How To Improve Your Dog’s Performance in Agility

How To Improve Your Dog’s Performance in Agility


agility dogs,vitality,hmdm,balanceAny pet may suffer an injury or develop a problematic symptom. Especially those canine athletes who do activities like agility, flyball, herding, etc.

This article applies the Holistic Medical Decision Making (HMDM) protocol to two common scenarios in agility. In both, HMDM was used.

HMDM is a proven method for making sound, scientific and safe decisions for your health-challenged pets. And it works no matter what method you use to treat your pet. Even if you decide to use medications or surgery which can quickly stop symptoms.

However, the goal of your treatment is probably enhancing your pet’s happiness, quality of life and athletic performance. Not just quickly stopping symptoms like lameness or anxiety with drugs.

Clinical experience and hundreds of cases prove that individualizing your pet’s treatment with HMDM is a highly effective method. Rather than just doing the same thing for all pets with similar symptoms.

In brief, the protocol has these 3 simple steps:

  1. Your Goal: such as a faster time through the weave poles
  2. Your Research: investigating available treatments, their effectiveness and risks : benefits
  3. Your Implementation: consult a vet homeopath, chiropractor, do massage, etc. Then evaluate the response to the treatment.

Vitality and Balance Using HMDM in Agility

Two common challenges for dogs that run agility are:

  1. Subtle gait abnormalities and weakness,
  2. Behaviors like timidity affecting performance.

These can both be reversed by individualizing with the tools of HMDM: by putting symptoms into context and interpreting them holistically.

CASE STUDY: Hitch In The Gait

CASE STUDY: Let’s say that your pup has a slight hitch in her gait and is running the agility course much slower than usual.

  • Your HMDM Step 1 – Goal: To improve her speed by resolving the subtle lameness or weakness.
  • Your HMDM Step 2 – Research: You remember that many of your friends in your classes use a great chiropractor and have seen how much chiropractic adjustments can help.
  • Your Step 3 – Implementation: Start seeing the chiropractor.

Your pup seems much better after each appointment. But even frequent adjustments don’t hold and your pup’s hitch comes back.

Now you repeat the HMDM process.

  • Step 1 – Goal: To permanently resolve the lameness.
  • Step 2 – Research: You ask for tips from friends or instructors in agility and you learn about potentially useful exercises.
  • Step 3 – Implementation: You buy a TotoFit Orbit to start core conditioning or you book an appointment with a physical therapistcore conditioning, agility, homeopathy

Even after strengthening your dog’s core for a few weeks, the lameness keeps returning. Your HMDM goal is still full recovery and you remember that during your research, you learned that homeopathy is another way to help even more.

The energetic imbalance that caused the lameness, to begin with, can be resolved with homeopathy. Homeopathic “fine-tuning” is the ultimate way of individualizing and working with your pet’s body.

You schedule an appointment with a professional homeopath. Your pup runs better on some days, not as great on others, but her BEAM (Behavior, Energy, Appetite and Mood) continues to improve.

Now comes the hardest part of working with your pet’s body. That is using patience and perseverance while your pup heals. It may be a few months before your pup is ready to race through an agility course. But the wait and work are worth it because then your pup wins races like never before and just keeps getting better and better.

CASE STUDY: Confidence Building and Ending Fears

CASE STUDY: One day in class, your friend’s 7-month-old puppy refuses to do the teeter. Every time it bangs down, she jumps, starts shaking and tries to hide. On top of that, she has started peeing submissively when she sees some people and is barking aggressively (fearfully?) at other dogs. Turns out that she had a rabies shot a few weeks earlier. Your friend knows that these are signs of the rabies miasm and asks what you would do. You recommend that she use the HMDM protocol.

HMDM Step 1 – Goal: Resolve the imbalance from the rabies vaccine.

HMDM Step 2 – Research: Your friend is already increasing vitality and healing ability by raw feeding, avoiding toxins and most vaccines and providing lots of physical and mental stimulation in agility.

But that has not been enough. Her pup’s vitality is high, but it is imbalanced. Fortunately, she just saw the great results you had with homeopathy. You tell your friend that homeopathic treatment is a great way to reverse these symptoms. You describe how homeopathy will work with her pup’s natural vitality to help optimize her balance.

HMDM Step 3 – Implementation: She starts working with a veterinary homeopath.

Symptom clues lead to an individualized homeopathic medicine.  After just one dose, your friend’s dog is no longer jumping when she hears the teeter hit the ground!

She still doesn’t want to get on the teeter, but it’s a step in the right direction. Over time and continued treatment, your friend’s dog is finally willing to get on it. The instructor advises your friend to keep the teeter height low at first, but in a few months, it’s back up to the full height.

And the happiness in your friend’s dog’s face when she runs the full course (including the teeter) is wonderful to see! Oh, and the submissive peeing and “greeting dis-order” (barking aggressively at other dogs she sees) also improve.

These are other great effects from optimizing her balance with homeopathy to stop the rabies miasm symptoms. In six months her confidence is restored and she is back to living her life to its fullest.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Quality of life and happiness for our beloved companion animals.

Using Internal Symptoms to Define Your Pet’s Dis-ease

Using Internal Symptoms to Define Your Pet’s Dis-ease

Take Homes in This Article:

1. Measurable internal changes, like blood test results, are sensitive reflections of health.

2. Test changes can be the earliest warning signs of internal imbalance (dis-ease).

3. Holistic interpretation of test results can help early treatment and natural restoration of health.

Sam’s Increased Drinking


Sam is a happy seven year young Golden Retriever. She loves to cuddle and is everyone’s best friend.

