Many people seek out holistic care for their pets as a last resort after their pets have been diagnosed with a serious health condition such as cancer, kidney disease or liver disease. Owners often feel sad that they hadn’t explored alternative care earlier and are looking for the “magic pill” that will restore their pet’s good health. Unfortunately holistic pet care takes time to help the body to heal and oftentimes, the client has waited until it is too late.

Many times there are no warning signs or overt symptoms to let you know that your pet has a health condition that needs to be addressed. Rather than waiting until your pet is already sick, take action early using preventative veterinary care. While some of these steps may require extra time and expenditures, these preventative actions could save your pet’s life later on.

Susan Blake Davis Get a routine blood test and urine analysis on your healthy pet
If you have a pet that is 4 years of age or older, it is a good idea to get a blood test and urine analysis. If you have a pet that is over 7 years, a blood test at least annually or semi-annually could be warranted. Why bother? Well, pets often don’t display symptoms until disease has set in. A pet may act perfectly fine but the laboratory tests will tell you what is really going on. Ever known someone who brought their pets in for routine dental cleaning and bloodwork, only to find out that their pet had a serious disease lurking?

In most cases, the laboratory tests will be perfectly normal but they will give you a benchmark to compare against in the future. It is also a good idea to include whole body XRAYS (chest and abdomen) in the annual physical evaluation so that your veterinarian can look for early signs of organ enlargement (heart, liver, kidney or the presence of cancer in the lungs).

Don’t be afraid of what the blood, urine or other laboratory tests might show!
Sometimes people are afraid to get these tests because they feel helpless that if their veterinarian finds something, there won’t be anything that can be done. Well, ignorance is NOT bliss. Many health problems, when detected early, can be greatly helped with diet as well as holistic and conventional veterinary care. For example, did you know that the liver is an organ that can regrow healthy cells and that if liver disease is treated early, many times the liver can regain a great deal of its functionality?

Detoxify Your Pet
All of us — our pets and ourselves need to detoxify. Detoxification needs increase with aging or if your pet is taking certain medications. For example, if your pet is taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as Deramaxx, Rimadyl or Prednisone — don’t wait until your veterinarian tells you that the liver enzymes are elevated. Use a liver support product containing milk thistle, dandelion and artichoke to help your pet detoxify their liver. SAMe is also helpful as well.

Give Your Senior Pet Nutritional Support
Give your older pets nutritional support before symptoms arise. For example, kidney disease is extremely common in senior cats. Be mindful of using high protein diets and foods high in phosphorous (e.g. fish or liver) when feeding your senior cat. Use a kidney support formula to help nourish and detoxify your cat’s kidneys. Similarly, if you have a large breed older dog, chances are they might develop joint problems. Don’t wait until they develop arthritis.

Start using a combination joint support supplement that contains key nutrients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, green lipped mussel, MSM and turmeric. Also, including foods rich in Omega fatty acids such as fish oil or flax oil can be especially beneficial.

Keep Your Pet’s Weight Under Control
Your pet’s weight is not just an issue of physical appearance. Obesity in pets is linked to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and liver disease. You can control your pet’s weight by managing portions. If you have an overweight pet that is always hungry, try reducing the portions by 25% and replacing with plenty of healthy vegetables such as carrots, green beans and zucchini.

Vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber and also provide important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for your pet. Try to increase your pet’s exercise regimen — don’t assume your pet is getting enough exercise just going out in the backyard.

Taking these preventative steps will help ensure that you and your pet enjoy a long, happy life together. Don’t wait until your pet gets sick — take action now while your pet is healthy — you could be saving your pet’s life later on.

[tags]Susan Blake Davis, Holistic Pet Care column, health pet articles, fighting dog cancer, pet nutritionist[/tags]