Book Review: The Veterinarian’s Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs


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.


9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Veterinarian’s Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs

  1. I’m gonna rush right out and buy me some cosmic ceramic beads-for me and the humans. No need to buy the book, you even spoiled the ending.

  2. I am sure those cosmic beads would have been great yesterday when I found Forrest flipping and rolling on a juvenile Eastern Brown snake,…call me sceptical but the dash to the vet with shovel killed snake for id was more important..the iv fluids cortisone and antivenene I am sure could have been avoided with a prance thru a holistic mumbo jumbo novel such as this one..maybe the book could be used to hit said deadly snake with…I am all for alternatives but withholding water (unless pancreatitis ) is cruel…Forrest is one lucky dog to be with us today and I thank swift action by us and help from the vet…who was not naked and wearing beads and holding a torch…just sayin 😉 Fozziemum xx

    1. I am so sorry Forrest got into it with the snake and I’m so glad he’s OK!

      But I have to laugh hysterically at the rest of your comment! Just had to read it to Crabby who found it equally hysterical!

      Technically speaking “Water Fast” refers to fasting from food but giving a liquid ‘diet’. Thing about this book, it never told the reader what it really was. When people think “fast”, they think withhold. I had to re-read the book for a class I’m taking and happened to notice the omission (the actual definition of what a water fast is). To the unknowing reader, it is very dangerous indeed.

      Incidentally, as far as the end of your comment about the vet who was ‘not naked…”. If you ask me, if your vet was a well sculpted male… could be a bummer! The color of the beads he was wearing would have been irrelevant 🙂

      1. Bwahahaha yes Forrest is one lucky pooch! this damn snake is the second deadliest land snake…of course…and even a juvenile like this one at 12 inches long can kill 2o people..damn wiggly toys!! our old vet was a cutie so hmm worth considering…and yes you cannot make a blanket statement without adding the definition..people are not always savvy enough to research these things..i always go vet first then natural treatments..the thing is medicine is based on nature originally so the two can compliment each I said snakebite a different kettle of fish 🙂

      2. We live in rattlesnake country, and I end up nose to nose with them on a regular basis. I have a no kill policy on my jobs. Sometimes, when I stop screaming like a little girl, and/or insure I don’t need a change of jeans, I while trembling uncontrollably, move them.

        Angus got bitten not once, but 3 times by the same snake a few years back. We were able to get him to a vet in a 1/2 hour or less and, other than a scar, there were no long term effects as can usually happen with snake bites.

        Seems this is the second snake/Forrest encounter in only a couple of months. Sooo not cool for you! Do you have snake trainers near you? Here, they shock train dogs to run the other way whenever they see a snake.

      3. No we don’t …we had no choice ti kill the poor thing as it is vital to the treatment and the vet’s won’t just take your word on what snake it is as if you are wrong as many people are the treatment can fail..he had already half done the job and if he hadn’t even though small it’s a really nasty and aggressive little thing…I leave well alone out on the property as they are free to do their thing..we walk the dogs on lead for their safety but this was sadly in the house yard…which is strange as it had to cross open space to get in and they don’t like that..the other snake had been dropped by a wedgie and he just happened to go sniff…it was pretty dead and ripe no wonder he went straight to bellies are not aggro they will move away before attacking..browns are a different beastie..usually the only warning is the bite…Angus is very lucky indeed! we are just going to have to snake mesh the rest of the fence as soon as we can afford it..winter is approaching so we have some time..meanwhile we are just watching closely…

  3. I agree, that’s the question: the color of the bead. Please keep me informed :o) I agree with you for the rabies vaccine, Easy had a bad reaction too ( he got the 5-year vaccination). Many thanks for a fabulous review :o)

    1. Just reviewed another one I find to be safer as far as it’s information. Thing, is, it never even mentioned beads let alone the color of beads. Bummer!

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