Top Tips To Train In Animal Therapies

How To Decide On Your Holistic Animal Therapy Career

My Taranet website aims to raise awareness about complementary therapies for animals. It educates people seeking careers in holistic animal care. The field can be confusing, with many professional organizations and therapies. So, where should one begin to train in a specific therapy?

First of all my number one piece of advice is to know what animals you want to work with.

Some courses enable you to work with all types of animals (either on completion of the initial course, or with further training). This includes:

  • Veterinary surgeon
  • Veterinary nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • Hydrotherapist
  • Osteopath
  • Chiropractic
  • Zoopharmacognosy
  • Plus others too

Or other courses, enable you to specialise early on. For instance, there are courses specifically in canine massage and equine muscle release therapy. These would mean you could work with dogs only or horses only.

Once you have decided what animals you'd like to work with, then think about what sort of work you'd like to do. Working with animals to promote their health in any capacity can be very rewarding. Different courses will have varying entry requirements. But don't let that put you off! Do investigate what your ideal work with animals is. And if that is a veterinary surgeon and you need to take some initial examinations or qualifications to meet the entry level, then it will be worth it if you can achieve your goal.

For many complementary animal therapies, there are various different training routes.

Whereas to be a veterinarian, there are much simpler course options! (At least to get initally qualified, you can of course take further postgraduate qualifiations to get more specialist training - for instance to train in veterinary acupuncture).

This is where the complementary animal therapy sector can get confusing. I've noticed some subtle disparaging of some professional associations and qualifications. This just adds to the confusion.

My two top tips to choose your training course include:

  1. Does it offer hands-on training? I believe online learning is valuable, but in-person sessions with experts are crucial. Only then can you truly grasp an animal's health and the effects of therapy. Online methods can fall short in providing necessary skills and knowledge.

  1. What professional association will you be able to be a member of on completion of your course? Look at the professional body and see what it will offer you. Insurance, continuous professional development are just two benefits from many. What professional standards do they have? I am not going to say any association is better than another. But do choose one that gives you access to continuous learning. Choose one you feel is doing its best to promote professionalism in the animal care industry with an evidence-based approach.

A common question I'm asked is whether veterinary surgeon's will be happy to refer clients to you, on completion of a certain course.

Working with veterinarians is essential, as animals must be registered with a vet. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon's Code of Conduct states this around musculoskeletal practitioners (physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic):

"Musculoskeletal maintenance care for a healthy animal, for instance massage, does not require delegation by a veterinary surgeon. However, the animal must still be registered with a veterinary surgeon. Maintenance should cease and the owner of the animal should be asked to take their animal to a veterinary surgeon for clinical examination at the first sign that there may be any underlying injury, disease or pathology. Alternatively, the musculoskeletal therapist may ask the client for formal consent to disclose any concerns to the veterinary surgeon that has their animal under their care."

If you have a reputable qualification, are a member of a reputable professional organisation and can clearly state what and how you can help animals, then a veterinarian will almost certainly be happy to consent to their animal clients to be seen by you.

Taking time to build good professional relationships is a vital part of your building your business. Read my business coaching blog here for some tips to develop your animal care business.

Read more on different complementary therapy for animals training options here:

´╗┐And do you know someone who'd find this helpful? Please share, the more we can spread awareness of the benefits of natural therapies the better! :)

Find out more about other natural animal therapies here at Taranet. Or read other articles in this Natural Pet Health Blog. Take a look at the sitemap here to explore!

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About the Author
Suzanne Harris is an equestrian and canine entrepreneurial coach and consultant to veterinarians who want to help prevent animals being affected by domestic abuse