Science

Demand for alternative therapies grows in the US

Demand for alternative pet therapies is on the rise in the United States, with unorthodox treatments such as veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic, Reiki healing, raw-food diets and telepathic ‘animal communicators’ making up an increasingly large portion of the country’s billion-dollar pet industry.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, there are now over 300 communicators – self-proclaimed psychics who claim to be able to sense pets’ individual traits and emotions – in North America, and membership in the non-profit American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture has quadrupled compared to a decade ago.

Sales of St Louis-based Nature’s Variety raw foods, which are shipped and stored frozen to maintain freshness, are also up 35 per cent in the last year alone.

Advocates contend that raw-food diets – which emphasise raw meats, bones, fruits and vegetables – have traditionally been eaten by racing dogs, and provide animals with shinier coats, cleaner teeth and higher energy levels. “Feeding raw pet food is a new concept for many people, but dogs and cats are [raw] meat eaters by nature,” said Nature’s Variety spokeswoman Jill Gainer. “It’s similar to a time when dogs were given the scraps off the dinner table.”

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