Many of you are using a natural approach to your own care, but have you ever thought about taking the same approach for your dog or cat? In my practice in Plano, Texas, I teach pet owners each day how to begin moving from the conventional approach, which relies heavily on pharmaceuticals, to a more natural approach which only uses conventional medications if absolutely needed.
Here are some of the tips I share with my patients that will help you get started on a gentler, more natural approach to giving your pet a long a healthy life.
First, let me share with you the 5 goals I have for my patients that want to use a holistic/ natural/integrative health care program:
- Prevent Disease- It’s always better to prevent a problem than to have to treat it.
- Say NO to Drugs- Drugs are a last resort to help a pet. No drug can really heal a pet, so our focus is on healing using natural therapies.
- ”Heal” the Pet, Rather than “Treat” the Disease- While making the pet feel better short term is important, ultimate healing is a long term goal and lifelong process. Holistic doctors focus on healing rather than a temporary removal of clinical signs and symptoms.
- Offer “Hope for the Hopeless”- I see many pets whose prior doctors couldn’t do anything for them, considering them hopeless cases. Using natural therapies, I have been able to save and heal many of these “hopeless” cases that could never be helped with conventional medications.
- Save Money on Pet Care- Whenever possible, using natural therapies tends to be less expensive than conventional medications and surgery. And of course, healthy pets rarely get ill, which reduces overall medical costs.
Here is my 6 step process for a holistic (natural, integrative) pet health care program:
- Diet- Feeding the proper diet (no byproducts and chemicals) is the foundation upon which any integrative pet care program begins.
- Minimize vaccines- Dogs and cats DO NOT NEED ANNUAL VACCINES. Instead, we run an inexpensive annual blood antibody/titer test to determine if/when the pet might need vaccinations. In our practice most pets receive vaccines every 5-10 years based upon titer testing, and sick pets are NEVER vaccinated.
- Minimize toxins- While oral monthly heartworm preventive medication is important (we have not found any proven natural preventives) most pets do NOT need annual chemical flea and tick control (Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, Revolution, Program, etc.)
- Health Maintenance Supplements- We use many supplements in our practice to help both our sick patients get better and our healthy ones stay healthy. We use a variety of herbs, nutritional supplements, and homeopathics, many designed by me after years of experience keeping pets healthy.
- Prevent and Treat Dental Disease- Dental disease is the most common infectious disease in pets. Regular dental cleanings and at-home care will add years of health to your pet’s life.
- Bathe Your Pets as Needed- Regular bathing, even several times weekly, will keep your pet’s skin and coat clean and reduce your allergies by removing foreign proteins from the pet. I prescribe a line of shampoo I specially formulated for frequent bathing to keep pets smelling fresh and clean and heal damaged, infected, and allergic skin.
I believe that all of us (and our pets) are able to heal without the need for strong medications in most circumstances. Natural therapies assist this healing ability without causing side effects and further damaging our health. Following the plan I’ve outlined will help your pet stay healthy and free of the side effects so often seen with conventional medications.
Shawn Messonnier, DVM, is the author of the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle! You can learn more about natural pet care and check out his natural products at www.petcarenaturally.com. Join Dr. Shawn on his radio show, CAT CHAT® & DOG TALK®, that he cohosts with Tracie Hotchner every Tuesday at 8 PM EST, 7 PM CST, and 5 PM Pacific time. It's FREE and you can listen by going to http://www.traciehotchner.com/cc/listen.php