Pets are perhaps our most beloved family members. Naturally, we want them to live a healthy and happy life. Humans and pets both suffer from ailments from time to time yet the difference between the two is that, unlike humans, pets are not able to communicate when they have a problem. Sadly, the animal may have been struggling with a disease for a long time by the time symptoms start showing up. You have to observe your pet at all times to notice any changes in its behaviour so you can spot the issue early on and be able to do something about it.
Unfortunately, the range of pet ailments has increased over the years. This should come as no surprise, considering that pets are forced to adapt to our not-so-healthy lifestyles. There is a lot we can do for them just by reconnecting with the gifts nature has provided. Just like with humans, there’s a lot of debate around medications such as antibiotics and corticosteroid. For those who don’t feel comfortable using them or simply want to complement the treatment recommended by their vet, nature has provided many remedies we and our pets need to heal.
Herbal medicine has been around for 5,000 years as humans used herbs to treat and ease a variety of ailments.
Herbal remedies need to be administered carefully as they can become toxic when taken in exceeded doses. Luckily, animals respond quicker than us, so you should know within a week if it’s working. Here are the most common pet ailments and their corresponding at-home treatments. They can be used on cats and dogs.
Generally, it is a good idea to clean your cat’s and dog’s outside ear from time to time. This is especially important if they have long ears like Cocker or Cavalier Spaniels as they then get less oxygen and are more prone to infection. But you need to do it the right way as otherwise you risk damaging the ears.
If the discharge is brown and thick, and the ear is painful, warm up a bit of almond oil and add a drop of tea tree as an antiseptic . Gently massage the ear with this mixture to ease the pain. Also, you can warm Himalayan salt in a clean sock and put it on your pet to ease the pain. We recommend Himalayan salt over other types of salt due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.
If the ear problem persists, you need to consult your vet and get it tested to see if there is any bacteria or fungi. Ear problems can also be caused by food intolerance. You will know if this is the case after switching to hypoallergenic food for at least 6 weeks. Medical pet food is made in a specific way so that your pet’s digestive tract doesn’t detect any allergens or heavy proteins. This means that you cannot give your pet any other treats besides this food during the dieting period in order to see if the condition has improved. Ear problems caused by allergies can also be treated with aloe vera (juice or gel) or even green tea when they are ‘smelly’.
Eye ailments such as cataract are usually caused by another chronic illness such as diabetes and need to be treated by the vet. But eye injuries, however, like scratches can be treated with Euphrasia officinalis, also known as Eyewort. It can be used as a tincture and tea or externally as a compress.
As a pet owner you know that every pet is afraid of something or has had a traumatic event in their life. Dr. Bach’s Star of Bethlehem is great for the fear developed after the traumatic event has occurred. The dosage is two drops every two hours. You can add it to you pet’s water bowl or rub it on the paws or even spray it on your pet. It will noticeably relax your pet. These flower essences have a mild effect and do wonders for emotional upsets or fear. They are compatible with any other form of treatment. Also, you always want to keep on hand Dr. Bach’s Rescue mixture for any sort of distress, it will be a great aid even when going to the vet!
Impacted Anal Glands
This condition is often a consequence of toxicity and your pet’s organism is unable to deal with the waste on its own. Most pet owners go to the vet and have them squeezed out. This should be the last thing on your list as this damages your pet’s natural system for excreting waste.
So other than this technique, you also need to include vigorous exercise and add fiber to aid your pet’s ability to get rid of waste. The recipe is as follows: mix Epsom salt with boiling water and add a few drops of Calendula tincture. Place a warm compress and wait until the temperature is ok to handle and apply to your pet’s body. Try to keep the compress for at least 5 minutes to increase blood flow and soften the tissues. Repeat the procedure every few hours until your pet manages to hopefully empty the glands on its own. In acute cases, do it for 7 days.
