Listen: Apple | iHeart | Spotify

I am delighted to introduce our guest, Dr. Gary Richter, a distinguished veterinarian. He has recently released two extraordinary books: “Longevity for Dogs” and “Longevity for Cats.” In these insightful reads, Dr. Richter shares invaluable guidance on promoting longevity and vitality in our beloved pets.

One of the things that sets Dr. Richter apart is his holistic approach to pet care. As we delve into our conversation, you’ll discover that he embraces alternative treatments such as acupuncture, hyperbaric chamber therapy, CBD, and adaptogens to ensure optimal well-being for our furry friends.

During our discussion, Dr. Richter will shed light on common mistakes in pet care and provide us with a comprehensive pet care checklist. We’ll also explore essential topics like proper nutrition for our four-legged companions and how to recognize signs when something isn’t quite right. Additionally, he’ll offer practical tips on striking a balance between cost and providing high-quality nutrition for our pets.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to absorb Dr. Richter’s wealth of knowledge and practical advice. It’s time to prioritize the health and happiness of our beloved animal companions.

Resources Mentioned:

Show Sponsors:

  • Blissy | Get better sleep now with Blissy and use code GABBY to get an additional 30% off at
  • Wakaya Perfection | Use code Gabby20 and save 20% off your first order
  • Beam | Get up to 40% off for a limited time when you go to and use code GABBY at checkout.


  • People Doctors for Pets [00:01:43]
  • Different Types of Pet Owners [00:06:17]
  • Horses on the Cutting Edge [00:08:57]
  • Animal Care to Self-Care [00:11:07]
  • Pet Diets [00:11:59]
  • Checklist for New Pet Owners [00:14:08]
  • Canned Food vs Dry Food [00:23:17]
  • Picking the Right Dog for You [00:26:13]
  • When to Spay and Neuter [00:30:49]
  • Early Warning Signs [00:36:30]
  • Caring for Puppies v Aging Dogs [00:44:59]
  • Supplements for Pets [00:49:40]
  • Dental Care for Dogs [00:52:03]
  • Hydration for Your Pets [00:54:57]
  • Skincare for Dogs [01:00:36]
  • Doggie Anxiety [01:02:30]
  • Dr. Richter’s Red Flags [01:04:48]
  • To Crate Train or Not [01:09:15]
  • Petcare is a Reflection of Self-Care [01:11:54]

Show Transcript:

[00:00:51] Gabby Reece: Hi everyone. My guest this week is veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter. He has two new books out. Longevity for dogs and longevity for cats. If you’re interested in all the best practices you can do for your pet, please join us. Dr. Richter. All right. So, you have two new books out. Yes. You didn’t want to leave out the cats.

[00:01:10] Gabby Reece: I see longevity for cats, longevity for dogs.

[00:01:14] Dr. Gary Richter: I know what’s good for me. Yeah. The cats out.

[00:01:16] Gabby Reece: No, don’t leave the cats out.

[00:01:18] Dr. Gary Richter: They’ll out. come for you. They will.

[00:01:20] Gabby Reece: Yes, they will.

[00:01:20] Dr. Gary Richter: And their owners, I know. In your sleep. Yes.

[00:01:23] Gabby Reece: Oh, that’s right. They’ll eat you. Yes. They’re the ones. Yes. The dogs won’t.

[00:01:26] Dr. Gary Richter: The lab boy may never. They’ll consume your soul while you’re sleeping. Yes.

[00:01:29] Gabby Reece: No, okay, I’m sure you don’t know who Theo Vaughn is, but he had someone on there who was literally just talking about this, how they will eat you, the cats, if you die. Oh, so will the dog. But later, they say the lab is the last one, apparently.

[00:01:43] Gabby Reece: Do you believe that? No. Okay. Ha. So first of all, when I see your work and I do my research you’re just a representation of what I also see in human medicine, which is people who do real training, customary training, get into practice and then say, oh, wait, there’s also things that we can do that are better for our patients.

And in this case, you have to deal with the patient’s owners as well. And so, I’m just really interested in hearing your journey about what you thought you were getting into when you were becoming a veterinary and why you adapted and have changed. It seems like elements of your practice.

[00:02:31] Dr. Gary Richter: Like every veterinarian, like every medical professional, I was trained in a very sort of Western medical kind of way and that’s how I started practicing. And I think like many medical professionals it’s one thing that most of us have in common, which is we don’t like not knowing.

We don’t like not having the answer to things. And the other thing that I ran into sort of. four or five years into practice is I started really seeing like where the hard stops were as far as what I could get done with my training, you know I have a patient with this disease this diagnosis These are the things that I can do and when you’re done doing those things, there’s nothing left And I hated having that conversation with people saying there’s nothing else I can do.

I still don’t like having that conversation with people. So, it led me to start looking to see what else was out there. And I had some, I had a brush with acupuncture and Chinese medicine in school. So, I started looking at that and I wound up getting acupuncture trained. And then I started having results in my patients with acupuncture and then ultimately herbal therapy that I was never able to achieve in Western medicine.

And this is it’s a door that once you go through that door, you can’t go back. Once you realize that there’s something else out there beyond what they taught you can’t ever not do that anymore. Acupuncture turned into chiropractic, turned into herbal therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen, and regenerative medicine, and it’s just become a kind of a, personal and professional mission to see what else is out there that I can do to help these patients.

And what I’ve found is that there’s more stuff being looked at on the human side than there is in the veterinary side for obvious reasons, but most of it is very applicable. Now I’m just taking what I learned that that, that physicians and human researchers are doing and adapting it to veterinary medicine.

[00:04:29] Gabby Reece: It’s like, how do you buck the system and get your patients on board with changing that thinking?

[00:04:37] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah. And it’s interesting because it’s a very different audience, the professional audience versus the pet owning audience. Not surprisingly, the pet owning audience is much more receptive.

Dr. Gary Richter: I knew that the moment I started going down this pathway that I was going to become that guy. In my profession which I did and that’s fine. And I’m accustomed to being looked at askance a little bit, but that’s okay. Things like acupuncture becoming actually quite popular in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Gary Richter: So, it’s bleeding in slowly. The medical profession, whether it’s human or veterinary is always going to be slow to adapt to new things. It’s a very hypercritical but we’ll get them there. Pet owners on the other hand are always eager to do anything that they possibly can to help their pets which in many cases are family members in many cases family members that are more cherished than their actual human family members.

Yeah, so people are anxious and eager, to explore this kind of stuff and for me You know, my greatest responsibility is to be able to present these things to people in a way that is responsible. Clearly there’s all kinds of stuff out there that has no basis in fact whatsoever wave this and say the prayer and whatnot it’s got to be scientifically relevant and legitimate and that’s the balance of it all.

Gabby Reece: Now, are there, are there two different types of pet owners? people that own pets and people that the pet is the family member. Do you see there’s a line there?

[00:06:17] Dr. Gary Richter: For sure. I suppose it’s more of a continuum than a line. But yeah, I mean there are people who it goes anywhere from my pet is a thing that I own, all the way up to I will mortgage my house to care for my pet.

Needless to say, I work, my practice is in the Bay Area. And my office is called Holistic Veterinary Care, so you can imagine the sort of, type of pet owner that we have a tendency to attract and Needless to say they fall more on the this is my family member. I’ll do anything for my pet kind of people which as a veterinarian is great because All I want to do is help these animals. People that come in with that attitude of Tell me everything that we can do is it’s a wonderful freedom as a veterinarian to be able to love with cats and dogs I was always that kid that was always fascinated with animals.

I think like many veterinarians at the end of the day I’m a dyed in the wool introvert. And if you put me in a room full of people as a kid. If there was a dog in that room, I would find the dog and hang out with the dog. As it turns out, I’m still that person for the most part.

[00:07:36] Gabby Reece: It’s because you don’t seem mushy in that way. You seem there’s something sort of very practical and in a way, I guess that’s a perfect combination of, Hey, I want to, I care and I want to help your pet, but I’m not going to get unraveled.

[00:07:51] Dr. Gary Richter: On a professional level you do have to maintain a little bit of separation. I think the thing about healthcare in general, which is it’s just a sad reality of healthcare is that there’s always end of life stuff that happens in healthcare. And if you let yourself get emotionally drawn into that. It’s not a survivable thing in the long term professionally. Yeah, like you just can’t do it. So you have to maintain a little bit of distance as a veterinarian just as a self-preservation mother measure.

