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Alternative medicine options for dogs

Updated on April 18, 2008

Other non traditional healing specialties


Just as humans, dogs tend to suffer the consequences of the traditional approach of modern medicine. While modern medicine may be a panacea most times, there are those all too common instances where modern medicine turns out to be pretty harmful.

We are all to well familiar with the long lists of side effects and contraindications that come along with most medications. Many of these lists are so overwhelming that owners may start questioning if giving the medication to their pet is really worth it. Many times a medication may fix a condition while it creates others. This may mean taking further medications to fix these further problems along the way.

Other times, pets may be diagnosed with conditions that are yet to be well understood. There may not be medications available or the condition may have gone way to far, past the point of manageable level. This is when pet owners begin looking at alternative approaches.

The holistic approach

A recent approach that has had a lot of success and has gained a good amount of popularity has been the holistic approach. In theory, this approach focuses as seeing the dog as a "whole" rather than an animal composed by different body parts. If you were to bring your dog to a holistic veterinarian for let's say a sore leg, the holistic vet will likely investigate on the dog's diet, exercise, physical and mental wellbeing. Holistic veterinarians focus on providing sick animals with natural diets, exercise programs, vitamin, mineral and herbal supplementation.

The homeopathic approach

The homeopathic approach is often confused with the holistic approach. Homeopathic approaches totally exclude the use of traditional medication whereas the holist practitioners may incorporate traditional medical approaches in their practices.

Homeopathy relies on water based diluted solutions derived by natural sources. The principle of homeopathy is that the source of the sickness is as well the potential cure.

The herbal approach

Herbal medicine has been popular as well. Many traditional medications are derived from plants so herbal remedies can be pretty effective. Before traditional medicine became popular, herbal remedies where the only way to cure maladies.


Dogs suffering from various conditions ranging from back pain to urinary incontinence have benefited from acupuncture. Even though acupuncture itself is not considered a medicine, it has proved to be a successful medical approach for many ailments.

Acupuncture is an ancient art consisting of the insertion of many tiny gaged needles in different body parts. The principle is that the needles should elicit physiological responses that would help in the healing process. Pain seems to be the most common reason why dogs seem to see an acupuncturist. If your dog suffers from muscolar-skeletal issues such as painful arthritis or hip displasia, this may be an approach you may want to give a try.

Dog chiropractors

Veterinary chiropractor care is a holistic approach that focuses on pain management when dogs suffer particular injuries. Just as in human chiropractors, dog chiropractors focus on the muscular-skeletal system and the nervous system. Good candidates are those suffering from arthritis, back pain and spinal injuries. The chiropractor works on manipulating and adjusting body structures such as aligning vertebrae.

Raw diet

With the recent tainted dog food recall, more and more owners have switched their dogs to a raw diet. This is the diet dogs were developed through in all the years before humans arrived and domesticated them. Dog owners are impressed by the many beneficial "side effects" that come along with the raw diet. The many benefits derived have been enough to consider the raw diet as an alternative treatment of common modern day ailments such as food allergies. Owners have seen dogs get a glossier fur, fresher breath, decrease in digestive issues, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels and ash -consistency -almost- odor- free -stools that will turn into powder.

More and more owners are becoming interested in alternative medicine practices for their beloved dogs. As more and more practices flourish, these alternative methods of managing disease are being more and more credited and most of all, are being increasingly trusted by more and more dog owners.


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    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      thank you Paulart!

    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 5 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Wow fantastic hub . Keep on sharing with us.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 9 years ago from USA

      Yes, the bone issue is why most dog owners do not like the raw diet however they are much more safer than cooked bones.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      This sounds good I like the raw meat idea except I do not like them chewing up those splinter bones. I take them away from them as they can do a lot of internal damage on the sharp point of bones.