Holistic Pet Care Techniques

Holistic medicine is a form of a healing that looks at the whole picture of pet health.

Mind, body, and spirit are all considered for treating pain, and holistic approaches combine traditional medicines with alternative therapies to achieve the balance needed for feeling good. Classic examples of alternative therapies for humans include positive lifestyle choices and complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and others.

These techniques produce welcoming results in humans, and over the last decade more and more dogs and cats are experiencing the lower-cost alternative therapy options. With help from the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, and the American Animal Hospital Association, here are a few homeopathic veterinary techniques to consider for your four-legged friend:

Lifestyle Choices

A good start to any pet’s health will begin with the lifestyle choices you can help them make. Dogs need exercise, and for many, they need a lot of it. 2-3 walks a day, a long hike in the evening, or perhaps some laps in the swimming pool—whatever it is, get that pooch’s blood pumping. Alongside exercise, your dog’s nutrition needs to be considered in the forefront. Beyond not eating your leftover pizza slices, pay attention to the nutrient labels on the dog food you buy. Sometimes the more natural selection may be a little pricier, but the long-term cost savings from avoiding vet fees should make it a little easier to buy the better dog food.


Acupuncture is a technique that has been used for thousands of years to relieve pain and improve the function of the organ systems. Traditional acupuncture believes that “Chi”, a vital life force, flows through your body along channels referred to as meridians. Veterinary acupuncture uses long needles to activate the “Chi” in your pet and relieve any blockage along those meridians.

Chiropractic Remedies

Chiropractic work on your pet involves realigning vertebrae to increase the flow of impulses from the spinal cord to the rest of the body. This type of practice can help animals that are experiencing spinal injuries such as a slipped disc or pinched nerve and have even contributed towards helping with epilepsy, skin disorders, and behavioral problems.

Herbal Medicine

A lot of common medicines we use today, including aspirin, have been derived from plants. Through the processing and heavy regulation, it is said that some of these modern medicines lose their innate healing powers. Herbal medicine cuts out the middle man and goes right towards the source by using a variety of herbs and medicines to treat a variety of different ailments in your pet. Because a lot of the techniques are taught by tradition, and toxicity in herbs can also be common, be sure to refer to a trained specialist regarding what herbal remedies are best for your pet.

Homeopathy Techniques

A little of something that can kill you can actually save you, or so is the belief that homeopathy techniques are built on. That’s because homeopathic techniques involve giving your pet small doses of something that would hurt them in large quantities so that a natural immune system will be built. A good example is allergies, wherein administering small doses of the allergen, immunity can be built. Once again, it helps to have a specialist on your side when considering homeopathy techniques.

Aroma Therapy

The evidence is almost in front of us on a daily basis. Our nose is sensitive to the environment, and what we smell can affect the way we feel. Don’t believe it? Stick your head into a dumpster for a couple of minutes and follow that by walking into a floral shop. The same goes for your canine, except for that your dog has an exceptionally higher sense of smell. Lavender is a common essential oil used for many ailments including those that affect your dog. Because of canines’ high sensitivity to smell, be sure to consult a specialist before introducing a barrage of new aromas.

Important Things to Consider

  • Holistic Medicine considers every treatment source. So while the treatments above might help with cumulative health, not in all cases will they completely alleviate pain and traditional western medicine should also be considered.
  • Every pet is different. Just like humans, the aches and the pains of your pet, as well as the solutions, will vary from dog to dog. Referring to a specialist and discussing specific symptoms is the best way to figure out your holistic solutions.
  • Don’t do more damage than good. When seeking out holistic veterinary medicine, be sure to do some research and use a vet with experience and education in the matter. DIY holistic treatments might be a little less expensive but can result in negative outcomes if performed improperly.
  • Consult your veterinary specialist for any questions you have. Get a second opinion from a qualified professional if your vet cannot fully explain the answers you are looking for.

Meet the Author: Brad Lane

Born in raised in the great state of Iowa, Brad has lived on both sides of the country, from the Blue Ridge to the Cascades. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana, Brad is always on the lookout for the next big adventure.

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