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.