Holistic veterinarians use natural therapies to treat pets and help prevent disease ranging from food therapy to acupuncture to numerous other modalities. They often focus on treating the whole animal rather than just focusing on one area of the body or only treating symptoms. Holistic vets also look at the pet’s lifestyle, emotions, and the environment when making treatment decisions and how to help your pets feel their best.
How Do I Know Which Holistic Veterinarian is Right For Me?
There are several things to consider when choosing a holistic veterinarian to make sure a partnership is a good fit for both you, your pets and the veterinarian.
First, make sure the practitioner has been trained in veterinary medicine and has further training in a holistic modality.
This means he or she has completed four years of veterinary school and passed an exam before becoming licensed. Most veterinarian schools are only teaching conventional medicine. If you want a holistic veterinarian that has additional training, you will see other certifications behind the DVM, VMD, or BVSc (veterinary degree) behind their name. These certifications can include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, food therapy, or even chiropractic certifications.
You can search the following websites to find general holistic or integrative veterinarians:
Other search terms you can use when searching on the internet for a veterinarian that practices holistic medicine include holistic, integrative, or functional medicine.
Second, find out what treatments the holistic vet uses.
There are many different holistic treatment options you can use for your dogs and cats that complement conventional medicine or can be used instead of traditional medicine. Many pet parents will start with what they are comfortable with and then choose other modalities if needed. Also, your holistic integrative veterinarian can help guide you based on how your pet responds and what treatment is best for your pet.
For example, acupuncture can help tremendously with controlling cat and dog pain naturally and reduce the need for conventional pain medications. However, not every pet reacts well to acupuncture and may do better with laser therapy. Read more about how acupuncture can benefit your dogs and cats.
Here are additional resources based on specific treatment modalities that can help your pets:
- International Veterinary Acupuncture Society
- American Association of Veterinary Acupuncture
- Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
- Belgium Veterinary Acupuncture Society
- British Acupuncture Association
Chiropractic & Osteopathic:
- Animal Chiropractic Association
- Osteopathy Association
- Options for Animals
- NAET – Nambrudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique
- The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
- Pitcairn Institute for Veterinary Homeopathy
- The National Center for Homeopathy
- British Association of Veterinary Surgeons
- International Association for Veterinary Homeopathy
Many veterinarians offer telehealth veterinary phone consultations, which you will see on their website or you can ask them if they offer this service. Also, it’s important to ask them if the clinic also offers traditional, conventional treatment options. Many pet parents now have a team of doctors that can work together focusing on their special area of interest to provide the best care for your pet.
However, you want to make sure you have at least one veterinarian that offers traditional services in case of times of emergencies or if surgery or a dental cleaning is needed.
Finally, ask whether the holistic veterinarian will work with you and your other healthcare team to develop a plan for your pet’s health and how that works.
You are the advocate for your pets, and I’ve seen too many health practitioners (holistic and conventional) refuse to work with other practitioners. This is an important area to establish prior to starting a relationship with any new veterinarian, but especially if you’re wanting to integrate holistic health care for your pets.
Many veterinarians allow pet parents to interview them and the practice first prior to making a decision. You will most likely need to pay for the doctor’s time, but this extra step can help you feel more comfortable and confident in your choice.
If you go for a tour of the clinic, ask if you can bring your dog with you to see how they respond to the clinic and how the staff welcomes and treats your pet upon arrival.
If you have a nervous pet or cat, it’s important to establish if they have separate areas and protocols for keeping pets feeling safe and comfortable.
These are just a few simple tips to help you find a holistic vet to partner with to help your entire fur family feel their best.
And if you’ve been wondering what questions you need to be asking at your pet’s annual wellness visit, you’re not alone. This is why we have a free resource to help guide you on the important questions you should be asking your veterinarian at each wellness visit to ensure that your pet is only receiving what they truly need.
Make sure to grab our free download Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian – Annual Wellness Exams
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*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. The information contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com is strictly for educational purposes. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. Please consult your veterinarian for medical advice for your own pets. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet’s medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Links in the blog are typically affiliate links that let you help support us.