Is Infrared Therapy the Next Breakthrough for the Natural Pet Wellness Market?
The fondness Americans feel toward their pets seems to increase year after year, yet COVID kicked it into overdrive.
Before the pandemic, more than three-quarters of pet parents referred to their animal buddies as members of the family. Now that the lockdowns have ended, they’ve intensified their willingness to prioritize their pets’ needs. Accordingly, they’ve begun to pay more attention than ever to give their animals decidedly human care and treatment.
Take the topic of wills, for example. It’s no longer unusual for people to make formal arrangements for their pets’ care if their pets should outlive them. Other people take their pets’ anxiety so seriously that they seek out traditional and alternative animal mental health medications (including ones used to treat depression and other conditions in people). Truly, the trend toward seeing pets as humanlike companions is wider-reaching at every turn.
Today, experts are predicting an increase in the already booming sales of natural pet foods and toys, including those made from natural, sustainable, eco-friendlier materials. And reports are out that the use of acupuncture and glucosamine, both of which are widely used to bring relief to humans with joint problems and arthritis, are being recommended for use on pets regularly.
Surprisingly, there’s one area that hasn’t reached its full potential quite yet in terms of pet well-being: infrared treatment for dogs and cats. However, it would seem likely that it’s on its way to becoming more mainstream.
The Connection Between Infrared Light and Pet Wellness Care
To be fair, the pet industry is not unfamiliar with the use of infrared and near-infrared light for horses. Infrared light therapy continues to be used as a noninvasive, safe way to treat horses suffering from anything from stiffness and sore muscles to relieving tendon injuries. After all, IR’s value to an animal is the same as its value to humans: It can increase local circulation and cell oxygenation, providing natural, nontoxic support for common ailments.
But why hasn’t IR translated from the equine industry to the home pet market en masse? A large reason is that IR tech hasn’t yet reached broad awareness for humans. Many adults are unfamiliar with what IR technology can do for their own well-being. Consequently, they don’t think of adopting the treatment for their pets’ wellness care.
A second challenge to the widespread adoption of infrared treatment for dogs, cats, and other mammals is that the process of healing through IR therapy takes time. Often, the benefit isn’t realized for weeks or months. Pet parents accustomed to instant gratification may not realize the progress their animal is making and may therefore suspend the application of IR before an outcome can be achieved.
Despite these challenges, it’s worth educating the public on the cat and dog healthcare advantages and opportunities that can come with the applications of infrared therapies.
Advantages of Infrared Therapy for Beloved Household Pets
For example, newer studies on cats and dogs show that their bodies respond to infrared just as human and horse bodies do. This means that a regular regimen of infrared light therapy can help aid in cellular recovery, potentially resulting in improved strength and stamina, helping pets enjoy a higher quality of life with less reliance on non-natural pharmaceuticals.
Another benefit of infrared light therapy for pets is that it may encourage faster relief from skin conditions. Any pet owner knows that dogs and cats tend to further irritate exposed wounds through excessive licking and nipping behaviors. The faster those wounds can resolve themselves, the less chance of infection.
It’s worth mentioning, too, that infrared technology isn’t limited to low-light lasers. Wearables like doggy blankets and coats can be created from special materials that leverage infrared to convert an animal’s heat into safe, usable energy. That way, pets can enjoy infrared-promoted wellness whenever and wherever without the need to be in front of a special light.
As always, it’s important for pet parents to speak with a trusted veterinarian to help them choose between available infrared therapies and solutions. Nevertheless, the sooner those conversations happen, the sooner that infrared treatment for dogs and cats is likely to move from the periphery of natural health alternatives to center stage.
Seth Casden is the CEO and co-founder of Hologenix, a materials science company dedicated to developing products that amplify human and pet potential and improve health and wellness. CELLIANT®, its flagship product, is an infrared ingredient brand that enhances textile-based products with health and wellness benefits across performance, recovery and sleep.