Many of us are leaning toward alternative therapies for ourselves, in conjunction with western medicine. There are now options for using these therapies with our K9 friends as well. Many therapies are becoming available to aid in the treatment of a specific disease process or just to enhance the overall health of our dogs. I can not stress the importance, however, of consulting your veterinarian for guidance in this area. Not all treatments are helpful, and in fact some can cause further health issues. Search for a holistic veterinarian in your area, or ask you regular vet for suggestions.
The use of the water in the rehabilitation of limb, joint or back issues is a great way to enhance flexibility and strength without any impact.
It is important to note that, like humans, proper chiropractic treatment requires education, training and experience. It is very important to carefully consider who is performing chiropractic adjustments on you dog; going with a recommendation from your vet is always a good idea. That being said, chiropractic treatments can be beneficial in the treatment of musculoskeletal issues that can lead to pain with movement, muscle spasms, behavioural problems, and neurological issues.
This form of treatment is used to aid the recovery of musculoskeletal problems as well. It can be used safely in the treatment of osteoarthritis, muscle imbalance, immobility, joint and ligament injuries, joint dysplasia, pain, wounds and lick granulomas. It is important to go to the physiotherapy treatment with a correct diagnosis from your vet so that the treatment used will be appropriate.
The use of acupuncture is becoming more and more popular in both humans and animals. It can be used for any number of reasons, including pain, and dysfunction of all body systems. Some holistic veterinarians are incorporating acupuncture into their treatment of cancer to improve the immune system, add comfort and stimulate appetite.
Homeopathy and Supplements
Homeopathic remedies are used in conjunction with western treatments and medications to assist healing in the body. They are made from plants, animals, and minerals. There are many homeopathic remedies that can be used in the K9 population. Some examples are rescue remedy for anxiety, glucosamine for joint issues, fish oils for omega 3 fatty acids, and the list goes on! It is always best to get suggestions from your vet about which homeopathic remedies and how much of them to use, they, like other medications, can cause health issues if not used properly.
The addition of supplements to your dogs’ diet is another way to assist in keeping your dog healthy. Examples of these include multivitamins, B complex, antioxidants such as vitamin E, Vitamin C, Selenium, and beta-carotene.
Vitamin E and C for example is important for fat oxidation and increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). It also is useful in reducing inflammation, reduces platelet function and can prolong bleeding time in healthy dogs. Again, never add a homeopathic or supplement to your dogs’ diet without checking with your veterinarian first, some can be very harmful and even deadly if not used properly.
A healthy dog starts with a good diet. Read your labels!! Commercial dog food is convenient, but not all are created equal. Many of these foods contain fillers and empty calories with too few usable vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
Likewise, some higher quality foods may be too high in protein. The best way to find out if a food is going to work for your dog is to read the label firstly, then trial your dog on the food. If your dog has plenty of energy, a good coat, and appears healthy then the food is probably a good choice.
The other options are homemade food or raw diets. These are all personal choices, and depend on what your dog is going to tolerate, keep in mind however that health starts with diet so a good diet is always best, even if it is a little more expensive.