Alternative Treatments for Your Dog

Not so long ago, if you wanted your dog to be treated with alternative therapies, you'd be hard-pressed to find a veterinarian who actually knew enough or was willing to perform this type of medicine. Fortunately, that's changed.

While the majority of veterinarians in the United States practice traditional Western medicine, alternative treatments are becoming more popular. Some veterinarians practice both Western and alternative treatments. If your vet practices Western medicine only, and you'd like to try alternative therapies, it's a good ideal to discuss this with your veterinarian first. As Buster's 'parents', we utilize both a 'traditional' veterinarian as well as one who practices alternative procedures. Both doctors are aware of the situation and are okay with it.

Alternative protocols treat the entire individual, rather than just the ailment itself. For example, let's say your dog has arthritis. A veterinarian who practices traditional Western medicine might give him something for pain and stiffness, but alternative medicine goes a step further to find the 'root cause'. Your pet could need chiropractic work if he's out of alignment and has been favoring one side over the other for a long time, causing excess wear on his joints. This is just a simple example of how alternative medicine works. Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area.

There are several types of alternative treatments available for dogs. Below are some of the most common ones:

1. Acupuncture--most people are familiar with this practice of placing tiny needles along various strategic points on the human body, but it works just as well for pets. All living things have lines ('meridians') of energy, also known as 'chi', flowing through their bodies. When that flow of 'chi' is disrupted, illnesses can occur. Acupuncture 'unblocks' the energy flow and thus helps to heal the disease. This protocol is very useful in treating arthritis. Does it hurt? Well...I've never experienced acupuncture personally, but Buster receives acupuncture treatments every four weeks for arthritis. He is completely relaxed during the session and usually falls asleep! I'll take this to mean 'no, it doesn't hurt'!

2. Chiropractic--again, most people have heard of this practice which operates on the basis that health problems are caused when the body's skeletal system is out of alignment. Chiropractors assess which areas are misaligned and 'straighten them out'.

3. Herbals--just as there are herbs that are useful for treating people, many herbs can be used to treat illnesses in dogs. Buster's holistic vet is schooled in the practice of Chinese herbals, so she often has prescribed these. One of the herbs we've given him is known as 'wei chi', a compound that helps strengthen the body's 'chi' for improved health and immunity. (It must not taste very good, because we have to mix it with his food to get him to take it!) Your holistic veterinarian will prescribe the proper herbal supplements for your pet. 4. Homeopathy--these treatments are like herbals in that they are plant-derived; however, they are different in that they operate on a principal called 'cell memory'. The compounds used in homeopathics are so distilled that virtually no physical evidence of the original substance remains, but the cells that are left retain a 'memory' of the healing properties of the original substance. I know it sounds pretty far-fetched, but it does work!

5. Supplements--many humans take different supplements such as fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to good health. Dogs benefit from many of the same supplements as people. For example, fish oil is useful, as is glucosamine, for joint problems. Organic coconut oil is helpful for making your pup's skin and coat look and feel their best.

6. Hydrotherapy--this treatment involves the use of a special pool of warm water which has a mild current flowing through it. The dog is placed in the water, held up by either a special harness or a doggie life vest, and is forced to swim against the current. His natural buoyancy allows him to exercise without placing any stress on his joints, while the current forces extra exertion. This type of therapy is very useful for dogs who are arthritic or have other joint problems, and can also be used for pets recovering from surgery. Some hydrotherapists also use an underwater treadmill, so the dog is forced to walk as the treadmill runs, with the added resistance of the water. Again, the dog's natural buoyancy prevents stress on the joints. =

If you think you'd like to try alternative treatments for your CBF, click here to find an alternative veterinarian in your area. Always keep an open mind when using alternative therapies on your CBF. Some of these treatments may sound a bit far-fetched, but THEY WORK!! Remember--your ultimate goal is for your pup to live the happiest, healthiest, longest life he possibly can--and anything that can help you both achieve this goal is worth trying.
Now that you've gleaned some information regarding alternative treatments for your furry buddy, be sure to visit our other pages for fun and informative dog stuff!
Return to Home Page