Katherine Drovdahl MH CR CEIT DipHIR- Oregon

Did you know that you can plant an herb garden for your beloved furry and feathered friends? Did you know that many herbs are easy to cultivate in a garden bed or even containers on an apartment balcony? You may already be knowingly (or unknowingly!) growing several of them. If you have never gardened before or you are looking for a way to cut some (a lot!) of the work in gardening, consider Square Foot Gardening.

 

Growing your own herbs gives you some freedoms. It gives you the freedom to choose organic (non-toxic) methods of raising them. It gives you the freedom to have access to them whenever you need them. It also gives you the satisfaction and security of knowing that you can indeed raise, and keep on hand, some of the herbs you may want or need in the care of your creatures (or humans).

 

Now what might one grow? Garlic of course is one plant I highly recommend. I use it a lot in situations involving viral or bacterial origins. But, do you know how to use it safely and in correct doses and timing for your animal(s) of choice? A few other herbs that I like to keep handy in my gardens include cayenne, comfrey, thyme, rosemary, lavender, stinging nettle, wormwood, carrots, white onions, apples and of course many, many more. All of these are easy to use with your creatures and all of them are easy to grow. Even cayenne can grow in cooler climates with a few ‘microclimate’ gardening tricks.

I have used lavender leaves and stems numerous times, infused in olive oil and wiped onto infected areas copiously to watch infected areas cleanse and begin to repair themselves in as fast as a day in people, dogs, goats and horses.

 

I have an entire chapter in my 28 chapter book covering over 60 herbs that you can grow in your garden. I discuss what they are, why you may want to include them, information on harvesting some of them as well as helpful hints on growing. Another chapter covers dosing so you know how much your hen, rabbit, dog, cat, pig, horse, ox, goat, alpaca or other creature will need for their situation. The book also covers foundational information that teaches you why you are doing what you are doing and gives you confidence in whole herb and essential oil use in your creatures. All body systems and every stage of your creature’s lifecycle are covered in layman’s terms. “The Accessible Pet, Equine and Livestock Herbal” is available through Christopher Publications.

 

Katherine Drovdahl is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing. She is also a Certified Reflexologist, a Diplomate of Holistic Iridology, Certified Equine Iridology Technician and is Internationally Certified in Aromatherapy. She is an author, writes articles, does wellness consultations for people, pets and livestock (www.firmeadowllc.com) and is a conference speaker. She and her beloved husband tend to their alternatively raised food and medicinal herb gardens, their fjord horses, dairy goats, poultry, alpacas and farm pets on their small Oregon farm.

Marianne Kiley MH, Reiki Master

The principles of nutrition are the foundation for natural health and healing. These same principles apply to our pets, too. There are many fine, high quality prepared foods for pets, but when we have a special needs pet, sometimes we need to reconsider what our pet is eating in order for the animal’s body to regain its ability to balance and heal. Pets are unique individuals just as humans are and there are those who do not find a prepared food to provide a proper balance for its body. Dr. Christopher taught the basic needs for the body; nutrition through simple principles. The primary principle is to provide the body with wholesome foods.

 

A case example: A rescue dog, upon finding her forever home (yes, with me!), was given a high quality kibble along with supplementation to ease the digestive system while becoming accustomed to the new food. After a time it became apparent this food wasn’t working out well for the dog. She was having digestive upset and wasn’t happy to eat. A new, high quality food was gradually introduced but this dog came with worn down teeth and overgrown gums and experienced difficulty chewing. She lost interest in food and began vomiting what little she would take shortly after her meals. The kibble was ground into smaller pieces and a wet food was pureed and added with the kibble. This seemed to be a viable option, but after coming home to find the dog showing us where she had thrown up her previous meal day after day and again having no interest in food, it became apparent this food choice was not working. She was going downhill quickly so rather than going through the process of finding another high quality, prepared food, it was time to do something better.

