What are the Benefits of Using Natural Therapies for my Pet?

The health benefits of natural therapies have long been recognised for humans. In recent years, people are appreciating that companion animals, in particular, dogs and cats, can reap the same benefits from natural therapies as humans. Natural therapies are also referred to as complementary medicines and are products containing ingredients that are present in the natural environment. They include products such as nutritional supplements (including vitamins and minerals), herbs, natural oils, and homeopathic and certain aromatherapy preparations.

Rather than immediately choosing to use prescription drugs to treat a medical problem, pet owners are increasingly choosing to use safer natural therapies, particularly in the early stages of disease, or as a preventative measure.

Many of the health problems seen in dogs and cats are similar to those seen in humans. Health conditions/diseases will generally impact an animal’s everyday life and watching your pet suffer is very distressing. It is great news that many health conditions that affect animals can be treated, or their onset delayed, with scientifically-formulated natural therapies.

If used correctly, natural therapies are generally a safer, less toxic treatment option than conventional therapies (prescription medicinal drugs). Natural therapies are therefore associated with few, if any, side effects, whereas drugs more frequently induce side effects. When selecting a natural therapy solution for your pet, it is important to ensure that the supplement has been scientifically formulated and the correct dosage is given. Treatment with natural therapies is generally also a less costly option than treatment with drugs. Natural therapies can often provide an effective path to healing, although they are rarely as strong as drugs, and are therefore less useful than drugs in the treatment of severe disease.

One way that some supplements can assist in maintaining your pet in tip-top condition is by providing critical nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals, but also protein, fats, carbohydrates and fibre, to support the health of all the key tissues/organs/systems of the body, such as the heart, brain, liver, kidney, skin, skeleton and eyes, and the digestive and immune systems.

Some natural therapies help in keeping your pet healthy and in treating diseases because they are high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. While inflammation is the body’s attempt to protect itself by removing harmful stimuli and beginning a healing process, chronic inflammation can eventually lead to various diseases. Among the inflammatory diseases are those with names ending in ‘itis’, for example, osteoarthritis (inflammatory joint disease), periodontitis (inflammatory gum disease), hepatitis (inflammatory liver disease), dermatitis (inflammatory skin disease) and colitis (inflammatory bowel disease). Inflammatory diseases are the most common diseases of skin, and skin problems are common in dogs. It is these inflammatory diseases that are helped by natural supplements that are high in anti-inflammatory activity.

Antioxidant activity inhibits oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs in the body of animals and results in the production of free raadicals which can damage cells. Thus, antioxidant activity in natural supplements reduces cell damage, thus keeping the body healthy.

As well as keeping animals healthy and preventing and treating health conditions, natural therapies can also be used for calming animals.