Review: Dogs Naturally Magazine

I did something I never do and bought a blind subscription to Dogs Naturally Magazine. I’d never seen an issue in person, although I’d been linked to an article or two that I liked pretty well.

Imagine dog owners as operating along a continuum of veterinary preferences. At one end, there are people who exactly follow the promptings of the most old fashioned, conservative vets, down to buying the Purina he recommends. On the extreme other end, you have the raw-food and exclusively holistic medicine crowd. At this extreme, the “routine medical care” of the other extreme is seen as downright poisonous.

Most of the people here, I’m guessing, are somewhere in the middle, as am I. My own doggie medicine cabinet ranges from homeopathic allergy medicine to prescription antihistamine/steroids; from aloe to chlorhexidine. Silas eats raw food not so much because I’m a purist as because it’s the best way to handle his allergies. In any case, I think about the severity of the problem and the urgency of the solution and decide on a case-by-case basis whether it’s time for a “natural” solution or a “conventional” one.

Dogs Naturally magazine does not think like I do. Some of the articles in the one issue I’ve read so far (I chose the digital subscription) were genuinely helpful. There was a quite nice piece on herbal remedies for mild stomach upsets, a really useful article about adding additional proteins to a raw diet, and a few general interest pieces. Some of the articles just weren’t applicable to me, which is fair enough and happens in every magazine.

The rest of the articles were really problematic for me. A lot of the Dogs Naturally contributors, based on the author bios, are traditionally trained vets who left their practices at least ten years ago for holistic medicine. More than once in a fairly short magazine, it became deeply obvious to me that these people haven’t kept up at all with the advances of conventional medicine. Some serious vitriol was directed to practices that my 100% conventional vet would also be uncomfortable with. (Using Ketamine for surgical anesthetic, for example.)

Then there’s the vaccine paranoia. I think there are great reasons to question giving your adult dog vaccines every year. I absolutely think that individual owners need to talk carefully to the vet about the needs of their individual dogs. Blaming everything from thunderstorm phobia to post-traumatic behavior changes on vaccines seems irrational to me, though.

I’ll keep reading the issues I’m signed up for, but I think I’m just too skeptical for this magazine. (I snorted in a most undignified way when it was suggested that I perform Reiki on my dog’s water to improve it’s taste.) I’ll stick to the much more moderate Whole Dog Journal for my less-eyebrow-raising read.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Dogs Naturally Magazine

  1. That Ketamine was mentioned in the 50 things your vet won’t tell you article I wrote about.

    I try to listen to what anyone says, then make a decision that works for me, I would have probably snorted at some of those suggestions myself, but the really sad thing is that people read that magazine and believe what they’re reading.

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  2. It is hard to get the best advice. We all have our biases.

    I’ve had both holistic and conventional vets. My current vet is conventionally trained but very open minded. She has been willing to consult with alternative practitioners and research questions I asked her.

    I’ve been so happy to have an open minded vet I trust who can help me wade through all the information.

    Thanks for your honest review.

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  3. Like humans, the life span of pet animals has steadily increased over the past decades NOT because of Reiki, raw food, failure to vaccinate, etc, but because of vastly improved veterinary care and availability, (conventional or holistic) and superior prepared animal foods such as Orijen, Taste of the Wild, etc. Unfortunately, the increased life span also results in age-related infirmities such as arthritis, heart problems, cancer, etc. Some of these can be helped by holistic health practices, but I choose also to provide my animals with the many benefits of advanced veterinary science.

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