By Dr. Becker
As a proactive, integrative, wellness veterinarian, my goal is to keep my pet patients healthy throughout their lives, and help them avoid preventable disease. That, to me, is the essence of caring for animals. My goal is to help furry (or feathered, finned or scaled) family members stay well rather than wait till they're sick to take action.
In caring for my animal patients and also my own pets, I use what I call the Three Pillars of Health as a proactive approach to wellness. By following this model, I am able to address all the holistic fundamentals of good health during each patient visit. Regardless of the reason for the visit, by focusing on the three pillars, I know I'm covering all the important aspects of each pet's health and well-being, which is very important in achieving total wellness.
The Three Pillars of Health
The following three pillars form the foundation for your pet's health, quality of life and longevity.
• Pillar No. 1: Species-appropriate nutrition
The diet you feed your pet should be nutritionally balanced and biologically appropriate. Biologically inappropriate foods cause metabolic and mitochondrial stress. Foods that generate the least amount of metabolic stress are in their natural form — whole, raw and unprocessed.
Species-appropriate for your carnivorous pet means food high in protein and low in grain content. Dogs are scavenging carnivores and cats are obligate carnivores, and carnivores need to eat animal protein and fat to be optimally healthy. I recommend offering your pet food in its natural state to provide needed moisture, and to insure the highest level of biologic assimilation and digestion. Proper nutrition will benefit the two remaining pillars of health.
• Pillar No. 2: A balanced, functional immune system
The goal is to keep your pet's immune system in balance. It should protect against pathogens, but not be over-reactive to the point of creating allergies and other autoimmune disorders. One of the keys to keeping your dog's or cat's immune system strong is to avoid over-vaccinating. The role of vaccines is to stimulate the immune system to respond. Repeated vaccinations can send your pet's immune system into overdrive, which can result in autoimmune disease.
Animals don't need yearly re-vaccinations any more than humans do, so I encourage you to work with a veterinarian who titers rather than re-vaccinates. Other keys to balanced immune system function are to avoid overuse of drugs like antibiotics, steroids, chemical pest repellents and parasite preventives. The more toxins that build up in your pet's body, the less effective the immune system will be.
• Pillar No. 3: A sound, resilient frame
There are a number of ways to help your pet keep his musculoskeletal system and organs in excellent condition. Regular, consistent aerobic exercise is a great way to maintain good physical conditioning. Keeping your pet from becoming overweight or obese is also extremely important.
Massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and other forms of physical therapy, depending on the individual requirements of your dog or cat, are also excellent methods for maintaining a sound frame and organs as well as for managing joint pain and healing injuries.
And don't overlook the importance of a healthy mouth. Keeping your pet's teeth and gums in good shape through regular brushing at home and as-needed professional cleanings by your veterinarian is a very important key to good health for a lifetime.
What You'll Learn During My Three Pillars Webinar
The webinar is divided into three sections, and in each section I discuss a different pillar of health. The topics I cover include:
Pillar 1: Species-appropriate diets
- Cellular nourishing versus metabolically stressful foods
- Consequences of feeding a biologically inappropriate diet
- Ancestral diets versus processed pet food, and food myths most people believe
- Foods that heal, foods that harm
Pillar 2: The immune system
- Genetic versus environmental influences
- The underactive immune system
- The overactive immune system
- Immune risks
Pillar 3: Resilient frame and organ systems
- Frame obstacles checklist
- Degeneration prevention
- Thriving versus surviving, why proactive veterinarians are different
- Longevity junkies checklist
As a pet parent, the health and quality of life of your companion animal is up to you. No matter how active a role your veterinarian plays in keeping your dog or cat well, ultimately, your pet's health is your responsibility. I invite you to grab a cup of tea or a snack, sit back and learn all kinds of valuable information from my webinar that will help you help your animal companion enjoy vibrant good health and a long, happy life.