Sunday, January 5, 2014

Crock-Potting for Your Dog & Other Alternative Treatments

Would you feed your baby the same processed food day in and day out every day all day for the rest of his or her life? Probably not. So why are you feeding that to your dog?

That's the question that my holistic vet asked me that opened my eyes to a whole new world of whole foods for my French Bulldog Bleu.

You know you've surpassed your wild twenties and have reached your mature, sophisticated thirties when you have invested in a Cuisinart ceramic slow cooker instead of Bloomingdale's black leather pants. You start thinking about home furnishings rather than high fashion clothing. You care  much more about making your body healthy through proper nutrition than making it buzzed on booze.

The ironic part is, I don't really cook. As a vegetarian, I tend to snack a lot on whole grains, raw fruits, legumes, nuts, and veggies, yogurt, and occasionally eat out. 

But this New Year, I've made a resolution to cook healthy. But this grand resolution is NOT for me. It's not for my friends, family, children, or boyfriend either. So who could be more important than any of the above? My French Bulldog Bleu.  Ever since I got him, I've been saddled with thousands of dollars worth of vet bills. Sinus infections. Viruses. Skin and food allergies. Head tremors. Papallomas. Ear infections. Conjunctivitis. You name it, he's had it. And he's only 3. While my vet has tried her best to keep his bulldog baggage at bay, his problems keep coming back and new ones keep surfacing, and the bills aren't getting any better.

I decided to try an alternative medicine route. I went to the Animal Healing Center and saw Dr. Diana Drum, a certified vet, acupuncturist, chiropractor, and herbalist. I captured this spectacular artwork on the wall of her office:

Be prepared to spend $175 just to get your foot in the door, and also to wait week up to a few months to see one of these specialists; it's worth it. Dr. Drum listened patiently as I recounted Bleu's saga; she sat cross-legged on the floor next to Bleu on the rug, very unconventional for a doctor's office, and I felt immediately at ease. She said that Bleu has been given suppressive medicines his whole life that are messing up his immunity and energy system. His spleen is deficient, which means his liver is toxic and his digestive system is not functioning at optimal capacity. She prescribed thuja occidentalis for bleu's papallomas that were forming all over his body, a virus, she informed me, was attacking his immune system as a result of getting his yearly vaccinations. Dogs do not need to get vaccinated on a yearly basis, she informed me, despite what conventional vets will tell you. Thuja tincture comes from a tree, and is a natural treatment for HPV (human papilloma virus), or in this case, CPV (canine papilloma virus). Warts are small growths on the skin caused by a viral infection in the skin's top layer. Bleu had a strong reaction to the meds and it scared me; he threw up the first time I administered it; and salivated excessively the second time I gave it. But in a few weeks, only one small visible wart can be seen now, thanks to the natural medication.

Dog foods have been commercialized for the public as nutritious, but they are processed and bland. Before dog food, dogs ate wild meat. Since we've introduced kibble, dog cancer and inflammatory diseases like arthritis and allergies have sky rotted. 

Why are we feeding are dogs stuff we would never touch? We all like convenience, and Americans are unfortunately culprits for easy fixes. If something is too much work, we look for an easy way out. Hence, pre-packaged dog food. But I'm not taking the easy way out with my dog anymore. I can't afford to. Neither can his health. Sure, the weekly cooking and shopping will be laborious, at first, but as it becomes a routine, I will get used to it. I am hoping that by cooking for my dog, I might just start cooking for myself :)

The best thing about crock-potting is you can make an entire batch of food for Fido that lasts all week long. You can refrigerate your food up to four days and freeze dry any leftovers. The slow cooker allows all the nutrients to stay in while thoroughly cooking your meat through. There's even a rack on the top for your veggies if you want to keep the separate. I suggest investing is a good crockpot, like this one I bought on Amazon Cuisinart Crockpot. Depending on the size of your dog and the size of your kitchen, you may want to think about the size of the pot you get. I opted for the smaller size (3.5 quarts) because my kitchen is tiny and my dog is only 30 pounds. But a bigger crock pot (6 quarts) makes more.

The vet made sure to tell me that I have to slowly transition Bleu to a whole foods diet. 25% week 1, 50% week 2, 75% week three, 100% week four. In one month, he should be eating ground bison meat from Whole Foods, organic spinach, and sweet potato twice a day. What a lucky dog! Once I know Bleu can tolerate this diet, I can start adding in other veggies and starches and proteins, like sardines, radishes, parsnips, etc. It's important to feed your dog veggies and fruits with low glycemic indexes. Surprisingly, carrots are high in sugar and not the best treat for your pup, although they like the crunch.

Who would have thought that a non-cooking vegetarian would be whipping up ground bison meat on a weekly basis in a crockpot for her doggy? I sure hope Bleu appreciates the effort. Perhaps it will feel like fine doggy dining to him.

Bon app├ętit  mon chien!  

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