A guide to natural pet health care and natural pet medicine
There’s a growing world-wide trend towards a healthier, more active and more natural way of living.
We increasingly seek out more natural ingredients from the supermarket shelves. Processed food is occupying less shelf space in our kitchens. And more and more people are turning to natural remedies to reduce stress, relieve chronic pain and treat other ailments.
These same healthy lifestyle choices can also be hugely beneficial for our pets. As a result, an increasing number of pet lovers are turning to a more holistic and natural approach to caring for their animals as we seek to provide our pets with the same quality of food, nutrition, supplements, vitamins and natural health products we seek for ourselves. The range and choice of natural pet care products and therapies available on the market today is vast. And it can be confusing to know where to start and where natural health choices fit alongside ‘conventional’ veterinary medicine.
According to Dr Tom Farrington MVB MRCVS VetMFHom, Chief Veterinary Medical Advisor for HomeoPet, “there is a worldwide trend towards a more holistic approach to pet health. ‘Integrated’ health care for pets can combine the best of conventional Veterinary medicine – including diagnostics like blood tests and x-rays, pharmaceuticals and surgery – alongside diet and nutrition, supplements, herbal and homeopathic formulas, physiotherapy and acupressure and acupuncture.” All of which can contribute to us achieving our ultimate goal of improving our loyal companions’ quality of life.
Dr Farrington was a conventionally qualified Vet when he came across homeopathics and herbal medicine in the treatment of pets and, after gaining university qualifications with another 7 year degree in Veterinary natural medicine, he has been practicing integrated healthcare for animals ever since. Integrated healthcare is an approach that uses a combination of natural medicine and synthetically produced chemical drugs when needed, according to the animal’s individual health challenges. “Everything starts with nutrition, but when there’s an underlying condition, the body – ours or our pets’ – can require extra help to alleviate the symptoms and aid our natural ability to self-heal,” explains Dr. Farrington. “The body has natural self-healing abilities but when that system is disrupted, it needs support to rebalance the self-regulatory system.” And this is where holistic health care can reap huge rewards. To move towards a more natural approach to health care for your pet, there are some essential natural product categories that you should be aware of, including:
- Nutrition: a high-quality natural and well-balanced diet is the foundation for health. It’s the simplest and best way to deliver the essential nutrients the body needs, such as vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats. A healthy diet alongside regular exercise must form the basis of keeping your pet in good health.
- Nutraceuticals: the term – blending “nutrients” and “pharmaceuticals” – was coined to refer to foods used as medicine, e.g. Turmeric used as an anti-inflammatory.
- Vitamins and supplements: used when there is a deficiency or relative deficiency that isn’t being met by diet and can include common vitamins such as C and minerals such as calcium. Supplements can support the organs and body tissues, aid detoxification and give energy to assist the healing process.
- Herbal medicine: medicine made from whole plants or parts thereof and can be tablet or capsule, liquid or topical. Today’s pharmaceuticals evolved from herbal medicine, but while they took the active ingredient they ignored the nutrients and complementary ingredients which are contained in herbal products. For example, the digestive wonder herb Slippery Elm is very safe and nontoxic for pets.
- Homeopathics: based on very specific ingredients to work on the deepest causes of illness as well as the symptoms. Homeopathy does not mask or suppress symptoms but causes a reaction in the body to return natural balance and help the body to work with its own defense mechanisms. For example, Arnica has been used for centuries to help alleviate bruising and swelling and is ingredient found in several of HomeoPet’s products, including HomeoPet’s Healing Cream, Joint Stress, Equio Musculo Skeletal, and Feline UTI+.
Natural options come in different forms which can accommodate different pet’s needs, such as those who won’t take a pill. Within the natural health product category you will find liquids, pills, chewables, sprays, sprinkles and powders, plus some topical applications, so you will be able to choose the best option that suits your pet and their individual circumstances. For example, liquid drops have the advantage they can be added to treats, food or water, making them incredibly flexible and it can be far easier to get your pet to take the treatment. No more wrestling with distraught felines trying to force a tablet down their throat! As with all treatments or medicines, some natural remedies could have side effects and it’s important to read all product labeling and seek the advice of a trained pet health care professional before treating your pet.
If you have any questions relating to natural health care for your pet, or would like to learn more about how Homeopathy and the HomeoPet range could help your pet, please do get in touch. Our team of trained pet care staff are on hand to answer your questions.