The Basics of Holistic Veterinary Care


Treating your pet holistically does not mean shunning veterinary care altogether and doing everything at home. It simply means finding a like-minded veterinarian. By learning about and treating our pet with natural home remedies, we can often prevent disease, so being able to find a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about alternative treatments and accepts them as a benefit to your pet’s health is a balanced option.

what is the difference between holistic and traditional veterinary care?

While checking your pet’s health during regular check-ups is a priority for a traditional veterinarian, their primary goal is to help with problems. These problems are typically treated individually as they arise with medicine and possibly invasive procedures.

A holistic approach–in contrast–is focused on prevention by maintaining good overall health of the pet. It is proactive and minimally invasive, and involves natural and alternative treatment. A holistic veterinarian will likely focus on nutrition and natural supplements with the thought that if your pet is healthier, overall, fewer problems will develop.

what is holistic veterinary care all about?

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association states that: “the (AMVMA) explores and supports alternative and complementary approaches to veterinary healthcare and is dedicated to integrating all aspects of animal wellness in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.” The philosophy is described as:

Holistic medicine is humane. The techniques promoted in holistic medicine are minimally invasive and incorporate patient well-being, lifestyle, and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy and respect. Use of blood tests, x-rays, and similar objective diagnostic techniques is minimized in favor of sensitivity to the animal. Nearly every form of medicine and therapy used in alternative medicine for humans is also used in holistic veterinary medicine.

A holistic veterinarian typically has all of the surgical and diagnostic skills that a traditional veterinarian has, and, in addition, has specialized training in holistic methods. A holistic veterinarian will first evaluate the overall wellness of your pet through speaking with you about your pet’s health history and doing a physical examination.

A healthy diet free of additives is central to a holistic approach. Holistic veterinarians believe that, through nutrition, most disease can be prevented, so, taking into consideration your pet’s lifestyle and special needs, a healthy diet specific to your pet will be recommended.

what types of treatments are involved in holistic veterinary care?

Holistic veterinary treatments may include the following:

Veterinary Acupuncture


Herbal Supplements

Massage Therapy

Chiropractic Care

Though the focus is on alternative therapies, a holistic vet should also be able to provide more established methods, when necessary, due to the fact that they have traditional training. When more invasive treatments are required, a holistic vet should be up to the task and willing to take those measures.

how do i find a holistic veterinarian?

As with any veterinarian, it is important to be sure the holistic veterinarian you choose has the appropriate traditional license from a school of veterinary medicine. In addition, a holistic practitioner should have certification from accredited organizations and schools in the holistic methods they provide, which may vary from veterinarian to veterinarian.

Visit the AHVMA search tool to find a qualified veterinarian in your area.

Whether you choose a holistic veterinarian or a traditional one, always do thorough research about the qualifications of the individual practitioner and interview them to make sure they are a good fit for your family.


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About Kristen Carr

Kristen Carr is a professional pet sitter, freelance writer, and wellness consultant. She owns Well Minded, a pet sitting service in Phoenix, AZ and blogs at Well Minded Word about family wellness as it relates to animals. Her days consist mostly of happily juggling her children, her pet sitting visits, her writing, and the laundry. She lives in the Ahwatukee Foothills with her husband, three children, dog, sulcata tortoise, and fish.


  1. I didn’t know that chiropractic therapy was an option for animals. I would love to get this kind of care for my dogs. I think this holistic vet option is a pretty good deal.

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