There are two forms of aging that can be observed in our cats and dogs:
1. Programmed Ageing is the natural cycle from birth to death. It is the maturation process of an individual from a newborn, through sexual maturity and into senior years whilst natural wear and tear occurs and the biological clock runs down.
2. Random Ageing is when diet and lifestyle interfere with the natural process and cause unnecessary deterioration and destruction of the mind and body. It is the number one cause of all diseases. However, it can be avoided to a large degree by changing diet and lifestyle. In the case of our cats and dogs, a healthy raw diet with supplements can prevent the rapid process of random ageing, which lead to degenerative diseases. (Billinghurst 1993)
We can slow down the aging process in our own bodies and in our pets by including high doses of free radical fighting antioxidants such as:
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B1, B3 , B5, B6, B12
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Minerals including Zinc, Chromium and Selenium
• Digestive enzymes (which also play the role of an antioxidant)
• Grape seed extract
In order to avoid random aging and therefore avoid degenerative diseases, all holistic Vets and Doctors advise to lower or eliminate the following:
• Commercial, heavily processed food
• Cooked foods
• Pharmaceutical drugs
• Excessive carbohydrates
"Random ageing can effect every organ system, in fact every cell in your dog's body. It results in progressive deterioration. It results in discomfort, disease and early death. It is common for animals to die earlier than they have to because of the effects of random ageing" (Billinghurst 1993)
In their natural state a wild dog may only live between 5-6 years. How are we helping to extend our pets' lives today?
Ways in which we are assisting our cats and dogs live a longer life than their wild relatives are:
· Healthy, raw diets made up of human grade, high quality fresh produce
· Veterinary visits for early diagnosis and as a result more effective treatment and faster recovery
· Kindness and love. Our pets respond positively to a loving home where they are cared for and treated as part of the family.
· Absence of stressful situations. In a home environment without predators and environmental challenges, the body can focus on healing and growing rather than be in ‘fight flight’ mode, which lowers the immune system and can cause sickness.
· Regular meals without long periods of hunger.
· Fresh, clean drinking water
· Neutering and spaying has allowed millions of pets to live without the stress of mating seasons, pregnancy, fighting over females and as a result, injuries between competing males.
· The variety of holistic, alternative treatments available for pets such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, nutritional supplements, homeopathy.
· The skill of veterinarians to perform life saving surgery, fix broken limbs, prevent infections and to decrease or eliminate trauma.
· The sensible use of antibiotics in times when the immune system needs a helping hand
· Pharmaceutical drugs can sometimes extend the lives of our pets, even when they do not provide a cure and may cause unwanted side effects. In my opinion, when pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed, especially if they are long-term drugs, we should always search for more natural methods in the way of vitamins, minerals, oils and herbal medicine which do not have side effects. Side effects can very often outweigh the benefits provided by the drug.
· Vaccinations, although this remains to be a very controversial issue amongst health professionals. I am personally not in favour of vaccinations. If our pets are given a healthy raw diet so that they may have a strong immune system vaccinations should not be required. Vaccinations have been linked to auto immune diseases amongst other questionable long term health problems.
· Knowledge of nutritional components in all food produce so that a healthy balanced diet can be achieved.
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