A dog is a (hu)man’s best friend. Your pets play a special role in your life so it’s important to help them be as healthy as possible.
While some might think that means going to a conventional veterinarian, there are some more natural ways to keep your pet healthier as well. Looking for a veterinarian who uses more holistic approaches could help your pets stay healthier. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pets are getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients while also making sure they don’t eat any dangerous herbs.
This might sound like a lot, but in this guide, we’ll break down a couple easy steps you can take to make sure your furry friends stay healthy for years to come!
Holistic Medicine for Your Pets
Just like people have a choice in healthcare, today’s pet owner has the option to choose holistic veterinary medicine (HVM) instead of, or in conjunction with, conventional veterinary medical care.
By holistic we mean taking into account the whole picture of the patient (your pet) and not simply the symptoms presented at the time of your visit. When your pet is in the care of a holistic vet, the doctor’s aim is to identify and treat the “root cause” of illness, not just alleviate symptoms. They will accomplish this using traditional animal medicine practices plus approaches and treatments from their specialization in holistic animal medicine.
Conventional Veterinarian Philosophy of practice
If there are no symptoms, there is no more disease.
Holistic Veterinarians Philosophy of Practice
Going to the source of the symptoms in order to provide lasting recovery and optimal wellbeing.
Choosing a Holistic Veterinarian
If you’re choosing a holistic veterinarian instead of a conventional one, make sure your holistic veterinarian has the right education and training.
All veterinarians must have the same foundation of education in order to practice medicine:
- Completion of a four-year college degree (usually in a science such as biology)
- Completion of veterinary medical school
- Passing score on the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Examination)
- Depending on the state, there may be additional clinical competency tests and/or state jurisprudence exam requirements to be met
- Completion of a state required licensure forms and payment of licensure fees
- Many vets will have a post-doctoral specialization just like a “people doctor”
In addition to the above requirements, holistic veterinarians must have successfully completed a certifying exam to refer to themselves as a holistic vet.
Along with going to a holistic veterinarian, there are some other natural practices to keep your pets healthy.
Vitamin Supplementation for Pets
Most veterinarians will agree to the importance and possible use of vitamins and minerals on occasion. Regular use of nutritional supplements will depend on the type of pet, age, breed specific health considerations, lifestyle, and regular diet.
Similar to people, pets can have nutritional deficiencies for a variety of reasons such as:
- Poor or low quality commercial dog food diet
- Feeding a dog or cat a vegan diet without veterinarian supervision
- Poor digestion or absorption due to a medical condition or genetic factor
- Surgery that temporarily or permanently changes digestion/absorption
- Recovery from surgery or significant illness
- Stressful environment
Some of the common nutrient deficiencies seen in pets include:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
These nutrients are integral to the health of your pet’s immune system, cardiovascular, nervous, and muscular systems. But just like you and me, our pets are unique individuals. The type, dose, and frequency of vitamin or mineral supplementation for a pet will vary based on breed, age, and other factors. Discuss your pet’s need for a nutritional supplement with a holistic veterinarian.
Herbs and Pets
When it comes to herbs for pets, there is a lot of conflicting and often unreliable information surfing around the web. Additionally, herbs that may be safe for dogs are often not safe for cats and vice versa. The best advice you can follow when it comes to giving a pet herbs is this: ask a holistic veterinarian.
Unless you’ve received medical guidance from a holistic veterinarian about which herb to give, for what purpose, how much, and how often, do not give it to your pet. You could end up with a tragic pet poisoning.
Healthy Dog Treat Recipe
If you own a dog, you might be wondering if there’s a way your furry friend can experience culinary medicine too and the answer is yes!
Baking treats for your pet can help reduce expenses and is usually much healthier. Remember, this is a treat, not a daily main course.
These homemade dog treats contain a few essential and vet-approved ingredients: sweet potato, coconut oil/coconut, eggs, coconut flour, and gelatin. You might have to experiment with the ratio to find the consistency and flavor that your pet prefers.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (cooked and cooled)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup gelatin powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (or bacon grease)
- 1 egg
- 1-2 T water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated. If needed, add a little extra coconut flour to get a dough that is slightly thinner than Play Dough.
- Form into 1-inch balls and flatten with your hand.
- We made “paw print” shapes with our fingers to make them cute (totally optional). You can also use a rolling pin to flatten the doggie dough to create a cutout shape with a cookie cutter if you have extra prep time.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned on the edges.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing.
Important: These treats do not contain any preservatives. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, or freeze for several months. (If your dog is teething, or needs to chew for exercise, you can give them a frozen treat to chomp on).
From holistic health options to pet vitamins to sweet potato dog treats, there are many natural ways to keep your furry friends healthy!