• Robin Doherty

Celebrating Health for the Whole Pet- All About Holistic Pet Care


Do you know what August 30th is? That's right - it's National Holistic Pet Day! Are you asking yourself "Wait, national what day?" rather than nodding along in excitement? Have you always been intrigued by those supplements and organic treats lining the shelves in your local pet store?


This post will take you through what holistic pet care is and why it's so appealing to the thousands (if not millions) of pet owners who have turned to holistic treatments.


What is "holistic" pet health?


Do you hear "holistic" and think of homeopathic human trends like essential oils or healing crystals? Actually, the word "holistic" simply refers to pet care that considers the "whole" pet's health, treating pet wellness as an integrated system of mental and physical wellbeing. A holistic treatment might, for instance, address an itchy pet by assessing the pet's potential allergens and changing its diet, not simply reaching for anti-itch shampoo that treats a symptom, but not the underlying cause.


Holistic health is often used as a complement to traditional veterinary medicine, just as many humans (and pets too!) benefit from treatments like acupuncture or massage alongside Western medicine. You should always consult your vet first to make sure any holistic method is right for your pet.


Healthy diets

Just ask your pets: food is everything. Holistic pet care options emphasize feeding pets a high-quality, nutritious diet that supports a healthy "gut microbiome", the assortment of bacteria living in your pet's stomach. Holistic pet food aims to help pets achieve healthier weights, glossy coats, stronger immune systems, and fewer GI issues. Look for products that feature shorter ingredient lists, digestive enzymes, and key antioxidants like Omega-3 fatty acids, while reducing (or eliminating) grains, artificial colors or flavors, and filler ingredients like starches.


Natural food brands - that is, brands with fewer additives - can be a serious boon for pets with digestive issues or food allergies. For example, did you know cats can be allergic to chicken? Many big-box cat brands automatically add chicken flavor to nearly every product…yes, it's even hiding in fish treats. Organic products with limited ingredient lists and unique proteins based on a pet's wild prey offer a wider range of options for pets with sensitive stomachs.



Supplements

Dietary supplements are another cornerstone of holistic pet care. A wide range of probiotic supplements are designed to introduce pet-safe strains of beneficial bacteria into pets' food. This "good" bacteria balances out an inflamed or struggling gut microbiome, helping improve GI and digestive conditions as well as bolstering a healthy immune system, which in turn helps prevent future issues.

Not all supplements are related to gut health, either. As the American Kennel Club reports, vets may suggest multivitamins for pets whose diets don't provide the full range of vet-recommended vitamins. Other supplements tackle long-term medical conditions like hairball control, chronic pain, or the effects of aging. For instance, one peer-reviewed research study found that fish oil supplements for dogs with chronic osteoarthritis allowed owners to lower their dosage of painkillers.


As with all medicine, always seek a vet's guidance, make sure you're getting high-quality products, and, of course, make sure your pet doesn't eat the whole jar at once.



Dental health

Holistic pet care is dedicated to highlighting features of pet health where an ounce of prevention pays off big time later in life. In particular, vets link teeth and gum health not only to bad breath or periodontal disease - the #1 most common issue vets see dogs facing today - but also to more serious conditions that can affect the kidney, liver, joints, and heart.


In addition to an excellent diet and brushing regularly at home, check out your local pet store for products like pet toothpaste, oral sprays, dental chews, and plaque-focused probiotics that holistic brands have designed with your pet's oral health in mind.



Mental health

Finally, holistic pet care reminds us that our pets' physical health is inextricable from their mental health. Pets need regular exercise, attention, and activities that stimulate their cognitive senses in order to maintain a healthy, happy existence.


Many holistic products also address other issues that could be negatively affecting pets' health, like the use of CBD products and other supplements for jittery pets. Pets can even get massages! Just like for humans, massages improve blood flow, reduce pain, and ease stress. You can take your dog to a trained animal massage therapist or learn how to turn your home into a DIY pet spa. Pet parents might also want to look into calming sounds and videos that can be played to alleviate pet anxiety.


Are you ready to join Astro Loyalty in celebrating National Holistic Pet Day? Be sure to check out your local, independent pet store to explore the wide range of high-quality, holistic pet care products on special through Astro Offers.


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