Find a holistic vet

If you are in western Connecticut or the tri-state area and looking for a holistic veterinarian, look no further than this comprehensive list produced by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. For a holistic veterinarian in any other part of the United States, simply click here to be directed to the AHVMA "Find a Vet" page.

Have we missed anyone? Please let us know in the comments. 

Antosiewicz, Peter, DVM

Valley Veterinary Hospital, New Milford


Acupuncture, Acupuncture (IVAS), Chinese Herbs, Chiropractic, Clinical Nutrition, Magnetic Therapy, Massage Therapy, Nutrition, Pulsating Magnetic Therapy, Western Herbs


Beckett, III, Stewart (Chip), DVM, Glastonbury


Acupuncture (IVAS), Chinese Herbs, Chiropractic, Conventional Medicine, Homotoxicology, Prolotherapy


Benyei, Curt. DVM

Schulhof Animal Hospital, Westport


Acupuncture, Acupuncture (IVAS), Bach Flowers, Clinical Nutrition, Conventional Medicine, Homeopathy, Homeopathy-Classical, Nutrition, Pulsating Magnetic Therapy, Western Herbs


Erickson-Greco, Angela, DVM

Animal Health Practice, Bantam


Acupuncture, Acupuncture (IVAS), Applied Kinesiology, Chinese Herbs, Chinese Herbs (IVAS), Chiropractic, Chiropractic (AVCA), Western Herbs


Fallek, Marcie, DVM

Animal Natural Healing Center, Fairfield


Acupuncture, Acupuncture (IVAS), Bach Flowers, Clinical Nutrition, Glandular Therapy, Homeopathy-Classical, IAT (Immuno-Augmentive Therapy), Massage Therapy, Osteopathy, Western Herbs


Fallek, Marcie, DVM

Animal Natural Healing Center, New York


Acupuncture, Acupuncture (IVAS), Bach Flowers, Clinical Nutrition, Glandular Therapy, Homeopathy-Classical, IAT (Immuno-Augmentive Therapy), Massage Therapy, Osteopathy, Western Herbs


Feinman, Jeffrey, VMD, CVH

Weston, Ct


Clinical Nutrition, Homeopathy, Homeopathy - certified, Homeopathy (AVH), Homeopathy-Classical, Nutrition, Western Herbs


Ganser, Rosemary, VMD

Rosemary Ganser, VMD, LLC

Ridgefield, Ct


EQUINE, FARM Acupuncture, Acupuncture (IVAS), Chiropractic, Chiropractic (AVCA)


Gurevich, Anna, DVM

Westport, Ct

Acupuncture, Acupuncture (CHI), Chinese Herbs (Chi Institute), Chiropractic, Chiropractic (IVCA), Conventional Medicine


Harris, Wendy, DVM

Chi Pet LLC, Weston Ct.


Acupuncture, Acupuncture (CHI), Chinese Herbs


Lamme, Arthur, DVM

Moodus, Ct


Acupuncture (CHI), Applied Kinesiology, Chinese Herbs (Chi Institute), Clinical Nutrition, Conventional Medicine, Glandular Therapy, Homeopathy-Classical, NAET, Nutrition, Reiki, Western Herbs


Lesser, Sue Ann, DVM

South Huntington, NY


Acupuncture (IVAS), Chiropractic, Chiropractic (AVCA), Chiropractic (HOWC)


Saria, Rebecca, DVM

Gold Coast Mobile Veterinary Service, Milford, Ct

203-727-8600 / 888-97-GoldVet


Bach Flowers, Chinese Herbs, Chiropractic, Clinical Nutrition, Conventional Medicine, Homeopathy


Schoen, Allen, DVM

Allen M. Schoen, DVM, MS & Associates, LLC, Sherman, Ct


Acupuncture, Acupuncture (IVAS), Chinese Herbs, Chiropractic, Chiropractic (AVCA)


Tobin, Stephen, DVM

Holistic Veterinary Medicine, Meriden, Ct. 



Clinical Nutrition, Conventional Medicine, Homeopathy-Classical, Nutrition, Western Herbs


Zickmann, Steven, DVM

Lebanon Veterinary Hospital, Lebanon, Ct



Clinical Nutrition, Conventional Medicine, Homeopathy, IAT (Immuno-Augmentive Therapy), Nutrition, Western Herbs



The $64,000 question: So why do dogs eat grass anyway?


The $64,000 question: So why do dogs eat grass anyway?

If the photograph below of a dog eating grass looks familiar, you are not alone. With the exception of the proper food to feed your pet, there is perhaps no other question that elicits as many varied responses as this one. So what is the answer? Well, as it turns out, there isn't a single one. 



Peas, please

This is the first in a series of blog posts by Lynn Felici-Gallant, co-owner of Paul's Custom Pet Food LLC, about growing food for your pet.

