August 30th is National Holistic Pet Day.
In honor of this day – dedicated to bringing awareness to the benefits of holistic veterinary medicine – let’s debunk some of the common myths surrounding holistic pet care!
Myth #1: Holistic care costs too much
Looking at the long term healthcare cost of having an animal, holistic care is usually less expensive than a conventional approach. This is because holistic care focuses on preventing disease and relying on natural therapies rather than conventional medications – and preventing disease is always less expensive than treating a problem.
Myth #2: There’s no proof holistic care works
There are literally thousands of documents showing the effectiveness of holistic care. It is true that nutritional supplements are not subjected to the same standards of testing as conventional drugs, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t studies showing their effectiveness (or in some cases, lack of effectiveness). In fact, many studies have shown these therapies can be more beneficial than similar conventional medications. If someone thinks there is no proof holistic care works, either he hasn’t taken time to do the research or is simply discounting it.
Myth #3: Holistic care is wacky
It’s true that new things can sometimes appear “different” or “wacky”. But it’s also true that some of these therapies are now mainstream, such as nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal therapy. Other therapies such as homeopathy might appear “wacky” when first studied, but it’s only because this discipline looks at health and disease from a totally different perspective. Careful study and questioning of different holistic disciplines can usually allow you to determine which therapies seem logical and which ones seem “far out”.
Myth #4: Holistic care requires too much effort
Yes, holistic care often involves more work than simply popping one or two conventional medicines. For example, for patients with skin disease, I prescribe frequent bathing and three to five supplements given one to two times daily. If you are not able to spend this extra time and effort, or if your animal resists your good intentions, it may be that a conventional approach is best for you. However, I’ve found that most people can easily transition to a holistic disease prevention or treatment approach, and that most animals respond well to these therapies.
Myth #5: I can’t find a holistic vet
There are certainly fewer veterinarians offering holistic care over those who offer a conventional approach. Over time, however, I have seen the number of holistic and integrative vets slowly increase. While many areas do not have holistic veterinarians available to see patients on a face-to-face basis, many doctors, are able to help people via phone appointments. These are very easy and reduce the stress of bringing your animal to the clinic. This way, you’re still able to work with your local conventional doctor and take advantage of the care he or she might offer, while the holistic veterinarian is able to prescribe natural therapies to further encourage your animal’s healing.
If you don’t have a local holistic veterinarian, set up a phone appointment with a holistic doctor who can give you a second opinion and offer additional therapies you may not find locally.