But I mean at the end of the day, I mean I love these creatures. And I’d rather hug all over a dog and a cat than most people any day.

[00:08:34] Gabby Reece: Yeah. I don’t think people realize too, how few schools there are in the country and how hard it is to get in. Yeah. Like you have to really want to do this.

[00:08:41] Dr. Gary Richter: You do. And it’s not that an education in veterinary medicine is more difficult than one in human medicine.

It’s just it’s a numbers game. There are way more medical schools than there are veterinary schools. So, it’s just a function of Can you be one of those people that managed to get in.

[00:08:57] Gabby Reece: Now, do horses have the leading care? I always say joke like when they go a lot of times as an athlete, they really oh yhey’ve been giving this to horses for 20 years and they finally figure out a way to get it to humans I feel like I always say they get the best care because they obviously are you know prized and expensive and things like that.

But I do feel like in equine medicine they’ve incorporated a lot of these holistic elements a long time ago, including acupuncture, like in the sixties, right? When Nixon brought guys over, I heard that because they like to bet and gamble that they were exercising acupuncture.

Has that informed sort of the dog and cat information?

[00:09:41] Dr. Gary Richter: It absolutely has. And from an acupuncture perspective that’s a fascinating history because you can look back. thousands of years and the Chinese were acupuncturing horses. And they did that because they needed to, because horses not only were they beasts of burden, but they were tools of war. Like you had to keep those animals healthy or you’re going to die. So, they were acupuncturing horses right along people. Now it never occurred to them at the time to probably acupuncture a dog because why? Yeah, they’d eat the dog. Yeah. Why at that time would you do that? But horses were important.

But yeah, equine medicine is it’s a fascinating sort of segment of veterinary medicine because they are very valuable. They are, in many cases, performance athletes. And as you well know when you’re at that level of athleticism, like you get a lot of care, a lot, it takes a lot of care to, to keep that machine functioning in the way that it needs to, and horses orthopedically are just it’s a miracle that system works at all.

I’ve sometimes jokingly said that a horse is basically a brick balanced on four toothpicks. Because it’s unbelievable that system works, but when it works right it’s magic. But it takes a lot to get that going and acupuncture, herbal medicine, all kinds of alternative methods have been long used in equine medicine because people in that world are they’ll do anything to keep those animals healthy.

[00:11:07] Gabby Reece: Has this journey for you almost reversed engineered back into your own self care practice? A lot of different and new things that you wouldn’t have done. Like absolutely. You’re thinking and the way you approach your own health practice.

[00:11:22] Dr. Gary Richter: Oh yeah, absolutely. There’s no way you learn this stuff and broadly speaking, mammals are mammals. So, what works in a person more often than not will work in an animal and vice versa. And the more I’ve gotten into this world, the more I’ve become involved with sort of the human longevity science community because there really isn’t a veterinary longevity science community.

So that’s where I have to get my information professionally, but yeah, clearly that information has been incredibly valuable for me and my family as well.

[00:11:59] Gabby Reece: And I know you have a pet food that you do and real ingredients. So, you know, that’s an interesting thing because I think people don’t realize how important over the long run a little bit of this and that now and again, okay, seed oils or something that’s not good for us. Fine. Sure. But it’s the accumulation through time. Yeah. Do you see with animals also that they’re able to regenerate because people can too. I think sometimes we forget how quickly we can change and improve and things like that if we just give it a little bit of time. Do you, is it amazing to you when you see this with the pets?

[00:12:36] Dr. Gary Richter: Oh, it is. And that’s the miracle of getting to work with a biological system is that you’re working with a system that at the end of the day wants to be healthy. And if you give it half a chance, it will do that. What I often tell people is if my car is broken and I say, buy the repair parts and set them next to the car, my car is always going to be broken. But you give an animal or a person half a chance and say, take these nutrients and it’s done.

I don’t have to know how to fix everything. I just have to give them a little push in the right direction and more often than not they’ll take care of it themselves.

[00:13:13] Gabby Reece: So maybe we could just do a one on one for people who will tune them up a little bit on some of their pet owning skills. If someone has a pet, a cat, or a dog and by the way, for you taking care of both of these animals, do you take care of any other types of, do you take care of birds or anything like that?

[00:13:32] Dr. Gary Richter: On occasion, but the vast majority is dogs and cats, yeah.

[00:13:37] Gabby Reece: What is besides the joke of their personality differences, is there anything as far as caring for them that’s so significantly different?

[00:13:44] Dr. Gary Richter: Certainly, their nutritional requirements are a little bit different. Cats are obligate carnivores. They, meat must be on the diet for a cat. Dogs are much more omnivorous. They’re a little bit more flexible in that sense. And physiologically there are some differences in the way that, that cats work.

But broadly speaking. Most stuff translates.

[00:14:08] Gabby Reece: Okay. So, if someone, let’s say they are getting a pet and then maybe they’re not an experienced pet owner. If you had a checklist of sorts of, hey things that you want to think about, whether it’s walking them or exercising them, their food, what would be a basic checklist to bring to their attention. Yeah.

[00:14:29] Dr. Gary Richter: I love it that you asked that question that way of when you’re getting a pet because really that’s the time to start that whole process. And the reason why I say that is, is one of the one of the biggest impacts on both quality and quantity of life, whether it’s an animal or a person. And dogs and cats vary drastically in, in sort of personality types and preferences and whatnot. And I think what happens sometimes is people have a tendency to get a pet sort of based on aesthetics. I like the way this dog looks kind of thing. And if your lifestyle is not compatible with what that animal is naturally going to do, it’s going to be problems for everybody.

The example that I often give people is if you work a 10-hour day and you live in a one-bedroom condo and you get a border collie I was just, your life is going to be hell. And so is the dogs. Because that’s a dog that needs to get out and run around and have enormous amounts of exercise and mental stimulation. And if that dog is left to his own devices in a house for 10, 12 hours a day, he’s going to eat your couch. He’s going to be miserable. You’re going to be miserable. So, to your point, before you get that pet, you got to start thinking about What is my lifestyle compatible with? Am I a super active person?

I have clients that come in and they literally have their border collie out for a walk four or five hours a day. That’s amazing. That doesn’t work in my life, but that’s great that works for them. Whereas if you’re not that person maybe you look at a dog that’s happier just laying around the house…

[00:16:11] Gabby Reece: and what is that dog? What’s a, what are some late lazier? Dogs, lounge dogs. Yeah. Oh, is that what you call ’em? Yeah, sure. We always have polite words for everything now, on the smaller dog side cavalier King Charles Spaniels oh yeah, the bed warmers. The bed warmers, okay. Got it.

[00:16:30] Dr. Gary Richter: As we have discussed, I have Shiatzus which are great dogs. But even if you tend towards larger dogs, there are larger dogs that are perfectly happy to not be super active. Once at the, one of them, that’s not intuitive are greyhounds, you would think that a greyhound would want it’s funny. You take a greyhound off the track and they’re like one of those athletes. That’s Oh, I’m done. I’m going to spend the rest of my life on the couch. Greyhounds like to get out and do stuff, but they are very happy on your couch.

[00:17:00] Gabby Reece: My, my dog, Kava, that you saw, the rat terrier, he has both gears. Full throttle, like Laird when we’re in Hawaii, we’ll run him with a cart. Cause he, and he just will run full speed. Yeah. And he’s no problem to lay around. Yeah. It’s interesting. Terriers. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Do you see, I heard the way you said terriers though. What is that?

[00:17:19] Dr. Gary Richter: They’re a very, terriers tend to be a very driven dog.  Rat terrier. The name speaks that’s what they were designed for. It’s a ratter. So, like they see something and they’re on it, like white on rice. But if they’re, if they don’t have that stimulation, then sure.

[00:17:36] Gabby Reece: Yeah. So, we know Border collies are working dog, sheep, herding dogs, things like that.: And this is no joke for people. This is not a dog that you just get. You have to know, understand how to own these types of dogs.

[00:17:48] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah. I would describe them as not a starter dog.

[00:17:52] Gabby Reece: That’s a good way to say it. And maybe have a backyard for sure. Aren’t, do you think standard poodles are mean and really smart?

[00:17:59] Dr. Gary Richter: I love poodles. I think standard poodles are great dogs. They’re very smart. I kind of think of them as contemplative, like you look at a poodle and they’re checking you out, right?