Photo of a hungry Tucker by Kate Donald of Stout Oak Farm.

Planting For Pets

When people think of pets and gardens they typically think of ways to either keep pets out of garden spaces or to design pet-friendly gardens in which a dog or cat can roam freely by incorporating raised beds, decorative fencing, and the like.

With gardening season upon us, we’d like to encourage home gardeners to think a bit differently about pets and gardens and to plant pet-healthful fruits and vegetables for their four-legged friends.

Pea pods by Gaetan Lee at

Pea pods by Gaetan Lee at


Gardening + Cooking for your Pet: A return to A Bygone Era

The number of pet food recalls in recent years has left many a pet owner searching for alternatives to large-scale commercial pet food with questionable ingredients. The good news is that the market has responded with human-grade mixes, organic blends, and raw food diets for both dogs and cats. Still, these products – with few exceptions -- continue to be manufactured in relatively large batches and shipped throughout the country.

While the direction in pet food manufacturing is promising, recent emphasis on knowing the origins of our own food has led many responsible pet owners to abandon commercial foods altogether for home-cooked meals. As with the slow foods movement for humans, this is not a new phenomenon, but rather a return to an era when pets ate meat from the farm, vegetables from the garden, and scraps from the plates of their caretakers.

So, if you are inclined to cook for your pet, why not grow as much of your pet’s food as possible? Aside from limitations on certain plant species that are unhealthy for pets (see the list below), pets love and benefit from many fruits and vegetables. And for those who are concerned about expense, growing your own food costs little more than a packet or two of seeds.

We'll start with peas. Tell us in the comments what you plan to grow this year for your four-legged friend.

Peas, please

Botanical name: Pisum sativum

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 -11

Sun exposure: Full sun, part sun

Soil: Rich but not overly fertilized, well-drained soil

According to Dr. Judy Morgan, holistic veterinarian, practitioner of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), and author of From Needles to Natural, "Peas are a good source of fiber and antioxidants like glutathione and lutein. Lutein is important for eye health. Peas are fairly high in iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous, which helps build blood. They are a good source of vitamins A and K, which are important for eye health and blood clotting."

However, Dr. Morgan notes, "Peas are also high in phytoestrogens, which can be a problem for breeding dogs and dogs with Cushing's disease, so should be avoided for those dogs in most instances. Peas can also be hard to digest, so they should be crushed or cooked for best absorption of nutrients. Peas are a Yin tonic, which means they are cooling and moisturizing. Raw peas would make a great snack, but may not be completely broken down by the digestive tract in all dogs."

How to plant peas

adapted in part from The Old Farmers' Almanac

Photo by JS via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by JS via Wikimedia Commons

Peas are cool-season crops that in many parts of the country are planted on or by St. Patrick's Day. With snow still blanketing much of Northeast, it was impossible to do so there this week. But peas can be started indoors if you get them in the ground soon after germination and you are careful not to damage their sensitive roots. Or, in most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to wait until early or mid-April so long as the soil is still cool.

  • To get the best head start, turn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add compost to the soil, and mulch well.
  • Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F.  Plant them while the soil is still cool but not overly wet. For soil that stays wet longer, invest in raised beds.
  • Plant 1 inch deep (deeper if soil is dry) and 2 inches apart.
  • A blanket of snow won't hurt emerging pea plants, but several days with temperatures in the teens could. Be prepared to plant again if that is the case.
  • For tall and vine varieties, establish poles or a trellis at the time of planting.

Caring for peas once planted

  • Be sure you have well-drained, humus-rich soil. Don't over fertilize the soil, as peas are especially sensitive to too much nitrogen. They might like a little bone meal for the phosphorus content.
  • Poke in any seeds that wash out. (A chopstick is an ideal tool for this.)
  • Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced.
  • Do not hoe around plants to avoid disturbing fragile roots.
  • It's best to rotate pea crops every year or two to avoid a buildup of soil-borne diseases.
  • Cultivate peas throughout the cool season and for as long as they continue to produce fruit. Plant again in fall for a second, though typically not as prolific, crop.

While gardening for your pet is rewarding on many levels, pets cannot and should not simply eat the same foods we grow or prepare for ourselves. This blog series will present fruits and vegetables that are good for your pets and that you can grow at home. However, keep in mind . . .

Not all "people food" is good for pets

According to The Humane Society of the United States, the following foods might be poisonous to pets:

  • Alcoholic beverages 
  • Apple seeds 
  • Apricot pits 
  • Avocados
  • Cherry pits
  • Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol) 
  • Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
  • Garlic
  • Grapes 
  • Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
  • Hops (used in home beer brewing) 
  • Macadamia nuts 
  • Moldy foods 
  • Mushroom plants (note by author: this prohibition is controversial, as it is prescribed by vets who practice TCVM)
  • Mustard seeds 
  • Onions and onion powder 
  • Peach pits 
  • Potato leaves and stems
  • Raisins 
  • Rhubarb leaves 
  • Salt 
  • Tea (because it contains caffeine) 
  • Tomato leaves and stems
  • Walnuts 
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
  • Yeast dough

Note: Beware of pea fiber in pet food

Pea fiber is not the same as whole peas. Pea fiber is a controversial ingredient in commercial pet foods. For more information about pea fiber in pet food, please read raw food activist Dr. Karen Becker's article, Another Pet Food Filler: How some pet food companies are responding to consumer demands.



