Healthy living is not just for humans. People are increasingly turning to alternatives to ensure the health and long life of their pets.
Alexis Butler, along with her daughter Alyssa Butler, are the owners of The Dog’s Meow in Millcreek and Draper. For the past 27 years, Alexis has catered to people looking for healthy diet alternatives for their pets.
She sees people who frequent her store, “feeding less processed food and more raw, clean food. It is closer to their ancestral diet of eating raw meat off a carcass in the wild.”
She explained that dogs also used to graze on grass and got carbohydrates from the gut of dead animals, so the raw food she sells is a combination of raw meat and vegetables, either raw, frozen, or dehydrated.
Although others shy away from pet stores like hers, thinking it will be more expensive, she says that if you look at the price per feeding of raw vs. processed, there is not too much of a gap.
A good diet can also be preventive and save money in the long run, preventing expensive veterinary bills by keeping pets healthy.
Butler says her store was the first of its kind in the state; a health food or Whole Foods type of store for pets. Most of her health conscious customers admit their dogs eat better than they do.
Going to the Vet
Integrative Veterinary Medicine
“I have a lot more tools in my tool box than mainstream practitioners. I got tired of using steroids and antibiotics without any other answers. Many of my clients come to me after they’ve exhausted their options with traditional vets,” she said.
She sees a lot of people that come to her “prepped” with internet searches they have done. One such client wanted to remain anonymous.
After losing a dog to cancer, this dog owner adopted another puppy which ended up having idiopathic epilepsy. “For those who wonder about the word idiopathic, it simply means that doctors could not find out the cause for the disease in question,” Dr. Debbie explained.
The concerned owner took the puppy for all sorts of exams and nothing was found. After spending several thousand dollars, she was right back at the starting point, but with peace of mind that her puppy did not have cancer.
One of the vets she saw told her that the frequency of seizures will increase with time, and that Joey would have to go on some sort of seizure prevention medication such as phenobarbital, without a guarantee that the medicine would prevent seizures 100%.
Through personal research, Joey’s mom learned that food allergies can contribute to seizures and was able to pinpoint foods that would trigger a seizure. She put Joey on a semi-keto diet (raw meat and cooked veggies), eliminating high-glycemic foods, and in consultation with Dr. Debbie, also added supplements and CBD oil, being careful to find a pure and safe one.
Dr. Debbie added, “With epilepsy, we talk about diet and environmental toxins first. It is not always possible to go completely holistic and sometimes requires a combination with traditional medicines. Sometimes you can’t control the seizures with just diet and environmental factors.”
Also a proponent of healthy exercise, Dr. Debbie offers caution for young puppies and older dogs. “What is good for one dog is not necessarily good for another dog,” she said.
With puppies, it is good to take into account that because they are not fully grown and their growth plates haven’t closed, that it’s easy to overdo an exercise regime. It is good to take it slow. “Sometimes common sense goes out the window. Your four-month-old puppy should not be going on a five-mile run.”
It is also good to get puppies checked prior to starting exercise to screen out musculoskeletal and heart problems. The same holds true for older dogs who are starting to slow down. Periodic checkups to screen for joint problems and other issues can keep a pet active and healthy well into their later years.
First Time Pet Owners
Dr. Debbie has advice for first time owners: “Make sure you are getting your dog from a reputable breeder. Don’t just go on KSL and buy the first pup you see. Look for a seller who will let you take the pup for an exam, and if an issue is found, lets you return it. Learn about diet, learn about vaccines.
“I recommend core-vaccines for Parvo, distemper, and rabies, and administer non-core vaccines only as needed. Rabies is a requirement by state law. Learn about training. I favor positive reinforcement.”
Keeping a pet healthy and active can bring years of love and enjoyment. They give so much to us, it is the least we can do for them.