Mind, body and bowl: what holistic means to us at Lyka

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Dr Matthew Muir
Woman and dog doing yoga

When you hear the word “holistic”, what comes to mind? Its practical meaning is based on an evidence-based approach, which factors in your dog’s health as a whole — and in the context of their environment. 

As a holistic vet, our co-founder Dr Matthew Muir has seen the benefits of this approach in clinic. In this article, we explore the main things to discuss in a wellness check with your vet: as well as some real-life examples of holistic health considerations. 

What do holistic vets do?

Holistic veterinarians draw on all health traditions (including Western medicine): abiding by the principle of [holism](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32602378/) when it comes to managing health concerns. Just as you’d take yourself to the doctor for a skin check-up, it’s best to take your pup to the vet every six months for a wellness check: a preventative approach is always better than a reactive one. 

This can include discussing their diet, exercise and behaviour: as well as screening and diagnostic tests to monitor things like organ function. Even if your pup seems well, your vet can screen for silent or early disease symptoms. 

Just as with humans, a holistic wellness check considers…

The mind

 The brain-gut link is responsible for connecting your dog’s diet with their mental health — a holistic vet can help you make behavioural modifications to enhance their quality of life. 

This could include reducing your own stress at mealtimes, being mindful of the fact that your dog takes on your energy. Fussy eating can become a pattern for your dog, if you’re fretting about their inability to chow down. 

You can also enrich your dog’s brain by interacting regularly through play, with toys or by exercising together — as well as setting clear boundaries and routines. 

The body

Environmental factors can affect your dog’s physical health for better or worse: just as you’d expect with humans. Some dogs are also more prone to health risks for genetic reasons, which holistic veterinarians can help you identify, prevent or manage. 

Holistic vets understand that we share the same environment as our pups, and are exposed to the same toxins in and around the home. 

Your vet can suggest alternatives to: 

  • Stairs, if your dog has arthritis or any other health issue where mobility is an issue; 

  • Herbicides and pesticides, so your pup can safely explore your garden via their nose; 

  • Air-purifying plants that, while beautiful, may not be safe for your dog. 

  • Toxic cleaning products, with a range of dog-friendly cleaning products on the market. 

The bowl: the foundation of holistic wellbeing

Both humans and pups have the metabolic flexibility to eat a wide range of foods, as dogs were fed table scraps before processed dog food took off from the 1860s-1920s — remaining popular to this day. 

While shelf-stable diets might be more convenient in the short-term, processed foods have been linked to chronic inflammation in dogs. Holistic vets can recommend herbal remedies like bioactive botanicals, which come from systems like traditional Chinese Medicine: with a strong basis of scientific evidence. Introducing a dense and diverse array of ingredients has many health benefits, supporting various aspects of your pup’s health — from digestion and skin to immunity and joint function. 

  • Turmeric can potentially reduce inflammation in your dog’s body, as it contains an anti-inflammatory called curcumin

  • Shiitake mushrooms are full of beta-glucans, which support a strong immune system. 

  • Raspberries, blueberries and sweet potatoes are a great source of antioxidants: to fight oxidative stress and support overall cellular health. 

  • Hemp and chia seeds contain essential fatty acids like omega-3, helping your dog maintain a lustrous coat, and healthy skin and brain.  

  • Leafy greens like spinach provide a blend of nutrients to maximise eye health and your dog’s ability to absorb iron. 

Help your dog thrive rather than survive with Lyka

Lyka’s recipe design considers your dog from a holistic viewpoint, helping to build the foundation for a long but more importantly, healthy life. Wholefood nutrition has this power for your dog! It helps their body detoxify, builds their immunity… just ask our pack. 

Let’s challenge the status quo by going above and beyond for our petsjust as we would for ourselves. 

This article was reviewed by Lyka's veterinary and nutrition experts

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