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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Treat Pets Holistically for Optimum Health

Apr 30, 2012 01:29PM ● By Margo Roman, DVM

Veterinarians trained in healing modalities like acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, herbology and nutrition make the best choices for those seeking optimum care for pets. These modalities can often be used to turn a pet’s health around when traditional and pharmaceutical methods fail. At home, there are many things that pet caregivers can do to jumpstart the process of treating animals holistically.

As seventy percent of the body’s immune system comes from the gut, feeding pets fresh, whole food, balanced nutrition is key to overall health. Reducing the use of processed food and feeding a raw-based diet allows animals to better assimilate the food, and probiotics offer additional species of flora needed to keep the gut in balance. If pets have been on antibiotics or allopathic drugs, it’s especially important to give them probiotics. Many probiotic strains that are good for humans work well on cats and dogs. Smaller pets can take 1/4 the dosage of a human probiotic and larger dogs can have ½ to 3/4 of the dosage.

With cancer rates rising in dogs and cats, it’s wise to limit the use of vaccinations and pesticides until more is known about their long-term consequences. Instead, pet caregivers can use natural solutions for such conditions as flea and tick protection. Certain essential oils, and natural products with B-vitamins and garlic can help in repelling fleas. Ticks are attracted to the energy of the pet and are becoming more and more resistant. Checking pets two times a day during tick season is recommended. Raw amber collars are an option, too, along with energetic field devices like the Tick Clip and Shoo tags.

Healthier pets tend to have fewer fleas, so supporting their immune systems with additional phytonutrients, omega fatty acids (found in fish, hemp or chia oils), digestive enzymes and antioxidants like vitamins C and E can be helpful. Again, the guidelines for vitamins and supplements are ¼ of the human dosage for small pets and twice that for larger dogs.

The overuse of antibiotics can give dogs and cats diarrhea, which is too often treated with more antibiotics. This establishes yeast overgrowth in the gut, causing the animals to get weaker. A better model to follow comes from watching the behavior of animals in the wild. When an animal kills its prey, the first thing it eats is the intestines and the stool. Thus, feeding green, raw tripe can benefit gastrointestinal issues and overall pet health.

Dr. Margo Roman practices at Main Street Animal Services of Hopkinton. For more information call 508-435-4077 or visit A list of integrative veterinarians can be found at