The Insider’s Guide to Holistic Pet Care
Americans spend around $30 billion a year on alternative treatments for their ailments and overall health objectives. More and more, this interest in natural remedies extends to the treatments their pets receive, too. Are you interested in exploring alternative treatments for your dog? Read on for more information about the benefits of holistic pet care. Also, learn some of the alternative therapies that are available.
What Is Holistic Pet Care?
Rather than focusing solely on the part of the body that needs treatment, a holistic pet care approach focuses on the whole animal: mind, body, and spirit. In the clinical realm, this is often referred to as integrated veterinarian services. Integrated veterinarian services offer natural solutions in response to conventional diagnostic data that indicates the specific health issues that the dog is dealing with.
People often turn to holistic resources for their pets in lieu of traditional medications or procedures. Others simply prefer the natural approach to veterinary treatment that emphasizes nutrition and health rather than pharmaceuticals and foods that may contain unhealthy substances. Regardless of why you choose a holistic path to your pet’s care, there are several benefits, including:
- Removing the traditional approach to pet care in which the veterinarian is expected to have all the answers and is the only source of information regarding the options available for treatment. In holistic pet care, an empathetic vet actually acts as a partner with the pet’s owner. Together, they explore options based on the pet’s overall health, behavior, and emotional needs.
- A focus on avoiding as many ailments as possible by providing your pet with a healthy lifestyle and preventive care.
- A larger number of options such as oils, acupuncture, herbal remedies, massage, and other natural methods of aiding your dog’s mind and spirit, as well as his or her body. Holistic pet care can stop the never-ending cycle of surgeries and pharmaceuticals, which are the mainstay of traditional veterinary medicine. These options allow you, as your pet’s person, to take your focus off choosing “the lesser of two evils” when determining your pet’s care. Instead, it places a number of proven, effective tools and choices in your hands.
Calming Your Pet Naturally With Holistic Pet Care
Promoting a sense of calm and relaxation in pets with anxiety is one of the most common reasons that a dog owner seeks a consultation with a veterinarian. Many things cause anxiety in dogs. These include:
- A change in routine
- Loud noises such as fireworks
- Boredom or loneliness
- Chronic pain from other health issues
Fortunately, there are many ways to address your dog’s anxiety without using dangerous or high-powered medications, including:
Mental and Physical Stimulation
Dogs are prone to becoming stressed when their owners feel stress. If you are working long hours and have not been able to give your dog the attention he or she has grown accustomed to, this can lead to stress-induced behaviors. Taking your dog for regular walks, playing with him or her with a ball or other favorite toy, and teaching your dog new tricks provides him or her with physical and mental exercise that promotes health and emotional well-being.
While it seems like too simple of a solution, mental and physical stimulation are actually among the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle for your pet, along with diet.
What’s the personal benefit for you? The time spent playing with and being attentive to your dog is time not spent worrying about your own stressors, which can boost your own mental and physical health.
According to a study from the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow, music isn’t only soothing to your soul. It’s soothing to your dog’s soul, too. The study showed that classical music helped reduce stress in kenneled dogs. However, soft rock and reggae musical selections were found to have an even greater impact on decreasing stress. Of all the different music genres studied, dogs were found to spend more time laying down and less time standing when provided with the auditory enrichment of the music.
Essential oils can be toxic to pets — particularly cats — when ingested. However, in households without cats, properly used aromatherapy can provide a sense of calm for dogs. Lavender oil is one of the most common oils for providing calmness. Pet owners have found that a drop or two of lavender oil on a blanket that the dog lays on (never directly on the dog) is particularly helpful during car rides for dogs who have travel anxiety.
There are a number of natural supplements that are used to provide stress relief for pets. The list includes products that contain melatonin, L-theanine, L-tryptophan, or CBD-containing oils and chews. Your vet can assist you in determining which supplement and which dosage will work best for your dog.
The genius behind Okoa Pet’s “Hush, Puppy” Calming Chew formula is our Veterinary Science Officer, Dr. Rob Silver, aka Dr. Rob. As an herbalist and integrative veterinarian, Dr. Silver observed first
–hand the benefits of herbal and nutraceutical approaches to support pet health & wellness. It’s this experience that informed the development of Okoa Pet’s calming chews.
Acupuncture for Dogs
It is not unusual for aging dogs to acquire health issues such as arthritis, disease of the spinal discs, pain-related anxiety, and a loss of appetite. Just as acupuncture has provided relief of ailments in humans, the tiny needles used in acupuncture to open up or release blocked energy can also provide relief for dogs.
When inserted into key points in the dog’s body, acupuncture can provide the whole-body stimulation needed to alleviate the pain associated with aging. It can also help reduce the risk of similar, future conditions in younger dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about acupuncture’s place in your pet’s holistic pet care journey.
The Benefits of Dog Massage
Massage is another holistic method of encouraging overall wellness for your pet. The physical contact you give a dog during a massage can provide health benefits such as:
- Increased oxygenation of the blood
- Relief from pain
- Improved immune system
- An increase in flexibility
- A reduction in the discomfort your dog feels as a result of arthritis or hip dysplasia
- Relief from muscle tension, soreness, weakness, or spasms
- A reduction in the recovery time needed after surgery
Learning how to perform a daily massage on your dog can also help you stay connected to your dog’s health. You not only learn how your dog’s body looks and feels in health, but you are in a better position to notice changes such as tumors, abrasions, or lesions that can indicate that a serious health issue may have occurred.
These are just a few of the alternative therapies that are available for dogs. For more information, ask your vet for suggestions. You can also visit our store for natural supplements for your holistic pet care needs.