Keeping Your Pet Healthy – As Simple as Stealing Ideas from Monkeys and Zebras?

Story at-a-glance

  • Dr. Barbara Royal joins Dr. Becker to chat about her new book, The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets. The inspiration for the book was all the fun and funny animal stories Dr. Royal is famous for telling at cocktail and dinner parties!
  • The Royal Treatment was released in September 2012, and since then Dr. Royal has received lots of positive, encouraging feedback from readers and pet owners who have tried some of her tips and suggestions, with great results. Dr. Royal feels she’s able to reach people with her book that she could never reach through her veterinary practice.
  • In her book, Dr. Royal tells wonderful stories about some of the animals she has treated – including wild animals and zoo animals. She also discusses difficult times in her life, including a house fire in which she lost pets, and the experience of euthanizing her own dog.
  • Dr. Royal’s new book is an entertaining, enlightening read and can also make a great gift for animal-loving friends and families.

By Dr. Becker

Today I’m talking to a very special guest, and my friend, Dr. Barbara Royal, about her wonderful new book, The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets. Dr. Royal is a holistic veterinarian who practices here in the Chicago area. You may remember my previous conversations with Dr. Royal about the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation (AHVMF). She is President-Elect of the board of the Foundation.

Dr. Royal’s Inspiration for The Royal Treatment

I asked Barbara to talk about her inspiration for her new book. She explained that it started a couple years ago, when she discovered she was being invited to cocktail and dinner parties because she always had good stories to tell! Her friends would say, “Oh, we’ll invite Barb because she’ll have those great stories.” At parties, people would say things to her like, “Remember the one about the elephant?” … or “Oh, that zebra thing!” … or “Whatever happened to that monkey?”

Then one day it occurred to her that those stories – and everything she has encountered through her dealings with wild animals and zoo animals – is the foundation of how she practices veterinary medicine. Barbara further realized much of it had to do with her ideas about wild health and what the concept means for dogs, cats, and all the animals that come into our lives.

She decided she had to write it all down, and the result, The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets, was released in September 2012.

Positive Feedback from Readers and Pet Owners

Dr. Royal is in the midst of book tours and signings, so I asked her to talk about the feedback she has received from the public. My sense is that the book could be life changing for many who read it.

Barbara replied that she’s amazed at some of the emails she’s receiving now that the book has been out a few months. She’s getting notes that say, “I read your book. I’ve made the changes in the diet. And my pet who has been sick … allergic … arthritic … or who couldn’t stand up … or was overweight, is better.” The conditions people write her about are wide-ranging. She’s received other notes saying, “We’ve done some of the things you recommend in the book and it’s made all the difference in the world. We’re just writing to thank you.”

Dr. Royal feels the people who are writing to her are people she never would have reached through her practice. And that’s another reason she wrote the book -- she wanted to create something fun to read that was also a really good handbook for people interested in improving the health of the animals in their care.

The book offers practical tips, simple ideas, and little changes that can make a big difference, whether you have a geriatric pet or a brand new addition to the family. All the positive feedback she has received has been very gratifying.

Entertaining Stories and Heart Wrenching Memories

I asked Barbara to talk about her favorite section of The Royal Treatment. She responded that her favorite parts are probably the stories. In the book she describes, for example, working with Coco the monkey and also zebras. She’s able to tie her stories into discussions about nutrition and other health-related subjects, with the result that readers are able to make connections about how to approach a problem with their own pet.

Barbara went on to say that the most difficult sections for her were the ones that were emotional for her. She wrote about a fire in her home in which animals died. She can’t talk about it without crying. Also difficult was writing in depth about euthanasia in order to help readers through the experience, as well as her experience euthanizing her own dog.

But as difficult as those sections were to write, it’s very comforting for readers to realize someone out there “gets it.” Dr. Royal gets it. She understands. She’s been there.

And there’s also benefit to readers when a writer is willing to share her pain and bare her soul. Readers appreciate that. It’s a real gift from the writer to her readers.

What’s Next for Dr. Royal

I asked Barbara if she might have a second edition waiting to be written. She explained that she’s considering some different things, like perhaps a small book or even pamphlet on pet emergencies and how to handle them.

She also has many more stories to tell that had to be left out of The Royal Treatment just for space!

I want to thank Dr. Barbara Royal for visiting with me today and being part of Dr. Becker's Bookshelf. For those of you interested in her book, The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets, you can find it at I think it’s not only a fun and illuminating read, but it can also make a great gift for other animal lovers in your life. It offers practical tips for unlocking an animal’s natural healing abilities.



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