Just as we try to lay a solid foundation for life-long health in our children and ourselves, a high-quality, long life for a dog starts by setting the stage for optimal health in the puppy years.
A dog’s natural life span is unfairly short compared to a human’s. It is one of life’s great ironies that our “best friend” lives only a fraction of the time we do. Are there things we can do to promote longevity in dogs? Turns out some healthful habits promoted for people can also help pets: exercise, good nutrition, healthy weight, sleep, minimize stress, and preventive care.
You’ve probably heard of it, but what is “integrative” veterinary care?
Integrative care means using non-invasive, whole-patient therapies like acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional support, and rehabilitative modalities like exercise therapy, massage, e-stim, and cold laser. The goal is optimal health and quality of life. They are often used in combination with conventional veterinary treatments and diagnostic options, “integrating” the best of both worlds.
Integrative care is sometimes used interchangeably with “holistic” and “alternative.” Integrative veterinarians often work in partnership with your regular veterinarian’s treatments and diagnosis.
You’ll be relieved to know you don’t have to choose or feel like you are “cheating” on your favorite vet. Integrative vets love working together with conventional vets, especially since integrative vets often don’t offer things like x-rays or surgery. And conventional vets typically don’t have the luxury of hour-long appointments for integrative therapies.
So it is a partnership that means our patients get the best of both worlds. The two styles of medicine complement each other perfectly and are a powerful combination!
Integrative vets can help best when involved early on in your pet’s life as a preventative strategy or early on in a chronic illness. They can advise on nutrition, supplements, exercise, and vaccination strategies with the goal of optimal wellness and longevity. The sooner they start, the better.
Since health is so individual, what works for one dog may not work for another. That’s why it’s beneficial to have lots of options from West to East. Using strategies from several disciplines provides more options for healing.
The additional training of an integrative vet gives them unique perspectives and a tool box full of complimentary options that help pets in ways where conventional medicine is weaker: reduce anxiety, improve sleep, alleviate pain and stiffness, improve appetite, and increase well-being.
Since the main goal is keeping your dog doing the things he loves, integrative treatments are non-invasive, enjoyable, low stress therapies that dogs can really dig.
Dr. Turner practices integrative veterinary medicine for dogs and cats at Heal in Stateline, Nevada. She can be reached at 775-580-6062 or [email protected]