The truth about holistic pet care may surprise you. The truth is, it’s not an all or nothing proposition. Mention holistic pet care, and acupucture, chiropractic, herbs, essential oils, and other alternative therapies spring to mind. Yet holistic pet care is more than that – much more.
As more and more people experience the benefits of natural care for themselves, they are learning that what is good for them can also be good for their pet. There has been strong focus recently on natural pet care – from studying the effects of and evaluating the necessity of vaccines, to the role diet plays in a pet’s health. Many pet parents, now more educated, are turning to natural pet care as a way to help prevent disease, reduce the cost of vet care, and ultimately help their pets live a longer, healthier life.
Holistic pet care means taking into account the “whole” animal – it’s environment, it’s stressors, behavioral issues, the food it eats, trying to find the root cause of a problem, not just treating the disease or symptom. In every sense, it is the most well-balanced approach to keeping a pet healthy, by attempting to avoid unnecessary drugs and surgeries, looking at all the options that are available, and choosing the one which is in the best interest of the pet.
And herein lies the surprise to many – holistic therapies don’t replace conventional therapies. Holistic vets often employ conventional therapies and some traditional vets are now starting to employ natural or alternative therapies. It’s a case of the therapies working in conjuction with each other, complementing each other. It’s not an “either/or” situation. Which means the best of care for your pet, using the least invasive methods possible, following the “above all do no harm” Hippocratic Oath. And the often surprising truth is, you don’t have to switch to a holistic vet to reap the benefits – you can work with a traditional vet who is open-minded and willing to explore and introduce alternative, natural therapies as appropriate.
There are some people who will want only natural therapies for their pet, others who will only want conventional therapies. But it is the integration of both the conventional and natural, this delicate balance and synergy, that oftentimes can benefit your pet the most. Some pets will not improve with conventional therpay alone, or a conventional therapy might carry more risk than a natural alternative. It is these instances where a pet might be better served when a complementary natural or alternative therapy is added to the treatment plan.
We all want what is best for our pet, so be aware that it can be dangerous – sometimes even deadly – to try and figure out the natural and alternative pet care world on your own. Even things as innocuous as vitamin supplements should only be given to your pet under the supervision of, and with the approval of, your vet. By working closely together with your vet, you can both provide your pet with a more natural upbringing, and in the process, improve their quality of life, health and longevity.