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.