Pets are such an important part of our lives; we want to give them the best of everything. One important way we can do this is by taking great care of their health. But beyond routine visits to the vet, all pet owners should be thinking about their furry friend’s overall health, wellbeing and quality of life.
One way to ensure your pet is as happy and healthy as possible is holistic care. Holistic pet care is growing in popularity, but what is it and why might it be good for your pet?
What is holistic pet care?
Before you consider holistic care for your pet, you should have a strong understanding of what it is. Holistic care is essentially an alternative to the conventional healthcare approach. Unlike traditional healthcare, which often relies on medication and surgery to treat symptoms, the holistic approach considers mind, body and spirit. It relies on natural treatments, alternative therapies and lifestyle changes to deal with ailments in the body at their source.
It’s important to remember that it does not have to be one or the other. Holistic care doesn’t discredit or eliminate the use of traditional treatments when necessary. Instead, its goal is to nurture your pet’s wellbeing as a whole with a combination of strategies—alternative and traditional. This means each animal’s health plan is uniquely tailored to them, so they get personalized care that meets their specific mental and physical needs.
Why might pet parents consider holistic care?
For some, holistic pet care might be a way to get to the root cause of an ailment. Rather than just suppress symptoms, holistic care aims to determine the cause of the issue and prevent it moving forward. For example, traditionally, a dog with itchy skin might be prescribed an anti-itch shampoo or medication. A holistic approach might determine that the cause is seasonal allergies. It would then target the ailment at the source with a number of strategies to prevent the problem, including herbal supplements, lifestyle changes and medications, if necessary.
Holistic care is also a way to reduce the number of medications your pet takes. Over-medication is becoming more of a concern, and holistic care fights this. It relies on other treatments and lifestyle changes to support pet health. The holistic approach believes that alternative methods can be more sustainable than prescriptions, depending on the issue.
Holistic care as a whole can be a way to give your pet more well-rounded care by employing multiple approaches as needed.
6 popular types of holistic pet care for 2023
Holistic pet care is a broad category, including treatments, supplements and more. Take a look at some of the most highly regarded holistic therapy options for pets this year.
- Acupuncture: This approach uses tiny needles to stimulate specific points in the body in order to alleviate pain and encourage healing. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that is used to treat arthritis, digestive problems and skin conditions in humans and animals alike.
- Chiropractic care: Along with massage, chiropractic care intends to align joints—particularly the spine—properly. This can reduce pain and improve mobility in pets. Similar to chiropractic care for humans, the approach involves getting adjustments on a regular basis in order to keep everything aligned and moving fluidly.
- Herbal remedies: These natural treatments include essential oils and herbal supplements. They are typically more gentle than traditional medications on your pet’s body. Herbal remedies can be used on their own or used to support conventional medicine. There are herbal remedies for just about every ailment, but remember that every pet is different. What worked for others might not work for you. It’s important to do your research and be patient when using the herbal remedy approach.
- Gut health support: Gut health is a growing concern for people and their furry friends. As we learn more about the importance of prebiotics and probiotics, many people are choosing to supplement their pet’s diet. Pet probiotic supplements can support a healthy microbiome, which aids in healthy digestion, immune functions and even seasonal allergies.
- Fish oil: Fish oil continues to be a popular way to give your pet some extra nutrients. Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered healthy fats. Fish oil supplements can promote healthy skin and coat, improve the immune system, reduce joint pain and much more. This is a great place to start if you want to get into holistic pet care, since it helps to balance out the nutrients your pet is getting where their diet might have gaps.
- Diet and micronutrient support: Diet is an extremely important facet of your pet’s overall health. Some people experiment with food therapy, which uses food’s natural properties to prevent disease or even fight food allergies. Others create holistic meals or add food toppers that provide a wide spectrum of micronutrients and target certain ailments. No matter what your pet typically eats and whether you want to do food therapy or not, it’s important to make sure they are getting the right balance of nutrients to support total-body health and avoid sensitivities.
Overall, holistic care is a great way to provide additional care for your pet and create a plan that is tailored to them specifically. It’s a way to look at the bigger picture of your pet’s health. If you want to start using holistic approaches, bring them up with your vet to ensure your pet gets the best care possible.