Research into pet food began. Consulting a good book which provided the basics for preparing a fresh food diet for pets was the first step. I have found Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats to be an excellent source of information. Examining the ingredients in the prepared foods was also researched. The recipes provided in the natural pet care book all included inorganic supplements to ensure vitamins and minerals were balanced. I will not take inorganic supplements myself, and considering the dog already had some serious joint issues we were attempting to correct, I decided to follow Dr. Christopher’s teachings. It works for people, why not my dog? Using a basic recipe from Dr. Pitcairn’s book as a starting point, a food was prepared using a variety of organic wholesome ingredients including chicken, rice and vegetables to provide balanced nutrition and adding herbs for supplementation such as alfalfa for vitamins and minerals, wheat germ oil for Vitamin E, as well as kelp, spirulina, nutritional yeast and hawthorn berry for an inherent heart weakness in the breed. Considering the worn down teeth and difficulty chewing, pureeing the food was the best option. This sweet dog has flourished on her fresh, wholesome diet. Unless the food is pureed at the wrong consistency (i.e. too dry), vomiting is a thing of the past. Weight is normalized and by using distilled water and herbal remedies, we have made excellent progress with the joint issues. We now have a happy, healthy dog, able to eat and love her food, run and even the occasional jump (which, for a senior dog with the problems she started out with, is excellent!)

The principles of natural health are a blessing and should be applied to all our loved ones. We are the caretakers of the pets we choose to care for and they are generally willing to do whatever we ask of them - they are more compliant with our recommendations than some of the humans we love! Let’s listen to our furry (or furless) friends, and heed the signs of imbalance - give them the best foundation of nutrition we can, just as we do for our humans.

Marianne Kiley is a Reiki Master and Master Herbalist - Graduate of the School of Natural Healing. She lives and practices in Reno, Nevada.

 

By Katherine “Kat” Drovdahl MH, CR, DipHIr, CEIT - Oregon

Book review by Christopher Publications

 

Have you ever wondered how much herb or essential oil you can use or apply to the creature members of your family? Or wish you understood more about husbandry practices for your pets, poultry, exotics or other farm stock? Wonder no longer. You CAN learn how to be an excellent creature herbalist! Kat, a lifetime pet, livestock, poultry and horse owner, has demystified the area of animal herbalism by carefully taking the beginning to advanced creature owner as well as those new or advanced in the world of herbs or essential oils and applying these to the benefit of your beloved companions. Careful thought is given in this book to lay a clear foundation for you, so that you can learn not only what you might do in easy to very difficult (even ‘incurable’) situations, but also WHY you are doing so, in order to help you grow in your confidence and skill as an herbalist. Kat also shares when you should consider calling on your veterinarian. How to use this book with your human family is also considered. She discusses herbs, essential oils, Dr. Christopher products, and her company’s products to give you opportunities to work with what you might have on hand. So whether you are a do-it-yourselfer, like using products, or are somewhere in between, this book can be a helpful resource.

A Vitalistic approach is taken which will help you assess the cause of the situation you are facingso that you can do much better than just try to cover up symptoms. You will learn how to assist the body to heal itself whatever the problem’s cause may be. Spiritual, physical, environmental, and emotional aspects are all considered as you seek to help your creatures to abundant wellness. Kat shares many easy to follow stories of actual experiences in order to help the reader understand the body’s process as it moves towards wellness. Twenty eight chapters and 515+ pages cover many topics, including herbal foundations, husbandry, supplements and feed, dosage, methods of herb or essential oil administration, creating a garden for use with your creatures, breeding, preparation & gestation, creature midwifery, raising baby animals to their greatest genetic potential, parasites, exhibiting creatures, poisons, senior or failure to thrive creatures and several chapters on different systems and organs in the body and their care. You can obtain your copy right away from Christopher publications. http://www.christopherpublications.com/APELH.html

Kat’s hope for you is that through this book you and your creatures will be fully, fully blessed.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the MH ladies in The School of Natural Healing office (Jo, Mishelle, Doreen and Yvonne) and David Christopher MH for their support and encouragement while working on this project. All of you are such a BLESSING! Thank-you!!!

Kat Drovdahl is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing. She also is a Certified Reflexologist, a Diplomate of Holistic Iridology, a Certified Equine Iridology Technician and has International Certification in Aromatherapy. She and her husband are ‘owned’ by their LaMancha dairy goats, guardian dogs, a barn cat, some poultry and their Norwegian Fjord horses.


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