Is Alternative Medicine for Dogs a Good Idea?

Alternative medicine is a multi-million dollar a year industry.  Individuals swear on the benefits of adding this mineral or natural ingredient to the daily diet.  It is not surprising then, considering the 34 million households in America that include pets, that alternative medicine for dogs is quickly becoming a large industry in itself. 

Although obesity is rampant, Americans are notorious for wanting the best nutrition and health supplements.  This feeling extends to the family pet as well.  Alternative medicine is often investigated as a method for dealing with the many health problems that dogs may experience.  Some of these alternative medicines for dogs may promise to prevent common problems that are associated with the aging process, while others claim that the use of the medicine will, in fact, extend your pet’s life. 

Alternative medicine may be purchased through internet websites, or even at your local pet store, but are these really beneficial for your dog?  Some aging canines may not be able to tolerate the medicine prescribed by your veterinarian.  This is commonly due to the reaction of the medicine on the dog’s liver.  A responsible veterinarian will perform periodic blood tests to ensure that your pet is not at risk for liver damage.  If the blood tests do demonstrate liver problems, your animal health care professional may try alternative medicines for your dog.  The results may not be as effective as other medicines, but the animal will not be subjected to further health problems. 

Just as in the case of humans, traditional medicine may not be effective for everyone, or every dog.  Therefore, it is understandable that the loving owners of America’s canines will seek to research alternative medicine for their dogs.  In addition to possibly alleviating a continuing problem, these alternative medicines may be purchased without the need for a costly visit to the veterinarian.  

Alternative medicines though, should not be the initial approach for the responsible dog owner.  The canine should be seen by their veterinarian on a regular basis.  Any initial medical diagnosis should only be determined by your pet’s health care professional.  Only after all suggested treatments have been eliminated, should the use of alternative medicine be considered for your dog.  The alternative treatment must be meticulously researched and investigated.  It should also be discussed with your dog’s veterinarian.  Many supplements, though claiming amazing results, may actually be harmful to your pet’s health. 

Many pet owners may be hesitant to discuss alternative medicine for their dog with their veterinarian.  They may be surprised to learn, though, that many animal health professionals enthusiastically endorse the use of some.  The older dog who risks liver failure with the prescribing and continued use of Rimadyl or Metacam, may at least find some relief with a glucosamine supplement.  In addition, alternative medicine does not always mean supplements or additives; some alternative treatments may be a simple as using heating pads, or indulging the animal with warm soothing baths. 


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NaturalHealthVet 3 years ago from Liverpool

I enjoyed this article. Natural medicine is becoming more used but unofrtunately I still think we are a long way from where we need to be. I am a practicing vet and have used natural medicine for nearly ten years. I have seen the negative side effects of 'traditional' medicine and believe that for the long term health of animals an holistic approach should be used. In the case of joint pain for example ,Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements will help but weight management, exercise and physiotherapy also play a part.

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