| || || || |
While the use of complementary therapies should never take the place of conventional veterinary advice. They can provide a great deal of comfort to a suffering animal, by helping them to de-stress in a way that will not interfere with any medical treatment they may be receiving. Sometimes, our beloved friends just want to be pampered – in which case, a natural therapy session can be great!
So, what exactly do these alternative treatments involve? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular complementary therapies for animals in use today.
Reiki is a form of energy healing that originated in Japan during the mid 19th century, with Dr. Mikao Usui. This modality works with what Reiki practitioners describe as the natural energy field of the body to assist the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical healing process of a patient.
No matter what types of prescribed drug therapies and any other programs your pet may be on, Reiki can work side-by-side naturally with anything your vet or other pet care professionals may be utilizing. (Reiki can) accelerate your pet’s healing processes, ease their pain, reduce stress and improve or help their quality of life.
A Reiki session is a none intrusive form of massage that works to balance out the energy flows in the body. Long distance Reiki treatments can be performed by some practitioners, and can be very effective. In my Reiki practise I like to send long distant Reiki treatments to help people and animals.
Homeopathic medicines have been used to treat pets, farm animals, competitive animals and even wild animals for over 150 years, primarily because they are effective and do not cause dependence.
We all know the effects of peeling an onion. These effects also happen to be very similar to the symptoms of an acute flu-like cold. The homeopathic remedy prepared from a red onion is used to treat this kind of cold. Here are some other types of homeopathic remedies based on the very same principles.
Arcenicum (arsenic): Used to treat gastroenteritis.
Calceria fluorica (fluorspar or fluoride of lime): This remedy has been successful in treating tumors of the mouth.
Calendula (extract of marigold): A topical remedy that’s soothing for all sorts of irritations, burns or suppurating sores.
Chelidonium (from the plant celandine): This is an excellent remedy for sluggish liver action and jaundice.
Conium: Older animals, especially males with weakness in the rear legs sometimes develop a condition called degenerative spinal myelopathy. This remedy can help.
Estrogen (estradiol): Very effective remedy for female urinary incontinence that’s primarily caused by an estrogen deficiency. There are no side effects to the homeopathic version of this treatment.
Nux vomica: The basic homeopathic remedy for vomiting.
Phosphorus: Excellent for bleeding.
Silicea (silicon oxide): Used to address bone tumors.
Valerian (valerian root): Acts as a calming agent.
We all love the sensation of being surrounded by soothing fragrances … and it is no different for our animal companions. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) states that “essential oils for canines (dogs) and equines (horses), and some other farm animals can be used topically for spot application, massage therapy and for skin and hoof/paw care.”
However, they caution that the potential of aromatherapy to benefit cats “is very limited due to a cat’s sensitive metabolic system and their internal organs: the liver and kidneys do not break down certain substances due to lack of enzymes.”
For this reason it is very important to practice aromatherapy in the presence of a professional to ensure the health and safety of your pet.
In a nutshell, colour therapy – also known as chromotherapy – is the strategic application of a certain colour (or colours), used with the intention of positively impacting the health and wellbeing of a human or animal patient. Chromotherapy practitioners maintain that although certain domestic animals may not be able to see the same range of colours as a human can, they are nonetheless affected by a colour’s energetic vibration.
Common methods of applying colour include the use of light boxes with coloured filters, coloured cloths laid on the body, solarized water, and incorporating the desired colour into an animal’s environment through bedding, collars, or saddle blankets. Colour therapy is also frequently used in conjunction with crystal therapy. It is believed that while crystals contain certain minerals and compounds that impact positively on the bodies of those whom they touch, the colour of the stone also has an impact.
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHMVA) defines herbal medicine as “a system of treatment utilizing whole plants and plant extracts in the treatment of disease and maintenance of health. Herbalists believe that whole plants provide a broad spectrum of desirable effects, from specialized nutrition (herbs contain vitamins and minerals that drugs do not), which may allow lower does of pharmacologic ingredients to be used.”
There is some evidence that when it comes to selecting the ideal herbal remedies for their ailment, the animal, themselves will know best. This ability to seek out the ideal plant cure for their illness, when circumstances allow them to do so, is known as zoopharmacognosy. However, attained herbalist can also be of assistance in selecting the right natural remedy for your furry friend.
