Pup links!

A woman feeds a circle of harlequin Great Danes. Source: LIFE Magazine Archives.

Dog-related links from around the Web this past week:

The Lifetime Costs of Pets. Here’s a sobering infographic about how much, on average, your pet will cost you over the course of its life. Dogs? Get ready to shell out an estimated $25,620! This is a great thing to show people, perhaps, who underestimate the financial commitment of bringing a dog home. Is it too scary, though? What do you think? (Mint Life Blog)

Enrichment. Simple, powerful ways to enrich your dog’s daily life. Great, practical tips! (Raising K9)

Do You Have a “Heart” Breed of Dog? Even though we’re gunning for a German shepherd, I think my “heart” breed of dog will always be the Australian shepherd. How about you? (That Mutt)

Dog Haul. Vanessa shares some great, mini-reviews on some recent products she found and loves for Rufus. (The Rufus Way)

Canine Diabetes: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Diet. A very thorough article about canine diabetes. Good to be in the know about this disease. (The Whole Dog Journal)

Know Your Bo. We’re so used to seeing “Bo” in the headlines and thinking about the Obama’s Portuguese water dog that it’s been jarring, perhaps, to see his name in the headlines as a disgraced Chinese official. Just a funny little news bit. (Daily Intel, NY Mag)

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

Dr. Pitcairn's Guide to Complete Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

I got a used copy of the older edition of this reference book, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. The more I learn about dog food and even what humans eat in general, the more I want to just eat happy, pesticide-free plants.

Despite the lack of any medical degree, my mother has always espoused a general mistrust of traditional Western medicine, and I suppose I have a little bit of that in me. That said, I found Dr. Pitcairn’s book quite interesting.

Some of his recommendations sounded pretty kooky–the discussion of the unquantifiable and unknowable “life force” that permeates all things, which we must channel for our own benefit–but overall, I think this book provided a helpful overview of the alternative medicine techniques and therapies for dogs and cats.

The emphasis of the book is grounded strongly in preventative medicine. Pitcairn advises that the first thing we must do is create a healthy, non-toxic environment for our animals to live in (ourselves included!). This means keeping all chemicals at bay, when at all possible; shying away from plastics; any synthetic products that do not come directly from the earth, and so forth.

The second big emphasis on the book is understandably on diet. The more we learn about health, the more we understand the indelible link between what we eat and how our bodies perform. This is just as true for dogs as it is for us. Feeding your dog a bag of generic kibble may be cheap and convenient, but you’d just be filling your pet with animal byproducts, unnatural chemicals, and known toxins. This leads to the breakdown of a dog’s entire system, Pitcairn asserts. He pushes for a raw food diet, which is a serious commitment, but also gives advice for those who can’t or won’t make that kind of time.

I don’t know if there are any veterinarians in my area who practice alternative or homeopathic medicine, but I’m definitely interested in looking further into this topic.

Do you practice any alternative medicine or home remedies with your dog? Does your vet? What have you learned?