What Whole Dog Journal Offers
Maximum benefit, least harm.
Every so often, I remember to make space at the bottom of this page to print WDJ’s mission statement – mostly to help new readers understand where we’re coming from. Long-time readers don’t need to see it in every issue; it hasn’t changed since it was written, some 17 years ago. Our overall goal is to offer owners well-researched information about training methods, diets, and healthcare practices that give maximally benefit dogs with a minimum of harm. To that end, we embrace and recommend both home-prepared (the ideal) and the best of commercial diets, conventional veterinary medicine and complementary and alternative treatments. (We don’t advocate training that hurts or scares dogs; so much for our “balance” on that point.)
Because we so frequently explain and advocate for “alt/comp” remedies such as acupuncture, massage, herbs, and so on, some people mistakenly assume we are opposed to conventional medical treatments including vaccines, heartworm preventative medications, and pesticides.
In truth, we are opposed only to over-vaccination, the use of heartworm preventatives in parts of the country and at times in the year when heartworm is not a threat, and the use of pesticides when pests are not present. We are totally for minimal, least-harm use of the most effective tools that are available for your dogs’ long-term benefit.
It’s a middle way – a fine line – but we think that smart dog owners are capable of walking it with us. It does require some thought and effort, however, and owners who are willing and able to take responsibility for protecting and defending their dogs’ health – which can be challenging at times. It’s far easier to comply with every recommendation that your veterinarian might make (such as low-quality prescription diets instead of home-prepared, or year-round spot-on treatments for fleas, heartworm, and intestinal worms, even for elderly apartment-dwelling city dogs) and let him deal with any potential problems that arise. It’s also easy to state that you are “against” vaccines and pesticides – until your dog is dying of distemper, or is wearing a cone because flea bites have tormented him the point of chewing huge, weeping wounds all over his body.
There are other publications for ideologues and purists – both the conventional veterinary crowd, who wouldn’t consider a chiropractor for their dog no matter how crippled with back pain he might be, as well as the “completely natural” dog nuts who think that truly healthy dogs can fight off any disease or parasite. (If he gets infected with disease or parasites, well, he must not have been truly healthy – it was probably those vaccines he got at the shelter six years ago, ya know.) If this is how you think, WDJ is probably not for you.
But if you are willing to read (and heed) the warnings on a pesticide label; question, discuss, and sometimes, challenge your veterinarian’s recommendations; seek out effective complementary or alternative treatments when they are gentler or less harmful than the conventional remedies – well, you’re our kind of dog owner. Welcome!