According to a recent qSample study, pet owners spend around $27 billion a year on veterinary care and animal medication. The costs are expected only to rise steeply, as veterinary education balloons and online pharmacies force pet stores to increase prices. As we also reported, people are parenting their pets more, part of a growing movement of animal kindness.
Between mounting pet care costs and humanizing our pets, it’s only natural that many pet owners would seek alternative treatments, some traditionally meant for those of us on the allegedly higher rungs of the evolutionary ladder.
Unfortunately, what we tend to get are questionable and bizarre pet medical treatments. Brace yourself for this list, unless you’re one of the guilty:
1. Music Therapy For Pets
This treatment actually makes sense, although it doesn’t mean you should play Adele to your Persian after it fails to mate with the neighborhood tomcat. Preliminary research points to the notion that low, soothing sounds can pacify a pet’s disposition. It’s a matter of getting the sound right, as a dog whistle can do. Humans hear up to 20,000 Hz—while dogs hear up to 45,000 Hz and cats up to 64,000 Hz. This means dogs and cats are sensitive to ultrasounds, something televisions or music players don’t typically emit.
It also means that Kanye West might release his next album on Tidal with higher frequencies to alleviate his $52 billion debt.
2. Psychotherapy For Pets
Americans spend around $100 billion dealing with emotional issues, while one percent are willing to seek counseling for themselves or a close friend after a crisis. By some fuzzy logic, this must suggest that pets are suffering as well in their relationships, jobs and mommy/daddy issues.
You might say no to pet psychotherapy, but there are already instances of veterinarians prescribing antidepressants for dogs. Fees run indefinitely and range between $300 and $400 a month…and they don’t include a Kanye West album.
Sure, animals like dogs suffer from anxiety separation. However, as most veterinarians agree, this and all disorders always center on the person who is closest to the animal. A simple change in owner behavior is normally what a pet needs to be “sane,” not sharing a couch next to Randy Quaid.
3. Hypnosis for Pets
It helped you or someone you know quit smoking, so why not use hypnotism to get Fido to stop drinking from the toilet? One site, Superdog, claims it can hypnotize dogs so well they won’t break eye contact with you (even without a pork chop taped to your forehead). It claims:
I do this by INDUCING A HYPNOTIC STATE with a dog training method from Europe that uses hypnosis and somnambulism. The method I use to train dogs has been passed down from generation to generation.
It’s real Da Vinci Code/Highlander stuff…
Regardless, as with music therapy and psychotherapy for pets, it comes down to understanding the difference in species and actual context of the treatment. Hypnosis, contrary to popular belief, isn’t a form of mind control but voluntary cognitive behavioral therapy. For animals, therefore, hypnosis would simply mean an intense and personal training. But hey, branding is everything if you want customers.
4. Liposuction for Pets
Obesity and fat shaming are predominant issues in American culture. Also, it’s obvious that an overweight pet might not be a healthy pet. To assist with this, some veterinary clinics in Australia now offer pet liposuction at $2000 a pop. While on the topic of vanity, other clinics even offer Botox treatments and even tattoos for pets. If you don’t believe me, believe this:
As for pet liposuction, two questions: Do you think your pet cares what it looks like? Have you considered diet and exercise changes for your pet instead of sucking its fat in the Land Down Under?
5. Holistic Treatment for Pets
There is nothing wrong with holistic care, especially the branch that focuses on preventative care to reduce potential ailments. We’ve reported on the rise of holistic pet care and the sound work of The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Holistic pet care is natural, nonintrusive and often more cost effective. Such holistic treatments as chiropractic and acupuncture are gaining acceptance for pets.
The problem, however, is when you put your pets through yoga, meditation and an hour of listening to Deepak Chopra audio books.
The truth is that none of these mentioned treatments aren’t that bizarre—except when marketing and species get turned inside out. A loving yet methodical approach for an abused cat may be considered a form of psychotherapy, just as planting suggestions to an attentive dog could be deemed as a form of hypnosis. Obviously, the problem is when these treatments are utilized in a way that resembles the ending of George Orwell’s Animal Farm: when one can’t tell the difference between the human and the animal sitting at the table.