The cornerstone of naturopathic veterinary care is assisting your pet to achieve optimum health and to be proactive in its maintenance rather than to wait until there's a problem that needs to be treated.
Most naturopathic practitioners are either going to be well versed in the nutritional needs of their patient species, more so than many conventionally oriented vets, or they will have close referral relationships to good animal nutritionists whom they rely on to work in concert with them to help pet owners make sure their animals have a diet that provides what their bodies need to thrive rather than merely survive.
Whether a client prefers to feed a prepared food, kibble, canned, frozen, home cooked, raw, or avail themselves of mixes of ingredients designed to be added to raw meats in order to fill out the dietary requirements of their pet, naturopathy recognizes that without the right fuel -- fuel that isn't loaded with toxins or empty calories -- the body is going to expend its energy trying to compensate for lacking nutrients and the immune system is already overworked by the very foods that are supposed to be helping!
Supplements are part of the naturopathic vet's treatment arsenal and even commercial type pet food manufacturers are beginning to recognize that the consumer is becoming aware of beneficial supplemental ingredients like pro and prebiotics as well as those they do not want to see in their pets' food, like propylene glycol, ethoxyquin, bone phosphate, menadione. As naturopathy gains acceptance and becomes a more commonly sought out source of treatment, we can hope to see consumers demand higher quality foods with better -- and safer -- supplementation.
Another expectation of naturopathic care is the education of the client. Attaining and maintaining health is a process, it's not tossing a multivitamin and a couple of pills down the back of your pet's throat once or twice a day; it requires a lifestyle change, just as it does for us. A two way flow of information is a necessity, both vet and client have to listen to each other as well as observe the patient. Your naturopathic practitioner should welcome your questions, especially the all important "why?"
Stress adversely affects health as surely as any physiological factor. Stress becomes a physiological factor; the body produces toxins of its own as a result of stress. Lack of rest, depression, lethargy, a compromised immune system can be some of the deleterious effects of stress and as they are prolonged, the levels can escalate, so your naturopathic practioner is characteristically as concerned about the mental and emotional well being of your pet as he is the physical. After all, at the heart of naturopathy are the principles of holistic health -- treating the creature, whether human, canine, feline or any other being as an entire entity rather than waiting until there are symptoms of malfunction and treating the symptoms individually.
Treatments for stress are varied and as individual as each animal. Massage therapies like Tellington touch designed specifically to target animal anatomy or more conventional massage therapies, deep tissue, for example, that have been adapted from human practice to the anatomical and neurological structure of animals are utilized, most often by therapists trained in specific treatment regimens.
Scent therapy is another tool in the alleviation of stress. Considering the superiority of scent receptors and abilities to process the data those receptors gather possessed by animals as compared to humans it makes sense that if our mental and emotional levels are affected by olfactory stimulus, theirs would be even more so, with the caveat that lesser concentrations are necessary, are desireable, to achieve results.
A reputable naturopathic vet won't tell you not to utilize allopathic treatments when appropriate and, as a veterinarian, the naturopath will hold a conventional degree in veterinary medicine. If your dog breaks a leg, a naturopath is going to set the bone and confine it in a cast or splint. He may use accupuncture to alleviate pain and shock and achieve sedation and send you home with a vial of Bach's Rescue Remedy to put in your dog's water to calm him as well as a bottle of supplements to promote healing, but rest assured, a good vet is a good vet and will do whatever is necessary to treat your pet to the utmost of his ability.