Customer Reviews: Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
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on February 4, 2006
You may see some of my other reviews about human health and nutrition, this is THE book that prompted me to learn more about MY diet.

Here's what I liked about the book:

Dr. Pitcairn has been a veterinarian for a long time. It was refreshing to read about his holistic approach to pet health and diet--treating the root cause, not the symptoms. I like the fact that Dr. Pitcairn chose to think outside the box, so to speak, and look for alternatives early in his career when he found that his patients did not always respond to drugs. Also, the recipes are excellent for ensuring a truly healthy diet.

I can't think of anything that I did not like about the book.

I still remember the first time anyone had EVER mentioned to me that dog food is not good for dogs. My husband and I were adding a dog to our family and was going through an interview process with the breeder. She knew that we already have an older dog and she asked about his diet. This was two years ago, and by then, our older dog (11 years old at the time) had lost most of his teeth, and we had (reluctantly) taken him off his kibble diet. When we started feeding him more "table scraps" we noticed some incredible improvements. His coat looked better than it had in his 11 years, he was also very "peppy" and seemed to be overall in great health and spirits. All during his life he had ALWAYS suffered from weird ailments like skin disorders, hot spots, clogged anal glands, dry flaky skin, nasal allergies, etc. I can not count how many times this dog had been on drugs like cortisone and prednisone and bathed in "hypo-allergenic oatmeal-based shampoos". During my interview with this dog breeder, I did not share with her what my dog had been through, I just said, "...he has lost most of his teeth, and no longer eats kibble". This is when she told me that I shouldn't feed him kibble, and I should not feed the new little one kibble either!

This got me curious and I started doing my own research about dog food and was absolutely HORRIFIED to learn the ingredients used to make dog food. How can an entire industry (veterinarians) give such harmful advise?!?! I was and still am outraged at all the people along the way who always advised me to keep my dog on kibble, and I had heard it from so many sources for so many years that I figured they must be right! The day I learned what kibble has in it, my husband and I started cooking for our dogs. There's been some ups and downs during the last two years, learning what to feed and what not to feed, but overall I believe that both dogs are much healthier and my husband and I have peace of mind knowing exactly what they are eating! Oh, and all those skin ailments and allergies that the older dog suffered from for 11 years?...not a SINGLE episode in the past two years!

I found this book to be very helpful in understanding what dogs need to be healthy. I learned that generally speaking, we were doing most things right. We did make some changes in the supplements based on Dr. Pitcairn's recommendations and we replaced the white rice we had been feeding with oatmeal--which both dogs seem to like.

The older dog is now 13 years old and was diagnosed with Inflammatory Brain Disease about 2 months ago. We are obviously very devastated and I believe whole-heartedly that this brain disease was brought on by the poor diet and also the "top-spot" flea poison he had been on all his life. I found out AFTER his diagnosis that top-spot has been linked to this this is the same way the poison kills the fleas--it attacks their nervous system!--we had treated him with Frontline just four days before he became ill and was carried to UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Whether you decide to buy this book or not, I would suggest that you to do your own research about your pet's diet and decide for yourself. Some would say that cooking/preparing meals for their pets is a hassle, but this is the least you can do for all the benefits you will get from your healthier pet--not to mention the money you'll save from not taking your dog to the vet all the time to treat symptoms of a poor diet!
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on August 22, 2005
I recently obtained Dr. Pitcairn's book and found it to be a wonderful, easy to implement and understand book on natural care for dogs and cats. Dr. Pitcairn provides concise information on dogs and cats from what to feed, to training, and even about how to choose a dog breed for your lifestyle. This book also has lots of natural prevention remedies included and how to PREVENT pesky problems like fleas and ticks from invading your home and your pets.

One of the things I educate pet owners on is prevention being the key and that is done through a strong immune system by feeding and supplementing properly. I always tell them that once your pet is diseased you'll need to see a veterinarian and then undo the illness and disease if you can, then build your pet back up. Dr. Pitcairn shares a lot about prevention and that thrilled me! That is the answer and key to keeping our pets healthy.

