[First published 14 Aug 2019, Last updated: 4 Dec 2019]
What Is Holistic Pet Care?
We’ve frequently heard mentions of “holistic pet care” and “holistic medicine” tossed around among other fellow pet parents and pet healthcare industry experts in recent years. There’s even a growing trend of people (millennials mostly) turning to holistic pet health care. But what is “holistic pet care” exactly?
A holistic pet care approach refers to a whole-body approach that addresses not just your pet’s physical well-being, but also its emotional well-being. It is a natural way of preventing the development of diseases in your pet by nurturing and supporting its own healing process.
How Is Holistic Pet Care Different from Conventional Pet Care?
Say, your cat has a bad case of diarrhoea and you take it to the veterinarian to see what’s up and treat your poor kitty. The vet then prescribes a medicine to stop your cat’s diarrhoea. The root cause of your cat’s pooping galore is left untreated and once the effects of the medicine has worn off, the diarrhoea returns. Holistic practitioners instead seek to treat the cause of illness instead of the symptoms. They look at a pet’s diet, physical wellbeing, emotions and environment to discover the possible factors that caused the illness. In other words, holistic pet care treats and nurtures from the inside out naturally. This is also to say that holistic pet care methods avoid the use of vaccinations, immunizations, and non-natural medications.
One of the spokes to the proverbial holistic pet care wheel is to improve your pet’s diet. Incorporating supplements and a balanced and healthy meal to your pet’s diet is crucial to maintaining your pet’s overall health and wellness from the inside out. A balanced meal typically contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Before purchasing pet food, take a look at the ingredients list on the packaging and ask yourself: Would you be willing to consume it? If the answer is a “no”, then don’t. Avoid feeding your pet foods with artificial products, additives and chemicals too! Just like how our diet affects both our emotional and physical health, the same goes for our pets.
Holistic pet care also looks at your pet’s physical wellbeing. Is your pet getting enough exercise? Both cats and dogs need sufficient exercise to stay trim. Obesity is a real problem amongst pets and not addressing it could cause it to exacerbate into medical issues like respiratory and joint problems. Carve some time out of your day to play with your cat or take your dog out on walks! Your pet will definitely appreciate the quality time spent with you too. Apart from keeping obesity at bay, exercising also helps your pet:
- maintain a healthy digestive system
- maintain a healthy circulatory system
- lower blood pressure
- build up muscle
If helping your pet exercise could prevent some of the most common illnesses, why not do it? It could save your pet from suffering, and you from the pain of having to watch your pet suffer.
Some other holistic pet care treatments include:
- chiropractic treatments
Mental Stimulation & Emotional Care
Apart from the physical health benefits of maintaining a healthy digestive system and lowering blood pressure, exercising is also great for stimulating your pet’s mind to maintain its mental health. Idle pets often become so bored that they act out – suddenly your well-behaved cat or dog is chewing on furniture and peeing where it’s not supposed to pee. Teach your pet a couple new tricks, get it a puzzle toy – these help to keep your pet mentally stimulated! We recommend making your cat or dog work for their food with a puzzle feeder such as the Kong Wobbler. This nifty little toy will keep your pet occupied for the greater part of the day.
Taking care of your pet’s emotional health also means minimizing its exposure to any stressors. Recognise your pet’s stress signals – cats and dogs are pretty good at letting us know when they are not comfortable! We all love our pets dearly and express our affections by petting, hugging or holding our pets in our arms. But it is possible to be overly affectionate. Some experts have said that hugging can cause stress in some pets! So it’s also important to show more consideration towards your pet. If your pet goes stiff when you hug it, respect their personal space and try not to force your affections upon it.
Holistic pet care also takes into account the environment your pet lives in. Is it peaceful? Are there other pets living in the same space? Does your pet have constant access to clean water? Does it have a comfortable spot to curl up in and rest? Is your pet’s “toilet” clean? You can even go one step further to catify or dogify your home!
Why People Are Looking to Holistic Pet Care
Pet owners see holistic pet care as a preventive yet natural measure. More and more people would rather do what they can to prevent health problems in their pets than to fix problems later on. Holistic treatments such as massage and acupuncture have also been proven to relieve pain and nausea and even help boost the immune system of animals.
Does It Cost More Than Regular Pet Care?
Routine medical checkups and blood tests for pets in Singapore are at least $200. A visit to the vet and receiving treatment typically costs between $60 and $600. Pet surgeries cost at least $700.
Holistic pet care focuses on preventing diseases in pets and relying on natural therapy rather than medication. Looking at the long-term healthcare cost of owning a pet, holistic pet care should be less expensive than the conventional approach (unless you’re seeking acupuncture therapy or homeopathy etc. for your pets).
However, the (relatively) cheaper cost of holistic pet care should not be the basis from which you decide whether or not to introduce this approach in the caring of your pet. Instead, consider which kind of pet care your cat or dog will benefit the most from.
With that said, you don’t have to choose between conventional or holistic pet care. The holistic approach is not meant to completely replace conventional pet care. Rather, these two different pet care approaches should work in tandem so that your pet lives its best life.