DEAR DR. FOX: In many of your columns, you write about nutrition and how important it is for animals' health.
When I take my dog and two cats for their annual wellness examinations, I don't recall any vets ever asking what I feed my animals. Last time, I took in copies of your home-prepared cat and dog food recipes, and the vet took no interest. He said it was best to feed my pets the kind of scientifically formulated and balanced pet foods they were selling at the counter.
I gather these manufactured foods aren't always good for animals. So why are veterinary clinics and hospitals selling them? -- E.L., Arlington, Virginia
DEAR E.L.: Good nutrition is the best preventive medicine. It is one of the few factors that we can control in our own lives and for those for whom we care, especially our children and animal companions.
The foods containing "scientifically formulated," highly processed ingredients, many of which are byproducts of the human food and beverage industries, are accepted by a dwindling number of veterinarians. These vets were propagandized by the mainstream pet food industry into believing that such manufactured canned, dry and semi-moist pet foods are wholesome and healthful.
By not addressing the possible nutritional basis for a lot of health conditions their patients present, a fortunately dwindling number of animal doctors instead treat the symptoms with various drugs and make costly, even erroneous, diagnostic tests, profiting at the expense of their animal patients and trusting owners. This form of malpractice, also evident in the human health care industry, is at last being supplanted by a more holistic and integrative approach to disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
For a selection of the better-manufactured dog and cat foods, some formulated by veterinarians, check my website, DrFoxVet.com.
DEAR DR. FOX: After reading your column about barking dogs, I was reminded of another incident concerning an outdoor dog tied up in our friends' neighbors' backyard.
The poor dog was tied up on a short rope outside 24/7, rain or shine. At feeding time, the owners sent their young daughter out with a bowl; being scared of the dog, she would place the bowl just short of the dog so it had to struggle to get a bite.
All this broke our friends' hearts. When they sold their house, a couple of days after moving, they went back at night, cut the rope and took the dog home. He was a beautiful dog, and he lived out a happy life at -- make that in -- their home.
I cried when I met the poor dog and heard his story. This was in Miami. I surely hope that ignorant family didn't go get another dog to tie up outside. -- M.K., Naples, Florida
DEAR M.K.: Many readers will appreciate your story. I am all for people being law-abiding citizens, but when animal cruelty laws are not enforced and when the laws do not adequately protect the rights and interests of animals under our care, we do need to take extraordinary measures.
An old friend living in a small town in Florida did just that -- went up to his neighbor's house and knocked on the door. He had the neighbor's dog on a leash and collar. This dog had been tied up and left out on the porch day and night; it needed adequate food, water and veterinary care. My friend announced that he was confiscating the dog to give it a good home. The neighbor just shrugged and said, "Take him. He is old and useless." That dog is now with my friend and living out his life in a secure and caring environment.
AN EXCELLENT NEW BOOK
"Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health" by W. Jean Dodds and Diana R. Laverdure. My promotional statement on the book cover reads:
"This seminal book, confirming that nutrition is the first medicine, is not just for the health of dogs. It is a major contribution to the health-through-food revolution, which will expand the minds and practices of veterinarians and canine caregivers and should be a required text for all students of veterinary medicine and nutrition."
FROZEN PET FOOD RECALLS
-- Oma's Pride is recalling Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. Distributed nationwide, it is sold frozen. Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Oma's Pride at 800-678-6627.
-- J.J. Fuds is recalling a select lot and product of J.J. Fuds Chicken Tender Chunks because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. This product is a frozen raw poultry product.
Pet owners who have the affected product at home should return to retailer for a refund and proper disposal.
For further information or questions regarding this recall, contact the company at jjfuds.com or by phone at 888-435-5873.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)