Grounding is a new buzz word for many of us who have learned the importance of connecting with Mother Earth. But have we thought much about the importance of grounding to our companion dogs? In a new book entitled, PALEO DOG, Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing his Inner Wolf, my writing partner Jean Hofve, DVM and I discuss the significance of grounding behind what we might take for granted: the daily walking of our dogs.
We all used to walk barefoot upon our Mother Earth every day. Both humans and their animal companions were in constant contact with the earth until they moved in with us and joined us in our modern twenty first century way of living. Now most of us are missing that direct contact and the wonders of the planet’s magnetic field. It is almost as if we are living on the moon today, because our buildings, our shoes, our cars, our furniture, ¯everything keeps us separate from feeling the dirt, grass, rocks, and sand beneath our toes and paws! Whether we know it or not, we all have a powerful need for this contact, because we are bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet.
The relationship between inflammation and disease has finally been recognized ¯and been brought to public attention. Free radicals, which cause and perpetuate inflammation, are everywhere. The media, every health food store, pharmacy and grocery store sells nature’s best free radical fighters in the form of antioxidants along with natural forms of anti-inflammatories such as marine lipids.
Inflammation was previously considered to be the body’s urgent response to injury and infection and acute, normal inflammation is exactly that. But researchers today are concerned with chronic inflammation, and/or oxidative stress, which is now known to be an underlying cause of most common health disorders in both people and their companion animals, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and degenerative conditions like arthritis and cognitive decline (senility). But what, besides providing specific supplements and feeding a healthy diet, can we do about it for what my writing partner and I refer to as our Paleo Dogs? The answer is not that difficult, because we live right on the surface of what may be the biggest anti-inflammatory device ever conceived: Mother Earth herself. It is the Earth’s surface that provides the magnetic field that we were designed to walk upon.
A strong argument can be made that contact with the soil quenches inflammation by allowing Earth’s infinite supply of negatively charged electrons to rise up into the body and to ramp down the chronic inflammation and free radicals that are truly killing us. The theory that Earth is anti-inflammatory is still just a theory, but how else can we explain the way that grounding, or also known as Earthing, reduces inflammation and stimulates healing on all levels? We need to get our feet out of our shoes and to get our dogs out on the earth, instead of always being separated from it by floors, cars, and concrete. We need to walk upon the earth’s surface again, lie upon it, lean back against a tree trunk as our ancestors once did and many cultures still do! We must assist this process for our dogs and help them too to reconnect with the earth.
Science understands that chronic inflammation is also a major factor in aging. Can reconnecting with Earth’s magnetic field slow the aging process through its remarkable impact on inflammation?
The natural slowdown that occurs in cells and tissues as we advance in age is responsible for an increased risk of disease and death. Part of this process involves the aging of the immune system, characterized by a chronic low-grade inflammatory status of the whole aging organism. This process is called immunosenescence and has also been appropriately dubbed “inflamm-aging.”
The modern preoccupation with drugs and vaccines has replaced treatments that, for thousands of years, enhanced the immune system, such as Ayurvedic therapies and Chinese medicine, including acupuncture. Instead, today’s preventative treatments, such as vaccines and topical flea and tick products, (while they’re often necessary today) burden a dog’s body with a toxic overload that can impact his health for the rest of his or her life. Ultimately, the body simply ceases to be able to deal with this overload.
The Earthing idea is elegantly simple; after you prepare your dog a healthy homemade paleo-style breakfast, go for a brief walk, barefoot and bare-pawed, when the weather permits. Go for it even if it’s just on a tiny plot of grass for a few minutes every day. Be sure to touch the ground (after checking that the surface is not too hot or too cold for your dogs delicate paw pads). Some natural stone surfaces will also help conduct Earth’s healing ability, and there are also special sheets, padsand devices that can aid in accomplishing some daily indoor grounding.
Artwork courtesy of Nazim Artist
Here is a link to recipes and veterinarian formulated supplements designed to make the homemade Paleo Dog diet complete.