DEAR DR. FOX: We adopted Willie, our bulldog mix, four years ago. He had very thin fur, with barely any on his belly and none under his arms. The poor dog has lots of red, raw rashes on belly. My husband began cooking his food, and within months, the change in his skin was amazing. After several months, we noticed what a beautiful white coat he had -- he'd never had a nice coat before. His skin is clear, and he's not itching or chewing his paws. Willie weighs 57 pounds, and the doc says it's "all muscle." He's very active, happy, content and now healthy. We were feeding him costly premium foods, and using shampoos that cost $30 per bottle. Now, he gets only homemade food (meat, veggies and rice), and he's in the best condition ever.
My sister has two Labs. Skin conditions, digestive problems and pale gums always bothered them. She was buying expensive dog food from Colorado. Now she, too, cooks for them, and they're healthy and problem-free. It's a little more work, about the same price and makes an amazing difference in your pet's health. -- A.F.C., Millbrook, New York
DEAR A.F.C.: You are giving the kind of testimony that the mainstream pet food industry does not like to hear. I had a call recently for an interview from a newspaper reporter writing about "humanized" pet foods, a term she apparently picked up from the mainstream pet food industry. The industry is quick to point to studies that show that some home-prepared diets have nutrient deficiencies. In its eyes, that means that the scientifically formulated "complete and balanced" pet foods are superior. But the evidence is clear, as per your experience, that a biologically appropriate, properly formulated diet with fresh ingredients (human-grade and from known sources) is just plain common sense.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read in your columns your opinions about how animals are being mistreated along with your concerns about the environment and wildlife. I wonder if your scope as an "Animal Doctor" for a pet-owning readership is going beyond its purpose, and if you have some political or other agenda. After all, we have God-given dominion over the Earth, and with 7 billion of us, I think we are continuing to do a great job putting food on the table and doing our best to give peace and freedom a chance in the world. -- G.K.M., Reston, Virginia
DEAR G.K.M.: I see my mission as a veterinarian and bioethicist to help heal the broken relationships between humans and the rest of Earth's life-community, which begins with animals we keep as companions and the others whom we choose to eat and otherwise exploit. I disagree with you that I have "dominion" to rule over the animal kingdom and may use the natural world for my own pecuniary and other selfish interests. It is my understanding that the word "dominion" in the Christian bible is derived from the Hebrew verb "yorade," which means "to come down to, to have communion with" -- a call for humane, compassionate planetary care.
For more details, see my book "The Boundless Circle: Caring for Creatures and Creation," the essence of which is embodied in Pope Francis' recent encyclical concerning climate change and the collective, harmful impact of our species on this living planet and all creatures great and small -- which theists see as God's creation and I, for one, see as "ours" only in sacred trust. Peace, freedom and justice have no chance if we cannot exercise self-control over our reproductive and consumptive behaviors and have reverence for all life.
IS IT TIME TO ROUND UP ROUNDUP?
Widely used by homeowners, municipal services and especially by agriculture, the main ingredient of Roundup weed killer is an endocrine-disrupting, chelating (mineral-nutrient binding) herbicide now used worldwide. Glyphosate is classified as a "probable carcinogenic" agent, according to a report recently published in The Lancet Oncology.
I have discussed this issue on my website, DrFoxVet.net, in relation to the use of this herbicide and others on crops that have been genetically engineered to resist these toxic agents. But we have not moved forward! This affects our companion animals, since glyphosate residues have been recently found in some pet foods containing genetically modified organisms, such as corn and soy.
(Send all mail to email@example.com 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.net.)