adorable pomeranian and golden retriever on lawn

Conventional Versus Holistic Dog Lifestyle

A conventional lifestyle is definitely the most common form among pet parents. This is often not because they refuse holistic remedies, but rather they are just not discussed. More education and public awareness is necessary to get this lifestyle out there for our dogs to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. Fortunately, holistic lifestyles are becoming more intriguing as concerns over vaccinations, side effects, antibiotic resistance, and high costs plague dog lovers.

Unlike holistic treatment, conventional medicine also generally geared toward acting as a band-aid rather than finding the cause of the problem. Products like high-quality full-spectrum CBD tinctures, among others, bring the body back to balance resulting in solving the problem in most cases in addition to reducing the symptoms.

Holistic Health

According to Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health For Dogs and Cats, “in our eagerness for quick and easy solutions, we seize on a certain drug that may just cover up symptoms without addressing underlying causes. For example, synthetic cortisone is powerful enough to stop a wide variety of symptoms in their tracks, but inside, the disturbance continues unseen. Animals vigorously treated with such drugs (apparently successfully) go on to develop another condition within a few weeks or months. The suppressed disorder has simply gone on to create more serious inroads in the body.” 

Every veterinarian’s goal is to ensure every patient lives the happiest, healthiest life possible. Although not taught in vet school, there are many practices turning to integrative medicine combining both holistic/alternative with conventional methods. This allows them with an even larger toolbox to work with. There are more options available to their patients; especially those who haven’t responded to conventional medicine.

Dr. Richter, DVM, stated “As a medical professional, I want all of my patients to get better. While intellectually I know this is not possible, it doesn’t mean I don’t try. In the quest to find answers to difficult medical problems, looking outside the box is a necessity. Western medicine does not have all the answers. No one claims it does. While the same can be said for every form of alternative care, a lot more answers are available for patients if we take the time to look.”


Naturopathy is an alternative method of healing that provides many natural options including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal medicine (Like CBD, curcumin, turmeric, etc)
  • Homeopathy
  • Healthy, natural nutrition (raw, dehydrated, home-cooked)

Take a look at wolves in the wild. Or, any animal for that matter. When they get sick, they don’t seek out the nearest hospital to get better. Instead, they instinctively search for natural remedies created by Earth to get the same (likely better) result.

Naturopathy also involves the mind and spirit in addition to health. Why do you think it would take the mind into account? Well, think about when you’re feeling depressed, angry, emotional, or anything other than happy. Does your own mental health take a toll on your physical health? Generally, the answer to that question is yes.

Eight Laws of Health

In naturopathic medicine, prevention is the main focus. We don’t wait for the illness to be diagnosed. Instead, prevention of illness through mental wellness and good nutrition, among others, are focused upon. In fact, there are eight laws of health in naturopathy. The eight laws of health are:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Exercise
  3. Water
  4. Temperance
  5. Sun
  6. Air
  7. Trust
  8. Rest

In holistic pet care, balancing the eight laws of health are key to well-being. If one of the eight laws goes out of balance, that’s when disease or illness are known to begin.

If your dog is diagnosed with a condition or illness, natural methods including herbs, CBD, supplements, and adjustments in diet and exercise are among those considered to bring the body back to balance. The methods employed also heavily depend on what the pet parent is comfortable with.

Most natural healers don’t have education or experience with conventional medicine or, if they do, they don’t have the license to practice conventional medicine. That’s where the traditional veterinarians come into play. By having a veterinarian and natural healer on your team, your dog has a wide range of options available.

The Pet Food Industry

The pet food industry is a money machine. And, believe it or not, most commercial dog food contains approximately 50% sugar once it’s broken down in your dog’s body (one of the main contributors to cancer). Dr. Richter explained the commercial diet very well. He said “we are fully in control of exactly what and how much our pets eat. What they eat every day contributes to how efficiently they confront internal and external stresses, prevent disease, and ultimately maintain the “vehicle” they live in. By using nutrition to its greatest advantage in our pets’ diets, we can maintain, and often repair, their biological vehicle.”

He continued to state “while almost any commercial diet will meet our pet’s basic nutritional needs, the finer points of nutrition are often overlooked. Your pet may be doing just fine on a day-to-day basis, but consider the long-term view. Just think of how humans generally fare after years of eating inexpensive and highly processed foods. While eating poorly for one day is not likely to cause major problems, doing so for a lifetime has the tendency to make that lifetime shorter and less enjoyable.”

Final Thoughts

Holistic pet care looks at the pet as a “whole” rather than looking at each part of the pet individually. Holistic= whole-istic; that’s a great way to remember what holistic means. There continues to be a lot of questions and controversy surrounding natural healing. But, as more pet parents learn their dogs can heal naturally, scientists are encouraged to conduct more research. And, more pet parents begin moving to the natural side of the spectrum.

About Amber Drake

Amber Drake

Amber Drake is a highly accomplished, world-renowned, and published book author, freelance writer and editor, inspirational speaker, an inspiring teacher, a well-reputed canine behaviorist, a canine cancer researcher, CEO of Canine Companions, and of course, animal lover. Starting with an Associate of Science degree in Biology in 2007 from Jamestown Community College, she has since expanded her knowledge horizon by acquiring a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree with courses from both SUNY Fredonia and Cornell University, followed by a Master of Arts Degree in Education (2011) from Ashford University, a Post-Master’s Educational Certification, and a Doctorate from the North Central University, Prescott Valley Arizona. Drake is a woman of extreme passion with great love for her work as a canine behaviourist, holistic canine cancer specialist, writer, and college professor.

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