Sam’s guardians cared for her holistically. She was fed fresh food and minimally vaccinated. Sam only had a few problems throughout her life. Seemingly minor issues like ear discharges and eye redness that were treated by their local veterinarian.

Over the past few weeks, her water bowl had to be refilled a little more often than usual. She seemed fine in all other ways.

Sam’s proactive pet parents brought her right to the family’s veterinarian.


Define Your Goal and the Problem


Sam’s family was worried and wanted to do something.

But they also wanted to do the best for Sam. They would do anything possible to keep her well for as long as possible.

Nothing was found during her examination, so the veterinarian drew some blood and collected some urine to be sent out to the lab for testing.

Sam was sent home with an anti-biotic. The directions were to give both pills twice/day starting tonight.

Intuitively, this didn’t feel right to her guardians, so they chose to hold off on the medication until the test results came back.


How Internal Symptoms Can Help


Two days later, the vet called with the test results. Everything looked fine except for one elevated enzyme called the serum alkaline phosphatase (SAP).

The vet said that Sam’s increased drinking and SAP could be early signs of Cushing’s dis-ease. And that the test result was just a clue to what is happening in her body. And it is nothing to worry about. He advised a 6 month recheck.

He still recommended the medications because they “couldn’t hurt” and might help. Just in case of a hidden infection.

But they really didn’t want to give the drugs and had been reading about similar symptoms. And how they could be interpreted differently. In a way that promoted proactive prevention rather than reactive treatment.

Sam’s guardians asked their vet about this closer evaluation of symptoms. He again said to not worry about it, but that they could consult with an internal medicine specialist if they really wanted. An appointment was set up for the following week.

After the consultation, the internist agreed that a better understanding of Sam’s problems was indicated.

Since there were no clues on the examination, further diagnostic testing was needed. He couldn’t advise much more without it. Oh, and they would cost $650. Hopefully, they would be useful.


Interpreting Symptoms


Sam’s family understood that this was the current conventional method. Doing many expensive tests hoping to get a diagnosis. Which then may lead to a treatment to help.

But they also knew that these treatments were often harsh and aggressive and could sometimes cause other problems. Which are then managed with other drugs.

They didn’t want to get on this merry-go-round.

One of Sam’s friends had just consulted with a conventionally trained but holistically and homeopathically-oriented vet in another state. This had seemed odd at the time but now made more sense to Sam’s family.

He taught them that using both externally visible and internally measurable symptoms would help them know what to do. That they could then use all of the clues to work with their pet’s body.

This approach to maintaining Sam’s wellness and treating her dis-ease symptoms made sense to them. But would it help Sam?


Paws Before Acting


Sam’s family knew to paws and ponder before deciding how to help her. This is a critical step before deciding what to do for any non-life threatening problem. It may involve reading reliable resources, speaking with other pet professionals, getting a second (or third) opinion, etc.

As part of their mindful decision-making process, they had spoken with their veterinarian about potential causes for Sam’s elevated SAP and increased drinking. He had spoken with them about the possibility of Cushing’s dis-ease.

When Sam’s guardians learned more about Cushing’s treatment options they decided to seek a different opinion. Not just a second opinion. They knew that a different point of view would be needed to avoid toxic drug treatments and surgery.

One of their friends described a system that was “Beyond Flat Earth Medicine”. It uses holistic interpretation of both internal and external symptoms like Sam’s to work with her body. Doing so could then promote natural healing. Her family could then naturally normalize both her elevated SAP as well as decrease her excessive drinking.

After reading a few eye-opening books Sam’s guardians went back to their veterinarian. He didn’t know much more, so referred them to a veterinary homeopath who some of his other holistically-oriented clients had used. A trained veterinary resource where they could both learn more and treat Sam’s problems.

Four months later when Sam came in for her semi-annual wellness check, she was doing great. Her externally observable drinking symptom had returned to normal. And her blood test showed a dramatic decrease of the internal SAP elevation.


Just like Sam’s family, you can work with your pet’s body. You can often avoid manipulating individual symptoms with medications and surgery.

You can learn more about using Holistic Medical Decision Making (HMDM) to interpret internal and external symptoms in other blog articles. Even more information about this approach is available to members.

Click here to get unlimited access to videos and other resources. They will help you learn and start to use HMDM. 

Practicing Proactive Prevention and Treatment to Best Help Our Pets (Brain Tumor Case)

Practicing Proactive Prevention and Treatment to Best Help Our Pets (Brain Tumor Case)

Seemingly without warning, your beloved companion animal develops a life-threatening illness.

Sue and Bear’s story can help you decide what to do.

Bear is a playful eight year young Bulldog. All of a sudden he started having seizures.

His worried guardian brought him to a neurologist who ran diagnostic tests that showed a large brain tumor.

Why did this happen?

Sue had tried to do everything right. She fed local raw meats in variety, minimized vaccines and drugs, didn’t use any flea or tick poisons, etc.

Important Questions – HMDM Method

What happened and what can Sue do now?

Her HMDM (Holistic Medical Decision Making) STEP 1 goal is to get Bear as healthy, in any way, for him to have the best quality of life for as long as possible.

That brought Sue to HMDM STEP 2. Investigate the problem and learn all of the possible treatments.

