My photo
Lafayette, California
We are one of the few veterinary clinics in the Bay Area that is exclusively dedicated to Holistic Medicine. This allows us to concentrate our energies 100% on healing via holistic modalities. Our focus is on energetic healing and while we have some western medications available, we rarely need to use them. We are committed to your animal's health and well-being. All products used for cleaning are green and non-toxic. We implement strategies to reduce our carbon foot print and use green and recycled products where possible. We take all of our patients care and well being very seriously. We are passionate about what we do. Every day we are excited to make a difference in animals lives, whether it be offering non-invasive options for a terminal illness to advising owners on natural methods for rearing their new puppy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eucalyptus Power

I bought a bunch of Eucalyptus branches from Berkeley Bowl yesterday. I use them to encourage spiritual cleansing and to clear mental stagnation by hanging them in on our front door and in our kitchen. 

In reading more about the spiritual benefits of eucalyptus plants, I am learning how vital this aromatic plant can be. Here, to quote Shamalah-Allah from her blog:

"Do you every wonder why thoughts are repetitive inside of your head? Why you can’t seem to get what that person said out of your mind?  Why the past continues to haunt you even after it’s been worked out seemingly?  That’s because the by-product of that situation or it’s energy hasn’t completely vaccated your aura (the energy field that emminates outward from your phsycial body).   Even though a situation may have completed its cycle, there still can be residue left over from it – similar to ashes left after a fire.
Eucalyptus oil is great for cleaning out residual energy, it expells it out, just like it does medicinally for our congestion."

If you are unable to find eucalyptus branches, go to your local healthfood store to purchase a bottle of eucalyptus oil. In a clean glass bottle, fill mostly with spring water and then top with a few drops of eucalyptus oil (give or take depending on the size of your bottle). Spritz the air and breathe in the freshness. 

If you'd like to make a general purpose surface cleaner, add a bit of dish liquid, shake, spritz surface and wipe clean.

Got goo residue from an old sticker? Remove it effortlessly with straight eucalyptus oil.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's make turkey jerky!

What to do with all of that leftover turkey meat? You've had it as a sandwich, you've had it as hash for breakfast, you've diced it up and put it in your salad- what else can be done to respectfully use the extra turkey meat? In the past, I have dehydrated beef liver as a treat for my doggy. Since my dog is not sensitive to poultry, I decided to dehydrate some turkey meat!

Preheat oven to the lowest temperature obtainable in your home oven - ours has a Warm notch on the dial, which is likely 180 degrees. Slice white and dark turkey meat 1/4 inch thick. Place it on a cooling rack that is on top of a baking sheet. This allows air flow throughout all of the surfaces of the meat. Place it in the oven and keep  in for at least 2 hours. (A tip I learned, but haven't tried, is to keep the door slightly open; this allows even more air circulation around the meat.) Keep in mind that the meat must be absolutely dried out before considering it done. This will kill bacteria and prevent mold while stored.
Once the meat has reached a desirable texture, remove from the oven and allow to cool - OUT OF YOUR DOGS REACH. The turkey jerky can be stored in a glass mason jar for up to 2 weeks.

Ours turned out pretty well. I even smeared the thinest layer of cranberry puree on a few pieces as an additional texture and nutritional benefit for my doggy.

Give it a try and let us know what you think! Feedback is great, so anything that worked or didn't work, let us know :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

A4A is now carrying a great customized blended diet by

We carry the Original Oats blend

and the Original Potato Blend

Both are great additions to the home-cooked world of dog food. Check 'em out online by clicking on this link: Balance It blends

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Newsletter for August 2011
Hot off the press… new services and new products!

Feed This, Inc.
“Commercial food (called kibble) was introduced about in the 1940's, mainly to help large kennels feed animals faster and to provide food for military dogs. Since then the Kibble industry has boomed. You can find every flavor on the market, as well as special diets for various ailments.” Feed This, Inc

Feed This, Inc. provides already packaged and individually portioned out raw food that are free of grains, yeast and dairy. Each package contains 6 daily meals, including a “bones only” day. Offering your companion animal a diet rich in protein and excluding high allergens (ie. corn, soy, wheat, dairy), will provide healthy gut flora and elevated immune system support. 

