Have you been making healthy lifestyle changes lately? Maybe you’ve switched your diet, or started practicing yoga, or reading labels and swapping out products that contain un-needed toxins or chemicals or using herbal remedies as opposed to medications… Whatever it is you are doing, or possibly gave up doing, you are striving for a healthier life, because you realize that your overall health and the health of your family is important to you. So naturally wouldn’t your pets be included? Similar to how you select health care for your family, selecting the type of care for your pet is equally important. There is no better time than the present to start looking into holistic pet care and seeing if this form of care would be right for your furry friend. What does holistic care mean? By definition, holistic pet care is the philosophical approach to health that sees the entire body as greater than the sum of its parts. This means that in order to treat a specific condition (like losing fur); a holistic vet focuses on the overall wellness of an animal. The techniques for achieving this wellness tend to be simple, and focus on proving your pet with a healthy, balanced diet, keeping them away from artificial products, additives and chemicals (especially toxic household cleaning products) and giving your pet forms of stress relieving therapy like plenty of exercise and possibly even aromatherapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture. When put together, the theory of holistic care goes the factors of a healthy diet, lack of exposure to chemicals and reduced emotional stress causes your pet’s immune system to help its body naturally heal itself and be fortified against future diseases. How does holistic pet care consider health and nutrition? Since holistic pet care refers to evaluating the whole pet, it pays close attention to diet and food, nutritional supplements, preventive care, exercise, and grooming as well as the whole range of options available for any needed treatment. An evaluation can show what areas of your pet’s life need improving such as by suggesting necessary natural and herbal supplements to improve overall pet health. A holistic approach tends to avoid the use of vaccinations, immunizations, and non-natural medications, unless deemed necessary due to a pet’s age and other factors. What’s the difference between conventional and holistic veterinary care? Conventional or traditional veterinary care is what many of us are accustomed to. It allows for vaccinations and medications and will typically look at the single problem instead of tracing back to the source of the problem. For example, if you take your dog into a traditional veterinary clinic to have an eye growth looked at, the vet will look at and evaluate only the growth and the eyes. On the other hand, a holistic vet will look at the growth, then evaluate the whole dog to find out what factors have led up to the growth and what could have contributed to it. A holistic approach is not meant to completely take the place of conventional veterinary care. Instead, the two ways of care can complement each other to best fit the needs of your pet. The focus of holistic care and natural remedies is to nurture and support an animal’s own healing process, thus helping to prevent the development of disease. Similarly to a holistic healing approach in humans, an animal’s body has the ability to heal itself naturally, but the holistic approach does not completely rule out the need for complementing its healing techniques with conventional medicine when deemed appropriate. With the combination of good nutrition, daily exercise, and proper vet care, your furry companions will live a healthy life right along with you and your family. How do I choose a holistic veterinarian? When choosing a holistic veterinarian, look for doctors that have training in natural and alternative treatments. Professional veterinary associations or holistic organizations offer study and accreditation. Some of these organizations include:
- Academy for Veterinary Homeopathy
- International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy
- The National Center of Homeopathy
- The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
- International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS)
- American Veterinary Chiropractic Association
Do you use natural, holistic or otherwise “alternative” veterinary options with your pets? Let us know in the comments below!