Her neurologist laid out the current conventional options. These were steroids and other chemotherapy, surgery and Cyberknife (radiation). None of them would save Bear’s life, but they might buy him a few months.

This didn’t seem like much time. Especially considering all of the side-effects and quality of life lowering limitations of each.

So Sue quickly (she didn’t have much time to help Bear) moved on in her research. And learned more about everything from special diets, nutritional supplements, acupuncture, etc. that were claimed to help seriously ill dogs.

Bear had already tried some of these holistic treatments prior to skin tumors had been removed. None of them seemed suited to this dire situation.

A week went by and Bear was getting worse. It was time to move on to HMDM STEP 3.

The Answer and Holistic Action!

During Sue’s research, Bear’s guardian learned more about the holistic and homeopathic perspective. One that was not currently accepted conventionally, but which could help.

The brain tumor might have resulted from a subtle internal energetic imbalance.

The idea being that the imbalance first resulted in seemingly minor problems like his skin tumors. Even though they were removed, the underlying cause persisted.

It therefore made sense to address this underlying problem directly. Even if most US veterinarians said that it was not “real”. As Bear’s guardian learned, this was not the case elsewhere.

She therefore chose to find a veterinarian who could treat this way and work alongside her neurologist. Her veterinary team was complemented by holistic practitioners of massage, Reiki, flower essences and other gently supportive methods. Everything possible to give Bear the best possible life.

Fine-tuning the Vital Force

Sue was then introduced to the homeopathic concept of regaining health by listening very closely to Bear’s body. Apparently it had been “talking” to her all along. Through the externally visible and internally measurable symptoms.

They could then be used to treat him. Veterinary and MD homeopaths had hundreds of years of successful clinical outcomes. Even in critical cases and during otherwise fatal epidemics.

Treating and monitoring Bear using this approach required commitment on Sue’s part. She started keeping a daily journal of symptoms and responses to treatment.

In order to best use this seemingly unrelated information she touched base with her veterinary homeopath every few days.frequent short checkins with your homeopath will help your pets

That way, she was best able to help. By frequently evaluating symptom changes, both the underlying energetic balance and any side-effects from conventional treatments could be reduced.

At this time, Bear’s story is not finished, but he continues to be a happy boy.

You can also learn to help your pets as Sue did. The free resources on this site will get you started. If you’d like to go even further, Holistic Actions! Academy is here to help.

Early Warning Symptoms (Signs) of Internal Imbalance

Early Warning Symptoms (Signs) of Internal Imbalance

Use the signs and symptoms from your animal companions to “fine tune” their health.

In order to maintain our animal companions in optimal health, it is extremely important to understand the distinction between “common” and “normal”.

Why does it matter whether symptoms are considered common or normal in dogs and cats?

When the body is in a state of optimal health, all systems are in balance and no external manifestations (seen in the symptoms) of imbalance can be found.

Many of the subtle changes we observe in our pets are early warning signs that there is imbalance deep within the body. These are not “diseases” per se, but rather commonly observed deviations from this state of equilibrium.

Recognizing and treating these common, but abnormal, early warning signs is critical to preventing more serious problems in the future.

Some of these symptoms are:

  • runny or red eyes
  • intermittent loose stools
  • ”sensitive” stomach with vomiting, diarrhea and/or other gastrointestinal symptoms
  • straining to defecate
  • excess thirst
  • runny nose
  • red ears
  • excess ear wax
  • picky or excessive appetite
  • fearfulness
  • thin coat/excess shedding
  • intermittent vomiting
  • eating stool/dirt/plastic
  • gassiness
  • gum redness
  • frequent or difficult urination
  • loss of pigment
  • rough, dry nose or pads
  • stiffness
  • ear “infections”
  • anxiety
  • anal sac problems

In more detail we can see that:

Health is freedom. You can see it in a glowing hair coat, bright eyes and high energy. It is an absence of illness, or dependency on medications, or avoidance of “allergins”.  Offspring of a healthy animal will be even healthier, and not have as many “breed” problems.  Healthy animals live longer than we have come to expect.

There are many symptoms we consider normal that really represent an underlying energy imbalance, often made worse from poor diet and vaccination.  As we cure animals of “disease”, we find that these “normal” things go away, too.  Do not be satisfied with the health of your animals until most of the following symptoms are gone. Treat young animals as soon as these are observed.

BEHAVIOR: Fear of loud noises, thunder, wind; barks too much and too long; suspicious nature; timidity; indolence; licking things, people; irritability; indolence; eating dog stool (possibly cat stool) – it seems to be normal to eat horse, cow and rabbit manure; feet sensitive to handling; aggressiveness at play; destructiveness; biting when petted too long (cats, especially on rump); hysteria when restrained; not covering stool and not using litter box (cats); clumsy;

DIGESTIVE TRACT: obesity or thinness; loss of teeth; bad breath; pale gums; red gums; *a red line where the teeth go into the gum, above one or more teeth; tarter accumulation; bad breath; poor appetite; excessive appetite; finicky appetite; sensitivity to milk, meat, or any specific food; craving weird things, especially non-food items like paper, dirt and plastic; vomiting often, vomiting hairballs  (or the hairball gagging type of vomit even if hairballs do not come up) more than 1-2x/year; Mucous on stools, even occasional; tendency to diarrhea with least change of diet; constipation; hard, dry stools.  In Addition for cats: thirst – a super healthy cat on good food will drink at most once a week and many will never drink as they absorb enough from their diet unless on dry food.

