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How Exactly Does Diet Relate to Illness in my Pet?

Has your pet been receiving long term medication for a chronic (non life-threatening) health problem for months or even years, without a true cure ever taking place?


Of course some health conditions do require long term drugs in order to be properly and safely managed – but if the medications for issues like itching and ear infections or GI upset are simply hiding the symptoms and not bringing about real healing at the root of the problem, it may be time to consider diet as the culprit. Open up to the idea of taking a fresh look at food, and the role it can play in wellbeing.

Of course, it’s important to always get a vet’s diagnosis on what’s going on with your pet, but it’s worth considering Food as Medicine, if a constant supply of prescribed medications only seems to suppress the symptoms without providing a long term sustainable cure.

Several of the top reasons that cats and dogs are taken to the vet, are often directly related to the foods they eat. Here’s a quick look at how food and disease are interrelated, and some factors to consider in your journey towards complete and lasting pet health.

1.    Ear infections are often caused by a buildup of yeast in the ears. Did you know that yeast usually ‘over-grows’ when there is an overload of sugar in the system? This sugar is usually caused by excess grains in the diet as well as an excess of sugary fruits and simple carbohydrates in the food and treats you provide.

What should you do? Topical products from your vet (or a homemade blend of apple cider vinegar and water, or other natural solutions) should be used to remove any buildup from the ears. Then, think about removing all grain from the diet – including treats. Many guardians see some improvement after just a few weeks of going grain-free!

2.    Urinary tract and/or renal problems plague a surprising number of cats and dogs. Extruded, kibble diets are starting to be called into question for their role in the ever-increasing rate of urinary tract problems including crystals, stones and bacterial infections of the bladder and urinary tract as well as kidney disease and full-blown renal failure.

The reason? These types of diets are not ‘biologically appropriate’ in the true sense of the word because they contain nowhere near the moisture levels of these animals’ natural prey. In fact, they are so devoid of necessary moisture that some pets become chronically dehydrated and thus more prone to urinary tract problems.

What should you do? Try feeding a canned, raw or other higher moisture diet because pets fed these tend to experience less urinary tract infections and crystals over all, and holistic vets recommend a moist diet for cats in particular.

Read the rest of Lucy’s (The Honest Kitchen) free e-book.



Please note: The information provided here is intended to supplement the recommendations of your veterinarian. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment based on information on this site. Nothing can replace a complete history and physical examination performed by your veterinarian. -Dr. Jeff