More and more dog owners are seeking holistic care for their dogs. Holistic care emphasizes the whole animal. When health problems arise, the holistic veterinarian seeks to address the cause of the problem rather than the symptoms.
For example, a poodle with recurrent ear infections that visits a conventional veterinarian will probably be prescribed antibiotics or steroidal ear ointment. This takes care of the infection, but the treatment doesn't address the reasons the dog is getting infections. If the same dog is taken to a holistic veterinarian, the cause of the infection will be sought. Perhaps it's related to diet or an immune imbalance. Perhaps the plucking of the poodle's ear hairs has caused irritation. The holistic veterinarian will seek to address the cause and help the dog achieve real health, thus avoiding future infections.
The holistic approach can take longer than treatment with antibiotics or steroids to make symptoms disappear. Yet advocates of holistic veterinary care feel that when the cause of illness is addressed, the dog will become healthier, and illness will arise less frequently.
What is homeopathic medicine?
The word “homeopathic” is often erroneously used interchangeably with “holistic.” Homeopathy uses very specific methods and remedies, which are based on the symptom picture of the individual, to address the cause of disease. While a homeopathic vet should be holistic, not all holistic vets use homeopathy.
Key components of holistic care are feeding a natural diet and avoiding overvaccination and chemical pesticides. This is different from standard dog care, which usually involves feeding kibble, getting all available vaccinations, applying topical pesticides, and giving monthly heartworm pills. Holistic care requires the owner to educate herself, pay close attention to her dog, and have a certain amount of faith in the methods used, since gratification is not instant. A holistic veterinarian and her client become true partners in achieving the optimal health of the dog.
You can find a holistic vet who can guide you in this type of care by visiting the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association's website. Bear in mind that many holistic veterinarians do phone consultations.
It is not uncommon for dog owners only to seek alternative veterinary methods after their dogs become very ill and conventional care holds no hope. But using a holistic vet for preventive care makes even more sense. If you can keep your poodle healthy with the help of a holistic veterinarian and avoid chemicals and drugs, you may add to the number of years you get to spend together.