Updated: Jan 26
The mainstream approach to caring for animals fails in many respects. I explain why in Part 1 of this 2-part blog series. Luckily, there is another way to care for animals. A way that is gentler, safer and that actually provides healing. Keep reading to learn about this other way to care for your animals.
A safer and gentler way to care for animals incorporates principles of nature. This way focuses on healing the whole animal rather than just focussing on symptoms and illnesses.
"To truly heal, we need to look at the interconnectedness and the dynamic play of all the parts in the whole - the physical, the emotional and mental bodies and the enlivening presence of the soul"
- David Hoffman
What does this entail exactly and how does it work in practice? Let's start from the beginning...
Medicines of nature and their origin
In nature, we can find medicines that help our bodies and our animal's bodies achieve health and vitality. These forms of medicines are ancient, they have been around for centuries.
Hippocrates, who is famous for saying "let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food" is considered the father of natural medicine. His style of medicine was based on the healing power of nature and it incorporated rest, good diet, cleanliness, fresh air and a reluctance to administer drugs. He believed that the human body should be treated as a whole and not a sum of its parts.
But natural medicine goes far beyond the time of Hippocrates. It extends way back to the time of Ancient Egypt some 5,000 years ago and incorporated massage, aromatherapy, surgery, spells and incantations, tattoos, herbs (including cannabis) and spices.
When a person was unwell, they sought out help from priests and priestesses, who took on the role of physician or doctor, or from wise women, who were skilled in traditional or folk medicine. People were deeply connected to nature and believed in the power of nature to heal.
By the late middle ages, people's opinions began to change. Wise women were thought of as witches and associated with the devil. The connectedness to nature started to dissolve.
In the late 1800s, the term "naturopathy" was coined by a German homeopath, Dr John Scheel. Naturopathy captured the work of "natural doctors", which included diet, herbs, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, exercise, manipulative therapies, electrotherapy, psychological and spiritual counselling.
In the early 1900s, pharmaceutical medicines were introduced. With the rise of pharmaceutical medicines, natural forms of medicine started to fall out of favour.
But since the 1990s, there has been a resurgence of natural medicines and modalities due to increased consumer demand for natural, unprocessed, chemical-free medicine. With this resurgence, people are starting to explore natural options for their animals including natural diets and forms of treatment based on naturopathic principles.
A natural way to care for animals
The safer and gentler way to care for animals is a natural way. It incorporates natural, species appropriate diets and treatments that are based on nature, not on artificial, man-made substances.
It's a way of health and healing that is based on naturopathic principles - treating the animal wholistically and supporting the healing power of nature within the animal's body. It focusses on bringing balance to the animal's body because where there is disease, there is an imbalance.
Where the mainstream approach to "caring" for animals is based on processed, unnatural foods and synthetic, chemical based medicine, the naturopathic approach is based on a natural diet that takes into account the animal's evolutionary history, food-based supplements, plant medicines, physical body treatments like massage and acupressure/acupuncture, and energy healing like reiki.
The naturopathic approach recognises that an animal's body has the inherent ability to heal itself. It supports this ability by way of dietary, environmental and lifestyle factors so that the body can repair, regenerate, rebalance and heal.
This isn't to say that a naturopathic approach replaces the mainstream approach. Conversely, these two approaches can work synergistically.
They don't always need to but the option is there to utilise both approaches as part of an integrative treatment.
In my practice as an animal naturopath, I have helped many animals with a variety of conditions by supporting their body to heal. By way of example, let's consider the case of Wilson the poodle.
Wilson was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease. His main symptoms were increased thirst and high blood pressure. Wilson was already eating a natural, species appropriate diet with food-based supplements that I had recently prescribed for him. The kidney disease diagnosis indicated to me that his urinary system (which the kidneys are a part of ) needed a greater level of support than the whole body support he was getting through his diet and supplement regime.
With his kidneys failing, Wilson's diet needed to change slightly, including that the antioxidants needed to be increased. This is because part of the job of the kidneys is to filter waste. With the reduced capacity of the kidneys, his body needed additional support in the waste filtration department. The less toxins there are for his kidneys to filter, the less his kidneys will need to work. The last thing you want when kidneys are failing is for them to have to work harder.
In addition to the dietary changes, I formulated a herbal remedy to support the functioning of the kidneys.
So you see, the treatment is not focussed on treating the condition or the symptom. Rather it is focussed on supporting the body where there is an imbalance (the urinary system) so then it can rebalance itself. Kidney disease can not be healed, but it can be managed to prolong longevity and quality of life.
Wilson's latest blood results show that his kidney parameters and his blood pressure have reduced significantly. Also, his thirst has decreased (interestingly, Wilson’s drinking increased over a short period without the herbal remedy). These are very positive signs. It means that the treatment is supporting Wilson's body to function as nature intended, that is to recalibrate and heal itself. Wilson is not being treated with any prescribed processed diet or any pharmaceutical medicines. His treatment approach, as chosen by his human and guided by me, is completely natural and safe.
The preventative aspect to a natural approach to animal care
A natural care approach is not just something that can be called upon when an animal is sick. After all, prevention is better than cure. It is easier and cheaper to prevent disease than to cure it.
A preventative approach means:
feeding your animal a species appropriate diet that consists of natural, whole and clean foods,
minimising their toxic load by reducing exposure to chemicals in their food, in their medications and in their environment,
providing them with enrichment, and
providing them a safe home with lots of love.
If you would like help with incorporating a natural way to care for your animal, I would love to help you. Book in a free chat here to learn more.