LOCOMOTION:  Stiff when getting up; early hip dysplasia; inability to jump up on furniture or counters; loss in the bounce in their step.

SKIN: coat – doggy smell, dry, oily, dull lack luster, excessive shedding; attracts fleas & ticks a lot; chronic ear problems – wax, need frequent cleaning, itchy, red; eyes: discharge, tearing, or matter in corner of eyes. “Freckles” on the face (cats) that appear with age; loss of whiskers; claws  fragile, shedding, hard to trim, twisted; not grooming well.

TEMPERATURE: sensitive to heat or cold. Low grade fevers – The typical (“normal”) range is: 99.5-101.5

AGING: Energy, play, fun and activity level should maintain at the 2 year old level.

In Holistic Actions! Academy we show you how to use these early warning signs. Promote vitality, energy and long and happy lives for your animal family members. You can join us by clicking here.

Be well.

Dr. Jeff and Christina

Join Holistic Action! Community and Receive Great Tips For Your Holistic Journey

Exactly What to Record When “Talking To” Your Pet

Exactly What to Record When “Talking To” Your Pet

The preceding articles have discussed the significance of symptoms.

Appreciating and respecting the value of symptoms may be the most important thing you do for your companion animals.

This article was written to help you recognize very specific symptom details. One part might be useful today, whereas the rest doesn’t seem immediately relevant.

But knowing how to describe symptoms is always relevant. Symptom details (like individual words in a sentence) will help you put them into context.

Symptoms vs. Signs

One point of clarification that probably should have preceded these articles is that pre-verbal children, dogs, cats, horses and other animals do not have symptoms. They have signs.

Symptoms can be subjective. Quality of pains, sensations, dreams, etc. may need to be verbally expressed to be useful.

Animals can’t talk (a shocker, right?) By medical definition, they therefore only have clinical signs.

In Holistic Actions! objective signs + subjective symptoms are both classified as symptoms.

Understanding them will help you harness the natural healing power of your companion animal’s body.

6 Ps

6 simple Ps can transform the care you give to your companion animal. Four of them also give you a pretty good idea of what to pay attention. The more you know how to observe and describe, the more you can help.

These Ps are:

  1. Patience: Deep and permanent healing occurs slowly.
  2. Perseverance: You might need a new approach or different (not just a second) opinion. Don’t give up!
  3. Problematic Symptoms: Health challenges that may limit your pet’s life.
  4. Prominent Symptoms: Those that say “pay attention to me”. Acute dis-ease symptoms are often like this.
  5. Persistent Ones: How often do you see the symptom? Hourly symptoms are usually more significant than weekly.
  6. Peculiar Ones: Have you ever seen this before? In any animal? These are very characteristic of your pet.


This basic guide is designed to help you start learning the symptom language.

All you then have to do is write it down so you remember all of the symptom details. You can then mindfully interpret them and decide what to do.

To start, there’s only 4 symptoms that you need to know. As long as all of them are 100%, your pet is doing great. She’s on track for a long and happy life.

These are the B.E.A.M. (Behavior, Energy, Appetite, Mood) symptoms.

They will help shine the light on optimal long term health. They provide the context you need.

No matter what the other symptoms say, BEAM should be improving over time.

Another important general rule is that changes are very important. Especially if they are Prominent, Persistent, Problematic or Peculiar.

 Symptoms That Are Modified by the Environment

Pay especially close attention to these symptoms. They (“modalities”) are the clearest communication you will get from your pet. Like BEAM, these symptoms also reflect general internal health.

These are animals whose symptoms get better or worse:

  • from company, e.g. extra clingy and no longer want to be left alone or going off to be by herself at specific times of the day or night,
  • in weather conditions like rainy, humid, windy, etc.
  • suddenly wanting to be inside (or outside) more than usual,
  • during or after: eating, drinking, waking, defecating, urinating, etc.,
  • with certain foods (being able to see this is another reason to feed a variety)
  • preferring or avoiding pressure on a part or lying on or against hard surfaces,
    And more!

Other general indicators of health include:

  • preferring warm or cool spots,
  • wanting to be in (or stay out of) the sun,
  • frequency and quantity of drinking,
  • restlessness and not being able to settle down,
  • not wanting to move…

Very significant are also symptoms that occur at the same time. These are the concomitant symptoms. For example vomiting along with diarrhea, increased drinking along with sneezing, etc.

Specific tips to help understand your pet’s body

  1. Keep a daily log at home. Note especially if there is any change in a symptom.
  2. Are there symptoms that have arisen since any environmental or diet change? How about new symptoms associated with a medication (no matter how benign you were told that it is)?
  3. Changes of symptom pattern are especially significant. For example, if your pet starts seeking warm/cool areas, eating more/less, sleeping better/worse or in new spots, etc. These changes are very important even if they don’t seem to be related to the primary problem. Record anything that’s different from normal.
  4. Changes in overall demeanor/mood, energy, interactivity, playfulness, willingness to go for walks, etc. reflect both energy and mood..
  5. Behavior changes, fears and anxieties are very important.

