Four Paws, Five Directions

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There are pet care care books, and then there are pet care books.

Four Paws, Five Directions, by Chery Schwartz, DVM, is a comprehensive guide to Chinese medicine for cats and dogs. I picked this book up in hopes of saving a small kitten from a fatal disease (unsuccessfully), but I continue to be impressed by the scope of the material covered.

All the basics of Chinese medical theory that you would find in a guide written for humans are here as they pertain to your fuzzy companions: the Chinese meridian system, five-element theory, herbology, and food therapy, as well as important acupressure points and massage techniques for a wide variety of conditions that befall cats and dogs.

Photographic (and often amusing) illustrations outline the meridians as they translate to an animal's body, and numerous case studies and examples assist the reader in viewing their animal's condition through the lens of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

From the cover: "... a surprising number of behavioral problems are actually physiological in origin. Instead of costly remedial training, a change in diet or the addition of acupressure of herbs to the animal's care may be the solution... Used as either an adjunct to Western medicine or on its own, Four Paws, Five Directions helps you being your animal friend's body into balance through a treatment-and-prevention approach that saves both of you from undue distress."

My own experience has also shown me that becoming involved in an animal's health in this way is empowering and has the added benefit of strengthening the bond between humans and the cats and dogs who love them.