5 Myths About Natural Pet Care
Think a natural and holistic approach to pet care isn’t for you? Read on to find out if your reason may be a myth.
Myth #1: Holistic care costs too much
Cost is relative when it comes to you pet . While some people feel that spending over $100 on a single veterinary visit is too expensive, many will spend thousands on surgery if they expect it to add another six to 12 months to their animal’s life.
In looking at the long term healthcare cost of having a pet, 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.
Preventing disease is always less expensive than treating a problem. When you consider that the average cost of eight hours’ care for a sick dog can easily run $500 or more, all of a sudden that $100 blood test done twice a year to help prevent the problem in the first place doesn’t look so expensive.
Some medications do cost less than supplements. For example, prednisone, a drug often used for allergic pets, is inexpensive. However, giving prednisone on a regular basis will add to the cost of care, since its long term use can predispose an animal to other problems such as diabetes or adrenal gland disease. Additionally, patients taking prednisone on a regular basis should have checkups and blood and urine testing every three to four months to allow early detection of these diseases. These repeated veterinary visits and costs would be unnecessary with a holistic approach. And since medications like prednisone may actually reduce your dog’s longevity, spending a little more on holistic therapy is worth the money if it gains him several more years of happy and healthy life.
Myth #2: There’s no proof holistic care works
If you know where to look, 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 holistic 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 to woo-woo
It’s true that new things can sometimes appear “different” or “woo-woo”. But it’s also true that some holistic therapies are now mainstream, such as nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal therapy. Other therapies such as homeopathy might appear “woo-woo” when first studied, but it’s only because this discipline looks at health and disease from a totally different perspective. The same is true when studying an Eastern or Chinese approach to health and disease.
In general, if a certain therapy promises a complete cure or touts itself as the “only” therapy needed for good health, I would be very suspicious and likely avoid it. No particular discipline, whether holistic or conventional, can make such promises or guarantee specific results. Any practitioner who does so is likely a quack, guilty of malpractice, or just interested in taking your money. Once you carefully examine mainstream holistic therapies, I think you’ll agree they make sense and add to our perspective of how health and disease affect the body.
Myth #4: Holistic care is too hard and requires too much effort
Yes, holistic care can involve more work than simply popping one or two conventional medicines. But since a natural/holistic approach focuses on prevention rather than treating symptoms in the first place, it’s possible that in the long term it’s really easier. If there is no disease to treat there is no extra effort.
I’ve found that most people can transition to a holistic disease prevention or treatment approach very easily, and that most animals respond well to these therapies. 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.
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 as doctors look for the missing link to improve patient care, and as people demand something more than simply another magic shot or pill.
I appreciate the fact that many areas do not have holistic veterinarians practicing natural pet care available to see pets on a face-to-face basis. But many holistic 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, I encourage you to 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.
While there’s nothing wrong with conventional medicine, it only offers one perspective. Natural pet care is able to offer many holistic therapies, and it focuses more on health than simply disease. I have found the best results occur when pets are treated with proven holistic therapies. It usually means reduced costs and greater longevity and quality of life for the pet.
Tips on Finding A TRAINED Holistic Veterinarian
Here are a few organizations that train and certify Holistic Veterinarians in different disciplines, as well, as, the AHVMA that maintains a list of interested (but not always holistic) veterinarians. For you to choose a “Holistic Vet” you must first narrow down your needs. If you are looking for someone that has a regular practice but is open to Alternative medicine then your field is larger and many of the vets listed in the AHVMA (American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association) list might suffice. If you are looking specifically for Homeopathy, then consult the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy list. For Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture also maintains a list. Some of these veterinarians are totally holistic and some don’t even use acupuncture in their practices but all have gone through the training and passed the certification exams. There is a copy of the AHVMA directory kept at the AHVMA Site. There is a seperate Acupuncture list at the AAVA site. Some veterinarians also list with the National Center for Homeopathy