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Your dog or cat is part of your family, so it only makes sense you would give them the same quality of healthcare that you give yourself. Unfortunately few of us do. While we fill our diets with healthy whole foods and practice yoga or undergo massage therapy, poor Rover is eating processed kibble and going to the doctor less than once a year.

Pets are some of the most over medicated creatures on this planet, and that’s only the beginning of the ways that conventional pet health care can sometimes do more harm than good. While conventional vets do an excellent job taking care of your pet when he’s suffering from an emergency, the truth is that traditional pet care practices are often lacking in regards to total pet wellness.

If you’re petrified that your pooch needs some specialty care with a more natural bend to start feeling better, you’re in luck. There are plenty of forms of alternative medicine that go farther than traditional approaches to get your pet feeling better, faster. The time has come to challenge the system of conventional pet medicine and learn to treat your pet the way that nature intended.

What Does Alternative Holistic Pet Care Really Mean?

Alternative holistic pet care can be simply defined as looking beyond synthetic drugs for the solutions for your pet’s problems. Rather than feeding small puppies low grade foods their entire lives and treating each individual medical problem that comes up, alternative health care instead looks to maintain wellness through a healthy, natural lifestyle that sets your pet up to be the healthiest he can be. Rather than treating the illness, alternative care is intentional in maintaining overall health.

Holistic Care

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.

holistic pet care: dog with ball running for natural movement exercise

3 Ways to Start Holistic Healthcare For Your Pet

If you’re ready to reject the promises of the newest veterinary medicine and delve into some alternative healthcare methods for your pet, here are some ways that you can get started.

1. Natural Movement and Treatment

Animals love nothing more than to run, jump and play all day long, so it’s no surprise that many of them eventually start to develop chronic pain and stiffness. To keep your pet in top shape without succumbing to expensive surgery, try out these natural healing methods instead.

  • Exercise: No matter the age or size of your pet, they all need plenty of exercise. Make sure to take your dog on daily walks and keep your cat entertained with laser pointers and other fun toys. Not only does this help your pet maintain a healthy weight and prevent arthritis, it also bolsters up their immune system to better handle the threat of disease.
  • Massage: Everyone loves a good massage, and the practice of massage therapy provides plenty of benefits for your body and blood circulation. Unsurprisingly, massages have similar benefits for animals as well. They work as a great destresser and can even ease sore muscles that are tense from too much exercise. Make sure to take your pet to a professional to ensure the right spots are targeted.
  • Acupuncture: The practice of sticking needles into tension points has as many benefits for an animal’s body as a human’s. Chronic pain can disappear after just a few treatments from a professional.
  • Chiropractic: Spines are a surprisingly fragile part of the body, and having spinal columns shift around too much can cause pain. A chiropractor can realign your creature with little effort, keeping him pain free without pain meds.

2. Healthy, Holistic Diet

“You are what you eat”, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin told us, and this phrase is even more true for your pet. An essential step in natural holistic pet care is rejecting the overly processed pet foods that are available for dogs and cats and turning instead to fresh, organic and preferably raw foods as soon as you can. In many ways, this is the most important change you can make for the health of your pet. Most manufactured forms of dog and cat food are filled with preservatives and grain products that don’t belong anywhere close to your beloved pet. A large percentage of these ingredients are highly processed, making them a cheap way to keep your pet full. Unfortunately, dogs and cats are carnivores that have digestive systems that can’t cope with grains. By switching to a meat filled, possibly raw diet, you’ll be feeding your pet what it was designed to handle.

If raw food isn’t a reality right now, you can still feed your friend a healthier diet than what conventional pet food contains. Some of the top brands of healthy, holistic dog food are listed below.

Take the time also to give your pets the highest quality water you can. Chlorine and fluoride are bad news for pets, so attach a water filter to your outside faucet to ensure the water that your creature drinks is the same quality you would serve your family.

cat at veternarian with stethescope

3. Natural Medicine

If your pet is suffering from a real problem, there is plenty you can do at home before an expert is essential. Many pet issues can be treated with natural remedies that have been followed for thousands of years without fail. Below are some top techniques for maintaining wellness for your pet right at home.

Note: These techniques are not substitutes for the advice of a medical professional. If you have concerns about the health of your pet, see a vet immediately.

  • Colloidal Silver: Many holistic vets consider colloidal silver to be a natural form of antibiotic and immune system booster. By working to fill bacteria, fungal and viral infections, colloidal silver can keep your pet healthy without an expensive vet appointment. A simple spray bottle is all you need to give your pet a routine dose and help keep them healthy.
  • Herbal Remedies: The power of plants can do a world of good for keeping your furry friend in top shape. Some of the top plant extracts for promoting pet wellness are listed below.
  • Goldenseal: Full of antibiotic qualities, goldenseal is great for uses as an eye wash for dogs as well as treating stomach and intestinal issues.
  • Ginger: A great aid for the digestive system, ginger can settle an upset stomach as well as relieve arthritis pain.
  • Milk Thistle: Helpful for protecting the liver against damage, milk thistle is especially beneficial when given to your pet right after being on medications that compromise the liver.
  • Aloe Vera: Perfect for soothing fleabites and rashes, apply a coat of aloe vera in the inflamed area and watch your pet to ensure they don’t lick it off.
  • Cranberry Extract: Reoccurring bladder infections are never fun, but you can keep your pet healthy with the addition of cranberry extract in their food or water.
  • Comfrey: Full of healing benefits for a range of ailments, comfrey is great for helping your pet cope with anything from cancer to chronic pain. The allantoin in the plant makes a difference for aiding cell reproduction and can provide plenty of anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
  • Neem Oil: Fleas and ticks stay far away from neem oil, making it a smart choice for keeping your pet pest free. All it takes is three to four drops every few weeks for the itchy bugs to stay far away.
  • Chamomile: If your pet is scratching itself from the discomfort of skin irritations, fill a spray bottle with diluted chamomile oil and apply it where the skin is raw. Your pet will enjoy some instant relief!

Resources For Holistic Pet Care

Looking for more information about the best ways to take care of your pet? These books will start you on the right course.

If you’re interested in utilizing the services of a holistic vet simply visit the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website to find a vet near you.

Conclusion

Your pet deserves to live the best life possible, and that means taking the time to treat their illnesses from a holistic medicine perspective. If you care about the well-being of the creatures in your family, take the time to learn some alternative medicine practices that will keep your pet healthy and happy. An all-natural, whole foods diet, plenty of healthy movement and occasional treatments from healing herbs will go a long way towards keeping your furry family member healthy for years to come.

About Author

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Lydia Noyes is an Appalachian homesteader and writer that lives on a land trust deep in the mountains of West Virginia.