Other clues:

  • When did the problem begin and what circumstances were associated with it or may have brought it on.
  • Previous illnesses such as ear and eye “infections”, allergies/skin diseases, colds, skin growth removals, urinary problems, etc.
  • Specifically, which treatments were used, for how long and and what doses were any drugs used? What were the results? For example, “Boris woke up one morning after being fine the night before with an ear “infection” with left ear redness and black thick smelly discharge and we used Panalog ointment and he was better in two days but then it came back in a few weeks”.
  • Mental and emotional conditions and changes such as: likes and dislikes, desires, fears, timidity, apathy, irritability, aggression, changeable mood, whether easily startled or starting from sleep, or from noise or being touched, whether better or worse from diversion (e.g. seems better from a ride in a car), reaction to contradiction (e.g. what happens when you try to stop an objectionable behavior), better or worse in company, especially quiet or “talkative”, interaction with others of the same species vs. interaction with people, etc.
  • Are there any conditions that started along with the main problem? For example are there loose bowels whenever the scratching gets worse? Is there seeking of quiet warm spots when the discharge worsens, etc.?
  • Does the problem come on at a specific time, season, phase of the moon, temperature/barometric pressure etc., e.g the stiffness is worse when it is humid.
  • How is the appetite? Excessive, picky, anything special that is desired or disliked, e.g. specific foods that are salty, sweet, fatty, sour, spicy, eggs, ice cubes. What about eating indigestibles like dirt, rocks, sand, stool, pencils, etc.
  • Is your pet drinking less or more than usual? Is there thirst for large quantities at one time, small frequent quantities, little thirst. Preference for cool fresh vs. room temperature or warm water? Preference for water out of the tap or hose or toilet?
  • Is she a “sloppy” drinker (does the water go all over the place after a drink?).
  • Do the symptoms remain the same or do they change character or shift from place to place?
  • Time of day, night, month or season that the symptoms are better or worse. Are symptoms better or worse before or after eating, sleeping, moving, resting, when occupied? Anything that makes the symptoms better or worse is very important.
  • How is your pet affected by different kinds of weather, by cold, heat, storms, thunder, snow, being at the seashore, etc.?
  • For external conditions of the skin, coat, nails, etc. describe the exact location, color of lesions, whether dry or moist, thick or thin, scaly, pimply, presence of warts or growths, appearance of skin overall,
  • Is the skin itchy and does your pet seem better from scratching or does that seem to make it itch more? Does heat, cold, exercise, wearing a collar, etc., make it better or worse?
  • Describe any discharges (nose, eyes, vaginal, penile, etc.). Is it scant or copious, thick or thin, sticky, what color, any odor, causing irritation to the tissues, color of the stain and what makes it better or worse.
  • Urine, color, how frequent is the need for urination and is it urgent, any accidents or incontinence in the house?
  • A detailed description of bowel habits, nature of the stool and discharges is very important. Just saying “diarrhea” or “eye discharge” does not tell you much about your pet. But the details are great clues!

Get The Details!

Stool/ GI symptoms

  • Stool frequency and urgency (does your pet rush to the litter box or to the door at a certain time of the day?), shape, quantity, urgency, consistency, odor, color, mucus, blood, odor, frequency, associations with waking, eating, drinking, etc.
  • Does it shoot out like water from a hose with (or without) gas? Is there straining before, during or after passing stool? Does your pet continue to try and eliminate even after the stool? Do you hear (or smell) other gas before during or after passing a stool? How about noises from stomach?
  • Normal stools are well-formed and are easy to pick up (and don’t leave mush on the ground).
  • Soft-formed stools may look the same (or a bit wetter) but are harder to clean up
  • Pudding stools are the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
  • Watery stools are, well, water consistency.
  • Are the stools: very smelly (do they burn your eyes from 6 feet away?), are they hard, dry, large, pasty, bloody, frothy, slimy, thin, watery, slender, flat, what color, etc.
  • How often does she go to the bathroom? Is there a need to eliminate frequently or urgently? What about accidents in the house? Are there times when it is worse or better, or how is it affected by certain circumstances
  • Is defecating or urinating difficult, incomplete (passes a little then keeps trying), urging without results or stool slips back in?


frequency, urgency, odor, color, straining, licking before/during/after, blood, leaking/dripping while walking.


Specific spots they don’t want brushed/pet or prefer to be pet at, reaction to brushing or petting (spinning, whipping head around, trying to bite, moving head from side to side, licking air, “dancing” with back legs)


Does she enjoy or dislike it? What’s her reaction to the running water?


Shedding amount, hair loss (in bunches/tufts?) dandruff, dry or brittle fur, oily, coat shine/dullness, thickness, odor


Dry, flaky, powdery, red or inflamed, open sores, clogged pores or cysts, pimples, location of any skin symptoms, change in skin pigmentation


Frequency, speed, amount, stick nose in water when drinking, messy or clean drinker

Discharge details are very important – discharges from anywhere like the ears, eyes, and nose, color, consistency (watery, thick, sticky, etc.), amount, location, odor, etc.


Does she beg for food and always appear hungry? Is there an increase or decrease in appetite? Is she fed in a crate and if so, why? Will she eat out of a bowl or need to be hand-fed? How fast does she eat? And how does she eat? Does she take a few bites or eat all of the food right away?


