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Holistic Pet Medicine
What's the buzz???
Holistic Pet Medicine??
Is it safe? Is it legal?
What are the benefits for my pet?
Holistic medicine includes therapies and methodologies that can enhance your pets health and can be used in conjunction with traditional
Alternative health care options should not replace traditional veterinary medicine and care; but it certainly can compliment it.
Unfortunately holistic pet medicine is often associated with negative or wrong thinking. Considering alternative methods as a complete substitute for traditional veterinary care is the wrong way to approach it.
Holistic pet medicine does not replace the care of your licensed veterinarian. In fact, alternative medicine should only be practiced or administered by a licensed veterinarian who has the additional training and knowledge base in the use of alternative therapies in their many forms.
Another popular thought process today is thinking that holistic pet medicine and practices should be considered only as a last resort, when all else fails by means of traditional veterinary medicine. In reality, holistic pet medicine and therapies should be considered as the first line of defense to aid in prevention of illness and disease.
A holistic approach or care of the "whole" animal; body and mind, offers the biggest benefit when implemented as a preventative approach to good health.
A nutritious diet, vitamins, supplements, and other alternative therapies can help defend your pet from many illnesses and disease brought on by poor nutrition and poor care of the coat, skin, eyes, ears, etc.
Caring for your pet holistically can help boost his immune system, and provide the building blocks to long term good health.
Some of these helpful alternative therapies might include the use of medicinal herbs or a specialized diet under the advice and management of a licensed veterinarian.
The use of herbs as medicine or supplements carries with it a lot of misconception and "wrong" thinking. Such as the belief that herbs are more cost effective than traditional prescription medications.
This is not necessarily the case. Nor is it wise or safe to assume that herbs don't come without risk and/or side effects when used improperly.
Never attempt to "treat" an illness or disease your pet my be suffering from without the advice and direction of your vet. Many times traditional prescription drug therapy is still the best therapy.
Diet should certainly be considered huge part of a complete holistic approach to pet health care.
In fact, a good diet should be at the top of the priority list in my opinion.
Good health starts with a good diet. All-natural, high-nutrition, low-to-NO chemical additives pet foods provide the building blocks for your pet's long term health.
There are many terms being used to refer to alternative medicine. Let's look at a few of the more common terms:
- Holistic/Naturopathy; meaning "complimentary", or "natural" medicine. Healing comes by natural means.
- Alternative medicine or therapy; Practices that minimize the use of surgery and drugs whenever possible. When approached correctly, alternative therapies can be of great benefit over some of the traditional approaches, but again, only under the careful advise and administration of your licensed veterinarian.
- Herbalism; The study or use of medicinal herbs to prevent and help treat disease and ailment, or to promote health and healing.
- Veterinary Acupuncture; Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. Veterinary acupuncture is the application of acupuncture on an animal. Acupuncture claims to help decrease inflammation and increase blood flow. It's considered helpful for older pets who suffer with arthritis, pain, or functional problems.
- Veterinary Chiropractics; The term "chiropractor" or "chiropractic practitioner" can only be used when referring to a human patients. However the use of chiropractic care for the spinal manipulation on animals is becoming more excepted in the field of veterinary complimentary medicine.
I personally took a pet massage class years ago, and my pet's have reaped the benefits ever since. My dog's have actually developed quite a talent for letting me know they could use a little massage here and there, I highly recommend it ;)
- Animal Massage Therapy; The use of massage therapy for animals is a well excepted practice. It helps promote healing and relaxation. It helps with joint discomfort, anxiety, circulation, flexibility, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention pets seem to love it!
It promotes the bond between pet and human and seems to be as relaxing to the one serving up the massage, as it is to their furry recipient.
- Hydrotherapy: Therapy incorporating the use of warm water to aid in healing from certain injuries, helps with pain and stiffness from arthritis, strengthens cardiovascular health and much more.
As you can see, with the addition of complementary and holistic medicine for pets, pet parents now have many useful and wonderful options.
- Exercise: Daily exercise cannot be overlooked or minimized, and should be a part of your overall holistic approach to pet health care. Pet health can suffer the affects of the "couch potato" lifestyle just like humans.
Educating yourself will enable you with the right information and avoid "wrong" or misguided thinking. Learn how one or more of these methods may enhance the life of your pet. Talk to your veterinarian about holistic pet medicine and practices.
This is only a partial list of the many alternative treatments and therapy options currently being offered to pets as a part of a holistic lifestyle when combined with traditional veterinary care. Explore these and many other complementary methods being practiced today such as Magnetic Therapy or Aroma Therapy.
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Canine Hydrotherapy Association, UK