He shares about natural feeding which is another big issue I like to tackle with pet owners. He even includes grooming. This is a must have book for any dog or cat owner who wants to approach their pet care naturally and preventatively. Excellent book!

Kim Bloomer
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VINE VOICEon February 27, 2007
This book is the ultimate guide to pet health. After owning a dog who struggled with frequent seizures and, near the end of her life, osteosarcoma, I am so thankful for the advice contained in _Dr. Pitcairn's Guide_.

My dog began to have seizures when she was about seven or eight years old. I was told by a veterinarian that she would have to take phenobarbitol, a seizure drug, for the rest of her life. After tests showed the drug was beginning to destroy her liver, I found a new vet and started looking for another way to treat her seizures. Not knowing what I was looking for, I picked up a copy of this book.

After several months of gradually introducing her to the diet described in this book, I was able to wean her off the phenobarbitol, which she never took again. Never before had I realized what a difference diet could make. Coincidentally, my new vet was a practicioner of homeopathy who had studied Dr. Pitcairn's methods, so things came together quite nicely.

Sadly, at the age of fourteen, my dog developed osteosarcoma, a deadly bone cancer. Again, I always kept this book nearby as a reference until the end of her life, forgoing chemotherapy in favor of less harsh care.

I have never seen a more comprehensive book for pet health with so much effective, practical advice. In addition to recommendations for diet (including recipes), this book also contains a quick reference to different disorders, and the recommended treatments for each. Its main focus, however, is on prevention.

One important note: If you have an older edition of this book, please buy the new one as some important revisions have been made.
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on May 4, 2006
I'd reviewed the 2nd edition version when I was looking into a more natural diet for my puppies on the advice of my holistic vet. In fact I was using the diet until my youngest started gaining weight and they were worried that the grains were causing the weight gain. I switched to raw meat and pureed veggies instead. Turns out that she was low thyroid.

The diets are still heavy on grains. Great for the majority of dogs I'm sure. The upside is that there are nutritional analysis of all the diets included so you know why you're including each of the components. There are also special diets included for allergies, weight loss and gain.

