Pet Connections

Let Food be Your Pet’s Medicine

Holistic medicine sees wellness as a dynamic balance. It honors the body’s homeostatic processes that allow the organism to bring itself back into equilibrium. A holistic practitioner simply provides what is needed to nudge the body back to normal. In holistic medicine we see optimal health as something more than simply the absence of sickness. It is a vitality that resists sickness. 

The wisdom of an approach to health and healing that utilizes gentle, natural treatments can be appreciated when one considers the complexity of an organism. Let’s take humans as an example. Human DNA is made up of a whopping 6 billion base pairs. This is especially incredible when you consider that with only 150 base pairs, the number of possible combinations is equal to the number of atoms in our solar system. The DNA from one cell stretches 4 feet in length. The genes code for over 100,000 proteins which form 10,000 biomolecular machines (enzymes and organelles) and 200 million membrane receptors of thousands of varieties. 

The receptors respond to signals from the cell’s environment and affect the biomolecular machines as well as the DNA itself. Indeed, while the DNA codes for 100,000 proteins and contains 20,000 regulatory genes for a total of 120,000 expected genes, the human genome is made up of only 25,000 genes. It turns out that the signals from the environment act through the cell receptors to edit, slice, and splice the genetic information to come up with the needed blueprints. 

Now, into the typical human cell we need to throw 1,000 to 2,000 mitochondria which make up about 1/5 of the cell’s volume, each with its own DNA. These power the biomolecular machines and also communicate with the nuclear DNA. All told, it is estimated that there are an astounding 6,000 chemical reactions per second in a typical cell.

All this activity is happening within and between the 37 trillion cells of the body, each sending out and receiving signals in the form of electrical currents, hormones, metabolites, and neurotransmitters. There are approximately 400 cell types in the body, each with the exact same DNA but very different expression of those genes and therefore different structures and functions. These cells are organized into the 78 organs and dozens of glands in our bodies. Just to add another layer to the picture, we need to realize that all the systems of the body interact with the GI microbiome which is made up of 10 times more cells than make up the body.

The incomprehensibly intricate and complex system that is an organism should make us hesitant to be intrusive in our attempts to treat any condition. The holistic approach is generally to aid the body and then step back and leave the healing to the inner wisdom of the system as it rectifies the situation as only it knows how. 

One of the most effective holistic treatments that I have found is a species-appropriate, balanced, raw food diet. In my opinion, it is the best way to provide the raw materials a pet’s body needs to heal itself. Such a diet is what the genetics and systems of the body evolved to utilize. When one of my patients has a problem, I often start with food before recommending drugs or surgery, or even herbs. Let food be your pet’s medicine.


December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023