Getting to know Chinese traditional medicine – and how it can help your dog

by Sojos | January 09, 2013

In recent years, there’s been a growing awareness among both regular people and health care professionals – including veterinarians – about the benefits of non-Western medicine. In many cases, it used to be called “alternative” but is now called “complementary,” illustrating a widening perspective about what treatments are effective. Chinese traditional medicine, having been practiced for thousands of years, naturally captures attention for its longevity and effectiveness. And many forward-thinking pet owners have found that it can be as useful for animals as it is for humans.

Getting to know Chinese medicine can feel a bit intimidating for the uninitiated – after all, a practice that’s been in use and developing over centuries clearly necessitates an enormous amount of knowledge. But for those who are curious about how it can help to support their pets’ health, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, Chinese traditional medicine is an all-encompassing, holistic practice – it’s designed to treat the body as an interconnected whole, rather than separate, unrelated elements.

Central to Chinese medicine is the concept of “qi” (pronounced “chi”) – energy that flows throughout the body. When pain or illnesses occur, it’s an indication that the qi has been disrupted and isn’t flowing freely. Disruptions might be caused by a variety of factors, such as trauma, toxins or even a sub-par diet.

Both acupuncture and herbal remedies are essential to Chinese medicine; they can be used separately or in tandem, depending on how the practitioner assesses your dog’s individual needs. In acupuncture, small needles are placed along energy pathways (or “meridians”) to help unblock qi. Herbal medicines can be prescribed in a few forms – powders, capsules or even as treats.

If your holistic vet is trained in Chinese medicine, it will be beneficial to discuss your pet’s diet. A healthy raw dog food can be an integral part of maintaining your dog’s wellness, and integrates easily with a Chinese medicine regimen. Your practitioner might recommend certain proteins for your dog – a pre-mix raw dog food like Sojos Grain-Free makes it easy to add whatever is deemed the best choice.

While there’s a lot to know about Chinese medicine, making an appointment with a licensed practitioner is one of the best ways to learn. They’ll be able to help introduce you, as well as give your dog treatments that can help him feel his best.