Margarat Nee will speak about nutrition and feeding options for pets as the next speaker in the ARF series. But she touts a resume filled with many other pet treatments and health options in which she is trained as part of her lifelong interest in animals.
Nee states her objective in her work as a pet consultant (www.theartofthedog.com) is to help people understand natural pet behavior and to help dogs have healthier social lives. It is, she says, a holistic approach to pet wellness that she has developed over years of working with animals. “I’ve been a dog enthusiast for most of my life,” she said. “I started going to dog shows at the age of eight, and attended my first obedience training class at the age of ten with my Border Collie, Jack.”
Since then, Nee has continued to expand her expertise to better improve her service to her four- and two-legged clients. She is trained in animal acupressure, herbalism (use of flower essence scents in treatment), homeopathy, nutrition, Reiki level two, and animal hospice care.
At her Sunday, March 24, presentation, she will focus on food and will offer some surprising ways to augment your pet’s diet to increase their long-range health. Nee notes that feeding your pets healthy choices also involves understanding their particular constitutions. Just as with people, pet personality types can help dictate food choices, a principal long established with Eastern medicine, particularly Indian Ayurveda.
“Look at the label,” advises Nee. Just as with humans, look for foods that are low in glycemic indices to help reduce unhealthy weight gain. If using dry foods and kibble don’t add in more starch since the kibbles are starch-heavy. Consider fresh foods including fruits like blueberries that are rich in antioxidants (some dogs will love, others won’t). If your pet has allergies, try to avoid prepackaged highly processed foods and concentrate instead on fresh.
Nee uses a raw diet with her dog Vida, but notes that diet and its preparation may not be for every person or pet. Fresh meat and fish, either cooked or raw, is an excellent food supplement. “A simple way to go,” said Nee, for the Omega 3 fatty acids that aid in producing healthy coats, is sardines packed in water.
“It doesn’t have to be expensive,” said Nee. “Just become educated about your particular pet’s needs [with regard to their physical and emotional conditions]. You don’t have to buy the highest priced food out there.”
And in what, at least to this writer seemed surprising, is this fact — if the food is good for you and you’re making good choices for yourself based on your current health and physical needs, the same is true for your pet.
Part of what Nee’s consultative practice is about is understanding who your pet is, what their individual needs are, and constructing treatment and feeding options based on these assessments.
A resource Nee uses, especially when not near a store that carries excellent food choices, is the website www.onlynaturalpet.com. She also recommends reading Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food,” written for humans and their approaches to meal preparation and enjoyment, but equally valuable for pet owners to examine how to make feeding choices more beneficial and appealing for their pets.
Pollan posits that our modern diets are less and less natural food and more products of food science designed to supply necessary nutrition levels, but bypassing, for the sake of expediency, old fashioned foods and ways of eating. “Because most of what we’re consuming today is not food, and how we’re consuming it — in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone — is not really eating,” he writes. “Instead of food, we’re consuming ‘edible foodlike substances’ — no longer the products of nature but of food science.”
Nee suggests pets will also benefit from eating “food” instead of “foodlike substances.”
Nee speaks at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24 at Mountain Pawlytechnic Canine Education School, 23400 Highway 243 in Pine Cove. There is no charge for this event.