[00:18:09] Gabby Reece: And they’re upset about their haircut too. Okay. So, I do my research. I say, okay, based on what I think I can commit to this. And then, and maybe just a checklist does a dog need a bed? Things like this is this sure. Yeah. Dogs need, they need space. I think a good way to start planning this out from a checklist perspective is you start thinking about from an evolutionary standpoint what are things that these animals do?

[00:18:39] Dr. Gary Richter: Dogs are pack animals, so they tend to be more social whereas cats oftentimes are perfectly happy to just be but so giving them a bed, giving them a place that’s theirs both dogs and cats really appreciate routine. They generally like to eat at the same time go out for walks, play time the thing about routine is it provides them with a sense of security you think about.

You think about the things that most of us, when we get anxious and stressed out, what are we anxious and stressed out about? It’s almost always some sort of uncertainty. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know where this is all going to wind up. It’s the same thing with dogs and cats.

If they have routine in their life, then they generally feel better. And they’re less stressed. Other things to think about are food. What are we going to feed them?

[00:19:39] Gabby Reece: This is a big one. So, let’s dive into that because I think it’s hard enough as it is for us to figure out what we’re supposed to be eating because everything has tricky names as it is.

And I know that’s why, in fact, you created your own brand. Was, oh, this, there’s not a lot of good stuff out there. Sure. So, let’s say someone is doing the best they can and they have a limited amount of resources let’s say money. Towards something, how would you go about feeding your pet as responsibly as you could?

[00:20:11] Dr. Gary Richter: Sure. There’s some good news when it comes to feeding pets. When we think about what’s ideal for pets to eat it’s not that different than from us, which is going back to that comment of what are they evolutionarily designed for? All animals are evolutionarily designed to eat a fresh whole food diet. Nobody evolved eating food out of a bag or a can. Preservatives, highly processed food, it’s just not what our bodies are designed to thrive on. The more fresh whole foods they’re eating, the better.

The good news about all of this is unlike us as humans, we are 100 percent in control of what our pets eat, which means that… You can actually optimize their diet. If I had somebody handing me every bite of food that I ate every day, I’d probably be more healthy than I am right now. Because sometimes that slice of pizza looks really good. Of course. The good news also is that dogs and cats certainly if you hand them French fries, they’ll happily eat them. If you hand them fresh whole foods, they will also happily eat them. So, it’s not They’re not out there craving empty calories and carbs like what most people do, right? But to your point of like from a resource perspective, so the question really becomes is How do I get as close to that fresh whole food diet as I can without mortgaging the house to do it?

There’s a lot of options out there certainly you can buy food that is ready to feed Fresh whole food diets like frozen cooked frozen raw freeze dried. It can get expensive particularly if you have larger dogs or multiple dogs another option that’s cheaper is you can make it yourself you just have to work off a recipe that they’re getting all the nutrition that they need. But like many things in life, it is making it yourself, it’s going to take a little more time, but it’s going to cost less money.

So, it’s this whole-time money balance that we all do. That’s an option. Another option is this is not. This is not a binary thing. It’s not an all or nothing. It’s not like they have to eat all fresh food or don’t bother it’s just like us as people I try and eat as healthy as I can, but if I occasionally go out and eat something that’s not healthy, it doesn’t mean I should just eat it, throw away all the healthy food and say, forget it. I’m going to live at McDonald’s. That doesn’t make any sense. So, you feed them as much fresh, whole food as you can reasonably make work in your life.

One of the things that I always tell people is whatever you do with your pet, whether it’s about food or supplements or diet, lifestyle, whatever. It has to be sustainable. If I tell you to do something and it lasts for a week and then you say, I can’t do it, it’s too hard. Oh, I haven’t done you or your pet any real favors. So, it all has to be something that works in your life, both time wise and lifestyle wise and financially. So, you got to figure out what works. What’s the closest I can get to that ideal fresh whole food diet. That you can actually maintain in your life.

[00:23:17] Gabby Reece: Does canned or dried end up usually showing up better? If someone went to the regular? Cause I know like the better stuff, like your stuff is freeze dried and stuff. And I’ve seen a lot of that. And my dog really loves it by the way. Loves it. And I feel like you need less. Yeah. I don’t know. It’s, I feel that way when I get, I have my friends send me meat that they hunted. I eat almost half the amount. Yeah. It’s I don’t, I guess maybe cause you’re getting all the macro micro and all the nutrients that you need. It tends to be true. So, it seems it’s just more condensed, but if, or does the canned or the dry typically show up as. One is better over the other, or not really.

[00:23:55] Dr. Gary Richter: If I had to pick, I would pick canned over dry. And the reason being is that dry food is incredibly high in carbohydrates, grains, and things like that. Whether it’s grain or grain free, it’s still you think of dry food as a baked good, which it effectively is. It’s like saying low carb bread. It’s just not a thing. You just can’t do it, right? And again, getting back to that whole evolutionary comment. You look at what dogs are evolved to eat, and yes, they are omnivores, and they are evolved to eat a certain degree of carbohydrates, but not a diet that is 60 or 70 percent carbs like, like kibble tends to be.

Cats, on the other hand they have almost no use for carbohydrates whatsoever as a carnivore, so feeding them all those carbs is just… It’s asking for them to be overweight, potentially diabetic, and have all these problems. So, to your question, canned food is better in that sense that it’s lower in carbs. It’s certainly not perfect, but it does have that going for it.

[00:24:54] Gabby Reece: And what about going to the butcher and getting bones for them to chew on? Is that a yay or a nay?

[00:24:57] Dr. Gary Richter: So, you know, it’s interesting. It’s an interesting question because it’s a somewhat controversial question in the veterinary field. I am definitely a fan of raw bones as occasional treats.

When I have people come in that are feeding their dogs or their cats, raw bones, I can almost tell without knowing that they’re doing it just from looking at their teeth. Because it keeps their teeth so clean. So, the nut here is it has to be a raw bone because cooked bones are too hard, and they’ll break teeth on them. And it has to be a bone of an appropriate size. They need, it needs to be small enough that they can actually chew through it. And mind you, you want them to chew through it and eat it. Raw bones are digestible, so they can chew this stuff up and digest it and eat it, whereas if they eat a chunk of a cooked bone, it’s going to sit in their stomach and it’s not going to be a good thing.

Right size, definitely raw. I usually tell people maybe once a week, plus or minus, and then you just have to understand that you’re talking about a raw bone, so you can’t give it to them and let them drag it around the house all week, because that’s gross and asking for problems.

So, you give it to them, you let them have their way with it for a couple of hours, and then if it’s not gone, then you have to take it away. Take it away. There’s a food safety issue that you have to think about.

[00:26:13] Gabby Reece: And then you have it is interesting, it’s I even liken it to having kids. It’s anyone can really have a dog. Sure. You don’t have to be, you don’t need a license per se, really. So when you. What are some of the things that really are common mistakes that people make in pet owning? So, one would be obviously picking the wrong type of dog for your lifestyle.

I always love when I’m in New York City and I see Akitas. I’m like, why would you have this dog? Yeah. This giant dog that, by the way, only really likes its owner. True. And, or the members of the of the family. Yes. So, besides the lifestyle really being, I would think that most start, it’s almost like picking a partner.

You want to start with the, like you’ve shown me who you are. Yeah. Have a lot of energy or you don’t, and I’m I need to go from there. Sure. What are some of the really common mistakes that we could highlight for people for them to be mindful?

[00:27:12] Dr. Gary Richter: We talked about picking the right dog. We talked about exercise. Again, lifestyle is important, getting these animals out for the amount of exercise that’s appropriate for them, getting them to have social time. If they’re an animal that likes social time, because that’s important for them as well.

Moving beyond that appropriate veterinary care is important. And when I say appropriate veterinary care, part of it is about making sure that they get veterinary care and part of it is also making sure that they don’t get the wrong kind of veterinary care. I think as is the case in, in medicine in general, sort of Western medicine is set up as a very sort of one size fits all system.

So, all dogs get these vaccines. That stresses me out. As well it should. Because the truth is. Not all dogs should get this set of vaccines and to be clear, I am absolutely not anti vax when it comes to dogs, I am anti over vax when it comes to dogs because that is the thing that happens a lot, cats too but the reality is a lot of these vaccines that dogs are getting after they’ve had one or two of them, they probably have immunity to these diseases for years, if not a lifetime, and yet many of them are continuing to get vaccinated year after year and vaccines by design stimulate the immune system which means that you know when you’re over stimulating the immune system, you might be setting yourself up for problems.

