Alternative Canine Treatment: Myths and Realities

One of the biggest myths about alternative canine treatment is that it only involves herbs and homeopathy. While both elements do serve a significant purpose in alternative canine treatment, these elements only make up a small portion of alternative treatments. Alternative canine treatment is a well-rounded system of preventative methods, maintenance methods, and complimentary methods of healing that range from massage and hydrotherapy to nutrition, supplementation, and exercise. Continue reading to learn more about alternative canine treatment myth and realities.

Alternative Canine Treatment Myths and Realities

Myth: Alternative and conventional medicines are mutually exclusive

Fact: Most patients are best served by a combination of alternative and conventional medicines. This has been termed "CAM" for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Myth: "Natural" is synonymous with "safe"

Fact: Natural and herbal substances can vary in strength. In fact, St. John's Wort may be strong one year and much weaker the next. Natural supplements such as kava can cause liver damage in rare cases, and too much garlic can cause your dog to bleed more freely. In addition, some natural supplements can interfere with conventional medicines prescribed to your dog. This can cause a number of unwanted side effects.

Myth: People who use alternative canine treatments are desperate

Fact: More than15 million Americans currently use herbal remedies and more than a third report using alternative therapies at least once. Pet owners are no different. Thousands of pet owners currently use supplements, natural, herbal and otherwise as a compliment to their dog's diet.

Alternative Canine Treatment Realities

While conventional medicine can help cure or ease the symptoms of many canine conditions, alternative canine treatment can serve as a compliment to conventional methods. Using NSAIDs may alleviate joint pain, but helping the joints heal through movement can be achieved by alternative methods such as hydrotherapy. Acupuncture can also be effective in treating joint pain in dogs as well as arthritis and other chronic diseases.

Medicinal plants have been used for thousands of years to treat everything from anxiety to arthritis. Physiotherapy has proven to be effective for dog back pain and other ailments and floral essences have proven fighters of emotional and mood problems in dogs.

When combined with conventional methods, alternative canine treatments can be effective. When used alone, alternative canine treatments may be effective at prevention, but because most alternative treatments are not regulated, it's tough to know the right amounts to give to your dog and for how long. The best thing you can do to avoid unwanted side effects or overdosing, is to discuss alternative treatment options with your vet and an alternative medicine specialist.