Sound (rasping, wheezing, wet cough?), frequency, time of day, length of coughing episode, after waking up, when pulling on leash, after eating or drinking

Vomiting or regurgitation

To differentiate these you need to witness the act to see if it is active or passive. Does the act seem painful? Is there retching? What is the vomitus odor, amount, color, consistency, foamy/frothy, undigested food, triggers, blood, frequency, timing (time of the day, related to eating, drinking, going out or coming in, after defecating/straining) weakness after vomiting


Frequency, time of day, triggers, length of sneezing episode and how many sneezes in a row


More or less reactive to small animals, other dogs or people, length of distance before reactivity occurs, jumping, lunging, barking, growling


Size, open (discharge, bleeding, odor), color, soft or hard, painful, movable, attached (pedicle?), changes in shape or size, hair loss, appear suddenly or gradually, growth speed


Making eye contact more or less frequently, responding to name, actively looking for attention

Temp preference

Prefers to be in sun or shade more frequently, will only walk in the sun/shade, behavior changes with sun or shade, shivering, body feels cold or warm


Includes scratching, licking, rolling, rubbing. Occasional itch or frequent, itching to the point of opening skin, can’t sleep or eat due to itching, location of itching.


Reverse sneezing, wheezing, coughing, time of day, frequency, after sniffing ground, eating, or drinking.


Refusing to get up from persons side, protective behaviors, following, lying on feet/body part, behavior when away from person.


Increase or decrease in energy, seems to be more excited, running, jumping, wanting to go for longer walks, lying down more or less frequently.


Appears to be more/less affectionate, happy, excited to see people, fearful.


Body posturing (cowering, low to ground, stiff, tail between legs or straight out, head bent low), running away from source of fear/phobia or trying to attack/go after it (fight or flight), new fear or phobia? (water, thunder, lightning, wind, loud noises, fast movements, etc.), shaking, refusing to move, curling up.


Eating something new that they did not like before, not eating something that they used to eat, will eat something cooked, but not raw (or vice versa).


On specific foot, holding paw up, sore on spot of lameness, swelling (when touched does indent stay and for how long, or does it return to shape), does swelling feel soft or firm, hot to the touch, pain on rotation of joint.

Ease of lying down

Speed of lying down, lying down with front or back end first, yelping/crying out, spinning before lying down, back end goes down fast but front end is slow to go down.

Ease of getting up

Speed of getting up, using front end more than back to lift up, yelping/crying out, using wall or something else as support to get up, takes multiple tries?

Seeking solitude

Actively avoids interaction, goes to room/area with no one else.


Increase/decrease in focus, excitement level, using food, toys, praise (combination of the three), reluctance to sit, down, heel, etc., enjoys or dislikes training, eye contact.

Vocalizing/moving in sleep

Whining, barking, snoring, paws or legs twitching (all paws?), moving legs as if running.

Female cycle

If your pet is an intact female; how old was she when she first came into heat, how far apart are the cycles, are there any behavior changes or physical symptoms that accompany heat, what is the vaginal discharge before during and after the heat cycle look and smell like? Has she ever been pregnant? Did she breed and conceive easily? How did she carry, any problems delivering? Did she have plenty of milk, any problems associated with nursing?

Sexual issues

Any male or female sexual issues? Trouble breeding, masturbation, excessive mounting behavior, penile or vaginal discharges related or unrelated to heat?

In general what are the effects of heat, cold, bathing, lying down, walking around, first getting up? Unusually tired or excited by company or being left alone? Wanting to be held/clingy vs. wanting to be left alone, looking for dark, quiet spots. Any trait or habit that is different in this individual compared to others that you have known is especially significant.

All of these details are not meant to overwhelm you. Instead, we hope they will help you get started.

Any detail is helpful. The more that you describe and record, the more clues that allow you to help your pets.

Try and dissect one particular symptom that your pet has.

We will help you do this!  You will appreciate and be able to promote your pet’s wellness. You’ll then better understand any dis-ease processes. Join us at Holistic Actions! (Sign up below).

Be well.

Dr. Jeff 

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The 6 Ps That Help Keep Your Pets Healthy

The 6 Ps That Help Keep Your Pets Healthy

Learning to communicate with your companion animal using her symptom language can greatly improve her health and your choices of care.

You’ll become better at keeping her well by identifying early hints of internal imbalance.

Your pet’s symptom language will also help you manage her health challenges.

Learning how is simple and easy. You don’t even to know the meaning of the “words” to get started.

Here’s how:

Changes are key. They help provide the context needed to understand the symptoms.

Observe and record the symptoms and what’s happening in the environment whenever you see change. Write down the details as described below in your journal, calendar, the Evernote app, etc.

Significant environmental changes in lifestyle include anything new in the diet, extra (or too little) exercise, treatments by your veterinarian or other healer, and any changes in you or your family. This becomes important for specifically interpreting what the symptoms are saying.

Even seemingly small lifestyle factors can cause (or resolve) internal changes. 

Recording them will help you put the symptom words into the context of the full sentence. You can then better understand them. It’s hard to understand a new word out of the context of the full sentence.

Everyone can learn how. You don’t need a medical degree.

Your pet speaks to you through these symptoms. Understanding their significance allows you to respond correctly.

If you’re too harsh, judgmental or worse, yell back at your pet’s body to “shut up” (which is what suppressing symptoms can do) you can slow and even stop the normal functioning of the body.

Gentle and open-minded communication using the six Ps is key.

The first two are the most critical. Using them allows you to understand the others:

  1. Patience: Communicating in a foreign language can be slow-going at first. Don’t expect to understand immediately or jump to conclusions. Expecting the quick fix leads to the error of suppressing the symptom language.
  2. Perseverance: Don’t give up. Work through the symptoms while you try to understand them. Put them into the context of your pet’s overall health.