So, there’s things like that. There’s you know unnecessary or indiscriminate use of medications like antibiotics are great. Most of us would probably be dead at this point in our lives if not for antibiotics at one point or another. But overuse of antibiotics can lead to all kinds of problems.

Again, the thing about Western medicine, and realize I’m an integrative practitioner. I practice Western medicine. I’m a big fan of Western medicine. But Western medicine is set up to treat problems when they occur. Other than vaccination, there’s almost no prevention in the Western medical paradigm.

A bone breaks, you fix it. There’s an infection, you treat it. There’s very little thought of how we keep this patient healthy. So, they don’t get these problems. And that’s one of the things that I think people really need to think about when we’re talking about longevity for pets is that what I would call proactive preventative care and I think the problem with us as people is we’re not hardwired to do that.

That’s because it’s not an immediate issue or it’s not immediate gratification. And so, if I do this, I’m not really seeing anything different. It makes sense.

I liken it to a smoker, like that person that smokes cigarettes full, knows that those things give you cancer, but they’re not thinking of it when they light up any one individual cigarette because it’s not an immediate threat, because we’re just not hardwired to deal with threats that are months or years in the future. Yeah, it’s not how we think but if we’re talking about Longevity, that’s how you have to think Because it’s always going to be way easier to prevent problems that it is to treat problems afterwards. And it’s really hard to fix some stuff once it’s broken So, I mean you can prevent cancer a lot easier than you can treat it.

[00:30:49] Gabby Reece: It must be interesting though Like you said earlier, the pet owner really controls the environment of the animal. And if you can get the pet owner on board it must be amazing. And now that you’ve been practicing for all these years, it must be really satisfying to have a rhythm and at least years of patience where you’re seeing.

Like you said, this longevity sure. Starting now to play out and getting them on board. Really quickly, because I know there’s so many animals in too many animals and everybody is, do you think when you have a pet come to see you, is it like automatically you should spay to neuter this animal pretty much?

I’m going to tell you a secret. I Mr. Kava still has his testicles because my husband, we control where he goes. He’s not walking about and having babies everywhere. But Laird did some research and said ligaments and tendon strength is better and motivation and all these things.

But I also understand when you live in a populated area or if you have a pet also Mr. Kava is more aggressive if he can be a little brat with other dogs. Rat terrier. Yeah. He doesn’t like terriers. Can you see that, Justin? He’s like terriers. I have nothing against them.

[00:32:06] Dr. Gary Richter: You know what you’re getting.

[00:32:08] Gabby Reece: Oh, I know, but he’s a perfect match for my husband. So, what, on that, unless obviously someone wants to have puppies because it’s so interesting right away, they’ll be like, just neuter them and spay them. And I think sometimes there’s reasons that we have.

[00:32:25] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah, no, you’re right. And as something that I discuss with some, in some detail in the book, because it’s a very real thing.

The veterinary medicine is very much spay or your dog, your cat. It’s interesting cause there has been research that’s come out over the past number of years. That have shown that there are certain health benefits to these animals, either not being spayed or neutered, or at the very least being spayed or neutered after they’re fully physically mature.

Standard practice in veterinary medicine for years has been spay or neuter your dog by the time they’re six months old. And in many cases, that’s been done to ward off behavioral issues. Although arguably there are some behavioral issues that are worse if you spay or neuter them.

[00:33:15] Gabby Reece: What does that mean? Like depression or something? Take for example, separation anxiety. There’s a greater incidence of separation anxiety in dogs that are spayed or neutered than ones that aren’t. And that’s not something that you commonly hear talked about. And so, the flip side of it is, yeah, I think there’s a greater concern of say dog aggression per se in a non-neutered male dog.

[00:33:42] Dr. Gary Richter: But in for me, to a certain extent, that’s a training issue. If you train your dog properly, if you have appropriate sort of control with your dog, then that maybe isn’t something that you have to worry too much about. But yeah, there’s lower incidences of certain types of cancer. There are lower incidences of certain types of orthopedic disease. Particularly when we’re talking about larger dogs.

[00:34:07] Gabby Reece: This was the thing; I think when you have dogs that tend to either have hip or knee issues Yeah. That would be something people could ask questions about to maybe protect the dog later.  Particularly larger dogs, but like I can spot a dog down the street that is either not spayed or neutered or was spayed or neutered later because they’re built differently. They have better bone density, better muscle mass.

[00:34:34] Dr. Gary Richter: Even their head is shaped differently. They’re blocky or square. Like a male jaw. Exactly. And interestingly, there are, they also tend to be a little shorter. Their bones are, they’re denser, but they don’t go quite as long. And I think that may have something to do with some of their orthopedic disease, is that they have a higher center of gravity, but they don’t have the muscle mass to support it.

So, then they tend to blow out a knee which is all too common with dogs. So yeah, so stuff like spaying and neutering, that said, there is a higher incidence of mammary cancer in female dogs if they’re not spayed. So, this is very much a one-on-one decision. There is no blanket. You must do this kind of thing. I would say when it comes to cats having a, an intact male or female cat in your house is not a good time. So maybe when it comes to cats you get that cat spayed or neutered because having an intact Tomcat in your house, you’re going to have to move out of your house.

It’s, it does not smell good. Tomcat urine is not okay. It’s not okay. Yeah. So that is the price of being a cat, I think, is you want to get cared for, those are going to have to go. Yeah. I was, I just really appreciated that you went into depth in it in the book because you must get a little juice for that now and again.

[00:35:58] Gabby Reece: People must give you some heat for even being like, Hey, it’s a conversation. You do. Yeah.

[00:36:02] Dr. Gary Richter: And admittedly, there’s a very much, a very realistic conversation about the pet population and that sort of thing. And that comes to being a responsible pet owner and I don’t, I certainly, I don’t knock animal control and SPCA for spaying and neutering these dogs that are in their care because this is about controlling the pet population for your little guy in your house, like you say, he’s not running around out there making puppies left and center. So that’s not a concern.

[00:36:30] Gabby Reece: He we’ve only consciously ever, he, he’s had one moment of relationships with another rat terrier. The owner wanted puppies. Okay. And one of my teenage daughters was thoroughly disgusted by his behavior for three days. Cause you know, they lose their mind, and he kept trying.

It’s not just dogs. Yeah, of course. I know I’ve been married for 20 some years. Thank God, it makes it all happen. It’s a cross species thing, right? And she was like, I liked him before. I was like, yeah, it’s okay. It’s only for a few days.

So, if in, in talking about longevity and just for a pet owner to and you do talk about it, but you have an animal, is there, are there things that start to show up that you go, Hey, maybe something’s not right. That we can get on top of for the longevity practice or just signs that it’s something’s going on.

[00:37:24] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I think what tends to happen again, this is that, that we don’t like to plan for bad things to happen kind of thing. So, people tend to wait until it’s really dramatically obvious that there’s a problem. And invariably you’ll have people come into the office and say he was fine just last week. Clearly, he wasn’t. The thing about animals is they are hardwired to hide their illness. And an animal in the wild that looks sick or injured is going to get eaten. There’s a target on their back. Despite the fact that your dogs have been domesticated for somewhere between 10 and 30,000 years, they are still very much hardwired to make everything look like it’s okay even when it’s not. What I tell people beyond just, all the preventative stuff that we’ve been talking about I mentioned earlier that, that dogs and cats are very much habit they’re very much creatures of habit and routine, right?

So, any break in that routine that doesn’t have an obvious explanation. They’re sleeping somewhere different. They’re acting a little bit different. Changes in their appetite. Changes in their water consumption. Even if your dog is eating the same amount, but maybe it gets up in the morning and normally he inhales his food, but now he’s like waiting a few hours to eat.

All of those things can be indications that there’s something going on. It’s not it’s not a guarantee like, oh my God, he’s going to die tomorrow. But it’s a clue. And the earlier you intervene with illness, the greater the chance you have that you’re going to get on top of things. A lot of this is if you see something that is even a little bit concerning, that’s a good time to have a conversation with your veterinarian. Start looking into it. Start running diagnostic tests. See if we can figure out what’s going on. And even if it’s not completely obvious that’s a good time to start talking about diet preventative care supplements, all the sorts of things that maybe we’ll be able to allow that dog or their cat’s body to repair whatever is going on before we even are able to label it with a diagnosis.

