Holistic Medicine: The Latest Trend in Treatment for Dogs

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For the last decade or two, the use of holistic or alternative medicine has become increasingly popular in a world that is slowly getting tired of the number of chemicals and drugs being used to treat virtually anything. But what you may not know is that many of these same holistic treatments are finding their way into being used in the animal world. In fact, a number of veterinarians are offering holistic treatments right alongside "regular” treatments.


Enter the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association

According to reports from the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association (AHVMA), holistic medicine is just as much about treating your dog as a whole rather than simply attempting to address a single problem. The theory behind this is that by treating your dog in this manner, you and your vet can provide him with care that is more humane, effective, and complete.  The AHVMA states that "Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy, and respect."


Acupuncture and Your Pup

Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine use to treat an incredibly diverse range of ailments from appetite to vomiting. It involves inserting tiny needles into very specific points on your dog's body. The spots are on nerves that, when stimulated in this manner, can help reduce stress, pain, nausea, and muscle spasms. It can also help improve your dog's appetite and his circulation. There is very little chance of any side effects, but the treatment has been found to be highly successful. Be sure to talk to your vet about starting this type of treatment and be sure the person you are considering using is properly trained and certified.


Massage Therapy and Acupressure

Both physical massage and acupressure are used to help relieve muscle and joint pain. They are also used to help your pup recover from an injury. You can give your dog a massage, which offers short-term relief, or have a professional do it for you. Acupressure involves applying pressure to the nerves instead of inserting needles into them, as with acupuncture. It offers similar relief to acupuncture, but the relief has a shorter lifespan. However, your dog is sure to appreciate a good massage from you on a regular basis. Your vet may be able to show you how to properly massage your dog or you can find an expert to teach you.


Nutrition and Diet

Just as nutrition plays a vital role in your health, so too does it in the health of your dog. In recent years there has been a movement away from commercial dog foods, as they contain far too many fillers and chemicals that have been found to be less than healthy for your dog.

There are now several "whole food" pet foods on the market today that contain no fillers, no artificial ingredients, no chemicals, no hormones, or anything else that isn't considered natural. While these foods are much better for your dog, be sure to talk to your vet before making any changes to your dog's diet. This will help to ensure the transition is successful and you know what to look for in terms of any possible reactions to the change in food.


Herbal Treatments

Mankind has been using herbs to treat virtually any imaginable medical condition, illness, or injury. Here again, the use of herbs is once again gaining popularity, including in the veterinary community. Many of the drugs in use today are derived from the ingredients found in herbs and other plants that have been concentrated. While many of these medications work swiftly and effectively, they are not without their share of side effects.

Herbal remedies use the same herbs and plants without them being processed, purified, and concentrated. In many cases, they are just as effective if not more so. While they might take a little longer to be fully effective, they tend to have far fewer side effects, making them a healthier choice. Because not all herbs are good for your dog, be sure to talk to your vet before using any type of herbal treatment.


Safety First

Holistic treatments are rapidly gaining in popularity among pet owners and with good reason. However, for the sake of your dog's health, be sure to talk to your vet first and make sure his condition can be managed in this manner. If you are still not sure of your vet's answers, you can always seek a second opinion from a vet that specializes in holistic treatments for pets.


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