What do we mean by holistic pets and why do we take a holistic approach to pets?
Holistic health is a term used to describe care that views physical, mental, and emotional aspects of life as closely interconnected and balanced.
– Holism: A view of the universe, and especially living nature, as being composed of interacting wholes that are more than simply the sum of their parts. In alternative medicine, the practise of trying to treat the whole person, not merely their symptoms.
The modern ‘western’ way of treating any illness be that being suffered by a human or by an animal is to immediatley treat the symptom(s). In holistic practises the cause needs to be addressed.
For example: Your Dog has a bout of diarrhoea. The modern vet will perhaps put it down to something your pet ate or check his temperature to see if his diarrhoea is a symptom of a virus. Then the vet will often prescribe something to stop the diarrhoea and if a high temperature is recorded and a virus suspected antibiotics might be prescribed to help your pets immune system.
The holistic approach would differ in that each part of the animals life would be looked at and the cause addressed. This might not be one thing in one place.
My personal approach would be to look at the following 5 different areas of the animals life and ask questions about each area keeping in mind how they each overlap too.
- Physical Wellbeing
- Social Wellbeing
- Environmental Wellbeing
- Dietary Wellbeing
- Mental Wellbeing
Does he have a temperature? Could it be a virus? If so questions need to be asked as to how he contracted a virus and/or questions about his imune system. Is his immune system comprimised? If so why? Is he getting enough nutrients? Is he getting fed too much? Dogs need to fast.
Is his muscle-skeletal system in working order – a lumbar disc being put slightly out of place following a speedy turn or spin or jump would interfere with the energy moving through the dogs system resulting in a burden on the pancreas and kidneys causing diarrhoea. A click back into place and cause and symptom of the cause allieviated.
Is he getting enough exercise? The hyper dog with too much energy will not be able to digest food adequately. Is he overweight? Is he underweight?
What is the state of his social wellbeing? Who might he have come into contact with if he does have a virus? Is he being socialised? A dog that isn’t socialised might be stressed. I see people walking their dogs and not letting the dog stop to sniff and mark. This is how dogs communicate to one another and it is how they learn about their surroundings. If you don’t allow for this really important part of their existance it can cause emotional and physical problems. The nervous snappy dog who is showing fear based aggression because he hasn’t had the oppurtunity to learn about his environment, he doesn’t know what’s out there. He would have a fight or flight response and be on high allert again not allowing the body to digest food.
What is his physical environment like? If he has picked up a virus why? Was his food bowl and water bowl clean? Are his toys well maintained, clean and with no loose bits he might have ingested? What about his local environment? Again a change in your pets surroundings can cause stress. Can he get to spend time in his local environment to feel comfortable in it?
Is he getting adequate nutrition? A pet not eating or not eating the right foods will suffer from stomach upsets and a lack of nutrition will place a burden on your pets immune system leading to him picking up viruses and infections more easily. Similarly a pet eating too much will place a burden on organs such as the stomach, liver and pancreas again posibly resulting in diarrhoea.
What is his emotional state? If he has recently been stressed ie) a house move, a new family pet or family member, or maybe a scary noise such as a firework, these things would have caused a fight or flight response. When the body is ready for action like this digestion is slowed and sometimes completley stopped causing diarrhoea. Desensitising your pet to loud sounds, allowing them to get used to new things and surroundings slowly if possible will prevent them from getting into this stressed state. Symptom and cause allieviated.
Pets can sense our unease, then quite often they become less at ease themselves and to make matters worse for them they have no idea what the looming problem is and they don’t have any control over the situation. How is your pet to know that you’re going on a lovely holiday but you’re stressing out about flying?
Is he getting peaceful relaxation time to allow the body to repair itself and to heal? Is he getting enough excercise and enough stimulation? Can he get outside in the local neighbourhood to be able to be comfortable about his surroundings.
So you see holistically speaking these possible causes can each be one whole part of the many, sometimes a cause will overlap into 2 or more areas, all need to be addressed.
The dog treated for diarrhoea in the non holistic way will probably show signs of improvent. You might think he has recovered… until next time. The dog treated in a holistic way will not have that problem again. It might take longer. It might be like peeling the layers of an onion rather than just chopping it in half but the end result is far more preferable if you want the best for you and your pet.
We use our holistic framework as the go-to criteria when choosing what to stock. This ensures that we offer only natural, healthy alternatives and support the appropriate lifestyle and environment for animal as best we can. Visit our Naturally Healthy Pet Shop here.
We provide information and advice in our blog that will enhance the health of pets. We encourage enrichment and we offer a friendly community of pet parents to help inspire you to bond more with your pet via our social media community – Our Pack.