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Pet Corner: 7 Step Pet Health Guide

| January/February 2002

  • Use this pet health guide to help your pet have a healthy life.
    Photo courtesy of S. Armbruster

Following is a seven-step herbal pet health guide to help guarantee that your pet will have its best chance for a long and healthy life.

1. At one with nature

To stay healthy, all animals—four-legged and two-legged included—need to be “grounded.” We all need a daily dose of the great outdoors. A walk in the park, a roll in the grass, a chance to sniff the more earthy aromas that seem to delight our critters—any combination of these, given once a day, will keep the doctor away.

Try adding a little “spice” to your pet’s life. Plant an herb garden where your pet can roll and smell and take advantage of the healing essence of the herbs. Even a few square herbal inches will give your pet plenty to appreciate. Remember: skin is the largest organ of the body, and much of the essential parts of an herb are readily absorbed through the skin. Also remember that animals have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, and this most primitive of the sense organs can transmit much of the healing powers of an herb’s volatile oils directly into your pet’s body.

Our cats seem to enjoy rolling in our little patch of pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), and because they never have fleas, they are apparently enjoying the benefits of the plant’s supposed ability to repel fleas. Our catnip (Nepeta cataria) patch is under constant siege from the cats. Rufus, our aged golden retriever, doesn’t seem to have any particular favorite herb; instead he is a nibbler, munching daintily on whatever herb he thinks he needs at the time.

2. Balance

The intention of all holistic medicines is to balance the patient’s body, mind, and spirit. This is in direct contrast to Western medicine which directly confronts the supposed etiology of the disease (the “germ”), and then assumes that, by ridding the patient of the germ, his body will heal. Western medicine has little or no concern with the patient’s mind or spirit.

I’ve found that flower essences oftentimes will balance an animal’s mind and spirit so that it allows the body to heal. For example, walnut is a good remedy for the animal that has just moved from one house to another and is having difficulties adapting to the change. Aspen may restore calm to the animal who is apprehensive or anxious, and Rescue Remedy is good for any “emergency” condition—a trip to the vet or a thunderstorm, for example.

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