Herbs and How They Help
These flower petals can be used as a tea or salve for healing minor scrapes and cuts on dogs and cats. Don’t know how to make calendula tea? We have you covered!
It is like a cat’s happy pill. Where catnip is a stimulant for cats, it can have the opposite effect in dogs. While catnip is not toxic to dogs, it can cause them to be a little sleepy. Some people recommend mixing a little catnip in your dog’s water to help calm their nerves, but it is best to double check with your vet about dosage for your pup. When used as a tea bath, catnip can also soothe itchy skin.
Used as an extract or tea, chamomile can be added to your dog or cat’s water to help with hyperactivity and stress. It can also help soothe Fido and Fluffy’s dry skin.
Echinacea extract is great for infections of all kinds. Just use five to ten drops three times a day for a week, or fewer and less often for cats and other small animals. (Note: Echinacea should not be given to pets who have autoimmune disorders, including cats diagnosed with FIV or FeLV.)
This root is great for calming a dog’s upset stomach, reducing gas, vomiting, nausea, and even bronchitis and coughing.
Goldenseal is a powerful natural antibacterial that can be used as a tea, tincture, or eye wash to help ease conjunctivitis in both dogs and cats. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe minor irritations or rashes. Of course, if eye or skin irritations persist, contact your vet ASAP.
Licorice root is great for kitties with allergies and respiratory problems. It’s anti-inflammatory properties are also great for cats with arthritis.
This herb is great for improving liver function and helping to repair liver damage. If your dog has been on any strong medications, look into using this extract.
This minty plant helps dogs with upset stomach, gas, nausea, and car sickness. You should avoid peppermint for cats, however. According to the ASPCA, “Cats are especially sensitive to peppermint oil, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities.”
Like chamomile, valerian is great for calming your anxious pooch. Share it with your lazy kitty, however, and Fluffy will be up and about in no time flat. It’s great for motivating them to get up and get active.
Apple Cider Vinegar
We know the many health benefits apple cider vinegar has for humans, but it can work all kinds of wonders for your pets. From urinary tract infections to tear stains, treating fleas and hot spots, apple cider vinegar is definitely a kitchen staple.
Coconut oil is great for your pets inside and out. You can add some to their food or you can use it for a massage on Fido’s dry skin. Just be warned this might make your pup a little greasy if you spread it over wide areas, so plan to put it on their fur an hour or two before you plan to give them a bath as a pre-conditioner.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
These supplements isn’t just for human arthritis anymore. Now you can use it to help your cat and dog with arthritis and hip dysplasia.
This trusty oil is another multipurpose supplement for your dog. Just add a little to his food to promote healthy weight loss, improved immunity, better cognitive development, a healthy skin and coat … the list just goes on! Remember not to overdo it though, too much fat can upset your pup’s stomach and lead to other issues.
Use common sense
You wouldn't give your dog a conventional medication without knowing anything about it or consulting with your vet. The same thing goes for some alternative therapies. You won't do any harm if you massage your dog, but giving incorrect dosages of potent herbs or supplements is another story. Just because a substance is natural doesn't mean it's harmless.There are plenty of vets who are open to the alternative approach. Some veterinary schools now provide courses in holistic medicine, and some vets offer alternative therapies alongside conventional treatments. Animal Alternatives, a Tampa, Florida based holistic veterinary group, states that: “Holistic healthcare for pets uses modern practices rooted in ancient wisdom that is a gentle, natural healing alternative.”
Massage Your Pet to Well-Being
In addition to using these herbs and supplements as needed, you can also start to incorporate regular massages into your pet’s wellness routine. Pet massage can help aid the body in healing, as well as strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Not to mention, it feels good!
In just ten minutes a day you can massage your dog or cat into a more balanced sense of being. Be sure to use your whole hand when doing it and really be aware of all the layers of skin, fat, muscle, and bone. Start with their neck then move to the shoulders, down the back, and then legs. You may notice areas that feel tense, patches of dry skin, and even places that are sensitive to your touch. It’s important to do this every day with your pet, not only to stay aware of any changes he’s going through, but also to keep your bond strong with him