As animal lovers, we are consistently looking for ways to provide our companions with the happy and healthy lifestyle they deserve. We know a healthy lifestyle doesn’t solely mean physical, but it also includes our mental health; the same practice should extend to our animals. Over the years, holistic care has been used widely in humans, and now viewing health from a positive holistic perspective is currently practiced in animal care to prevent, improve and strengthen the overall health of our pets.
What is Holistic Pet Care?
When viewing health from a holistic perspective for our animals, the focus lies in the overall wellness of an animal’s body while integrating health from the mind, body, and spirit. In holistic pet care, we consider that animals’ mental and emotional health influences their bodies, and the health of the body affects the way their mind functions. Holistic practices emphasize preventive medicine to help decrease the risk of illnesses and diseases before they appear. Today more and more pet parents are combining holistic approaches with traditional vet visits to optimize their companion’s lifestyles. The ultimate focus is being in tune with your companion’s best interest and their ability to heal themselves through natural approaches.
In our lifestyles, we feel the healthiest when our mental health is stable and in environments that make us feel comfortable and safe. As humans, overworking ourselves without any leisure time drains our energy, physically and mentally. This is why we need to take a step back, indulge in self-care, or stimulate our brains with activities; the same practice should extend to our loyal companions. Providing enrichment and stimulation in your pet’s daily routine optimizes their mental states, improving their physical health. The best way to stimulate our animal’s minds is through regular playtime and daily exercise. Simple activities for animals are to allow them to activate their five senses safely: sniff, see, taste, hear and touch. The outdoors is the perfect setting for animals to explore and play. During playtime with your four-legged friend, allow them to sniff their surroundings, and the fresh air and interact safely with other animals. If your pet is an indoor animal, like a cat, your patio is your best friend! You can encourage active play by incorporating a variety of play toys like scratch posts or balls to relieve pent-up energy. Healthy playtime is not only fun, but it has a ton of physical and mental health benefits. It promotes bonding time to show your companion affection, prevents obesity, and diabetes, and reduces stress on their joints!
Optimizing Nutrition and Gut-Health
The natural approach for preventing illnesses and diseases while boosting their immune system is optimizing your animal’s nutrition. When we’re on the lookout for pet food in stores, there are hundreds of varieties to choose from that promise health benefits, which can be a challenge! However, one type of pet food won’t tick off all the boxes in terms of nutritional values because pet food isn’t made equally. The best choice for your pet is natural foods that don’t include artificial preservatives, additives, or GMOs. A great start is to consult with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist on certain foods that your pet can incorporate into their diet. Today, holistic pet parents look for healthier alternatives when selecting pet food by turning from home-cooked meals to raw natural selections. Holistic pet food incorporates fresh meats, vegetables, and healthy grains in wet and dry form that minimizes carbohydrates and maximizes their protein intake.
While a healthy diet is beneficial in your pet’s holistic health journey, optimizing their gut health is also an essential aspect of holistic wellness. Optimizing your pet’s gut health is vital if your pet is prone to digestive problems such as chronic diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. Holistic pet parents ensure to include oral probiotics to provide their animal with a healthy boost of bacteria, which have many anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition to your pet’s nutrition, there are alternative holistic healthcare practices used today to improve your animal’s overall health, such as:
- Acupuncture - Acupuncture has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and can be applied in an animal’s holistic health care journey. This practice performed by a skilled holistic veterinarian offers many benefits that correcting energy imbalances in the body. The action of inserting tiny, painless needles into the skin where energy points are located helps improve blood circulation, oxygen flow, nerve stimulation, and the release of hormones to alleviate inflammation and chronic pain. Source: https://www.doylestownveterinaryhospital.com/blog/1208-2/
- Homeopathic Therapy - Homeopathic remedies stimulate animals’ natural healing responses using plants, minerals, and natural substances. This practice allows an animal’s body to heal rather than suppress symptoms of diseases.
- Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Treatments - The human touch is a powerful healing tool in today’s holistic veterinary practices; experts today have found many benefits in chiropractic treatments and massages in animals. Massage therapy can improve blood flow, and oxygen, heal sprains and reduce pain. It not only soothes your animal’s joints, but it eases anxiety and stress, which is visible when you gently pet your animals at home. Some holistic experts believe that massage therapy goes beyond soothing your animal’s joints. It can contribute to their overall health by strengthening the immune system, aiding digestion, removing toxins, and decreasing blood pressure. Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/holistic-care-can-help-dog/
- Aromatherapy: We all know the powerful gift our animals have is their heightened sense of smell. If you’ve ever fallen asleep to soothing essential oils or a candle, you understand the calming benefits certain scents have. According to Barbara Royal, DVM, president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, “Scent is so important in an animal’s life. It can change the way your brain functions, whether you’re feeling alarmed or discomfort.” The therapeutic uses of essential oils can calm an animal’s anxiety and reduce stress. However, it’s necessary to consult your veterinarian before your companion’s aromatherapy session because some essential oils can be toxic to animals.
As you embark on a holistic journey for your beautiful being, a huge aspect of holistic health is uplifting the spirits of your companion by honoring them every day and expressing gratitude for all that they give to us. Everything we do in our lives impacts our physical bodies, and this includes our animals. What makes our companion animals unique is their hearts of gold; they have clear and pure emotions such as joy, excitement, and fear. Your animal is a listening ear, someone to take care of as they take care of you. The practice of holistic wellness understands that everything in their lives is connected. Your relationship with your animal affects your life and their life, so it’s essential to consistently strengthen your bond and know what they are communicating while conveying your needs and emotions to them, which lays the groundwork for lasting wellness and healing.
The world of herbal and organic wellness offers animal practitioners a wide range of highly effective treatments, which can be more effective than chemical alternatives. Long before animals became domesticated, they would seek out plants and herbs to fend for themselves in the wild, which is why the goal of holistic wellness is to go back to their roots. However, it’s important to note that we cannot assume one approach is the best for our animals. Conventional vet care still has your pet’s well-being at heart, and holistic wellness can be integrated into modern practices.
A holistic lifestyle has many benefits for any animal and pet parent; the goal is to find natural ways to prevent and treat the root of the problem while considering every aspect of our animal. Because you joined the Everywhen Pets community, we know that you view your animals as members of your family, so you’d do everything you can to maintain their emotional and physical well-being. It’s never too late to explore holistic options to improve your family’s overall wellness.