Ever had a massage to soothe tense muscles or gone to a chiropractor to fix a crick in your back? If so, you already understand the benefits of alternative medicine. So you may not be surprised to learn that these same therapies are being used to treat canines.
More and more dog owners are exploring holistic therapies to find more natural ways to ease pain, especially in older dogs. And many are finding the treatments effective. While most reports of successful treatment with holistic treatments are anecdotal, there are several scientific studies currently underway to evaluate their efficacy for various ailments in animals.
Here are a few of the therapies that are gaining popularity:
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice used to treat a variety of ailments. Fine needles are inserted into specific areas on your dog's body to balance the flow of energy, or chi. Today more than 150,000 vets and 700,000 paraveterinary assistants use acupuncture in their practices.
Chiropractic care provides hands-on musculoskeletal adjustments for your dog, just like you'd get to relieve pain. Veterinary chiropractors try to manipulate and adjust specific body joints and muscles to improve mobility.
Herbal treatments use plant and plant products to treat a wide range of ailments. Animal experts have observed that sick animals in the wild will actually forage for herbs to help them deal with injuries or illness. So proponents of herbal medicine for pets say it makes sense to treat dogs with purer and more powerful versions of those natural ingredients.
Homeopathy is the treatment of a disease with very diluted substances that actually cause the same symptoms the dog is suffering from. For instance, a dog with diarrhea would be given tiny amounts of a substance that causes diarrhea.
Massage lowers the level of stress hormones in the body, increases circulation, eases pain, and may even give the immune system a boost. Plus, it feels good.
Consult your vet first
While some veterinarians still don't embrace holistic treatments, more are offering alternative therapies alongside conventional treatments as knowledge about their potential benefits increases. Before you begin any alternative treatment, speak to your vet about obtaining a referral and make sure that he or she receives complete ongoing reports on your dog's progress. This will ensure the best possible care for your dog.