- Pets and Animals
Natural and Herbal Remedies for Dogs and Cats
Natural Herbal Pet Remedies You Can Make at Home - Keeping your Pet Healthy
As people become more and more cautious about the ingredients in their own foods and medications, herbal pet remedies are starting to catch on, too. Lots of great herbal remedies can be purchased online or in neighborhood pet stores at reasonable prices. But did you know that you can also make good pet remedies and supplements at home using ingredients from your own garden and staples from your food pantry? It isn’t hard, and it can be a lot of fun for you and your pet.
If you keep an herb garden, you probably already know how much cats love catnip. But did you know that rosemary can be good for bad breath in dogs? If your dog will much on a piece of plain fresh rosemary, that’s great, but if he’s less than enthusiastic, make it more appealing by baking fresh chopped rosemary into a batch of homemade dog treats. Lots of great recipes are readily available on the web, and they make great gifts too.
Ginger root helps calm a sore stomach and can be given to dogs or puppies to prevent car sickness. Ginger has a strong taste, so it is sometimes easier to just ask for ginger capsules. Blackmore’s Travel Calm Ginger is a good choice. You can also add a little grated ginger to peanut butter dog treats if you bake your own. Slippery elm is another natural digestive calmative. Try adding a crushed tablet to your dog’s food to calm an upset stomach or halt diarrhea.
Garlic is one of the oldest treatments for worms and parasites, and dogs enjoy it as much as people do. You can add grated or chopped garlic directly to dog food to keep your dog’s intestinal tract clean and healthy. Cat’s like any variety of mint, especially catnip. Anyone can grow mint - borrow a starter sprig from someone who already has some growing in their yard and plant it in a place where it can take over (because it will!) Then bring a fresh sprig in for kitty to play with for summer-long fun.
Aloe vera can be used on pet cuts and abrasions the same way it is used on people. You can grow an aloe vera plant on your kitchen windowsill and just break off a piece when your pet has an injury. Squeeze the clear gel out of the plant onto the wound the same way you would any ointment.
Actually, a kitchen window garden is a great idea if you own cats or dogs. Include an aloe vera plant, some catnip, some rosemary, and a parsley plant. All can be used for pets and people alike.
Just take care to carefully and thoroughly research any new herb you're considering giving to your cat or dog. Some plants are toxic to animals, and some substances that human beings tolerate well are not recommended for dogs or cats. So don’t assume that if something is safe for you it is safe for your animal. Also, your pet's digestive system is shorter than yours and they can't digest fresh herbs, so use herbal tinctures, powders, essential oils or teas when possible. Be sure not to overdose your pet - give several small doses over the course of the day (as the remedy prescribes). Try two weeks on and one week off so your pets own immune system can have time to fight back, too.
Once you have learned what each herb does and how it works, and have properly assessed you pet's condition, you can quickly and easily help get your pet on the road to recovery! They'll appreciate it more than you know, and as a plus, you'll grow closer and strengthen the bond you share with them.
Here are some basic herbal home remedies to get you started. You can purchase these ingredients online or from your local health food store (like Whole Foods).
FLEAS & ITCHING
Eucalyptus, fennel, rosemary, rue, wormwood and yellow dock all have flea repelling properties. Blend together equal amounts of these herbs; mix well and sprinkle over the coat of your pet. Be sure to work in thoroughly down to the skin and avoid getting it in their eyes, inner ear, nose and mouth.
You can also add 1 teaspoon (or 1 tablet) per day of Brewer's Yeast to their foo.
For hot spots related to flea bites (and your pet gnawing the bites), rub a little bit of diluted tea tree essential oil on the skin (keep away from the eyes and genitals) - this will keep your dog from licking and making it worse. Use with caution on cats and small dogs.
Avoid using flea collars (ew! chemicals!) and make sure to always bathe your dog with only natural, chemical-free shampoos.
Clean the wound with a Goldenseal wash and apply fresh aloe.
To settle your pup's tummy, give them a few drops of ginger root extract before going anywhere. Peppermint essential oil is also great for nausea.
TIRED & SORE PAWS (and pads)
Mix a thick paste of pine tar and fuller's earth and massage gently onto the paw.
STRESS & ANXIETY
Try giving your pet a dose of Rescue Remedy, or mix the extracts of Oats, Valerian and Chamomile. Rub a little Lavender essential oil around their muzzle and spray a little on their bed. You can also give them a small dose of Melatonin to calm them during a thunderstorm. Aconite will also help ease occasional stress.
Arnica helps minimize bruising, speed healing and relieve minor pain. Hypericum helps prevent infection, relieve pain and promote healing. Alternate doses of both - start with Arnica and follow with Hypericum - give a total of 4 doses, 1 to 2 hours apart immediately after surgery. Follow with 4 to 6 doses the next day if your dog is still showing signs of discomfort.
Other homeopathic remedies: Phosphorus for bleeding, Bellis for prolonged pain, Ledum to heal tendons and ligaments, and Symphytum to mend bones.
You can also give 1 to 5 pills of Yunnan Pai Yao, twice daily for a week after surgery, to enhance healing and limit bleeding and bruising. Try Echinacea or Astralagus before surgery to build up the immune system.
Use Nux Vomica for nausea, retching & vomiting (especially after overeating).
Use Phosphorus for vomiting water or undigested food or vomiting after surgery.
Veratrum Album can be used for profuse vomiting made worse by drinking.
Or try adding a teaspoon of Chamomile flowers to a cup of boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes. You can also simmer afew slices of fresh Ginger root in water for 15 - 20 minutes. Add honey or molasses to sweeten it. Start with a dropperfull for small dogs. Large dogs may need up to 1/2 cup.
Nux Vomica is good for diarrhea after overeating. Use Pulsatilla for watery stool. Phosphorus can be used when your dog passes large amounts of stool and is then exhausted by it or has involuntary diarrhea.
If diarrhea is explosive and watery, try Veratrum Album. If the stool is dark, bloody and very stinky or is related to ingestion of toxins or decayed food, use Arsenicum. If he has diarrhea with straining, opt for Mercurius.
Slippery Elm is a nutritive herb that soothes and heals inflamed intestines. You can give 1 to 3 capsules twice a day (depending on size). You can mix it in a little bit of broth or make a tea or tincture with it.
These are just a few of the hundreds of herbs and homeopathic remedies that are out there to help your pet heal and recover - naturally.
As with anything, be cautious and careful and do your research. Never give your pet anything you wouldn't take yourself, and always start out with small doses and low strengths.