Please call Alternatives for Animals at 925 283-6160 to start your furry friend on a specially formulated Feed This, Inc. diet regimen.

Young Living Essential Oils
“Raindrop Technique® combines the art of aromatherapy with the techniques of Vita Flex and massage in the application of essential oils to various areas of the body. This collection provides a revolutionary means of bringing balance and harmony to the body - physically, mentally, and emotionally.” Young Living
After a recent 2-day course in therapeutic essential oils, Dr Rettig is pleased to announce the introduction of Young Living’s Essential Oils at A4A! All essential oils are organically grown and are therapeutic grade. Young Living essential oils are now offered in spray, diffuser, and topical methods. Particularly helpful is the Raindrop Technique. This is based on the theory that viruses and bacteria lie dormant along the spine, where they create inflammation, contort the spinal column and can impair internal organs and the nervous system. 

To find out if incorporating essential oils is helpful for the wellbeing of your furry friend, please call Alternatives for Animals at 925 283-6160. (Note: Please avoid if you have any sensitivities to aromas.)

Animal Dental Care
“Animal Dental has been the leader in non-anesthetic pet dentals since 1992. Our technicians are highly trained and only work under the direct supervision of veterinary doctors. Non-anesthetic dental cleaning is available to dogs and cats. It is a 7-step process including: oral examination, supragingival cleaning, subgingival cleaning, polishing, post cleaning examination and charting.” Animal Dental Care
We’ve already had a couple visits with Animal Dental Care and are pleased with the results! We plan to have them return for another day of dental care on October 21st, 2011. 

Please call Alternatives for Animals at 925 283-6160 to for more information. (Note: Applies only to patients of Alternatives for Animals.)

Wellness Packages

- Senior Wellness Package $200: includes acupuncture, chiropractic and massage 1 each per month.
- Arthritis Package $395: includes 1 acupuncture, 1 chiropractic, 1 massage and 4 laser sessions.
(Note: Applies only to patients of Alternatives for Animals. Please call 925 283-6160 to schedule.)

Email Correspondences
Dr. Rettig receives an enormous amount of emails daily. Some involve lengthy responses, research, and reviewing of test results from another clinic to develop a treatment plan. Unfortunately, due to the volume of emails and the time involved responding, we are instituting a fee for email responses that fall into the above categories. All inquiries will be responded to within 48 hours. 

(Note: Please be aware that the A4A is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Any emergencies need to be called in to either Alternatives for Animals at 925 283-6160, or your traditional veterinarian.)

Thank you for your trust with your furry loved ones!
The A4A Gals

Monday, August 29, 2011

Our friend, the remarkably gifted and delightfully soothing, Victoria Tugwell offers the healing powers of massage to canine and feline patients at A4A. Below are some indications for massage. In addition, she provides relief using Reiki and cranio sacral work. 

Benefits of massage

Massage can be beneficial for the following and more:
Anxiety: Reducing stress and anxiety by building a bond between human and dog through touch and acceptance.
Competition: aiding in reduction of sore and tired muscles to enable the dog to move more freely and reach its optimal performance.
The family pet:  To be happy and content in its everyday environment. To encourage better muscle tone and function, better joint mobility and assist in reducing the effects of postural imbalances and abnormal gaits. 
With Veterinary Guidance, Aiding in Rehabilitation from Injury and Illness:
 Reduces pain and inflammation. Promotes the circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue. Promotes healing .