[00:44:59] Gabby Reece: You do talk about supplementation. Obviously. Maybe we could just quickly talk about puppies, and I don’t mean to leave the poor cats out But I’m moving off the cats right now. Puppies and dogs, they’ll remember this by the way. Yeah, I know they’re going to they’ll eat my head. Okay is you know caring for a puppy and caring for an adult dog? Maybe just the little the nuance about that and then when or what type of, I know it’s case by case, but supplementation for either a developing dog or an adult dog and then actually an aging dog.

[00:45:35] Dr. Gary Richter: Sure. So, when it comes to puppies you do have to be a little bit cautious when it comes to supplementation because you’re talking about a growing animal and like young dogs, they are a sponge for nutrients and that’s not always necessarily a good thing. You can over supplement a young dog and cause problems. You can cause orthopedic issues if you over supplement them in the wrong way. This is why puppy food exists. This is why large breed puppy food exists.

Because if you have a, if you have a large dog that’s growing really fast, and they’re getting, say, too much calcium and too many calories up front, what you wind up with is a dog that puts on too much muscle mass before their bones can handle it. And then you wind up with a dog with hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, et cetera.

So over supplementing is a very serious issue when it comes to smaller dogs. And so, I would I urge caution when it comes to supplementing younger dogs, unless you’re getting guidance from somebody. That said, once they’re an adult, it’s a much more forgiving system because at that point the system is very discerning in the sense of If I don’t need that, I’m not going to absorb it and it’s just coming out the other end. So that, that works out a lot better. There are definitely things that we can do from a supplementation perspective that can be enormously helpful for these guys. And frankly, it’s all going to sound familiar to you because you’re in that world on the human side.

There are real easy things, probiotics, omega fatty acids. I always tell people that the two supplements you pretty much can never go wrong with is a probiotic and fish oil. Same for us. Exactly. Like these are things that the body really wants. But moving beyond that, there are all kinds of things that can be beneficial.

In the book, since it’s clearly there, it’s the book is very focused on longevity I’ve gone through and really detailed out. All of the known hallmarks of aging based on research and really divided out supplements and other longevity therapies based on which of the hallmarks of aging that they affect, because really what we’re looking to do is to check as many of those boxes as we can, because at the At the end of the day not surprisingly, aging is not, it’s not a one dimensional thing.

It’s not oh, this one thing happens, and we all get old. Yeah. There’s a lot of stuff going on. Tell me about it, I wish. Yeah, right? It’s not, it’s if it was an easy process to control, it would have been done long ago. But the wonderful thing is for the first time in history, We’re at a place right now where we can actually start to press those buttons and actually have a real positive effect because Now we’re starting to really understand the cellular mechanics of how this happens and how to intervene And sometimes it’s stuff that’s been around for a really long time but now we understand better how to use it.

So, things like resveratrol, boswellia, curcumin certain vitamins. Vitamin D, for example, has unbelievable properties from the standpoint of immune support and anti-cancer support. If you just know how to manage these things and give them, but it’s also not a function of give all this stuff all the time that’s not how the body works.

First of all, it’s not practical. for most people to give their dog 20 supplements in a day. Most people can’t do that even for themselves. But again, getting back to that whole evolutionary comment, dogs are not, they did not evolve eating the same thing every day and have eating, having the same nutrients every day. It’s a spectrum and a cycle of things. What I recommend is that you give. You cycle through different supplements. You give some supplements now, a few months later you move into something different, and you just work your way through. So, the body’s getting the building blocks and the nutrients it needs over the long term.

[00:49:40] Gabby Reece: Is there a universal we, most of us are vitamin D deficient and they say we can never OD on curcumin at all. So those are two things that. Or choga mushroom. Those are the sort of things that I’ve heard that if you take all the time, it’s okay. Is there something that really shows up for you that you go, hey, you’d really be doing them a service?

[00:50:01] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah, some of the ones you just brought up, I think mushrooms are amazing. Clearly there are so many medicinal mushrooms. So those are often things that people might cycle through different ones over time. Vitamin D is a fascinating one because much like people many dogs and cats are deficient in vitamin D.

Although unlike people, it’s not a sunlight issue. So, dogs and cats don’t convert sunlight to vitamin D. It’s all nutritional with them, which kind of makes sense. They’re covered with fur, so like they don’t get a lot of direct. Exposure to the sun on their skin anyway and it’s fascinating to me that even dogs and cats They’re eating what I would consider really good diets in many cases wind up being low in vitamin d So that’s a kind that’s something that you can supplement and make a really big difference Although that’s also one of those things that you have to monitor their vitamin d levels because you can over supplement vitamin d and cause problems admittedly, you have to work at it.

But nonetheless like I wouldn’t recommend that people aggressively supplement vitamin D unless they’re keeping tabs on what they’re what the levels are how much they’re doing and I can hear people listening to us thinking I’m going to be trying to shove a pill down the throat and the thing and you have powders and you have things that you can put in their food.

[00:51:17] Gabby Reece: Yeah, I just want to say you’ve also thought about ways to make this easy.

[00:51:19] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah, there are definitely ways to do this. And granted some animals are going to be easier than others. But one of the things that I look to do is. to either, either utilize or create combination supplements.

So, you can give say 10 different things, but as a practical matter, you’re just giving one. The other nice thing, at least when it comes to most dogs is if you pick the right supplements, most dogs will eat them in their food and dogs have a tendency to fish oil.

And it smells like low tide. Take your dog to the beach and what are they going to do? They’re going to roll in some dead fish on the beach. They like this stuff. Sometimes that makes life easy because they like gross things. And then the teeth.

[00:52:03] Gabby Reece: How I think a lot of us don’t really know how to take we mentioned the bone care, but just in general good practices for their teeth.

[00:52:12] Dr. Gary Richter: Sure. Dental health is incredibly important when it comes to big picture health. And this it’s certainly a problem across the board. It tends to be more of a problem in smaller dogs just because their teeth tend to be a little more crowded and they just, they don’t have as much root in bone as say a larger dog does.

So, when they get periodontal disease, it gets bad. faster. So, as we discussed earlier, the periodic raw bone can be a huge help. There is no substitute for regular brushing. And I know that’s something that a lot of people groan about when I say that.

[00:52:49] Gabby Reece: Are there doggy toothbrushes?

[00:52:51] Dr. Gary Richter: Yes. Although there’s no magic in a dog toothbrush. Depending on the size of your dog if you have a large dog, you can just use any toothbrush. If you have a smaller dog, you can get a dog toothbrush, or you can just get like the smallest, like baby infant type toothbrush you can.

And ideally speaking, yeah, I mean your dog, or your cat should have their teeth brushed every day. And again, I know that’s not something most people do. Do you guys brush your dog’s teeth at home? I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that happens super frequently in my office.

It just makes me feel good that you’re a human being. But no, for sure. But I will tell you that both of my dogs are going in in a couple of weeks to get their teeth cleaned, which arguably they might not need if I was better at brushing their teeth. Fair enough.

[00:53:38] Gabby Reece: Do they have to get knocked out for that?

[00:53:41] Dr. Gary Richter: There is such a thing as a non-anesthetic dental cleaning which also is a little controversial in the whole veterinary medical field. Wait, what do you mean? Veterinary medicine in general does not take kindly to a non-anesthetic dental cleaning. There, and there’s a lot of reasons for that but non anesthetic cleanings.

They absolutely are not equivalent to a full anesthetic dental cleaning. You’re not going to be able to get as deeply under the gum line. You’re not getting dental x rays. The way I look at non anesthetic cleanings is it is part of a larger preventative plan. Raw bones, teeth brushing, non-anesthetic cleanings, maybe the right kind of dental chews.

It’s all prevention. It doesn’t mean that your dog’s never going to need a full anesthetic dental, but what we’re trying to do is spread that interval. They only needed a handful of times in their life rather than every year, because. Anesthetizing a dog or a person every time you anesthetize an animal or a person, you are stressing their system.

You are conceivably causing problems and you’re rolling the dice. As safe as anesthesia is these days, there’s always a risk. So, let’s do it as little as we can get away with.

[00:54:57] Gabby Reece: I wish you were like my human doctor. So reasonable. I wonder is your, it’s funny cause I know you’re up in the Bay area, but you’re so straightforward and like this, but I like that it’s this, what people would think as alternative, progressive, almost hippie.

