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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. May's Theme: "Balance"
Volume 4 Issue 4 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Balance for Our Pets and Our Selves

by Jean Hofve, DVM

Writing about Balance causes me a little trepidation, because it often seems so hard to achieve this goal. Usually I like to talk about what animals can teach us about a particular theme, but this time it will be a little different.

Wild animals are naturally in balance. If they aren't, they soon become lunch for someone else - Nature certainly has an effective way of keeping herself and her creatures in balance! However, domestic animals are very different. Despite their instincts, they often have the same difficulty we do in trying to stay balanced. This is partly because our pets, as natural healers, take on a lot of our "stuff" for us. But the sad fact is that just living around out-of-balance humans creates the same state in them. So I'd like to talk about how to help our animal companions stay balanced - and in the process, we might just learn a little something about doing the same for ourselves!

There are four "pillars" which create balance for our cats and dogs (of course, they apply to other species as well - including humans!):

1. Optimal Nutrition: We are what we eat, and so are our pets. There is nothing else within our control which has a bigger effect on health. Good nutrition is the very foundation of good health; without the right groceries, the body can't heal itself, let alone maintain itself properly. Yet this is probably the key area where many of us are out of balance! We humans know better than to live on Fritos and Twinkies, but that's essentially what many people are feeding their pets - dry kibble. It's important for our pets to get fresh, whole foods, and not exclusively eat from a can or bag. Do a little research to find out what's best for your animal friends, and make the switch to a healthier diet. I also recommend 4 basic supplements to balance the digestive system and boost the immune system: digestive enzymes, probiotics, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. They are a vital addition to any diet.

2. Annual Veterinary Exam, Fewer Vaccines, Better Dental Care: It's important to have a check-up every year with the vet, but adult dogs and cats do not need most vaccines. Over-vaccination has many harmful, long-term effects, from allergies to cancer. So minimize those; but be sure to keep the teeth clean. The mouth is the gateway to the respiratory, digestive, and immune systems. It's important these defenses are in top condition.

3. Sunshine, Exercise and Play: Wouldn't we all feel better with more of these? If you have a dog, you can spend time together outside. For cats, it's too dangerous to let them run free, but a sunny window ledge or, better still, a sturdy outdoor enclosure, will satisfy these needs. For all pets, we need to spend interactive play time to help keep them mentally sharp and emotionally balanced - and it has as many or more benefits for us!  

4. Respect, Love, and Communication: Again, these are essential elements of a healthy, happy life for all animals, people included. If we understand more about our animal companions' natures and needs, we'll be much better at helping them stay in balance, and this in turn allows them to help us stay in balance.

Despite our best efforts, there will be times when injuries or other stresses knock an animal out of balance. While conventional medicine certainly has its place for severe illnesses or injuries, in most cases, a holistic approach will be more effective at restoring fundamental health and returning the individual to balance. Therapies like homeopathy, flower essences, and acupuncture can address most physical problems, but unlike conventional medicine, they also restore the energetics of the animal's system to homeostasis.

Remember, animals are great teachers and healers. If we work together, we can even help balance the planet - and surely that is one of our most urgent tasks!

Dr. Jean Hofve has been a holistic veterinarian for more than 12 years. She founded SpiritEssence in 1995, which remains the only line of essence formulas for animals created by a veterinarian. Dr. Hofve does health, nutrition, and behavior consultations through www.littlebigcat.com.

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