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Episode 42:

How Holistic Vets Can Help You & Your Pet

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This episode is for all pet parents (current and future) out there. Dr. Lauren Beaird, DVM, shares about holistic veterinary medicine - what you can expect, why you shouldn’t be intimidated by it, and why you may want to consider a holistic vet. She shares about her personal journey from being a practicing veterinarian that was skeptical about alternative/holistic veterinary care to embracing the philosophy of treating the whole animal, including the use of complementary modalities such as acupuncture, physical therapy, and homeopathy. 

Dr. Beaird gives some great insight into the importance of diet/nutrition on your pet’s health. We also dive into what you can do to take care of your pet’s mental health. Also she lays out some simple things you can do to uplevel your pet’s health.

In the “You Want Me To Do What??” section, Shanna shares about how she obsessively learned about dog food before getting her first dog as an adult and what she currently feeds her dog.

Episode Recap:

Interview with Dr. Lauren Beaird  - 2:59

“You Want Me To Do What??” section - 1:00:22


  • Dr. Lauren Beaird turned to holistic medicine when her dog was diagnosed with cancer at 6 years old. Prior to that, she discounted holistic petcare because she didn't understand it.

  • Dr. Beaird views her role as a veterinarian to be more of a teacher than a healer. She finds that educating pet parents on caring for their pets can ultimately have a bigger impact than just treating the pet.

  • Some of the ways that holistic/alternative/complementary veterinary care differs from "traditional" vet care:

    • more focus on diet & nutrition

    • care individualized to the pet, including recommendations on vaccines & medications

    • openness to other options/treatments, including acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic care, homeopathy, etc.

  • Dr. Beaird explains that, prior to going into holistic (or alternative) veterinary medicine, she used to focus her time on treating the symptoms of a sick animal rather than addressing the underlying cause.

  • Animals are great patients to try acupuncture on because there is no placebo either works on them or it doesn't. (Fun fact: cows and horses respond well to acupuncture.)

  • There is currently no extra certification or specialty for holistic petcare, but vets can do internships with experienced holistic vets, learn through their own research, and take continuing education courses on different alternative modalities.

  • What you can expect when you go to a holistic veterinarian:

    • discussion on what goals you (as the owner) have for your pet's health

    • review of the entire medical history of the animal (so make sure you get your pet's medical records from any other vet that has treated your animal)

    • longer appointment time

    • potentially higher cost for appointments since you pay for the time you meet with the vet

    • focus on nutrition & getting education on nutrition

    • discussion on what other treats, supplements, medications, etc. that you are giving your pet

  • When it comes to your pet's diet, here are some things to consider:

    • Kibble food is generally 30-60% carbohydrates, which isn't what dogs & cats need

    • Oven baked kibbles are better than extrusion processed kibble

    • Food that already has the moisture in it or intended to have it added back in are best (eg. dehydrated food or raw food)

    • Food with the macronutrient make-up that is appropriate for the species.

    • If doing raw foods, Dr. Beaird recommends working with a company that makes it

  • Dr. Lauren Beaird's Top 3 Tips for Pet Parents:

    • Diet is important. If you are new to pet nutrition, work with someone who can help you find the right diet for your pet.

    • Spend time every day focusing on your pet's mental health. You want to make sure your pet has the right amount of stimulation through exercise, different experiences, play, and socialization.

    • Be mindful of anything else going into your pet's body, including treats, medications, vaccines, and any chemicals.