And then you’re like, so we’ll be doing some acupuncture today. Sure. And I’m like, that’s because that’s where it needs to go. Tonally. I think for all of us. Because people have associated, oh yeah, sure, they’re not really doing it. It’s no, this is the real practice. Is paying attention to the individual patient.

One thing I read or saw, you were talking about molecular hydrogen tablets. And I have a little machine that does it. Yeah. And I thought that was just an interesting point. And you were saying, yeah, but they have to do it right away while it’s fizzing because we can’t. How do you get them to do it?

And then someone you were discussing it with was talking about coconut water. Yeah. So, I just thought it was an interesting thing because I have a water machine that does it sure. That you drink it right away. Yeah. So, I thought that was that’s even available.

[00:56:03] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah. I think molecular hydrogen is a fantastic supplement for people.

It’s tricky with animals because. You can’t get them to drink when you need them to drink, right? So that, that becomes a little bit problematic in that sense. But yeah, there’s all kinds of stuff like that. And to your point about just medicine in general I think it’s very easy for people who are very firmly rooted in Western medicine to look at alternative and holistic medicine and just brush it all off as like hippies burning sage and waving crystals.

And on the other side of the coin, it’s easy for those people to brush it off, oh they’re killing animals with vaccines and anesthesia and surgery. When in and, but as is often the case in life, there are no absolutes. There’s good on both sides of that.

And like, all of this is really about balance and that and that’s the way that my, my professional path has taken me in the sense of. It’s a question of how do I take the best of western medicine and the best of alternative medicine and just weave it all together.

And it’s when I see a patient it’s a question of what is the most effective treatment that I can offer here that is going to have the least potential problematic side effects and you know just to be completely upfront about it. It’s hard to do because there’s a lot to collate in your brain.

[00:57:39] Gabby Reece: And you might have to try a few things and be like, part of this is working, part of it’s not and going through that process, but that’s more honest than any other approach.

[00:57:48] Dr. Gary Richter: It is. And sometimes people ask me why it is that more veterinarians or more physicians don’t do this kind of stuff.

And to me, probably part of the reason is because. If you’re going to go down that road, it means that as a doctor, at some point you have to look inward and realize that for however long you’ve been practicing, maybe you haven’t been doing as good a job as you thought you were. Yeah. Which is a very difficult sort of self-realization.

And the thing about doctors is almost across the board, we are all practicing with integrity and from the heart. We all want our patients to do better and feel better. There’s no conspiracy about let me make a bunch of money on vaccines and whatnot. People go down that road.

It’s not true. Everybody’s doing the best job they can. But it’s just, sometimes they’re doing the best job they can without all the tools in the toolbox. Yeah. Is the thing. And that’s and I think it’s just a function of don’t throw away a tool just because it’s unfamiliar and you’re not sure what it does.

Yeah, but that takes taking a little bit of a look. And I think that’s that is hard and for, especially human medicine, maybe in ways not so different but in some ways maybe way more different. I think those doctors are overloaded. I think it’s really stressful the practices, I think there’s just a lot of dynamics that people don’t realize.

[00:59:14] Gabby Reece: Yeah, that’s another problem is if your practice is set up, so like you legitimately have 10 or 15 minutes to spend with, so what are you going to do? And insurance. How much work can I actually get done? There’s a reason why, you know, initial appointments in my office are an hour long because I need that time to sit down and talk to people.

Do you ever not take a patient? If the owner is you’re just like, oh, this is going to be, I know what the writing’s on the wall. I’m just like, we’re going to, I’m going to, do you have another person in your practice that you can bump them to? So yes, there are other doctors in my practice, but no, it’s not going to be like, oh no, I don’t want to do this.

[00:59:51] Dr. Gary Richter: No,

[00:59:52] Gabby Reece: you don’t see it. Like you already know Oh, I know what’s, I see what’s happening here. I’m not going to lie.

[00:59:56] Dr. Gary Richter: You read, you like, you read the records and you. Whenever you’ve done anything for long enough, you can start to predict what’s going to come. But you know what? That doesn’t mean you don’t you still follow proper channels and do everything right. Because you know what? Even after 25 years, I am routinely surprised by how things play out. Quite frankly, sometimes things get better that even that I did not expect to get better. Really? Yeah. And it’s amazing. That’s so great. It’s so much fun when that kind of stuff happens. So yeah, you always give them a chance.

[01:00:36] Gabby Reece: What about the skin? I know it’s obviously different between short haired and long-haired dogs but is there some type of practice that people can do to, cause skin is a part of health like for, dogs.

[01:00:52] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah, so much of that comes back to the whole nutrition supplement. Skin problems in many cases is it’s an outward manifestation of inward their gut or something. Yeah, gut problems other problems that said I mean there certainly are dogs out there That have allergies to things in the environment so that is something that, that sometimes needs to be managed either with supplements or bathing or sometimes medication.

[01:01:20] Gabby Reece: Like hotspots. They come around at a certain time of the year. Yeah. Like for Mr. Kava, he’ll get them. Like summer, one or something. And so that might be environmental.

[01:01:33] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah. And especially yeah when, like when you say when it comes around in the summertime, then clearly there’s an environmental factor to that.

That’s an interesting time. For example, you look at Chinese medicine and Chinese medicine. Part of what it does is it treats people seasonally.

[01:01:53] Gabby Reece: I know, it’s even spices. Yeah. To eat certain things during the cold. Eating cinnamon and things like that.

[01:02:00] Dr. Gary Richter: So, like from a Chinese medical perspective if you know that the patient had, tends to have a seasonal problem in the summer. Then you start treating them in the spring with herbs, with diet, you start prepping their body to be more equipped for those summertime stresses. So, you can do that kind of stuff.

And even when stuff arises you just the trick is to get on top of it before, like from the standpoint of a hotspot before they’ve literally torn a hole in themselves.

[01:02:30] Gabby Reece: And then, yeah, I’ve been there. Anxious dogs. Do you give them herbal blends? Dogs that are wound a little tight.

[01:02:39] Dr. Gary Richter: For sure. That must be really helpful. Yeah, it really can be. Herbal blends that could range anywhere from things like PEA, these sorts of things. I use a lot of cannabis in my practice. We use a lot of CBDs a lot of other cannabinoids. I’m a co-founder of a nonprofit called the Veterinary Cannabis Society. Because that is a medicine that has just dramatically poorly understood and underutilized in medicine in general. Part of this is about educating the veterinary community about look what you have at your fingertips and look how effective it is. So that can be helpful.

But also, those behavioral problems as are the case with people what I always tell pet owners is if you, if a person has an anxiety disorder, you’re not fixing that with a pill. You can’t just hand that person Prozac and walk away and slap your hands and you’re done. That’s going to, therapy has to go along with that. So, therapy for a dog is training. So again, it comes back to dogs are very much habits of their routine. They love their routine and when they have routine and they know what’s happening in their day and they have structure, they have less anxiety.

So yeah, so like you can’t like do therapy like you would in a person. Yeah. But if you give them things to do and give them structure in their life so that they feel comfortable in what their day is going to look like, they tend to be less spun up. Yeah.

[01:04:11] Gabby Reece: I know he’s less popular now, but when I saw what we used to joke that Caesar, the dog training guy, they’d be like, oh, this dog is aggressive. And then I don’t know. And he’d be like, great. Get the owner, bring them over here. Yeah. It fixed the owner. It is very much related. And it’s funny because I will sometimes have people come in very upset that their dog is anxious and whatnot, and I’m sitting there internally laughing.

[01:04:33] Dr. Gary Richter: I’m like, do you see what’s happening here? They really do key off the people in their life. Oh yeah. So yeah. So, some of that. And that’s always an interesting conversation to have with people about you need to get yourself in order.

[01:04:48] Gabby Reece: If you think your dog is just vibrating off you. Yeah, for sure.

Do you a fascinating job that you have – is there a type of dog or typically that you are more reluctant? I don’t want to say the, we use the word scared, but that there, that you’re a little like, oh, here we go. There are certain breeds of dogs that let’s just say they get your guard up a little bit.

[01:05:11] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah.

[01:05:11] Gabby Reece: And then you can’t, because you don’t want to vibrate that or either. It’s like this mix.

