If you are curious about natural, holistic ways to keep your dog happy and healthy, you will enjoy reading this interview with Dr. Kim Bloomer, veterinary naturopath. In this interview, she addresses topics such as vaccinations and how to keep your dog free from parasites without dangerous chemicals.
About Kim Bloomer
As Dr. Bloomer says on her website, Aspenbloom Pet Care, she is not a veterinarian. She is a veterinary naturopath. As she explains, her purpose is to educate dog owners to keep their dogs healthy. She focuses on prevention. She does not diagnose illnesses or prescribe drugs. However, if you follow her advice, you may be able to avoid giving you dog drugs all together.
Through her practice, Dr. Bloomer addresses questions relating to nutrition, alternative treatments such as aromatherapy and Bach Flower Remedies, and questions relating to herbs and supplements. She is also a published author.
Whole Health for Happy Dogs
Whole Health for Happy Dogs, written by Dr. Jill Elliot, DVM and Dr. Kim Bloomer, ND, is an amazingly comprehensive guide to natural canine health. It is not only filled with thorough, clear advice, it also has large number of gorgeous photographs. In its pages, Whole Health for Happy Dogs teaches that the key to preventing diseases is to simply keep your dog healthy to begin with. You will learn the difference between genetic and acquired diseases. You'll also find out just how to select the right caregiver to partner with you in keeping your dog as healthy as possible.
The appendix and resource sections alone are worth the price of the book which retails for only $14.95. In them, you'll learn about breed specific illnesses and how to treat them as well as where to find the supplies you need to maintain your dog's health. This book is a must-have for all dog lovers who want to do the best for their dog naturally, Whole Health for Happy Dogs is a complete health reference that you will refer to again and again. Get an idea of some of the advice in this book in the following interview.
Interview with Kim Bloomer
A Naturopath's View on Vaccines
LTK: What is your opinion of vaccines?
KB: Do you want the gentle version or the truth? All kidding aside, this is a very serious and controversial topic. From a true naturopathic viewpoint I personally see them as dangerous toxins.
LTK: Is it really safe to not vaccinate your dog?
KB: Again, this is a rather controversial topic as you probably already know. I personally do not adhere to vaccines, so my answer for my own animals will be an emphatic, yes it is safe. However, for those who aren't sure, I would suggest they seek out and talk with a holistic veterinarian about their options.
LTK: Are there other ways to keep dogs safe and healthy without the use of vaccines?
KB: You sure ask some good questions! The key here is to first make sure the immune system is strong. That begins with proper nutrition. Dogs are opportunistic scavenger carnivores. That means that in order for them to thrive, they need a species-appropriate raw diet. Start there. I know of many naturally reared dogs that have never been vaccinated, and yet they have titers against the very diseases we're over-vaccinating against every single year. How could that be? Likely from natural immunity passed down by their parents.
I suppose in this country we think more is better, and it may be economically for some, but certainly not for our animals that are subjected to these vaccines repeatedly. According to Dr. Donna Starita Mehan, DVM, routine vaccinations have short term and long term side-effects. The chances of these side-effects are increased as the vaccines are repeated each year. Vaccines can actually confuse a healthy immune system.
Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, UW-Madison, also stated that repeated vaccinations not only have no benefit but also increase the risk for adverse reactions. He mentions a study where dogs that were only vaccinated as puppies were exposed to diseases such as distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus. More than 95 percent of them were protected even though they has only been vaccinated one time (Schultz, R.D. -- Current & Future Canine & Feline Vaccination Programs. Vet Med 3: No. 3, 233-254, 1998). A chart provided in the report shows immunity levels for all vaccines currently given to dogs lasting a minimum of five years with most lasting seven to fifteen years!
According to Dr. Don Hamilton, DVM, yearly boosters really aren't necessary, and they don't increase immunity. Giving an annual rabies vaccination is a legal issue, but other yearly boosters are mainly used to induce pet owners to bring their dogs in for an examination.
LTK: How can dog owners avoid unneeded vaccines?
KB: First, there are minimal safe protocols that can be followed. Yearly vaccines have proven to be not only unnecessary but, in fact, can be dangerous and contribute to vaccinosis and/or adverse events. Seek out a holistic veterinarian who can help you with a minimal protocol. I have put together an entire page dedicated to helping pet owners learn about vaccines at Vaccine Information
Fighting Parasites Naturally
LTK: What are the best ways to protect dogs from illnesses such as heartworm, parvo, fleas/ticks and mosquitoes?
KB: I am going to sound like a broken record because the simple truth is, it all begins with feeding a species appropriate raw diet - that is the key. All of these pests, even in endemic areas, are not drawn to a dog with a strong immune system. Even if they are, the dog's innate immune system will take care of the problem when it is properly, nutritionally supported. In addition, people can use natural products that don't harm their pets' neurological system and eliminative organs like other toxic pest control products do - which by the way also includes the so-called preventions taken internally.
Natural products include food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE), aromatherapy sprays, herbal rinses, neem oil and so on. I even learned recently of a new product from the company I purchase my flower essences from called Pest Away. They suggest it be used in conjunction with garlic oil, neem oil or an aromatherapy spray. I have my own small line of aromatherapy sprays for dogs, so that is what I typically use with my own dog.
Pests are drawn to a weakened specimen, not a strong one, because they know instinctively a strong immune system will annihilate them. By continuing to use these methods, we are setting up our animals to all be weakened specimens rather than strong. In nature, the weakened animals die and the strong survive. If the pests grow stronger and more resistant, and our pets weaker and less resistant through a constant onslaught of chemicals and improper nourishment, where does that leave them eventually?
LTK: Are these natural methods as effective as traditional methods?
KB: Yes, in fact more so because they work with the body, not against it. They work with nature, not against it.
LTK: What are the dangers of traditional methods for preventing parasites?
KB: They are pesticides that equate to toxins. There have been many adverse events reported with use of these products and even more not reported! A holistic veterinarian, Dr. Stephen Blake, was diagnosed with pesticide toxicity many years ago just from using these products on the animals he was treating. He was told he'd have to quit his practice. Being the huge animal lover that he is, that was not an option for him. Instead he chose to insist that before being brought to him for treatment or examination, all pets be taken completely off the pest control or bathed if the owner was using a topical pest control. He got well, and so did the animals! He has since become an advocate of not using these products and, of course, I concur.
Using products to kill off pests that eventually can kill my pet through liver and neurological toxicity is not a viable option in my opinion.
Again, I may begin to sound like a broken record here, but because these topics you are asking me about are the most common I get asked, I have put together web pages as a way to help people learn the facts about vaccines, pet food, and pest control.
LTK: What do you want everyone to know about caring for their dogs?
KB: Dogs are committed and loyal to us, never failing us. It is we who fail them. However, it doesn't have to be so. We can rise to the occasion and give back to our dogs by honoring their nature, respecting them as carnivorous canines and enjoying them each new day. They are our friends; let's really be theirs in return. That's the least they deserve.
LoveToKnow would like to thank Dr. Kim Bloomer for sharing her advice on keeping dogs healthy naturally. Be sure to check back next month for part two of this interview where Dr. Bloomer discusses the importance of a raw diet and how it affects your dog's health and well being.