Canine Stress Therapy

Alternative Pet Therapies

 

by Lorie Huston, DVM on August 6, 2012

 

Today, I’d like to offer you a guest post prepared by Brandy Martin. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Dogs are by far the most popular pets for children and adults alike. There are plenty of good reasons for this being so, and one of them is that the presence of these loyal friends often serves to lift our mood and reduce stress. Studies have shown that they can indeed lower blood pressure and prolong the lives of the owners. Since they give us so much, it’s about time we give them something back – perhaps something to reduce the stress in their lives. Just like us, dogs have both physical and mental needs that require a little TLC every so often. This is what alternative pet therapy can provide.

It’s important to emphasize that alternative pet therapy is quite different from annual checkups, required vaccinations, and hurried trips to the vet when the dogs get into an accident. Therapy is a holistic approach to wellness that aims to bring about a higher quality of life through good food, sufficient exercise, stress relief and the prevention of diseases. Providing therapy for pets shouldn’t be considered as a frivolity reserved for the rich. In many cases, pet owners can do simple things at home to give extra care for their pets without spending lavishly.

Pets can heal on their own if their immune system and other internal mechanisms are stimulated to the right degree. This is what alternative pet therapy endeavors to do. Stress is reduced to a minimum so that the body can function flawlessly, hastening the healing process.

Aromatherapy

Don’t think that this is venturing into Kim Kardashian territory because aromatherapy has been repeatedly shown to be effective in inducing relaxation for both man and his best friend. Extremely agitated dogs often calm down, inflammations subside and their immune systems kick into high gear.

It doesn’t take a Hollywood lifestyle to afford this treatment as the scents can be fairly cheap to acquire and used at home. Have some chamomile misted onto the dogs’ sleeping area and other places they like to hang out at. Burn incense while they’re asleep and watch them drift off into a peaceful slumber.

Massage

Another thing that pet owners can do is to show frequent affection through touch. Both dogs and cats love to be cuddled, scratched and massaged. These serve to strengthen bonds as well as relieve stress for the animal and, let’s face it, owners get a kick out of caressing their fluffy companions. Make this bonding time more functional by massaging areas that tend to bear a lot of stress like their back and limbs. With each stroke, look for any lumps or sore spots and concentrate efforts around these. For large pets, owners may want to use a foam roller which is what physical therapists use in alleviating tightness in the muscles.

Spa Treatments

Just as owners crave for the occasional pampering at the spa, so can pets benefit from a bit of indulgence. This is especially helpful if they have just been into an accident or any other traumatic incident. Professional services for pets are available at leading veterinary clinics and pet shops. These could be milk baths for rejuvenating the coat, facials for grooming, or special massages for joint pain.

Aquatic Therapy

Walking with the dogs on a periodic basis is vital in maintaining their overall health. Owners can pick things up at notch by taking their pets to the pool for swimming as well. Moving in the water puts less stress on the bones, making this ideal for older pets and those that are suffering from a bad fall. Swimming as alternative pet therapy could be part of their active recovery phase. If they are not used to the pool, guide them by holding them under their bellies while they paddle. Once they get the hand of it, they’ll be able to swim on their own.

Reiki

This Japanese form of alternative pet therapy can be provided by trained therapists who can harness the flow of energy in the body through the systematic application of pressure with their hands. They will look for possible problems in circulation and work their way to unclog those blockages. In this manner, pets which are showing behavioral problems after trauma can begin to revert can to their old self, free of anxieties, depression and tension.

Cold Laser

This is an advanced type of alternative pet therapy that uses medical technology to facilitate healing. Cold laser is focused by the veterinarian on problem spots for a few minutes at a time to stimulate soft tissues. After a few sessions, pets are rejuvenated and back to their playful selves.

About the Author: Brandy Martin is a published online contributor and enjoys writing about a variety of topics including pet health. She is a Vet Tech and works with PMCofEdmond.com and Pet-VetSupply.com. All images were provided by Brandy also.

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About Lorie Huston, DVM Lorie Huston is a veterinarian, pet health and pet care expert, professional writer, blogger, social media and blogging consultant, and SEO strategist.

This article is through the courtesy of the Pet Health Care Gazette