Learning from a World Leader in Holistic Pet Health

In the last post I introduced Dr Richard Pitcairn and his holistic approach to pet care. I was reminded recently of the extent to which he’s influenced a new generation of veterinarians as I read a couple of unrelated articles by holistic veterinary practitioners. Yet both authors cited Pitcairn as instrumental in their shift to a more natural approach to treating animals.

Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the reach of his book, Dr Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (one of our recommended resources). Originally published in 1982, the book is due out in its fourth edition this March. In addition, in 1992 Pitcairn established the Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy, a year-long post-graduate training for veterinarians. By 2013, 500 had been trained in the program.

Your 6-Month Intro to Holistic German Shepherd Care!!

For the next 6 blog articles I’m going to highlight various insights from Dr Pitcairn’s book. Here’s our 6-month blog schedule, including this month. I’m excited to be sharing many valuable insights that I believe you’ll find helpful with your German Shepherd:

  1. December (current article) Pitcairn’s Journey Into Holistic Pet Health
  2. January. The Ingredients of Good Dog Nutrition
  3. February. Creating Healthy Meals for Your German Shepherd
  4. March: It Takes More Than Good Fuel to Wag Your Dog’s Tail
  5. April: Review of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide’ 4th Edition
  6. May: Highlights from Pitcairn’s New Edition

I believe that as you read what follows you’ll recall occurrences in your life that later took on a significance beyond that anticipated at the time. Don’t underestimate the importance of the daily events in your journey. Make the most of them, and they’ll lead you to a good place.

Dr Pitcairn’s Journey Into Holistic Pet Health

  1. Graduates from veterinary school, where training in pet nutrition boiled down to “Tell your clients to feed their animals a good commercial pet food and avoid table scraps.”
  2. Goes to work in first job in a veterinary clinic for large and small animals.
  3. Disturbed by low success rate in treatment of sick animals.
  4. He gladly accepts a job offer as instructor in a veterinary school. Gets back to taking courses himself.
  5. Soon transitions to full-time graduate studies in veterinary immunology, virology and biochemistry. His intention being to finally learn the real secrets to animal health.
  6. 5 years later, and now with a PhD, he finds he’s still lacking the insights he’d sought.
  7. Starts to read broadly on many topics related to health and nutrition. He read from multiple sources and a range of viewpoints.
  8. At the same time Pitcairn began to practice his new-found nutritional approaches on himself; then his family, and after that family pets. He’s encouraged by successes in each phase.
  9. On a limited basis he cautiously begins to apply new nutritional knowledge to some critical cases of sick animals in his veterinary work. Gets positive results. He’s prescribing a specific and well considered assortment of fresh foods, dietary supplements and vitamins.
  10. Introduces holistic approaches on a broader scale to his practice. It gains traction and is met with increasing success.

That concludes our condensed look at Dr Pitcairn’s journey of discovery. Curiosity plus a lot of persistence and we’d have to say some humility – to acknowledge his personal inability to address the needs of his patients – these qualities seem to be some of the things behind Pitcairn’s drive to go on seeking for answers.

Like Pitcairn, many dog owners who are embracing a healthier approach to feeding their pets, have at some level experienced problems or dissatisfaction with commercial foods, consequently seeking better solutions. Some begin the journey by enhancing their dog’s diet with healthy snacks or supplements; a progression that may lead towards entertaining a raw diet. Pitcairn provides a positive example of study and cautious experimentation. He took small steps initially, leveraging early successes into broader, more significant experiments. But he was patient, carefully assessing the results as he went.

As a parting note let me encourage you to work within the bounds of what fits your life situation. Consider time and cost factors, and don’t get stressed by current limitations. Just take whatever steps are practical for you right now, even if they are small ones, to optimize the food and life quality for your German Shepherd.

I wish you success. And, may there be good cheer in your household this Christmas season – and the best to you and yours in the year ahead!!