[01:05:14] Dr. Gary Richter: You don’t want to, but you have to. There are certain things and situations that you approach with caution and some of it’s not even really a, necessarily a breed thing, but you’re like you work around dogs enough and like at a glance you can just see their body language and they’ll tell you. They will. Oh yeah, a dog will tell you like, don’t come near me whether it’s a look or a body posture or the way they hold their ears or their tail they’re very much. Dogs are communicating. It’s just a situation that most people are not smart enough to understand what they’re being told. Which is why a lot of people get bit because they don’t understand it.

But yeah, when you’re talking about you think about what certain breeds of dogs were bred to do. So, when you’re talking about attack dogs, guard dogs. The ones that the ones that I think most veterinarians approach with caution, you mentioned one earlier and Akita. Akita’s can be tricky. Chow’s and they’re more sneaky. Cause you can’t, I don’t think you can read an Akita as much.

Akita’s and Chow’s are both interesting dogs because you don’t get a lot of facial cues for them. They’re very deadpan. Until their mouth is on you. So, you have to be careful with those dogs.

But then when you’re dealing with dogs, Rottweilers can be a little tricky. Sometimes, Rottweilers are interesting dogs in so much as, behaviorally speaking, they love you until you do something they don’t like. And then it’s not fun anymore for them.

Or you think about the dogs that are very frequently used as like police dogs or military service dogs. So, a Malinois, a Belgian Tervuren.

[01:06:56] Gabby Reece: Are those aggressive? But they feel like they’re so disciplined.

[01:07:01] Dr. Gary Richter: If they’re properly trained, they’re very disciplined. If they’re not properly trained, they can get scary. The thing is like a dog like that needs to understand who’s in charge.

And when you have a, when you have a dog like that and they if there’s not a definitive figure in charge in that dog’s life, then their default assumption is that they’re in charge. And that’s when things can get real dicey when the dog is under the assumption that they’re running the show.

And talk about not a starter dog. I am a firm believer that, that, that’s a full-time dog. Generally speaking, regular people probably should not own a dog like a Tervuren or a Malinois, unless you are an incredibly accomplished trainer. I have dog trainers that come into my office with those dogs, and they’re like puppies.

They’re so adorable, which is so much fun for me, because they’re such beautiful dogs and you want to hug all over them. But you just can’t. So, it’s always fun when you can. But yeah, those dogs can be very tricky.

It’s fascinating. If you ever watch if you ever watch dog shows, like Westminster Dog Show or whatnot, I always love the terminology they use to describe the breeds because it is like the most positive spin on something that could be so bad like they’ll describe a dog as.

Fiercely loyal to their owners means they’ll bite people who are not. But it’s fascinating. They’re like, how do we spin this and make this sound good?

[01:08:31] Gabby Reece: Cause they’re here inside.

[01:08:32] Dr. Gary Richter: Exactly. Exactly. So yeah. As a veterinarian you get to, you get to know these.

[01:08:38] Gabby Reece: You’ve obviously, in your younger days, you’ve probably.

[01:08:41] Gabby Reece: I’ve been gotten grabbed a couple times. But cats, man, they scare me almost more than dogs.

[01:08:47] Dr. Gary Richter: I will tell you that your average veterinarian will deal with an angry dog over an angry cat any day. Yeah. The thing about most dogs is, dogs will… Dogs will bite you to say, stop doing what you’re doing.

So, they’ll bite you and they’re done. Cats mean it. Cats, it’s a bar fight. Yeah. Cats will just, they’ll bite you and they’ll finish the job. Yeah. Yeah. Like very few people get one cat bite. Yeah. It’s just.

[01:09:15] Gabby Reece: Yeah. My dog, when it sees a cat, is I’m not getting into that. Oh, hell no. No. I’m not getting into that. No. They play for keeps. It’s yeah, we won’t get into the analogy of dogs and females and males and cats. Oh, that’s a dangerous place to go. I know.

But anyway, crate training. How do you feel about it? I think it’s my case. I think it is a, in many cases, I think it’s an owner’s decision.

[01:09:37] Dr. Gary Richter: Okay. I think crate training can be great. If you don’t want to crate train your dog, I don’t really care. I think the one time where you could really make a strong argument for crate training is like admin. And this house is probably a great example of that. If you live somewhere where there’s some reasonable chance that you may have to evacuate.

[01:09:55] Gabby Reece: Oh, I thought you were saying coyote.

[01:09:57] Dr. Gary Richter: Oh, that too, but yeah, if there’s a chance that you have to evacuate, it would be best if your dog was reasonably comfortable on a crate. Yeah. If you had to go somewhere where you had to shelter or something that’s important.

Other than that, I don’t really care. If you want to do it, great. If you don’t, I don’t. No this is just a philosophical question. Our dog, the breed, we got the dog. We didn’t have first choice of the dog from the litter. And so, breed standard is the tail is short and we had a dog before this same breed with its tail.

[01:10:27] Gabby Reece: The one with its tail was very defiant, more. Like you were talking about certain things like anxious, whatever. This dog is much more compliant. My husband seems to think it’s because they took the tail off. Nope. Do you think it impacts them at all when they do things like remove the tail or breed standards or things like that?

[01:10:46] Dr. Gary Richter: I think the one thing that it impacts, and this is true for both tails and ears. That is a means of expression and communication for those dogs. I see. So, you take that away and like particularly between one dog and another, you’ve taken away part of their ability to communicate with another animal. That said and I’m glad you brought this up.

There is no medical or reasonable reason to dock a tail or crop ears or de claw or remove dew claws in an animal, period. If there’s an injury, sure, that’s a different thing. But as a as a breed standard, I’ll just come right out and say it. It’s stupid. And skitzy?

[01:11:34] Gabby Reece: Dobermans? Yeah. Depends on the dog. They can be a little Do you think their brain’s getting squeezed in that little head? What’s going on there?

[01:11:40] Dr. Gary Richter: I think at the end of the dog, a Doberman’s just a goofy hound dog. Is that what it is? And if you see them with ears, you’ll, you can see it. Yeah, that makes sense. Like when they don’t look it. But when they have the big floppy ears, you’re like Oh, you’re just a big, goofy hound dog. That explains everything.

[01:11:54] Gabby Reece: So, in the case of longevity, your book’s out now, both your books. Is there something that is, that was, that’s really important that I’ve totally missed as far as people approaching you. Being good pet owners for the longevity and the well-being of their pet sure.

[01:12:13] Dr. Gary Richter: I think in many ways this really mirrors what’s going on with people in so much as you think of it as a pyramid and the base of the pyramid is going to be. Diet, lifestyle, environment all these things that fortunately, these are things that pet owners can do at home.

You don’t need me for this. You don’t need to pay me to sort out your dog’s diet and lifestyle. It’s there’s enough information out there. As you work your way up the pyramid, now you’re talking about things like supplements. Pharmaceuticals, regenerative medicine like stem cell therapy, ozone therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, that sort of thing. That’s when things get more technical. And if you have the interest and the means to make that stuff happen, there can be a really significant impact in a positive way by that, those kinds of things.

But only if you’re already doing the foundational stuff. If you’re not doing diet, lifestyle, nutrition, then you’re effectively building a house on a foundation of sand. It’s just not going to work the way you want it to. Like I say, easily half of this stuff are things that anybody can do at home. You don’t need a veterinarian. Don’t spend money on me to do that. But if you have the interest to take it that one step further, that’s when things can get real interesting. That’s when the science of what we know now about longevity really comes into play and where we can really start to have significant impact.

[01:13:39] Gabby Reece: And do people get like yearly blood work done on their dogs or cats?

[01:13:43] Dr. Gary Richter: They should. And I’ll go one step further and to say that they. They should get more than just like a standard CBC and chemistry like your regular veterinary.

We can run other parameters. Now we can look at vitamin and mineral levels. We can look at omega fatty acid levels. You can even look at things like epigenetic age testing which admittedly is not in any way sort of an indicator of like. When your dog’s going to die per se, but it’s a really good indicator of how well you’re doing from the standpoint of your lifestyle and longevity treatments as to get an idea of how quickly their body is deteriorating.

[01:14:28] Gabby Reece: What’s the oldest dog you’ve ever treated? Do you remember?

[01:14:31] Dr. Gary Richter: Mid -20s. What kind of breed? Small dog? Small dog, Chihuahua.

[01:14:35] Gabby Reece: Okay, are Chihuahuas the only dog that’s related to a fox and not a wolf?

