From the Editor

An abundance of choices

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The day of the one-size-fits-all approach to raising dogs seems to be over, if the array of options and choices available to us is any indication. That’s probably a good thing, even if it demands more of us as breeders and owners in terms of reading and doing personal research. Most families have their vegetarians, their allergy sufferers, their lactose-intolerant members and their red-meat eaters. It stands to reason that our dog packs would have a similar range of issues. We have those that drink out of the toilet bowl with gusto and those that sample a handful of unfamiliar kibble and promptly develop a rumbling G.I. disorder.

In her Breeder’s Notebook column this month (page 14), D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D., examines the ways many of us marry modern medicine with traditional herbs to give our brood bitches and newborn puppies the best of care. Are there natural remedies that can stop false pregnancies? Is goat’s milk appropriate for orphan puppies? As always, Dr. Coile’s column will make you question your assumptions and reconsider your thinking.

Randy Kidd DVM, Ph.D., looks at the history of alternative medicines in his Natural Wellness column (page 22). More than half of all families in the U.S. are now using alternative medicines for themselves or their pets or both. Herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since mankind began roaming the earth. Interestingly, Dr. Kidd tells us that it’s likely animals taught us how to use herbs, through our observations of them.

As concerned owners and breeders, we are always trying to feed our dogs as well as we can. We are an opinionated bunch, so there’s lots of information out there. Australian Shepherd competitor Liz Palika and Tibetan Mastiff breeder-judge Richard Eichhorn share their feeding decisions in “What’s in the Bowl? What’s in the Bag?” (page 44). As might be expected, multi-dog owners monitor the impact a particular diet has on their pack and then tweak accordingly. Each owner’s experience adds to the body of knowledge available to consider.

Writer Wendy Bedwell-Wilson contributes to the feeding debate in “The Wild Dog’s Diet” (page 32). Bedwell-Wilson interviewed breeders and veterinarians in both camps. All passionately support their feeding protocols, and encourage their fellow owners to take advantage of the vast data that exists online and elsewhere.

In “Healthy Integration” (page 38), writer Matthew Schenker explores how veterinary science bridges the gap between traditional Western and Eastern medicine. The experts emphasized to Schenker how important it is for practicing holistic veterinarians to maintain vigilance in their work. In the words of Dr. Narda Robinson, professor of complementary and alternative medicine at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, “We’re at the forefront [but still] we’re not teaching acupuncture as ‘energy medicine’ or piling on herbs, and we’re not talking about shamanistic or folk-medicine approaches…We shouldn’t do anything that delays effective treatment.”

Clearly, we employ many approaches but it is the common goal that unites us: to breed, raise and enjoy the healthiest, soundest dogs we can.

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