Starting in the late 1800s, veterinarians used homeopathic and natural cures. Today, there are veterinarians whose practices are almost exclusively homeopathic. Homeopathy is the practice of treating a patient with a disease or ailment using a highly diluted form of a substance to help the body alleviate symptoms.

We who are pet and animal lovers understand a tight bond with our four-legged, winged, web-footed, pawed, finned and hoofed friends.


Yes, they can become a true family member, and when a pet hurts, we hurt. Similarly, when a pet feels good, we feel good. 


We commit tremendous energy, resources, emotion and money to keeping our pets well and happy. Indeed, sometimes we commit more to keeping our pets healthy and happy than we commit to maintaining our own physical and emotional health.    


Certainly, it seems only appropriate, and to be expected, that as holistic medicine becomes ever more popular for humans –– and as it helps more people to stay healthy, recover, heal and stave off illness and infirmity –– people will look increasingly to it to benefit the lives of pets.  


Holistic medicine involves “complementary and alternative medicine.” It treats the body, mind and spirit –– and it is highly customized for the patient. Holistic treatment and regimens can be as different as people are different. Holistic treatment can include conventional pharmaceuticals and may include specialized compounded drugs.


And fundamental to much of CAM –– for humans and animals –– is homeopathy, naturopathy and, of course, nutrition –– which includes nutritional supplements. Nutrition is particularly integral to this approach.


It was about 2,500 years ago that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine.” It is surprising that that there is very little about nutrition taught in medical schools. This needs to change. 


Food –– the right food –– can deliver powerful healing properties. As well, diets that are low in calories and high in nutrients –– nutrients provided through the right food and the right supplementation –– can help keep many different creatures of the planet healthy. 


Nutritional supplements, such as fish oil, baker’s yeast, flaxseed oil, probiotic formulas (formulas of “friendly bacteria”), antioxidants, vitamin and mineral compounds, glucosamine and many, many more promote wellness.


Starting in the late 1800s, veterinarians used homeopathic and natural cures. Today, there are veterinarians whose practices are almost exclusively homeopathic. Homeopathy is the practice of treating a patient with a disease or ailment using a highly diluted form of a substance to help the body alleviate symptoms.


Homeopathy allows and nurtures the body to naturally correct and heal itself. There are many homeopathic compounds and substances that work effectively in dogs, cats, horses, goats, parrots and many other animals. We’ve worked with veterinarians in the treatment of a wide variety of animals, including those mentioned above, as well as ducks, turtles, monkeys and snakes. 


In terms of treatment, working hand in hand with homeopathy is naturopathy, alternative medicine that uses natural elements that catalyze, support and metabolize the body’s own energies and healing properties. 


In the treatment of anxiety in animals, homeopathy and more natural remedies are replacing heavy-duty pharmaceuticals such as Valium and Prozac. 


We know how animals get highly stressed with the sound of thunder or lightning or fireworks. Another environmental factor that can cause stress for a pet is the death of another pet in the household.


We are increasing the work we do with veterinarians as holistic medicine for pets is becoming mainstream treatment. It is helpful to ask your veterinarian for advice when choosing products to purchase and identifying reputable businesses that can provide these products.  


And, of course, whether or not a pet is being holistically treated, if the pet is seriously ill, the pet should immediately be brought to a veterinarian or animal hospital emergency room. 


We love our pets, whether they are furry, feathered, scaly or hided – whether they walk, fly, swim or crawl. We want and seek the best for them. And when our pets aren’t feeling well, the best medicine can be conscientious, well-advised and high-quality holistic medicine.


Steve Bernardi is a compounding pharmacist and Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist and a naturopathic doctor at Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center in Waltham, Mass. (www.naturalcompounder.com). Readers with questions about natural or homeopathic medicine, compounded medications, or health in general can e-mail steveandgary@naturalcompounder.com or call 781-893-3870.