New Age Pets

As if it’s not enough of a waste of money to buy products with questionable (at best) benefit for ourselves, we have to do the same thing for out beloved pets.

Recently I was at a “natural products” type store (more on this store in an upcoming post) and there was a whole section of holistic/natural/organic pet food, tinctures and potions promising to improve coat appearance and promote better health, etc. All of them were extremely over-priced and less than necessary. I thought to myself “We have self health guilt, parental guilt, and now pet guilt? Can we just please be allowed to not be stressed about something ever?”

The pressure to love our pets and treat them well may unfortunately weigh over our common sense that says – anything not directly from your table, that is freeze dried and preserved, is probably not much (if at all) different than regular pet products that cost half as much and don’t have newage buzzwords on the packaging.

I’m sure Haiti would appreciate the extra money we have to burn more than a dog – for which, in Japan, we can now spend 2000 yen on completely unnecessary oxygen therapy.

Buh? Oxygen therapy?

Yes, on the same day I went to that store I saw an internet story on a spa (“English” version here) that offers oxygen therapy for dogs.

Developed by Air Press, the chambers are designed to help the dogs relax from their stressful days of eating, walking and being frequently petted by their human servants owners. Located in Yoyogi Uehara, the service goes for about 2,000 yen ($21) for 30 minutes.

Um…stressful days of being a dog? Walking around being admired and having your poop picked up after you? What a drag.

As with humans, there are legitimate uses of O2 therapy, such as when being caught in a fire or suffering from a condition that prevents optimal O2 saturation. But, as with humans, there is no indication that increasing O2 benefits the healthy. There are potential side effects and secondary risks, such as fire, and animals are used to breathing about 21% atmospheric O2. So giving them O2 therapy when they have no saturation issues is at best ineffective and at worst potentially dangerous.

O2 therapy suffers from the “more is better” fallacy. If we need O2 for healthy cell metabolism, then more must be healthier. Superfluous O2 therapies are based on the concept that healthy animals can feel more alert and energized, prevent health problems, and eliminate “toxins” by taking in more O2. Apparently they’ve never heard of free radicals…or animal cruelty.

Icing on the cake: As I wrote this (because Google searching is a blogger’s bread and butter), I came upon Reiki for pets for the low, low price of 25$/session. This makes the pets “happy”, despite the notable handicap of not being able to objectively determine if Reiki is making them anymore happy than just petting them for 20 minutes – which, as we’ve read above stresses them out enough to require O2 therapy to recover.

Pictured: Irony meter asplode.

Whatever happened to taking sick animals to the vet and leaving healthy animals be?

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  • Kim Hebert

    Kim Hébert is an occupational therapist. She is interested in the promotion of science and reason, particularly regarding therapeutic health interventions. She blogs occasionally about occupational therapy and other health topics at Science-Based Therapy. Her hobbies are art and astronomy. **All views expressed by Kim are her personal views alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers, associations, or other affiliations. All information is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for consultation with a licensed and accredited health professional.