integrative medicine

Review: The Spirit of Animal Healing

National Holistic Pet Day

cat box grass yard

Did you know that today is National Holistic Pet Day? Who knew, right? It seems like if you look hard enough, there’s a “holiday” for just about anything these days.

Since holistic medicine and health are subjects I consider important, I decided to look into this particular “holiday” a littlemore. I actually don’t like the term holistic health all that much since it is often interpreted as only encompassing what are considered “alternative” therapies such as acupuncture, massage, Reiki and more. I prefer the term “integrative.” Integrative medicine is defined by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at the National Institutes of Health, as “combining mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.” That, to me, is a truly holistic approach: combining the best of all worlds.

National Holistic Pet Day was originally founded by Colleen Paige of the Animal Miracle Foundation and Network. And apparently, I’m not the only one who didn’t know about this day. 90% of the more than 700 pet owners surveyed by Halo Purely for Pets didn’t know about it, either.

Halo’s survey uncovered some interesting data. Of the 700 pet owners surveyed,

73.2% exercise their pets regularly

28.7% learn about holistic living at their local pet food or natural food store

62.2% use non-toxic household products

48.9% use natural supplements for skin, coat or digestive care

38.7% take their pets for regular dental check ups

55.5% play mind stimulating activities and games with their pets

6.7%  take their pets for acupuncture

48.7% help a local rescue or shelter

41.5% use all natural shampoo and grooming products

When asked what they would do to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day (now that they know there is such a thing),

37.7% plan to switch to all natural pet food

52.7% committed to getting their pet regular exercise

34.2% will visit their local pet food or natural food store to learn more

49% plan to avoid ingredients prohibited for humans (such as chicken meal)

38.5% plan to switch to non-toxic household products

40.5% would like to try mind-stimulating games with their dog and/or cat

7.7% would like to try acupuncture

28% will switch to an all-natural shampoo or grooming product

Dr. Donna Spector, HALO’s consulting vet and frequent guest on the Ellen Show, offers 10 ways to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day – from feeding an all natural food to regular dental care to living chemical free.

I suspect that if I surveyed our readers, the percentages of those who already do some or most of these things would be much higher than those in Halo’s survey. I’d love to hear your experiences with holistic or alternative therapies – please share them in a comment!

You may also enjoy reading:

Integrative medicine for your cat

An introduction to Spirit Essences, and an exclusive discount for Conscious Cat readers

Book review: The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care by Celeste Yarnall and Jean Hofve, DVM

Book Review: Unexpected Miracles by Dr. Shawn Messonier, D.V.M.

unexpected-miracles-book-coverUnexpected Miracles – Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets is a must read for anyone interested in integrative medicine, holistic health and natural remedies for pets.  Dr. Shawn Messonier, D.V.M.  is a nationally recognized authority on holistic pet care and integrative medicine.  He is the author of the award winning Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, the host of the weekly radio show Dr. Shawn, The Natural Vet on Martha Stewart Radio, and his column  The Holistic Pet is featured in newspapers throughout the United States.  He owns Paws and Claws Animal Hospital in Plano, Texas.

From the publisher:  Dr. Shawn Messonnier has been a veterinarian for more than fifteen years. Once a conventional practictioner, he’s embarked on a crusade to help pet owners keep their treasured furry friends healthy and happy, treating each patient not as a disease but as a unique living entity. Dr. Messonnier brings the reader into his waiting room and introduces them to some remarkable animals…and the courageous owners who never gave up on their pets. Using case studies and higlighting diseases that commonly afflict our pets, Dr. Messonnier shows us the integrative methods he has developed to help these creatures not only survive the maladies they were originally diagnosed with but in many cases go on to live long and healthy lives.  Unexpected Miracles will change the way you think about your  pet’s healthcare forever.

The book is a fascinating collection of often heartwarming stories of cats and dogs who were either given a poor prognosis, a death sentence or a completely wrong diagnosis, and whose owners were coming to Dr. Messonier in hopes of finding a cure or at the very least a way to help their pet live a longer life.  It also offers a thorough look at what truly integrative medical, or in this case, veterinary, care really means.  An integrative approach to veterinary care uses both conventional treatments, commonly thought of as Western medicine, and natural, alternative and holistic treatments ranging from supplements to herbs to acupuncture.  By taking a truly holistic approach, Dr. Messonier treats the patient, not the disease, and uses the best of all available treatment options to achieve optimal healing for each individual patient.  This includes looking at the pet’s environment and potential exposure to toxins, reducing vaccinations from the old paradigm of annual “shots” to only those required by law or no vaccinations at all, to eliminating by-products and low quality ingredients from the pet’s diet.

While each story shared in this book is about the individual pet and the condition the pet’s owner sought help with, there are definite commonalities in all the cases, and it’s these commonalities that will give the reader a thorough understanding of what an integrative approach to health is truly all about.

In addition, the book is a testament to how much we love our pets and that most of us will go to great lenghts to find ways to keep these wonderful creatures happy and healthy by giving them the best possible care.

I think this book should be on every pet owner’s book shelf as not only a reference book, but also as a reminder that sometimes, hope is the best medicine.

For more information about Dr. Messonier, visit his website at http://www.petcarenaturally.com.