Holistic Pet Care Gaining Popularity
The benefits of holistic health are so well documented that many people are extending their holistic health practices to their pets. During the last few years there has been a marked increase in natural healing for animals. Just as human holistic medicine focuses on the “whole” person, holistic animal medicine focuses on the “whole” pet, not just one specific issue or disease. Holistic veterinarians are focused on resolving the cause of the problem, not just alleviating symptoms. Holistic means being open-minded to what is in the best interest of the pet.
Holistic practitioners are involved in a pet’s total health, including diet, nutritional supplements, preventative care, parasite control, grooming and exercise. While medications and surgery are sometimes needed, holistic veterinarians do not “over use” conventional medical treatments if there are other, less invasive methods that will work. They work on the premise that health is not simply the absence of disease. Many animals may appear healthy (they are not demonstrating signs of illness) but in fact are ill.
Some of the modalities that holistic veterinarians may use include acupuncture, herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, Reiki, and healing touch modalities. Nutrition therapy is particularly important because all animals (and humans) can benefit from improved nutrition. Good nutrition helps prevent disease and improve overall health. Some pets show immediate improvement when their owners add natural supplements to their daily routine. (Many people who choose holistic care for their pets prepare their pet’s food at home and do not buy commercial dog or cat food. That way they can be absolutely sure that the food is safe and that it contains only natural ingredients.)
Holistic veterinarians will first take a detailed background of your pet. They will look at the environment the animal came from and also the environment in which the animal is currently living. They will talk with you about any chronic or recurring problems and stressors that may be affecting your pet’s quality of life. Just like in humans, excessive stress can take a toll on a pet’s general health and well-being.
After the information is gathered the holistic practitioner will work with you to understand the causes of any problems your animal is having and develop treatment plans for your pet. The treatment usually is multi-faceted and may include a combination of therapies. For instance, your dog may need an antibiotic for a bladder infection along with massage, acupuncture and a special diet to speed the healing process.
So how can you find a veterinarian who specializes in holistic care? The number of holistic veterinarians is rapidly increasing, so the first place to look is in your own city. Call the local health food store or holistic health practitioner (chiropractor, acupuncturist, etc.) and ask if they know of any holistic veterinarians or ones that are open to supporting your holistic work with your animals.
There are a few national organizations that provide training for holistic veterinarians. The American Holistic Veterinarian Association is one of them. Most holistic veterinarians actually received traditional education at animal medical schools. However, after using holistic approaches to their patients’ problems and seeing great results, they decided to focus on alternative medicine.
If you cannot find a holistic veterinary practice in your area, then try to seek out a vet who will at least support your decision to take a holistic approach to your pet’s health. After all, holistic vet care should not be regarded as a complete replacement of traditional medicine, but it can be a great addition and it will definitely improve the quality of life for your four-footed friends.