The following is an excerpt from Dr. Karen Becker from story: These 3 Pillars Hold Your Pet’s Life and Longevity in Highest Esteem:

The following three pillars form the foundation for your pet’s health, quality of life and longevity.

Pillar No. 1: Species-appropriate nutrition

The diet you feed your pet should be nutritionally balanced and biologically appropriate. Biologically inappropriate foods cause metabolic and mitochondrial stress. Foods that generate the least amount of metabolic stress are in their natural form — whole, raw and unprocessed.

Species-appropriate for your carnivorous pet means food high in protein and low in grain content. Dogs are scavenging carnivores and cats are obligate carnivores, and carnivores need to eat animal protein and fat to be optimally healthy. I recommend offering your pet food in its natural state to provide needed moisture, and to insure the highest level of biologic assimilation and digestion. Proper nutrition will benefit the two remaining pillars of health.

Pillar No. 2: A balanced, functional immune system

The goal is to keep your pet’s immune system in balance. It should protect against pathogens, but not be over-reactive to the point of creating allergies and other autoimmune disorders. One of the keys to keeping your dog’s or cat’s immune system strong is to avoid over-vaccinating. The role of vaccines is to stimulate the immune system to respond. Repeated vaccinations can send your pet’s immune system into overdrive, which can result in autoimmune disease.

Animals don’t need yearly re-vaccinations any more than humans do, so I encourage you to work with a veterinarian who titers rather than re-vaccinates. Other keys to balanced immune system function are to avoid overuse of drugs like antibiotics, steroids, chemical pest repellents and parasite preventives. The more toxins that build up in your pet’s body, the less effective the immune system will be.

Pillar No. 3: A sound, resilient frame

There are a number of ways to help your pet keep his musculoskeletal system and organs in excellent condition. Regular, consistent aerobic exercise is a great way to maintain good physical conditioning. Keeping your pet from becoming overweight or obese is also extremely important.

Massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and other forms of physical therapy, depending on the individual requirements of your dog or cat, are also excellent methods for maintaining a sound frame and organs as well as for managing joint pain and healing injuries.

And don’t overlook the importance of a healthy mouth. Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums in good shape through regular brushing at home and as-needed professional cleanings by your veterinarian is a very important key to good health for a lifetime.