Pet Guru Advocates a Human-Edible Diet

September 27, 2007
By Cheryl Truman
Lexington Herald-Leader

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- First of all, know this: If you're feeding your animal from your supermarket's pet-food aisle, for shame.

Veterinarian Martin Goldstein will tell you why your pet's nutritional needs are as - complicated as your own - and why you shouldn't feed them abbatoir-scrap, adobe-colored supermarket kibble.

Would you eat it? No. And so, Goldstein reasons, neither should your life's companions. (We're talking about your pets here. Whether you feed your spouse Frito pie is your own business.)

Goldstein, of New York, is the veterinarian to the stars' pets, the animals that make zillionaire Oprah Winfrey, home-style diva Martha Stewart and socialite Marylou Whitney very happy indeed.

Goldstein appeared on Winfrey's show in April. The Queen of Daytime now gives her dog, Sophie, a mixed diet of chicken, beef, lamb, brown rice, potatoes and carrots - probably a lot better than that double cheeseburger on white bread that you sucked down for your midday meal.

Heavily processed, low-nutrition foods are "not what they're supposed to eat," Goldstein says of America's pets. "There's not much nutritional benefit to it I and it's heavily laden with the offshoots of carbohydrates and grains."

In the pet-care industry, Goldstein is neither fish nor fowl: He's neither totally devoted to conventional veterinary medicine nor an exclusive practitioner of holistic therapies. He practices "integrative medicine" - doing blood analysis of the pets he treats and tailoring his recommendations to the animal. Sometimes he'll use conventional medical techniques. Sometimes he'll demur.

You, a job-holding, bill-paying human, would be lucky to get such attention. Chiropractic or acupuncture? Herbal therapy or aromatherapy?

Goldstein's public presentations cover food and nutrition, supplementation and metabolic balancing, allergies, cancer, the human-animal bond and vaccinations.

He is especially wary of vaccinations, which most of us take for granted. Take the pet to the vet, get the shots. The more shots, the better - what's wrong with that? Goldstein contends that animals in nature are not exposed to the onslaught of illnesses that are covered with the weakened versions used in vaccines. And with the qualified exception of the rabies vaccine, he's skeptical about the side effects of the vaccines you assume are safeguarding your pet's health.

Ask Gerard Fee of Lexington, Ky., about Goldstein's success with Fee's cat Jotaro.

Four years ago, Fee found two small tumors on Jotaro's neck and had them excised. One was malignant. After that, more tumors were found.

A bookseller recommended Goldstein's book, "The Nature of Animal Healing: The Definitive Holistic Guide to Caring for Your Dog and Cat" (Ballantine Books, $16).

Fee took Jotaro to see Goldstein, who sees cancer as a manifestation of a system out of balance.

The standard treatment is to attack the cancer, Goldstein says, but "the reason the cancer is there is because the body is not working well in the first place."

Jotaro is now 12 years old and healthy. "He looks years younger. He can race up the stairs," Fee says. "His coat is like mink."

Fee has changed his pet-care habits. He feeds his cats human-quality meat, free of steroids and hormones. "All of the food I feed my animals here is meat I could eat," Fee said.

Of Goldstein, he said: "He's not treating disease. He's treating for health."

Jim Seidelman, who is helping to register attendees at Goldstein's appearances, describes him in terms that would appear to apply more to a spiritual guru.

"I didn't realize how passionate people are about their pets," Seidelman said. "Everyone that calls me, they are so excited about this man coming."