What Is A Holistic Diet

Pet parents are more concerned than ever about what they are feeding their four-legged friends. So many questions are swirling regarding what we are feeding our pets and what all the terms on the bags of kibble mean. 

What exactly is a holistic diet? Although there are no accepted standard definitions for holistic, the holistic approach is basically one that treats the whole animal, using nutrition to stimulate the body's ability to heal and maintain itself. 

Holistic health is based on the law of nature that a whole is made up of independent parts. When one part is not working at its best, it influences all of the other parts of that animal. Furthermore, this animal, including all of the parts, is constantly interacting with everything in the surrounding environment. For example, when a pet is anxious about its owner leaving, their nervousness may result in a physical reaction such as an upset stomach and loose stools. 

The principles of holistic health state that health is more than just not being sick. A common explanation is to view wellness as a continuum along a line. The line represents all possible degrees of health. The far left end of the line represents premature death. On the far right end is the highest possible level of wellness. The center point of the line represents a lack of apparent disease. This places all levels of illness on the left half of the wellness continuum. The right half shows that even when no illness seems present, there is still a lot of room for improvement. 

Holistic health is an ongoing process. The cells in an animal's body are constantly being replaced. New cells are built from what is available. Harmful substances or lack of needed building blocks in the body can result in imperfect cells and an inability to do what is required to keep that animal healthy. 

When diseases and chronic conditions occur, the holistic health principles can also be applied. The term usually changes to holistic medicine though and additional factors are added. A holistic approach to healing means going beyond simply eliminating the symptoms that are present. For example, giving your pet an inoculation for dry skin and itchiness would be like disconnecting the oil light on the dash of your car when it flashes. The irritation is eliminated, but the real problem still exists. In a holistic approach, a symptom is considered a message that something needs attention. The symptom is used as a guide to look below the surface for a root cause. 

A holistic pet food is one that supports your pet's health on all levels by using high quality ingredients and proper formulation to insure that optimal amounts of nutrition are being achieved. If appropriate nutrition is received by the animal, you should not see itchy and dry skin, energy loss, excessive eye drainage or yeast infections in the ears and skin. 

What should you look for in a holistic diet for your pet? 

The best advice when looking for your pet's diet (and yours) is to rely on common sense nutrition rather than what you have learned from marketing and what packaging tells you.

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