Holistic Pet Care is on the Rise in Tucson

Story by Rebecca West
People are increasingly turning to naturopathic or holistic medicine as alternatives to Western protocols. The same apparently holds true for their pets, as seen in the increasing number of service and product providers cropping up in Tucson. Today, many veterinarians agree that there is room for both paths in the field of pet health. Rather than invasive treatments, Eastern medicine generally takes a more natural approach to managing illnesses and injuries. This can take the form of herbs, common folk remedies used for thousands of years before pharmaceuticals and technological advances, and things like acupuncture, which is used frequently in large zoos.

There are a number of good reasons why you might want to start out with alternative care first. Brachycephalic breeds, for instance, have breathing issues and should avoid certain procedures. If you have concerns about the chemicals commonly used in pest control, shopping somewhere you know is going to carry a wider array of safer natural products is a huge plus. Using food-grade diatomaceous earth for fleas and bed bugs won’t harm you or your pet. Saving you time and eye strain from obsessively reading all the fine print, natural products tend to have fewer ingredients and are generally listed in larger fonts.

If you embrace this, we’ve compiled a list of places you can receive treatments and products commonly offered in holistic circles. When it comes to veterinary care, you’ve got quite a lot of options. We were able to identify about a dozen entities that offer a range of services. Some are more on board with naturopathic treatment than others. A few offer a more standardized Western approach but include laser treatments, which is far less invasive than, say, surgery, so they advertise as holistic treatment providers. Regardless, the more choices, the better for everyone.

And there are, of course, times when surgery and more aggressive forms of intervention are required. We spoke with veterinarian Dr. Mark Restey at Rosemont Pet Clinic on East 5th St. (petclinictucson.com) about his practice and the thought process behind crossover care. Dr. Restey noted that cancer is a significant problem among humans and pets and that our Western lifestyles exacerbate it. A self-described “hippy at heart,” he stated that many newer veterinarians are far more open-minded about naturopathic techniques while admitting that Eastern and Western medicine go hand in hand. “They have to,” he stressed. “There’s no other way. And it’s important to be a good enough clinician to recognize that.”

After a stint at Pegasus Veterinary Clinic here in Tucson, Dr. Restey took over Rosemont in January 2022 from former owner Dr. John Brett. Getting his start in traditional veterinary medicine, Restey gradually progressed into naturopathic healing, which he’s integrated into his work over the last 16 years. A vigorous proponent of whole food supplements and proper diet, his office uses Chinese herbs and alternative methods like acupuncture, VOM (veterinary orthopedic manipulation), chiropractic, OrthoStim, and laser treatments. Working with Dr. Melanie Olson and a team of vet techs, they offer a full range of services.

Obviously passionate about his work, Dr. Restey emphasized the importance of the bond between client and animal, client and doctor, and doctor and animal. By incorporating these bonds into a safe, calm sanctuary, he hopes to create an atmosphere more conducive to successful treatments and animal/human interactions. Part of what drew him to Tucson was the strong animal advocacy sentiment in the community and the healing vibe of the Arizona landscape in general. That encompasses its people, spirit, and geological features.

Products & Related Services
As far as animal care products and related services, there’s:
• Holistic Animal Care Shoppes located on East Broadway Blvd. (holisticanimalcareshoppes.com)
• Azmira Holistic Animal Care on East Outlook Dr. (azmira.com)
• Andra’s Animal Reiki. Reiki is a Japanese method of natural
healing based on channeling healing energy through the hands.
It can be undertaken hands-on or at a close distance. Reiki works on the whole body and energy system rather than addressing specific symptoms. Many claim to  find it beneficial.

Vets for Pets
For veterinarians focusing on household pets using integrative animal healing and wellness (experience in conventional and holistic medicine):
• Animal Healing and Wellness Clinic, a small clinic on North 1st Ave. (animalhealingandwellnessclinic.com)
• Benarda Veterinary Hospital on North Country Club Dr.
• Paws Veterinary Center on East River Rd. (pawstucson.com)
Sahuaro Vista Veterinary Clinic on West Cool Dr.
• on
North Swan Rd. (sunrisepetclinicaz.com)
Encanto Pet Clinic on East Broadway Blvd.

Pets & Farm Animals
For naturopathic healers working with horses and farm animals in addition to pets:
• Pegasus Veterinary on East Speedway Blvd. (pegasusveterinary.com)
• Prickly Pear Holistic Veterinary Care mobile service
• Avra Equine Veterinary Clinic offering ECB Equine Hydrotherapy. Rehabilitation and preventative therapies include aqua treadmill and cold saltwater spa. (avraequine.com)



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