We all try to be patient with children just learning to communicate and with others just learning to speak your language. Our pets deserve the same.

Here are four more Ps that will help you translate the symptom language and know what to do:

  1. Problematic: Is this symptom life-threatening like bloat, inability to urinate, etc? Do you need and ER visit ASAP?Does it even bother your pet (or just you)? The more problematic  the symptom, the better you need to understand it.
  2. Persistent: Is this repeating multiple times a day? A few times a week? Just once? The more often that a symptom word gets repeated within the context of a sentence, the more significant it is. A one off occurrence is worth noting but is probably not the key to understanding what to do.
  3. PROMINENT: Usually, the louder something is shouted out the more you pay attention. However, you don’t necessarily need to focus on or fix the loudest symptom word just because it is yelled at you. The opposite may be true. Prominent symptoms like itching or a discharge may actually be good signs. When interpreted in context.
  4. Peculiar: How odd is the symptom? Are you seeing, feeling, hearing or smelling something that you’ve never seen before in any other animal? These unusual words can unlock the mystery of the sentence you are trying to understand. So even though your conventional veterinarian may roll her eyes when you mention the loud and room-clearing gas that smells like onions but only after drinking, you’ll know that it’s important.

Cherish the words spoken by your beloved companion animal’s body. Preserve them (another P!).

Patiently persevering while you record and interpret them will help you build health and vitality,

But just like learning any new language, there are lots of subtleties if you want to be fluent. Our next article is your basic dictionary to better understanding them.

Be well.

Drs. Jeff and Christina

You Can Learn Your Pet’s Language

You Can Learn Your Pet’s Language

Nature can be seen expressing herself just by looking.

Symptoms are the natural language of your pet’s body.

It seems intuitive to work with nature and in accord with the body.

So why don’t more people listen to symptoms and work with them?

Once we learn about the exquisite effectiveness and elegance of doing so we don’t want to stop.

But there’s a problem.

It’s not easy at first. No one likes something different or difficult.

But the learning curve is short.

At first, learning to recognize and use symptoms is like a foreign language.

But it gets much easier. And natural.

Speaking the native language is always the most effective way to communicate. You can give your pet a better life by communicating more effectively. Better communication usually equates to better treatment outcomes.

Recognizing, respecting and using the language of symptoms allows you to understand your pet’s health better than any laboratory test.

In the US and some other younger cultures, Vitality (aka Chi, Prana, the Life Force) is seen as an old and out dated concept. But adopting it can transform health care. And save you thousands of dollars.

Vitalism in medicine was discarded along with the advent of the modern scientific methods. But holistic veterinarians understand that the vital force allows the body to function.

So how effective could this old concept really be?

Some of the cultures that still use this concept are among the most long-lived around the world. Recognizing and working through symptoms is what allows the traditional (but not the “modern”) doctors in China to only charge patients for keeping you healthy. Wellness care. Not dis-ease treatment.

If you get sick, traditional doctors in China feel they have failed at their job. They only get paid if they keep you healthy.

You too can become more effective in your wellness care and dis-ease management. Listen to and respect your pet’s symptoms. Help your pets today by learning the language of their bodies. You don’t need medical training to listen to it. Read this article for the exact ways to understand and record your pet’s symptoms.

Stay balanced and connected.

Dr. Jeff

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Treating Symptoms Like Weeds In Your Garden

Treating Symptoms Like Weeds In Your Garden

Some quick thoughts while weeding my garden this am.

Improving health is like gardening.

We know that contact with soil is healthful. For various reasons.

You’ll also have healthier animals when you work along with mother nature.

Not against her.

Many of our pet’s health challenges come from becoming dis-connected from nature.

Treating your garden and lawn with toxic chemicals may make it look good. For now.

Everything you do, including pulling weeds by hand, is more effective if you follow the laws of nature.

Weeding works great if you remove the weed roots. In addition to the visible parts above the surface.

Some especially problematic weeds are like chronic dis-eases. They can be difficult to eliminate.

Like deep internal imbalances, if you only remove part of them they keep coming back.

Much like superficially removing symptoms while leaving the underlying imbalance (the “roots” of the disease).

Weeds and chronic dis-eases keep coming back.

The bigger and more obvious the weed, the easier to extract.

If you recognize the weed you can pull it out early before it gets entangled in the normal plantings.

Keep working to remove the roots of dis-eases (other posts discuss how).

Patience and perseverance pay off both in gardening and pet care.

Be well.

Dr. Jeff


More About Using Your Pet’s Symptoms to Help Health Challenges

More About Using Your Pet’s Symptoms to Help Health Challenges

Main take home: Relapsing conditions can be resolved by listening to the symptom clues of your pet’s body.

In the preceding post we saw how easily and quickly you could resolve the acute symptom of a swollen lip: just by recognizing, describing and acting on the symptoms.

We’ve already established: symptoms are clues to your pet’s inner wellness.

Acute vs. Chronic

Resolving acute diseases is pretty easy because the symptoms to be cured are obvious. The trick is to understand the value of acute symptoms. Many of you have already helped your own animals with acute lameness, injuries, swellings, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

Unfortunately, chronic dis-eases are not as easy to treat. The most important symptom clues are not as clear.

For example, let’s imagine a pup with itching and rashes all over the body, plus smelly mucoid pudding diarrhea with accidents in the house. What’s most significant?

