Is Homeopathy Safe for Pets?

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When your pet’s ill, you want a veterinarian and treatment plan that fits with your overall health goals. You prefer a provider who focuses on your pet’s well-being, not just an illness or injury that they may have from time to time. And, you prefer natural remedies over pet medicines to treat most ailments.

If this describes you and the goals you have for pet’s health, then you should consider homeopathic remedies for your cat or dog. Just like all medical treatments, there are pros and cons that you must consider. Here are a few of the most important things you need to know when considering homeopathy for your pets.

Homeopathy 101

Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, first practiced homeopathic medicine in 1796. The word “homeopathy” comes from the Greek words “homoios” and “pathos, which mean “like or similar” and “suffering” respectively. The basic belief is that “like cures like.” In other words, if a substance causes symptoms in a healthy person in small doses, then you should be able to treat similar symptoms with the same element.

Take a red onion, for example. When you cut it, you probably experience watery eyes. Homeopathy believes that you should then treat illnesses that cause watery eyes, like allergies, with a diluted version of red onion. The small amount of the active ingredient should trigger the body’s natural defense system so that it can heal itself. This type of treatment isn’t just for pets; some people practice homeopathic therapies too.

Remedies come from animals, minerals, and plants and are put into a form of medicine that’s specific to your pet and whatever is bothering them. Other things used as treatment include poison ivy, arsenic, and crushed whole bees. You can find guides to homeopathy to help you determine what to give to your pet, but it’s safest to see a holistic veterinarian who can treat chronic conditions like skin irritation, arthritis, and digestive issues. A few acute conditions can be treated too, like diarrhea, stings, and bites.

Homeopathic treatments don’t have to be the only way you care for your pet’s health needs. You can use this alongside conventional methods. Many people search for homeopathic therapies when traditional veterinarian medicines no longer work.

The Pros of Homeopathy

The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes that, depending on whom you speak to, you can be told that homeopathic medicine is a gentler, more natural treatment modality or it’s just plain useless. While the Federal Trade Commission has limited homeopathic products from claiming effectiveness without, “competent and reliable scientific evidence,” many pet owners have stories of successful treatment with homeopathy when all other methods failed.

A few benefits of homeopathy include:

  • Boosts your pet’s natural infection-fighting system
  • Treats both acute and chronic diseases
  • Offers prevention from illness
  • Delivers fewer side effects than traditional treatments

Let’s discuss just a few. If your furry friend is suffering from anxiety during events with loud noises, like fireworks or thunderstorms, the homeopathic vet might order a small dose of Borax. Or, if you’re worried about possible skin allergies, you may walk out of the office with a diluted version of sulfur. You might also consider how to treat your dog if the worst happens, and he gets bitten by another dog or another animal. Many of the symptoms people suffer after being bitten by a dog are also suffered by canines, especially topical infections. While homeopathic substances in large doses could be harmful to pets, when given in a watered-down form and in small doses, they give the body just what it needs to heal itself.

The Cons of Homeopathy

Even the most accepted traditional Western medicinal techniques have side effects and drawbacks. It’s not that you must say, “no,” to homeopathy, it’s just that you need to be aware of the risks before consenting to treatment for your pet. Homeopathic treatments aren’t approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S., which means there are no regulations on these products. So, if you see the word, “homeopathic” on the label, just remember that it’s not regulated. These types of formulas concern the FDA because of situations where products were improperly manufactured and not diluted correctly.

You should also know that most homeopathic medicines don’t go through clinical trials like standard medications. They may have been given to volunteer subjects, but never in a controlled environment to study the positive and negative effects of the drug.

If you’re considering using any homeopathic treatment for your pet, be sure to choose a veterinarian who has been trained in this type of practice. They must be able to match the remedy to the symptoms to positively affect your pet’s health. This requires them to fully understand the environment in which your pet lives, including lifestyle, other medications, and even other pets they might be around regularly.

What Will You Choose?

Deciding what type of medicine fits your dog or cat’s needs and your personal preferences can be challenging. If you’re struggling to find the right treatment for your pet’s illness and are considering homeopathy, be sure to talk to a provider who is trained in the practice. You might also want to see a standard vet for a second opinion, including treatment options, so you can make an informed decision for your pet’s wellness.

Featured Image Source: @marinahanna Unsplash

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About Author

Brooke Faulkner is an animal advocate and mother of two. When she's not writing, she can usually be found zipping around on her ATV. She first fell in love with animals as a young girl, on a family visit to a goat farm in New Hampshire. She's dreamed of adopting a Great Pyrenees ever since. To read more of her words, follow @faulknercreek.

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