Holistic Pet Care: 4 Natural Treatments To Consider
Fear of side-effects associated with chemical medicines and a commitment to a natural lifestyle are just two reason why many pet owners are opting for natural treatments. Increasingly, mirroring the trends in human health, pet owners are looking to holistic and natural medicines for their pet's health.
As an owner of a mini dachshund, Izzy, a breed that is known to suffer from spinal pain, we have found that by combining Holistic with traditional Western Medicine, our little Izzy recovers more quickly and experiences less pain than western medicine could achieve alone.
Two we have tried personally are acupuncture and chiropractic medicine, but there are many other natural treatment options for pets out there! Here are just 4 I'd like to go over.
How does it work? A Chinese therapeutic treatment, acupuncture is used to treat pain. The technique consists of small-gauge needles applied to various points of the body which help stimulate the nerves. Another needle-less variation of this treatment is Laser Acupuncture. This uses an electric current rather than the needle to stimulate nerves and spur healing.
Helps with: This type of treatment helps with various ailments such as; improving digestion, increase of circulation, relieve muscle spasms and to relieve nausea.
Studies: Studies have been done on pets that have spinal issues (such as our Izzy) that acupuncture or chiropractic care has been proven to help relieve pain and inflamed disk. Acupuncture is a treatment that is inexpensive and sometimes combined with western medicine is a new way to look into treating your pet's health problems.
How does it work? Chiropractic treatment corrects your pet's alignment, movement or physiologic function has been altered, which are also referred as "subluxation". The goal of chiropractic care is to manipulate the spine or other joints and remove these subluxations.
Helps with: I've noticed a significant improvement in Izzy after a chiropractic session. It quickly relieves her pain and restores her flexibility and movements. The spine of both dogs and cats have over 100 joints. Chiropractic care is a wonderful holistic approach to consider if your pet suffers from spine/back issues.
How does it work? Homeopathy helps treat the symptoms of a disease by triggering the body to use its natural healing/protective abilities. Operating from the theory of "Like Cures Like," like a vaccine, homeopathy uses natural substances that would normally cause the same symptoms your pet is suffering from, but dilutes it to the point that no harm can be done. Side effects are so rare in fact, homeopathic medicines are considered to have none. Homeopathy trains the body to fight against symptoms.
Helps with: There are all manner of homeopathic treatments available out there. There are medicines for the most common of pet ailments like arthritis and diabetes, to the most obscure behavioral issues.
How does it work? Rather than synthetic chemicals or drugs, herbalists select therapeutic herbs and plants to help treat various pet illnesses. As the great wikipedia puts it:
"Plants have evolved the ability to synthesize chemical compounds that help them defend against attack from a wide variety of predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals. By chance, some of these compounds, whilst being toxic to plant predators, turn out to have beneficial effects when used to treat human diseases."
Herbal treatments work essentially the same way western, synthesized medicines do, just naturally. Unfortunately, also like conventional medicine, herbal medicines can come with side effects.
Helps with: Like conventional treatments, there are herbal treatments to help with most any problem your pet might have. However, because herbal treatments can cause side effects, it is important to get a qualified pet herbalists to select proper treatments and instruct you on their usage.
Whatever type of treatment interests you, it is important to consult your veterinarian and to seek a qualified practitioner. You can check online to find out if your vet is certified at the "American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association" website which maintains an online database.
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005