The foundation of your dog’s good health lies in nutritionally balanced – species appropriate diet, regular exercise, weight control, good genes and a stress-free environment.
While conventional veterinary medicine is used to treat the physical signs of a sick pet, holistic care is involved in the entire dog and in preventing disease occurring.
Complementary therapies way of life is based on harmony & balance and the three components that make up the individual are taken into account when planning treatment; the spiritual, mental and physical.
Your responsibility in caring for your dog is to ensure the best circumstances for maintaining good health by keeping your dog’s bones, joints and ligaments strong and in optimum condition throughout their lifetime.
BONES, JOINTS, MUSCLES, TENDONS & LIGAMENTS
Bone is living tissue prone to injury and disease just like other parts of the body. Bones protect soft tissue organs and support weight, enable movement and a storage site for calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other minerals the body requires. Muscles and their associated tendons make up the bulk of a dog’s body while ligaments attach bones to bones. The soft tissue attachments; muscles, tendons, and ligaments allow for a great deal of movement and flexibility.
HOW TO CHOOSE A THERAPY
Assessing your dog’s personality and type of injury enables you and your holistic vet to judge the appropriateness of certain therapies. Many of the physical therapies will require your dog to be comfortable being handled by strangers. Some dogs will be relaxed, others can snap at the practitioner when they are being manipulated while other dogs will be tense and anxious. If your dog is fearful it will cause stress levels to rise and its immune system will be compromised.
Most dogs will accept natural therapies but it may take time and several treatments before you distinguish if that treatment is effective. If your dog is very responsive to you and you have a strong believe that the therapy will work, your dog may respond to your belief and the treatment.
To assess your dog’s personality for natural health care, take this questionnaire https://www.petnurture.com.au/assessing-your-dogs-personality-for-natural-health-care/
8 NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR DOGS
The purpose of most complementary therapies isn’t to cure musculoskeletal problems but to alleviate pain and immobility associated with those conditions and to promote self-healing. By widening the opportunity of possible treatment options, your dog will have a greater range of remedial possibilities in conjunction with conventional medicine.
The most common and extensively available treatments are;
Chiropractic treatment adjusts misaligned joints throughout the body particularly the spine and pelvis. It’s based on the philosophy that the spinal column is integral to the health of the body due to its relationship with the nervous system. If the vertebrae are subtly misaligned, they will be placing pressure on the nervous of the spinal cord and have harmful effect on the functioning of the entire body (Mash, 2011).
2. Therapeutic Massage and Stretching
Massage is the oldest, simplest yet very effective healing method. Massage Therapy is achieved by combining various massage strokes, friction, kneading of skin, muscle and other soft tissue with the intent to achieve therapeutic result. Therapeutic massage stimulates blood and lymph circulation, induces feeling of well-being, disperses pain and helps restore flexibility and mobility.
Usually stretching is conducted after the muscles are warmed up and relaxed in a slow and constant manner. Integrating massage and stretching techniques can help maintain your dog’s elasticity, strength, increase stride length thereby preventing injuries to the muscles and joints and allow them to be healthy, robust and flexible throughout their lifetime (Foster, 2009). There is also a good consensus amid researchers that steady warm-up that includes stretching before activities decreases the risk of muscle tears and tendon ruptures.
Acupressure employs fingertips to apply pressure to various points on your dog’s body. Light finger-tip is applied on the acupuncture points. Acupressure has been proven to strengthen muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints & bones. It can quicken your pet’s recovery from injury by accelerating blood flow, releases natural cortisone to reduce swelling and inflammation, increases energy and reduces pain.
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which was founded thousand years ago in East Asia. Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of fine needles into specific system of channels or meridian points on your pet’s body. Acupuncture theory consists of five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water and recognises seven environmental factors as the major reasons for disease: wind, cold, summer, heat, dampness, dryness and heat. Conditions that respond best to acupuncture are musculoskeletal problems, chronic gastrointestinal disease, skin & immune related diseases, neurological problems and a variety of other health issues.
Hydrotherapy is ideal for most kinds of bone & joint disease and is one of the most useful forms of rehabilitation therapy for dogs. It’s a prevalent modality utilised in recovery from musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. There are numerous forms of hydrotherapy including underwater treadmills, pools and hot tubs/spas. Benefits of exercising in water include improvement in balance and stability, reduction in weight bearing stresses on painful joints, reduction in tissue oedema, improvement in strength, endurance, stamina and much more.
6. Bowen Therapy
Bowen is a soft tissue technique where by the therapist applies a transverse move across the fibres of muscles, ligaments and tendons, whilst having a noticeable effect on the connective tissue. The technique also impacts trigger and acupuncture points. Bowen increases circulatory and lymphatic flow, stimulates neural pathways, can assist with injury recovery and with immune disease processes.
7. Laser Therapy
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the treatment of damaged tissue using an infrared laser which is directed towards specific pain points. Laser treatments uses light energy to stimulate the soft muscles and the laser increases the blood circulation to release tension in damaged tissue. LLLT can also be used to stimulate trigger and acupuncture points. The laser light penetrates deep into the tissue where it’s absorbed by cells and transformed into energy that impacts the course of the metabolic process.
Physiotherapy includes everything from massage to the use of devices to stimulate muscle tissue. Good physiotherapy can assist control pain, speed up recovery and preserve the function of injured tissue.
When you understand the limitations and benefits of both conventional and alternative therapies, you can expand your horizons and make important choices for your dog by combining the two systems.
To learn more about Pet Nurture or to book a Therapeutic Massage or Laser Treatment contact Melina on 0403 939 202 or Enquiries@PetNurture.com.au
Allegretti, J., & Sommers, K. (2003). The complete holistic dog book Home health care for our Canine Companions. Berkeley, California, United States of America: Celestial Arts.
Anderson, H. (2015, August 25). Power of Bowen Therapy. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Retrieved May 12, 2018
Fogle, B. (1999). Natural Dog Care. London, Great Britain: Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Foster, S. F. (2009). The Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog A Physical Therapy Approach. Wenatchee, Washington, USA: Dogwise Publishing.
Mash, H. (2011). The Holistic Dog: A Complete Guide to Natural Health Care. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, United Kingdom: The Crowood Press Ltd.
Rudd, A. H. (2008). BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline advanced veterinary nursing (Second edition ed.). Gloucester: British Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved April 29, 2017
Individual blogs are based upon the opinions of the specific author, who retains full copyright. The material is not intended as medical advice, it’s intended as a sharing of knowledge and information.
We are not veterinarians and do not diagnose any conditions, perform surgery or prescribe medications, we can assess the muscles as part of being a Myofunctional Therapist. Muscle therapy is not a replacement for proper veterinary care and any injury or disease must be medically diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian. We encourage you to make your own pet health care choices in collaboration with a certified pet health care professional.