You may be interested in looking into holistic wellness for your dog after having exhausted conventional approaches, or maybe you just prefer integrative care for your dog in general.
As a dog owner who has used a holistic vet for years, I can vouch that it isn’t easy to find a holistic vet. It is especially hard to find a holistic vet if you live in a rural area.
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How can you find a holistic vet?
In this post I’ll share:
- A great resource for finding a holistic vet
- How I finally found a truly holistic veterinarian
- The real difference between a conventional veterinarian and a holistic veterinarian
- 3 steps to find a holistic vet
- What to do if you can’t find a holistic vet in your area
Let’s get started.
Great Resource to Find a Holistic Veterinarian
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association is an excellent resource with a map locator you can use to find a holistic vet in your area. Note that there are a few holistic vets outside of the USA in their locator map.
Before you get too excited thinking there are multiple holistic vets in your area, read the rest of this post to see how to find a vet that is really holistic because I found a lot of the vets listed on the map were not holistic dog vets.
Some of the holistic vets listed work with horses and exotic animals, for example. Other holistic vets listed were dog vets, but they weren’t primarily focused on holistic care.
Note that you may need to go out of your area to find a holistic vet. For example, my holistic vet here in Austin sees dogs from around Texas and even as far as other states!
Difference Between a Holistic and Conventional Veterinarian
You’ll want to understand the difference between a holistic vet and a conventional vet before trying to actually find one.
The truth is that many vets who call themselves holistic are more focused on treatment rather than wellness, which is not really representative of a holistic vet.
My holistic vet is primarily focused on integrative care and wellness, so I will use Dr. Lassin at Roots Veterinary Care to explain the difference between a holistic vet and a conventional vet. (I have no affiliation other than being the owner of a dog that he treats.)
Dr. Lassin frequently focuses on diet as the culprit for concerns when I take Blanco in to see him, for example. As such, collaboratively, we did food allergy testing and subsequently changed Blanco’s dog food and limited his protein source. His ear irritations were greatly reduced in frequency after we changed his diet.
Dr. Lassin gives me the choice of herbs and supplements as a first treatment vs only prescribing Western medicine. He gives me his advice on each type of treatment.
How I Found a Holistic Vet
I spent hours finding a holistic vet in the Austin area. I even went to four different vets over the years that claimed to be holistic before finding a vet that I consider truly holistic.
Here are the steps to find a real holistic vet for your own dog.
Step 1 to Find a Holistic Vet
The first thing to do is simply Google how to find a holistic vet in your area.
The term holistic is somewhat vague, so try these searches also:
- How to find an integrative veterinarian
- How to find an alternative veterinary
- How to find a natural vet
Then be prepared to do some research on the results you get from both the search and the map referenced above because here’s a little secret:
A lot of vets that have labeled themselves as holistic vets are not holistic vets in the true sense of the word. If they use the word “holistic” on their website, they’ll come up in the search for a holistic dog vet.
The reality is that marketing experts have gotten quite clever at using words like holistic and integrative in website content to attract certain clients.
Step 2 to Find a Holistic Vet
Next, you’ve got to be able to tell if a vet is really a holistic vet.
Go to the vet’s website for the search results.
Read the following pages.
1. The “Holistic Vet’s” Home Page
There will be language making it clear the veterinary clinic is alternative or holistic if it really is.
For example, here is what I see on the home page for Roots Veterinary Clinic, my holistic vet.
2. The Holistic Vet’s Services
Next, check out the vet’s Services page; the services being offered will reveal a lot.
Again, here is my alternative vet’s service information. They pride themselves on offering:
- Integrative care
- Nutrition Consulting
- Holistic Care
They don’t just casually list these services; they provide detail on each holistic service making it clear this is part of their ethos.
A vet that has a focus on conventional care will list services such as:
Holistic vets may offer both conventional as well as holistic services. You’ll usually notice that holistic vets are more focused on wellness, though, while conventional veterinarians are more focused on treatments and pharmaceutical prevention; a holistic vet will be more focused on lifestyle prevention.
Step 3 To Find a Holistic Vet
Go to the “About” page. Read about the veterinarians and the staff. Often, you’ll see one vet that offers one or more of the alternative services below in addition to conventional treatments:
- Chinese herbs
- Nutrition consulting
Having one person on the staff who does acupuncture, herbs, or nutrition counseling does not make the vet clinic holistic.
Summary for Finding a Holistic Vet
It generally takes more effort to find a holistic vet than to simply go the the veterinarian closest to you.
It will likely also be more effort to use a holistic vet, too, since there aren’t that many. I drive about 35 minutes to take Blanco to see Dr. Lassin, for example.
There are many great veterinarians who are conventional vets. If you prefer alternative treatments over traditional treatments, however, it will be worth the effort to find a holistic vet in your area.
What if you cannot find a holistic vet in your area? A few holistic vets do consulting, but there is a lot to be said for seeing your dog “in dog” (as in like, in human:). There’s also the fact that most holistic vets are super busy with the increase in dog owners with a preference for alternative wellness for their pooch, and the small number of holistic vets.