In defense of homeopathy for dogs.

(Cats too)

Recently a friend of mine, a tattoo artist who owns many dogs,was telling me how she had a great deal of homeopathic medicine for her animals. She was, she said, “like a doctor”.

Full disclosure, I do not believe in the efficacy of Homeopathy. A younger me would have piped up something cheeky about sugar water. But, in recent years I have interacted a lot with dogs, dog owners, and a little bit with veterinarians.

And I eventually came to the rather obvious (in hindsight!) realization that while a human doctor has patients, a veterinarian has clients. More specifically, the dog owners are the clients. And so a veterinarian will tend to do whatever he believes the client wants. Not necessarily what is good for the patient.

Do you want the patient castrated Mrs Brown? Right you are. Do you want your dog to be vegan? Okay, Will draw up a meal plan. Yes, Unfortunately, this breed is known to have hip problems. But we have some brand new laser treatments that will probably help. They certainly feel like you’re doing something, and the price is right (Bloody expensive).

I don’t wish to cast aspersions on the veterinary profession, but the incentives are what they are.

So given this, and considering the often obsessive relationship between the animals and their owners (especially when it comes to illnesses). I came to the tentative conclusion that allowing the owners to harmlessly vent their healing impulses through the medium of homeopathy is probably the best way to reduce harm to their charges (And to their wallets).

With homeopathy, an anxious owner can medicate pooch to their hearts content. Never ever risking doing any actual damage. In my experience actual injuries or diseases that will not clear out by themselves, like cancer or being hit by a car will be treated with real medicine or euthanasia. For everything else, well, vaccinations for pets are compulsory, and they usually have better exercise regimes, nutrition and certainly lack of stress than us.

Of course the main benefit of homeopathy, at least in humans, is the placebo effect. My default assumption is that this only works on people. But who knows? Perhaps being fussed on and given sweet treats has a similar effect on Rover. I would not be surprised if there was some measurable effect. Certainly pets are very tuned in and sensitive to their owner’s moods so if the human is reassured this will have a knock on effect on the animal.

In any case, the main benefit would certainly be the avoidance of over medication. The owners are happy because they are doing something, the economy rolls on, and the animals are unharmed. It’s win win.






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