Hi! My name is Dr. Martin Goldstein, but most people call me Dr. Marty. I am delighted that GenConnect has invited me to share my insights on how to keep Man’s Best Friends as healthy as possible.
I’ve been practicing integrative veterinary medicine for over 35 years. Integrative medicine remains firmly rooted in the principles of conventional medicine but also embraces the use of more natural, biological and less invasive approaches.
Watch Dr. Marty treat Airedale Terriers, Carlotta and Cerrito below:
Watch Dr. Marty explain the importance of integrative medicine
As I progressed over time in complementing my allopathic training with new knowledge that I discovered from the world of alternative therapies, I also came to trust two other vital tools: Observation and Common Sense. The importance of these “two friends” increased as I began to witness pets being plagued by a rising incidence of major debilitating and degenerative illnesses. Instead of blindly accepting that it was “just something happening”, I stepped back and questioned, “Why?” My buddies, Observation and Common Sense, guided me to question and re-evaluate some of the fundamentals of pet health care. The most basic of these was, “What should a dog or cat eat?”
From the meager three weeks total of nutrition training I received as part of my four year veterinary curriculum at Cornell, I knew that labels on pet foods stood up to all the proper science. But then I began to analyze the ingredients listed on those labels and asked other basic questions, “Should they truly be eating this?” Or, “What were they intended to eat?” How about, “Hey, aren’t they primarily carnivores?” and finally, “What are all these grains and poultry byproducts and preservatives and chemical enhancers doing in here?” Yes, the light went on! I consulted with Common Sense’s cousin, Logic and deduced the following: something’s wrong here!
In the mid-1970s, through my studies to become certified in acupuncture, I learned how to cook meals for my companion animals based on meats, vegetables and a small amount of whole grains. When people began to ask, “Hey, what are you feeding them?”, my reply was, “It’s called real food!”
What a novel concept, feeding my pets real food! But, at the same time, I was a bit fearful as I was breaking the veterinary mantra, “Never feed your pet ‘people food.’” Eventually though, the fear diminished because this new dietary direction was working! Family pets were looking and acting healthier. Their illnesses and allergies were subsiding. Patients in my veterinary practice were also experiencing the benefit of this revolutionary concept called “feed them real food”.
Through research, I found that modern day pet food emerged from within the cereal industry. Convenient, “fast food” for pets was created and the mother industry got a way to profit from much of its byproduct and waste. A false foundation of “science” that served the cereal companies was introduced into how pets should eat. That’s why, when I was studying how to formulate foods for our canine and feline companions, I was taught that they should eat somewhere between 18 to 24% protein. But wait a minute! Don’t wolves – who are the very direct ancestors of our domesticated dogs – eat a much greater percentage of their diet as protein? And what about a leopard? Are they hanging around corn or rice fields to stalk that as their next meal, or are they eating mostly a protein meat diet? The answer is a resounding yes!
So, what should our canines and felines eat? To start, as in our own lives, there should be variety. Don’t just look for the supposed perfect diet and feed only that. Eating the exact same thing, day after day, is not only boring, it’s not nutritionally sound. Like us, these creatures will thrive only when they consume a variety of nutrient profiles so that the needs of their specific, individual metabolisms are met. If a pediatrician handed you a box of food and told you to never feed your child anything else for the rest of its life, would you do it? I wouldn’t! I’d run out of that office, with my kids, as fast as I could. No fresh foods, no variety? How could that be a good thing? It can’t and it’s not.
If you go to my website and click on the “Resources” button, you’ll see a listing of different feeding options ranked from the least to the most ideal way of feeding. While feeding pets is not rocket science, there are some guidelines. If you feed commercially-prepared foods (raw, canned, kibble), please regularly feed several different brands and follow the manufacturer directions. If you decide to feed home-prepared meals (cooked or raw), please do your research to insure that your pet is getting all the nutrients (s)he needs.
And remember, keep your animals’ health in mind, at heart and always on their dinner plates.
For more about the principles of integrative medicine and the benefits of a natural approach in maintaining the health of your pet, read Dr. Marty’s book, The Nature of Animal Healing.
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