Talking tumeric

Everyone is talking about tumeric. But why?
Our featured veterinarian, Dr. Judy Morgan, D.V.M., explains.

Dr. Judy Morgan poses with a few of her friends.

Dr. Judy Morgan poses with a few of her friends.

Turmeric is an orange spice, commonly found in Indian and Asian food. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is commonly used as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory herb. It is also a good stomach tonic, stimulates bile production in the liver, detoxifies the blood, and can be used to disinfect wounds. It has anti-fungal properties and can be used topically to treat ringworm. It is a powerful anti-oxidant and can help battle cancer by shutting down blood flow to tumors.

How to use with dogs or cats

  • It can be mixed with honey and used to treat wounds and kill bacteria
  • Cats can be given 1/8 teaspoon per day and dogs can be given 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight per day
  • It can be used in cooking meals for your pet or added at the time of feeding
  • Turmeric can decrease clotting ability, so consult your veterinarian if your pet has severe liver disease or clotting problems

About Tumeric

Common name: Tumeric, Indian saffron, haldi

Botanical name: Curcuma longa syn. Curcuma domestica

According to the American Cancer Society, turmeric has a long history of use in herbal remedies, particularly in China, India, and Indonesia. The root and rootstock, or rhizome, of the plant contain curcumin, which is considered to be the active ingredient. A member of the ginger family, its primary bulb and secondary lateral rhizomes are collected, cleaned, boiled, and dried for medicinal use and in preparing food.



Take that, fleas. Create your own fragrant pet shampoo.

Rosemary (Rosemary officinalis) photo courtesy of wikimediacommons/Thor.

Rosemary (Rosemary officinalis) photo courtesy of wikimediacommons/Thor.

Rosemary is for remembrance and also . . .

. . . To keep fleas and ticks at bay. Contrary to popular misconception, fleas and ticks do not, unfortunately, disappear with the onset of cooler weather. Ticks can survive through the winter by burrowing into warm and protective leaves or other debris, while fleas can find their way into the warmth of your home in any number of ways. Fortunately, you don't have to resort to harsh chemicals to rid your pets of these pesky critters. A simple (and super-fragrant) solution of rosemary, oregano, lemon verbena, lavender, spearmint, and calendula in a spray or shampoo works wonders at repelling and removing fleas and ticks.

Gather any combination of the following herbs per your preference, totaling 2 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried:

  • Rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus officinalis), oregano leaves (Origanum vulgare), lemon verbena leaves (Aloysia citriodora), lavender buds (Lavandula angustifolia), spearmint leaves (Mentha spicata), calendula petals (Calendula officinalis)
  • 1 tablespoon baby shampoo or liquid castile soap (if making shampoo)

Place the herbs in a medium pot or heat-proof bowl. Cover with 2 cups boiling water and let them steep until the tea has cooled. Strain out the herbs.

For repellent spray: Fill a spray bottle with the herbal liquid. Spray your pet, rubbing the liquid into her fur. Begin using this spray at the start of flea and tick season, and repeat several times each week, including during the fall or winter if your pet is outside.

For shampoo: In a jar or empty shampoo bottle, combine the baby shampoo or liquid castile soap with the above herbal liquid. In a bathtub or large basin filled with warm water, massage the shampoo into your pet’s damp fur and lather well. (Add more shampoo if necessary.) Wait 10 minutes, then rinse with water. The shampoo will cause fleas to jump off and drown in the water. Reapply once or twice each week until the fleas are gone.

The above recipe was originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, February/March 2014 and excerpted from the book: Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal: A Practical Guide for Healthy Living Using Nature’s Most Powerful Plants, by Michael J. Balick, Ph.D. (Rodale, April 2014).



Saving seventy pets, one at a time.

Meet Renee Gardner, shelter manager for the Animal Welfare Society of New Milford, Connecticut. Renee was kind enough to take time out of her day to answer a few questions we had about the AWS. And when we say "take time out of her day" we mean her busy day. The AWS cares for an average of seventy pets at any given time . . .



Plastic packaging woes

We love the look of our new packaging, but we are the first to recognize that zip-locked, vacuum-sealed bags produce a lot of plastic. Although the plastic is BPA-free--and vacuum sealing allows us to use every bit of it--still, we wish there was another way. Which got us to thinking . . .