I also like the information on various health issues and vaccinosis that is included.
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on June 18, 2012
I was appalled when I read the sections concerning nutrition. Dr. Pitcairn states that a high-protein grain-free diet is not appropriate for domesticated dogs and cats and that 50% of the diet of domestic dogs and cats should be grain-based. Anyone who does even a small amount of research on animal nutrition (and most certainly any animal nutritionist or veterinarian) will find that this is not the case. Grains cannot be utilized by dogs and cats (they don't even produce the enzyme to digest grains!) and are strongly linked to a myriad of health issues including cancer and allergies. The worst part was not only that he recommended feeding such a large volume of grains but that he even went as far as to suggest feeding wheat bread! Wheat, aside from corn, is probably the least nutritious source of carbohydrates and it is a top allergen for dogs and cats. He also said it was okay to substitute vegetable based proteins in place of meat. Vegetable proteins are not complete and are not nearly as bio-available to a carnivore (like dogs and cats) as a meat-based protein. It also bothered me that he suggested Tofu. Soy (like wheat) is one of the top dog allergens and it's toxic! There are so many health problems linked to soy - it contains toxins, "anti-nutrients, powerful plant estrogens, damages the thyroid, it can cause gastric distress in animals, reduces the digestion of protein, contributes to amino acid deficiencies, it's linked to pancreatic cancer, and it contains haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Thank god I know enough about animal nutrition to realize how bogus his advice is...but for anyone just starting to learn about the benefits of a homemade diet...beware.
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on April 20, 2011
Imagine my surprise when I read on page 225 of this "expert's" book recommending giving a dog raisins as a preventive for constipation. Raisins are toxic to dogs, especially smaller dogs with lower body weights. How reckless to recommend this knowing the potential of many owners to overdose pets. I wish I could return this book because I no longer trust anything in it.
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on April 20, 2011
I followed one of the diets in this book for my 17 year old chihuahua. Suddenly, she started having problems urinating. I took her to numerous vets. She had bloodwork, an ultrasound on her bladder and Three urinalysis. They all found that her bladder is inflamed and her urine Ph was so high it was off the charts. Poor girl kept trying to pee and it would burn coming out and she would scream. As her bladder got more inflamed it got harder for her to urinate. Then all the squeezing of her muscles caused her rectal/colon muscles to spasm so she got a sort of Irritable Bowel syndrome due to the spasming muscles. She was in agony day and night. The vets put her on antibiotics just in case they weren't catching a bladder infection, prednisone for the inflammation and valium for the spasms. Those did help but aren't for long tern, so they tried herbs. Those only helped a little. Then she injured her foot and leg and they weren't healing. Meanwhile, she was looking emaciated, older, and had no energy, except when she was panting and screaming from the pain she was in. Long story short, I looked up alkaline urine in dogs for hours on Google. Apparently, a diet high in carbs and low in protein will do that to a dog. The recipe I followed, from this book, called for 2 1/2 cups of carbs to 1 1/2 cups of protein. I told my holistic vet. He was shocked. Dogs are carnivores, they're not supposed to have almost twice the amount of carbs as protein. I changed her diet by adding more protein. Literally in two days her eyes got brighter, her face started looking healthier and more full; her leg is getting stronger; she got more energy and joy in her personality; and after two months of hell wondering what was wrong with her urine, it has started normalizing. On my own litmus papers she was constantly reading at 9.0 while eating his diet. She is now at 6.5 to 7.5. Not there yet, but getting there and that's what counts. For the first time ever, I thought my baby was going to die. Now she's on the road to improvement, not only with her urine, but she now has enough protein for her leg to heal and to have energy.
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on April 3, 2007
I own ten dogs and take their individual health very seriously. Once I decided to get my dogs off of commercial food I went to the internet for some education. I found a lot of useful information but many contradictions as well. One common thread was that Dr. Pitcairn`s name came up at every source. This book is easy to read, well planned, and extremely informative. Whether you have a tiny toy dog or a pack of huskies you NEED this book. My dogs have no more allergies, their coats look great, and we are improving on keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Another benefit, once you learn how to feed your dog you`ll start eating better yourself.
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on February 21, 2006
I bought this book to learn more info. on how to care for my aging cat. It has a lot of info about dogs that I don't need but it has enough about cats to warrent buying. I love the many recipes for cats. Since Dr. Pitcairn is a vet. doctor he gives a lot of sound herbal and homeopathic medical advice also. If your a catlover a great companion book is "the natural cat by Anita Frazier." I consult both when trying to cure a cat problem. In Frazier's book she gave a safe herbal treatment to cure earmites from Dr. Pitcairn and it worked! I once tried a commercial product that ate away at my cats ears and did not work! This book informs the reader so we are not at the mercy of the vet. We can make educated decisions along with the vet. or at home to help our furry friends. My cat's Dr. reccommended dry Science Diet RD to help her lose weight. She did not lose an ounce. Then a homeopathic vet. gave me free advice over the phone about how to feed my cat raw chicken and stop the dry food to lose weight. She lost weight at 15 years old. Now I feed her raw chicken, veggie's, pumpkin, and olive oil. This book is especially useful for the person who cannot afford a homeopathic vet. or their is not one in their area.
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on April 4, 2007
Don't be intimidated!! After you make your pet's food once, it's a snap after that. My dogs love the recipes in this book. My Pit Bull is 15 yrs old and still pretty spunky!!! I'm not sure homemade food is the reason, but it sure hasn't hurt her!!!! I've been making recipes from the earlier edition of this book for 10 years.

Pet food recalls?? You don't have to worry if you know exactly what YOU put in the food. Treat your pets like you treat yourself....with fresh, healthy food. This book will help ensure that your pets are getting all the nutrients they need. And really, it's easy!!!
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