Some pet owners swear by natural or holistic alternatives

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Carla McCann
Saturday, February 16, 2008

No one knows for sure how long Mo was on the lam in northern Wisconsin.

But he had been seen for months, skirting the edges of neighborhoods.

Abandoned and leading a feral life, the canine scavenged for food and slept on the cold ground.

He suffered from neglect and a variety of physical ailments.

But that’s all in the past.

Today, the Samoyed is a picture of health. He has a thick, shiny coat and bright, inquisitive eyes.

“He is glowing with health,” Dr. Jody Bearman said.

He also is loved.

Bearman, a Madison veterinarian who operates Anshen Veterinary Practice, and her family adopted Mo.

“He’s the sweetest boy ever,” Bearman said.

She attributes much of Mo’s recovery to good nutrition.

Dr. Jody Bearman is among many pet owners who have chosen not to feed their dogs and cats commercially produced pet foods because of the many additives and questionable byproducts within the food.

She feeds Mo a well-balanced holistic diet of meats and vegetables, supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

When Mo first arrived at the Bearman home, he had stomach problems and constant diarrhea, she said.

“I wanted to give him something without grains because of his stomach problem,” Bearman said.

Most commercially manufactured dog foods contain grains.

Mo’s diet wasn’t a new undertaking for Bearman. She always has fed the family’s pets a blend of homemade foods that could include turkey, beef and organ meats.

Cooking for Mo and the family’s other dog, Howie, a Chihuahua, isn’t any trouble, Bearman said.

Often, she simply places the food in a slow cooker before leaving for work, Bearman said.

Mo’s dinner is ready by the time Bearman returns home.

He’s now living the good life.

Going natural

Rob Hill is an avid hunter, who counts his hunting dogs among his best friends.

The Oregon man also is among the many dog owners who have chosen to feed their pets a natural diet of meats and vegetables.

“I wasn’t satisfied with the ingredients in commercial foods,” Hill said.

After researching the nutritional needs of dogs, Hill was confident he could keep them healthy on natural foods.

His dogs get the protein they need from fish, chicken and venison.

They also eat rice and garden vegetables and receive vitamin and mineral supplements, Hill said.

“Commercial dog food is an American thing,” Hill said. “It came along with the fast food restaurants and TV dinners.”

One of the problems with most commercial foods is that the high level of heat used to cook the foods depletes the nutritional value, he said.

People forget that, in nature, dogs ate a varied and raw diet, Hill said.

He also feeds his dogs raw chicken, he said.

One of Hill’s dogs is 13 and has the spunk and endurance of a 1-year-old, he said.

“Everyone will attest to the fact that my dogs are healthy,” Hill said. “Feeding a natural diet is only as difficult as you make it.”

Last updated: 4:37 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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