For more information, visit her website. You can call A4A at 925 283-6160 to schedule an appointment. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hi friends!
We've got some new and exciting things happening at A4A! We're happy to announce that we now carry foods from Feed This Inc- individually packaged grain-free raw food and bones. Also, our friends at Animal Dental Care will be offering anesthesia-free dental care for dogs and cats at A4A. Dates and details to follow!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Primal Pet Foods Issues Voluntary Recall of
Feline Chicken & Salmon Formula

Primal Pet Foods News
For immediate release.
May 28, 2011

Dear Primal Pet Foods customers,
Primal Pet Foods has initiated a voluntary recall of their Feline Chicken & Salmon Formula with a "Best By" date code of 043112-17 because this product may be contaminated with Salmonella. The only product affected is limited to Feline Chicken & Salmon Formula with a "Best By" date code of 043112-17. No other Primal Pet Foods products are affected.
The affected product is limited to the Primal Pet Foods Feline Chicken & Salmon Formula packaged in the following forms:
  1. 4 lb chicken & salmon nuggets (UPC# 8 95135 00025 0) with a "Best By" date code of 043112-17

The "Best By" date code is located on the front of the package on the right side of the product label. The affected product was distributed through retail stores sales in the United States.
Please be assured, no human or pet illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this issue. Also, no other Primal Pet Foods products are affected by this issue.
If you have purchased a bag of Primal Pet Foods Feline Chicken & Salmon Formula Raw Frozen Diet (nuggets) with the "Best By" date code of 043112-17, we ask that you take one of the following steps.
  1. If you are a consumer and have purchased the affected product, please contact Primal Pet Foods directly at 866-566-4652 Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM PST and we can assist in getting you a full refund or replacement from your local retailer that it was originally purchased from. You'll be instructed to bring the unopened package to your local retailer for a full refund or replacement.
  2. If your package has been opened, please dispose of the raw food in a safe manner by securing it in a covered trash receptacle. Then, contact Primal Pet Foods directly at 866-566-4652 Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM PST and we can assist in getting you a full refund or replacement from your local retailer that it was originally purchased from. You'll be instructed to bring your receipt (or the empty package in a sealed bag) to your local retailer for a full refund or replacement.

We truly appreciate your cooperation, and we apologize for any inconvenience that this matter may have caused for you. If you'd like to speak with one of our representatives regarding this issue, you can call our customer service line at 866-566-4652 Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM PST.
Our Commitment to Quality
We want to reassure you that Primal Pet Foods is committed to the health and safety of your pets. Our quality control and quality assurance programs include but are not limited to: Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP's), a Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) program, regular lot segregation, and other industry best practices. Our manufacturing facility also adheres to these specific quality measures:
  1. Our ingredients are sourced from USDA inspected facilities, and/or facilities regulated by the FDA
  2. We adhere to state and federal regulations regarding product safety
  3. Our manufacturing facilities are USDA and California State Department of Agriculture inspected.

In addition to the industry best practices listed above, and in an abundance of caution, we're taking additional steps in our manufacturing process to help ensure that our products are free of all pathogenic bacteria.
As always, Primal Pet Foods is fully committed to maintaining the highest quality standards in the pet food industry. Thank you for your continued trust in Primal Pet Foods.
Matt Koss
CEO, Primal Pet Foods

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Being Aware

Good morning AFA friends,

I saw a movie recently that I would like to share with all of you. "Food Inc" is a documentary about the food industry in the United States. It was scarey to say the least. Made me aware of how little we know about where our food comes from. And also that government and corporations are all in it together to make the most money with the least bit of conscience. And in the mean time the American population eats this food in good faith, assuming that the food is safe and produced humanely. Unfortunately policy is made by special interest groups, who get elected into government with the help of corporate sponsorship.The policies they make do not protect the American people but rather line big business coffers. For instance did you know that over 80% of the beef grown in the United States is produced by one corporate. The decisions on how to grow these beef cattle is made by men in suits in a room surrounded by computers. The cattle are fed grain that causes the pH in their rumen to be altered, which predisposes them to e.coli and then to counteract this they are placed on antibiotics in their feed every day to prevent contamination in the meat. Hmmm, which bright spark at computer head quarters thought up this strategy. Gee I can't understand why antibiotic resistance is such an issue these days or why children are dying of e.coli infections when they eat a contaminated hamburger. Much less the just damn inhumane and disrespectful way we treat fellow animals. I was recently driving back from L.A. and witnessed such atrocities. Cattle shoulder to shoulder in cramped conditions, not receiving anything that remotely resembles their natural diet or environment, knee deep in their own feces. What gives us the right to do this. And what gives corporates the right to make such decisions on our behalf. The growth hormones, antibiotics and other drugs that are being fed to these animals, leave residues in the food and we consume it. Grain fed animals have higher levels of omega 6 fatty acids (pro inflammatory and pro cancer) compared with grass fed which have higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids (anti inflammatory and fights against cancer). Much less we are consuming this sad negative energy. The long term implications of letting human brains over ride Mother Nature have not been trialed or tested long term. Are we and our children prepared to be guinea pigs?

