BOOKS: Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats.

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats. B y
Diane Stein, The Crossing Press (P.O. Box 1048,
Freedom, CA 95019; 800-777-1048), 1993, 186 pages,
paper $16.95.
One American in three resorts to alternative health
care methods for some ailments, the New England Journal
of Medicine reported in January. Recognizing the potential
value of some alternative treatments, the National Institutes
of Health recently formed an Office of Alternative
Medicine, with an initial budget of $2 million. Yet the
availability of similar therapies for companion animals has
received relatively little attention. Pat Lazarus raised the
possibility in her 1983 volume Keep Your Pet Healthy The
Natural Way, and a few alternative-oriented veterinarians
such as Richard Kearns have attracted faithful followings,
but perhaps because there are few health food stores for ani-
mals, interest has been comparatively slow to develop.

Diane Stein describes several of the more accessi-
ble types of alternative treatment and their application in
Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats. Because her publisher,
The Crossing Press, is known for inventive and successful
promotion, the volume is likely to receive more exposure
than any similar work has for quite a while. Some of Stein’s
recommendations may seem exotic, and a few are of ques-
tionable value, but none should be harmful if her instruc-
tions are followed carefully. All are meant to enhance, not
replace, regular veterinary care.
Though often writing about the metaphysical,
Stein emphasizes the practical. Descriptions of canine and
feline anatomy, for example, are detailed and easy to follow.
Included is extensive material on the animals’ “emotional,
mental and spiritual bodies,” though Stein admits her
knowledge of the “nonphysical anatomy comes from psy-
chic observation that may not be scientifically provable at
this time.” Since science seems inherently incapable of
quantifying nonphysical states, readers will have to decide
for themselves if this information is useful. In other areas,
such as communication, she offers a range of possibilities.
In particular, for those of us less adept than Stein at psychic
communication with animal companions, she includes Jean
Craighead George’s depictions of cat and dog body lan-
The quality of Stein’s research is perhaps most evi-
dent in her chapter on nutrition––a chapter sure to spark
controversy. She takes into account dogs’ and cats’ carnivo-
rous natures, and their need for high-quality protein. “Dogs
can survive on an all-vegetarian diet if the diet is well-
planned,” she writes, “but they are not happy or healthy on
it; cats on such a diet will die within a year.” However, she
does question the quality of most commercial pet foods.
The sections on commercial additives, common food aller-
gies, and vitamin requirements are invaluable. Sample
recipes for homemade pet foods are followed by a long list
of further references.
The efficacy of Stein’s recommended treatments
often depends on the animal’s acceptance of an unfamiliar
regimen. Cats, especially, often demonstrate a preference
for commercial foods. Likewise, herbal remedies can be
very effective, i f the animal can be persuaded to swallow
the (usually bitter) substance. Some dogs will eat anything.
Cats, on the other hand, have a violent aversion to most
herbal preparations. Stein suggests, for instance, squirting
liquids into a cat’s cheek pouch. I have scars that testify to a
complete lack of success using this method to give cats gar-
lic; the cats undoubtedly bear psychic scars from the experi-
I therefore cringe at the thought of introducing cats
to acupuncture. Fortunately, Stein states that it “is not a
method for the untrained to use at home.” Accupressure
and massage, as she describes them, seem harmless enough.
Indeed, the only problem may be that animals begin to like it
too well. “”Beware of the cat or dog who becomes a mas-
sage-junkie and pesters for it constantly,” warns Stein. The
drawings that accompany descriptions of massage tech-
niques for dogs will certainly look familiar to anyone who
has ever indulged the canine craving for total affection.
Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats covers other,
more esoteric techniques, from homeopathic remedies to
flower essences, muscle testing, and communication with
deceased companions. Most of this information is anecdo-
tal and quite vivid, incorporating Stein’s own personal
experiences. Combined with extensive data from other
sources, it should allow readers to form their own judge-
ments about the usefulness of each treatment.
Ultimately, it would seem that the value of any
alternative therapy depends greatly upon our own faith in it.
At least, with this book, we are given the opportunity to
explore the possibilities.
––Cathy Czapla
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