance the diet.
To dispel a certain belief people may get from this review that perhaps I am dead set against alternative remedies… If only there were time, I could tell you stories about a cat, a dog, and 22 ferrets – all who significantly outlived their life expectancies, some who outlived their species’ natural lifespans, all with terminal illnesses – none treated with conventional medicine. As far as alternative – I’m a cheerleader, provided the information given to me comes from someone whose experience and knowledge is about the creature and not just the remedy. In that respect, The Veterinarian’s Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs clearly lacking.