More and more pet owners are examining how they take care of their beloved animal and are looking at alternative forms of pet care. This doesn’t mean that traditional veterinary services aren’t useful or important, it means that they are looking at different forms of providing care for their pets.
Alternative forms of health care for pets has been around forever, it was what our ancestors practiced for thousands of years. Before the introduction of vaccines all animals were treated holistically and naturally. These forms of treatments were passed on by generations and were used once people began domesticating animals. What worked for cattle usually worked for house pets. These forms of care took shape in three areas of focus:
Preventative care is used to anticipate problems and take care of them before they happen. Most of this type of care focused on diet and making sure that the animal is eating only healthy natural foods. Holistic care focuses on treating the animal on the whole instead of just one part of the pet. By making the animal well and sound overall you can avoid having small individual issues that affect the pet. Natural means using foods and herbs found in nature and not created by synthetic means.
Feed Your Pet A Natural Diet
The first are to apply these health tools is with nutrition. Beginning with what you are feeding your animals, natural ingredients are a key to a natural lifestyle for your pet. For dogs and cats that means that meat or fish will be the primary active ingredient of their food. These ingredients are excellent sources of protein and contain multiple vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet. Vegetables are next on the list of natural ingredients and should be listed very high on the food label. They will also supply large amounts of vitamins and nutrients needed by your pet to maintain proper health.
What you need to avoid having in your pet’s food will be grains, fillers and synthetic preservatives. Similar to what happens with people, eating empty carbs that come from grains will lead to obesity and health problems. While having some whole grain in the food is acceptable, as is ground corn meal, most grains are not good for your pet’s overall health.
What Is A BARF Diet?
There are many different forms of feeding natural and eliminating chemicals from your pet’s diet. One example for dogs is a B.A.R.F. diet or raw foods diet. BARF translates to Biologically Suitable Raw Food and can likewise stand for Bones and Raw Food. It consists of raw meat, bones, vegetables and some fruit and is almost always prepared by you one meal at a time. This diet is very similar to what dogs ate in the wild and usually results quickly in a shinier coat and more energy.
There are some drawbacks to a raw food or BARF diet. Bones can become a problem for some dogs, they may swallow a sharp piece of bone and end up with torn stomachs. Nutrition can also be a factor with this type of diet, you may need to add some natural supplements to a raw diet. This diet also takes more time to prepare.
Should You Vaccinate Your Pet?
Recently there has been a move to stop giving pets so many vaccinations. A few regular and common vaccinations may have some unfavorable side-effects, both long and short term. If a vaccine is administered every year for 10-12 years the frequency of these side effects can increase. Too often the vaccinations are done only by following a schedule as opposed to being done according to their validity and importance. Often the vaccine can created problems with your pet’s immune system.
While it is a good move to immunize your pets for rabies and distemper there are conflicting studies about other vaccines. The kennel that you board your pet with may require a bordetella vaccination before they will accept your pet, you have to decide if the reason for this vaccination is worth it.
Many vets are deciding that annual boosters for vaccinations are unnecessary and that they provide no increased resistance to disease. A few of the holistic and homeopathic practicing veterinarians started their careers practicing mainstream medicine. Later in their practice they became frustrated and moved into the holistic arena, they felt this move would do their patients the most good.
Pay Attention To Your Pet’s Mental Health
Another thing to do is to keep your animals promoted psychologically through exercise, play and training. Animals like to work and they like to be helpful. The key to an excellent interaction here is training according to the natural interaction of the animal you own. What does that imply? For a canine it implies approaching him or her using the “pack” mentality.
Following a holistic or natural style of pet care generally means that you do not treat a disease, you treat the pet. Not dealing with the symptoms but caring for the whole animal is the response to reducing your veterinarian expenses and increasing the durability of your animal’s lives.