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.”