Holistic Tips By Dr Jane

Thursday, 21 April 2011 16:50 by Dr. Jane

Dr Jane Bicks
The holistic approach to veterinary care has different meanings for different people. Essentially it means just what the name indicates - looking at “the whole” and not the individual parts. Holistic practitioners consider the whole of a companion animal’s being and how every discrete part works in relation to every other part. Fundamental to this mindset is that everything is interrelated and nothing occurs in isolation.

Furthermore, holistic veterinarians don’t only focus on physical aspects, they also consider the emotional, mental and spiritual elements. Holistic health boils down to balance; imbalance leads to dis-ease. It’s important to remember that physical signs of illness may often be the last to appear, and that mental and emotional imbalance can lead to disease, too.

In the United States, veterinary medicine is usually divided into conventional and holistic medicine. In the conventional tradition, veterinarians focus almost solely on the physical evidence. Holistic medicine, which originated from ancient cultures (such as, Asian, Indian, African and Native American Indians) takes into consideration the mental and spiritual aspects, as well. In the treatment of their patients, holistic practitioners often use herbs, vitamins, minerals, homeopathy, energy medicine and other alternative methods. I believe in an integrative approach, taking the best of all forms of medicine and combining them to produce a modern holistic approach.

In addition to the internal workings of a companion animal’s body, holistic health explores the influence of external factors for their direct or indirect impacts on the body. In the case of companion animals, this includes their shelter, social interactions, levels of exercise and mental stimulation, diet, vaccination history, and any potential exposures to toxins.

A cornerstone of the holistic approach is nutrition, because the quality and type of foods consumed will play a significant role in overall health, on all levels. For example, studies show that an adequate intake of B complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids (like those found in fish oil) can help to promote emotional and mental health, for companion animals and humans.

A vital component of holistic care is taking a preventive stance - promoting wellness and balance to prevent illness in all its forms. Maintaining an excellent diet, stimulating the mind for emotional and mental well-being, and exercising appropriately for your pet’s age and body type are all critical to the holistic approach to leading a balanced life. I advocate these practices beginning as early as possible, so you won’t have to come see a veterinarian for imbalance and illness later in life. If their furry little bodies are in balance, and thus in good health, then the risk of disease is reduced, as is the need for pharmaceuticals.

While conventional medicine is highly valuable, sometimes it doesn’t tell the whole story. Fortunately, increasing numbers of conventional veterinarians are adopting a more integrative approach. Wellness programs and educational outlets (like this blog) are empowering pet parents to make informed decisions about their health and the health of their beloved companion animals.

The bottom line is that it is possible for you to develop and adopt a preventive care plan for your furry family members. In most cases, I recommend that pet parents work with both a conventional and a holistic veterinarian to foster a balanced life for their companion animals.

In the coming months, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite holistic tips for companion animal care. Look for future posts on this blog to help your whole family achieve a new level of balance, and wellness.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals,

Dr. Jane

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Comments (4) -

April 24. 2011 17:16

Janet

Our dogs are such a big part of our lives.  We want them to stay happy, healthy and balanced!  Looking forward to reading more of your posts.  

Janet

May 5. 2011 10:51

Rebecca J Forrest

Dr Jane, please write an article on selenium--why it's needed in dog food and the differences between the various forms. Please also talk about why it's not in cat food. Thanks for all the great information your articles provide!

Rebecca J Forrest

November 17. 2011 21:31

Kerry Englander

Dr. Jane I have a 5 year Old Basset Hound. She is constantly with skin disorders especially under the two front arm pits. Recently diagnosed with yeast in the right ear. Is there anyway to tell if my basset hound is allergic to certain foods.  She gets no table food and is fed twice a day 1/2 cup of life abbundance. I suspect it could be chicken because sometimes my wife will give her cooked chicken skin. The next day she has Diarrhea? For the skin irritations dr. gave cortisone shot. For the urinery infection which I did not mention he gave her Baytril. Any way to test for food allergies except trial & error?  Thank you Dr. Jane

Kerry Englander

December 7. 2013 06:28

Bayley

Terrific work! This is the kind of information that is supposed to be shared around the web. Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!  

Thank you =)

Bayley

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