Most health challenges nowadays are not simple or easy to resolve. That’s why there are so many recurrent symptoms like red ears, frequent urination, itching, etc. Often even the early changes are subtle. Therefore, recognizing the B.E.A.M. (Behavior, Energy, Appetite, Mood) symptoms is very helpful and important.

In the early stage of internal imbalance, you may know that something is wrong, but it is not reflected in any test that you run. Early symptoms can be seen by you but will not necessarily show up in a blood test, x-ray, ultrasound, etc. Sometimes a trained holistically-minded veterinarian can help you interpret these early changes. Especially when all physical examination findings and diagnostic tests are normal.

When all of the tests are normal, but your pet is still sick may seem like a frustrating situation. But it’s actually a wonderful one!


Because this means that you have detected the internal imbalance early. Before it has progressed to a more serious problem. This is especially important for stopping the return of chronic and recurring problems.

Symptoms are like the rattle in your car and error messages on your computer. They tell you that something is wrong. The better than you can describe what’s going on, the better the chance of fixing it.

Describing Symptoms

Detailed symptom descriptions will help your pet the most.

In addition to the B.E.A.M. symptoms, here’s a list of some early warning signs of dis-eases you can keep track of to detect the imbalance early on.

For example, every detail about how she eats or drinks, if her symptom is better or worse from going outside, coming inside, time of the day, thickness and color of discharges, etc.

You can use these symptoms to have healthier and happier companion animals.

That smelly pudding stool with clear mucus and straining to defecate symptom can go away with a simple change in diet, or the ear redness and putrid odor may resolve by avoiding chicken, etc.


If you would like to learn more about understanding your pet’s language and how to have healthier pets, sign up for the Holistic Actions! community below.

Be well.

Dr. Jeff

Understanding and Describing Symptoms Will Help Your Pets Have Better Lives

Understanding and Describing Symptoms Will Help Your Pets Have Better Lives

Main take home message: Acute symptoms reflect internal health. How you treat them really matters.

Let’s look at one of the very best ways to help your companion animals today while improving their overall health.

That is – understanding signs and symptoms. You do not need to be a doctor to do this.

All you need to do is to learn how to describe symptom details. Working with the clues that your pets bodies are giving you will help them get better. Without the frequent relapses that are so common nowadays!

Here’s a real life situation to better understand the Holistic Actions! approach to treating symptoms while improving health. This one happens to be in a human animal.

Amy’s Case

Amy (Dr. Jeff’s wife) woke up with a badly swollen lip. Her lower lip was twice its usual size. This sudden odd symptom was doubly strange because only half of it was swollen.

  • She was fine when she went to sleep.
  • She hadn’t eaten any unusual foods.
  • Maybe something bit her overnight?
  • What did Amy’s swollen lip symptom mean? And what should be done about it?

Amy’s swollen lip was a fabulous observable sign. Her body was saying something. That’s the simple message that signs and symptoms convey.


Anyone that can communicate can do it!

You don’t need a doctorate to understand the symptom language of the body. Don’t worry about all of the internal physiologic complexity. It is however helpful to know that the physiologic changes that result in symptoms are secondary to an underlying cause. The primary abnormality is simple and can be understood by all.

Conventional medicine either ignores the underlying cause or calls them “triggers”. Triggers are things like foods, pollens, stress, etc.

Holistically however we look at all of the underlying causes. We see that most dis-ease symptoms are caused by an energetic imbalance. This knowledge is thousands of years old. It is the basis for modern medicine in India, China, and many other countries.

The energetic basis for dis-ease is not considered at this time in most of the U.S or Canada. Despite this, many MDs and veterinarians understand dis-ease as an imbalance.

Symptoms are our best way to see, understand and fix that imbalance.

Amy’s swollen lip is observable evidence of an internal imbalance – what MDs would call a symptom. In non-verbal species it is called a sign (so your vet might look at you funny if you tell her about your pet’s symptoms).

The body’s symptomatic response to its’ environment is more important than the trigger. The way any symptom looks is a direct reflection of the individual.

Start Today

Use this important concept by observing and describing symptoms. Doing so will help you resolve them permanently. And at the same time improve health and resistance to all dis-eases.

Correctly interpreting signs and symptoms allows proper treatment of the underlying problem. Long-term health is improved when we treat this underlying tendency to produce specific symptoms. Treating this tendency helps reduce recurrence of the problem. Drug treatment can not help in this way.

For example, many pets are prone to hot spots in one specific location. And what do you mean by a “hot spot” anyway? Is it oozing (yellow, green, clear), is it red, hairless, smelly, etc.

Or maybe the ear “infection” is in one ear but not the other.

The way symptoms look help you put them into context of longer term health.

Back to Amy’s fat lip and why neither of us were too alarmed by it. We both knew that even symptoms that look bad usually are not. As long as B.E.A.M. is normal.

Amy received a single dose of a homeopathic medicine. It was chosen based on all of her symptoms. Not only the swelling. After the dose her lip quickly improved. The swelling symptom was gone altogether after the second dose.

Signs and symptoms should not inspire fear. Instead, they should be understood. Your vet homeopath can help you understand them in the bigger picture of helping your pets have happier and longer lives.

Be well. Keep your pets balanced.

Dr. Jeff

P.S. Join our Holistic Actions! community to learn more about holistic actions you can take to help your pets thrive.