In recent years there has been an increasing interest in a return to a more natural lifestyle, including organic, unprocessed diets, fewer medications, natural fiber clothing, and a simpler lifestyle to name only a few lifestyle changes. In a similar vein, people have looked to treating their pets in a more holistic manner.
What are natural pet therapies? Natural pet medicine, also known as complementary medicine, alternative medicine, or holistic medicine is a form of veterinary medicine that encompasses many modalities which emphasize the use of simple, unprocessed substances rather than toxic chemicals with severe side effects, and emphasizes treating the whole (holistic) being rather than just symptoms.
Treating a pet holistically means considering all factors that contribute to the well being of that pet. A holisitic veterinarian will think about emotional state (i.e. stress), environment, nutrition, lifestyle (ie. activity and exercise), and immune status to name a few of these factors.
There are many modalities used to treat an animal holistically. These can include such things as chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, physical therapy, “hands-on” therapies such as Reiki or even massage.
Many people turn to natural therapies for themselves or their pets because they believe they are safer and cheaper than conventional therapies, but this is not always true. In general, natural therapies are gentler with fewer side effects, but a trained and certified holistic veterinarian should be consulted before initiating any therapy on an animal.
Written by Dr. Steven Schultz
Steven Schultz, DVM
Buffalo / Niagara Region