We all need to see this documentary. If you haven't, get informed and inform others. The more people that elect for grass fed meat, the healthier we will become as a population, the better the quality of life for these animals and the less money that we will put  into the pockets of corporations who care about nothing else but the bottom line. It's time to make a stand, put quality of life first and stop supporting companies who put profits above health and wellness.

- Dr Rettig

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Please welcome, Dr Jennifer Luna-Repose!

Jennifer Luna-Repose Graduated from Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. She completed a one year rotating small animal medicine internship and a six month small animal oncology internship at Bay Area Veterinary Specialists. She is currently studying Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine through the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies and is under the mentorship of Dr. Rettig. She is a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

"I was raised in Lafayette, California and love the Bay Area. After high school I spent some time soul searching and volunteered for Dr. Birute Galdikas in Borneo studying wild Orangutans and Brenda Salgado in Belize studying wild Howler Monkeys. During these amazing experiences I was inspired to study veterinary medicine so I could help animals on a more personal level.
When I was a student at Cornell I was given the opportunity to help animals in Louisiana after hurricane Katrina. I went with a group of fellow students to assist dogs and cats that had been separated from their families and needed medical attention. It was by far one of the most devastating and eye opening experiences of my life.
I have always been interested in alternative medicine and found myself frustrated with the limited treatment modalities of western medicine. Fortunately I found a great friend and mentor in Karen Rettig who encouraged me to follow my heart. I am so excited every day by all the possibilities that are offered with alternative therapies and their supportive role in encouraging the body to heal itself.
I can’t wait to share with you and your pets all that I continue to learn so that together we can improve their health and quality of life."

- melissa

Friday, March 11, 2011

Diablo Magazine Best of the East Bay 2011

Diablo Magazine just announced their annual Best of the East Bay competition, where you can vote for your favorite, can't-live-without-'em Best of the East Bay foods, shops, services, kid-friendly places, fun spots, and style finds.
Please visit Diablo Magazine Best of the East Bay Ballot to cast your ballot and when you do, hopefully you will vote for
Karen Rettig at Alternatives for Animals as the Best Veterinarian in the East Bay!
The contest ends April 8th, so please vote soon. Winners will appear in the July issue.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Girls just wanna have fun!

There is something really special about how well we all get along as a team. We know when we need to perk each other up, and we know when it'd be best to just back off. Our signals are read loud and clear, like those dogs and cats give off (minus the visable canines, of course). It's great to vibe so well with the "work family"!

We also like to get together and relax with a great meal and delightful elixirs. Recently, we were at Dr Rettig's favorite seafood restaurant, Yankee Pier in Lafayette. We dined on the freshest fish and meatiest crab legs. Delicious!

If you haven't been, go! If you know all about this restaurant, are you hungry now too? :)
One of our clients brings his wonderful dog, King, into our office; he is the head chef at Yankee Pier, so be sure to say "hi" to a fellow Alternatives For Animals fan!


The A4A Girls


Dr Luna-Repose

Dr Rettig



Thursday, February 17, 2011

On a cold, rainy day in February, a blog is born!

Hello, and welcome to our new blog. Come on, follow us! And also share our blog on your facebook page.