[01:14:40] Dr. Gary Richter: I think they’re all ultimately related to wolves.

[01:14:42] Gabby Reece: Okay. Somehow, I heard that, and I wonder, you’re the perfect person to answer.

[01:14:45] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah, I think all dogs ultimately are, evolve from wolves, which always makes me laugh. When I have, I have an employee who has a dog called a boerboel, which is a type of Mastiff. It’s a South African Mastiff.

[01:15:01] Gabby Reece: Are those the ones that try to kill people?

[01:15:03] Dr. Gary Richter: He’s a very sweet dog. Okay. He has no idea how strong he is, but he’s a very sweet dog. He’s ballpark around 200 pounds, all muscle and bone. And I always laugh when I look at that dog and then I think of my 12-pound Shih Tzu at home. And I think about wow, you guys have a common ancestor, how does this happen? How does this work? It’s a fascinating thing.

[01:15:24] Gabby Reece: Justin, you get your one question.

{Justin} Any recommendations for someone that’s getting a pet with no history?

[01:15:38] Dr. Gary Richter: From a, if you’re getting a pet from a rescue, if it is a, if it is a possible thing to do I would recommend that people foster the dog. So that’s a really good way to try things out. And the reason why I say that is because dogs have personalities just like people do, and if you agree to foster the dog you can get a few weeks or a month and really get an idea of whether that’s a good fit.

And there’s nothing, there’s no greater success than a foster failure. People foster dogs and they’re like, hell no, am I giving this dog back? But if it doesn’t work out now you don’t necessarily have the sort of the guilt and the angst of having to give back a dog that you’ve adopted.

So, make sure it’s a relationship. Frankly, it’s a relationship that lasts longer than most relationships. So it’s, a trial period is always nice if you can sort that out.

[01:16:33] Gabby Reece: Dr. Richter, can you just direct people? I’m curious also because your line is beautiful. Maybe if we can just briefly talk about your food line and to you. Is there a hero product? Because I know there is in that line for you.

[01:16:48] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah. Yeah. The brand of the supplements and the food overall is Ultimate Pet Nutrition. So it’s ultimate pet the cornerstone and the hero product is called Nutra Thrive. It’s a really great combination supplement that almost any dog and there is a cat version, which you’ll be happy to hear that almost any dog or cat can benefit from there are other supplements that are more specifically directed towards things like joint health, skin health detox, liver health, that sort of thing.

And then there’s a freeze-dried raw food as well for both dogs and cats. So that’s a freeze dried is a really great way to get. Really high-end whole food nutrition in animals without having to deal with some of the hassles that come with like frozen raw food and that sort of thing. So, you know, it’s the convenience of kibble but the nutrition and the benefits of fresh whole foods.

[01:17:44] Gabby Reece: And like to your point earlier, if people have multiple dogs or it’s cost, you can mix a bit of that in with the stuff they’re already eating and you’re boosting what they’re getting.

[01:17:52] Dr. Gary Richter: Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s just a question of so feed as much fresh food or freeze-dried food as you can and then feed the rest the highest quality food that works in your life.

[01:18:02] Gabby Reece: And all the, all the way that people can find you, they’re not going to call your office. Don’t worry.

[01:18:08] Dr. Gary Richter: Oh, some of them will. I know. Again, they can find information about the products at ultimatepetnutrition. com. They can also go to Dr. Gary So you’ll find information there about the books.

And if people are in the Bay Area and they are interested in bringing their dog in, my office website is holisticvetcare. com. And we’re in the East Bay. We’re in Oakland. Really quick, just because you said hyperbaric, does the owner go in with the pet and hang out? No. How does it work? Is it a room? It’s a chamber. Yeah, no it looks like a mini sub.

[01:18:46] Gabby Reece: So how do you get the dog to adhere to that?

[01:18:47] Dr. Gary Richter: So, it’s a hard sided chamber. Probably a lot of the chambers you’ve been in because most of the human ones, like you go in and you wear a mask.

[01:18:57] Gabby Reece: No, I was in a glass.

[01:18:58] Dr. Gary Richter: okay. I went down, so you were in one of the ones that pressurizes with oxygen. Yeah. Okay. So that’s how you have to do it in, in, in veterinary medicine because you’re not going to get a dog to wear an oxygen mask. So effectively you put the dog in a chamber, and we pressurize it.

And for the most part they do fine in, in my experiences much like there’s like stages of grief with people, there’s like stages of indignance with dogs when you put them in a hyperbaric chamber. Like first they’re confused. And then they get a little anxious and then they get indignant that you’ve locked them in this chamber and then they get bored, and they go to sleep because effectively what happened, like from the dog’s perspective, nothing happens like they don’t feel anything.

So, like most animals, like if they’re under stimulated, they’re going to take a nap. So more often than not, they just take a nap.

[01:19:47] Gabby Reece: And is it for a dog that has a wound or for, what, why would you put them in there? Could be could be wound care. We do a lot of that any condition where there’s either, either inflammation or lack of circulation, severe swelling, spinal trauma, brain trauma.

[01:20:06] Dr. Gary Richter: Inflammation, say like liver inflammation, pancreatitis, that sort of thing. There’s also an interesting study that came out of Israel not long ago on people where they found that that they were actually able to lengthen telomeres and increase stem cell release with repeated hyperbaric oxygen treatments.

[01:20:26] Dr. Gary Richter: So, from a longevity perspective, there’s a lot to be said in that regard as well.

[01:20:29] Gabby Reece: No, I love that. Every time I ever, I need an athletic surgery, I’ll book a whole week right after. Oh, it’s spectacular for healing. And the NFL, there’s some incredible protocols. Do you remember what was his name?

Broadway Joe, help me out. Joe Namath. Yeah. So, I saw him in interviews, he was punch drunk and then he did a protocol literally like 200 in a year. Yeah. Like a different person the brain swelling.

[01:20:52] Dr. Gary Richter: Yeah. And that’s a great example of he didn’t just have a concussion yesterday. This is decades old. And still the brain is able to recover from that which is a really amazing thing. Now, fortunately, we don’t see as much traumatic brain injury in animals as people in the athletic world do. But it’s a great example of how resilient the body is, even when it’s not a fresh injury.

[01:21:16] Gabby Reece: Yeah, I love that. Dr. Gary Richter, thank you for your time. Thank you.

[01:21:19] Dr. Gary Richter: Appreciate you. You bet.

[01:21:23] Gabby Reece: Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you want to learn more, there is a ton of valuable information on my website. All you have to do is go to or head to the episode show notes to find a full breakdown with helpful links to studies, research, books, podcasts, and so much more.

[01:21:41] Gabby Reece: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and send them to @GabbyReece on Instagram. And if you feel inspired, please subscribe. I’ll see you next week.


About Dr. Gary Richter, DVM, Medical Director of Holistic Veterinary Care

Dr. Gary Richter, DVM, is a distinguished veterinarian, international bestselling author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition. His two newest books Longevity for Dogs and Longevity for Cats will be released on August 29th, 2023and will shed light on the causes of aging and how we can intervene to help our dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives than ever before. The book guides readers through everything they can do to increase both life span and “health span” for their pet, from the puppy stage to geriatric and end-of-life care.

Dr. Richter is certified in veterinary acupuncture, as well as veterinary chiropractic. Dr. Richter understands the benefits of both conventional and holistic treatment methods. His professional goal is to provide a center where pets can receive effective holistic and regenerative therapies in conjunction with the highest quality of western medical care. He also places great emphasis on the well-being of the pet owner, knowing that a sick pet can cause great strain and strong emotions. He instills this understanding in his staff and works to ensure that both pet and owner are treated with the utmost care and respect.

Dr. Richter’s professional interests are the integration of holistic and general practice veterinary medicine, regenerative medicine, and educating professionals and pet owners on the benefits of integrative care. Dr. Richter is a past-president of the Alameda County Veterinary Medical Association and has been the recipient of over twenty local and national awards including “Best Veterinary Hospital”, “Best Veterinarian”, “Best Canine Therapy Facility” and “Best Alternative Medicine Provider.”

Dr. Richter is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s of Science, a Master’s of Science in Veterinary Medical Science and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating with honors, Dr. Richter moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998. He began his career as a full-time emergency medicine clinician and general practitioner in Berkeley, California. Dr. Richter has been the medical director of Holistic Veterinary Care since 2009.