Digestion Disturbances and Diarrhea
For serious upsets, use peppermint or goldenseal when the discharge is thick and yellowish. For diarrhea, use activated charcoal mixed with water and give it every 3-4 hours during a 24-hour period. Don’t give it over longer periods, as despite it being great at absorbing toxins, its long-term use could interfere with digestive enzymes. When diarrhea is followed by weakness, chilliness and thirst, add Arsenicum Album 6c, like the one that can be found at Holland & Barrett. It does wonders for stomach upsets in general.
Diseases Carried by Mosquitos and Fleas
If your pet is already infected, you’re in for a long treatment that needs to be administered by the vet. But before you get to this point, you can do a lot to prevent your pet from getting infected in the first place. Other than the spot-ons, you want to use Geranium oil (in a diluted form) and spray it over your pet, especially on dogs before you take them for their walk as it will repel insects. Also, you can use China 6c once per month as a preventive measure and to cleanse your pet of any parasites.
You should also use herbs to restore your pet’s gut flora and hygiene. Wormwood is good against intestinal parasites. Walnut is good for the liver. Garlic is very powerful against parasites. Cinnamon soothes the stomach and is good against worms. Thyme is good against hookworms and round worms, Quassia works for all worms in general. Cayenne increases blood flow and strengthens the impact of any herb that you decide to use, or you can use finished products that are a combination of the above. You can either make them yourself as a tea blend or buy them combined as a tonic for your pet. If your cat or dog doesn’t like the smell, just make sure you put the drops in a tasty treat that he or she otherwise does not get so often. For example, salami can be quite hypnotising!
Although complex and perhaps most difficult to treat, there’s a lot that you can do about behavioural problems. Toxic substances and heavy metals can irritate your pet’s nerve cells so you need to detoxify the organism; it is recommended to add Zinc and Vitamin C to your pet’s diet. You will know how many toxins your pet has been struggling with based on its discharge, if any. If the toxicity is high it can even lead to diarrhea. It is always a good idea to help your pet with prebiotics and probiotics to maintain the health of its intestinal flora.
Do not expose your pet to toxic chemicals, such as cleaning solutions and cigarette smoke as they irritate the entire nervous system. You can give Valerian Root to animals who are a bit irritable or even aggressive to see if it will soothe their temperament. Chamomile will work better for noisy animals.
As for Dr. Bach, chicory is the prescription for possessive animals who are very territorial, of their home, their owners, toys and food. Holly is good for aggressive or jealous ones. Impatiens for impatient and irritable pets, of course. Mimuls for scared ones, yet Rock Rose is even better in cases of panic attacks. You can use Star of Bethlehem whenever you believe that an emotional shock has triggered the problem.
Parsley tea does a great job at cleaning kidneys and urinary tract. Your pet won’t even notice if you put a few spoons inside its meal, it might even appreciate the new taste! In order to avoid making it every day, make a big batch and freeze it in ice-cubes. Cats are good with one dosage, so you can measure the dosage for dogs depending on their size. Magnesium helps to prevent the formation of stones. Parsley is a great source of vitamin C, which acidifies the urine and is a good tool for detoxification. Interestingly, the trigger for stone formation is cadmium and its most common source is cigarette smoke, so pet owners, you have one more reason to quit!
Mix activated charcoal with water and give to your pet every few hours. Also, give your pet Arsenicum Album 6c – one dosage should suffice. For the charcoal to work, give it 10x the poison but gradually as described. If your vet advises you, you can also induce vomiting with salt water and even a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.
Stings and bites
Place a cold compress on the sting or bite. You can use Arnica Montana for venomous bites of small insects as it prevents any septic processes from taking place. It is also good to have Ledum for any insect bites or puncture wounds. Parsley is good at neutralising the poison from bee stings.
Washing your pet’s teeth is a drag. But, unhealthy gums can lead to even worse problems. Use goldenseal and rub it onto your pet’s teeth two times a day, for 14 days straight. For inflamed gums, take a capsule of Vitamin E, pierce it and rub the liquid gel on them. Also, taking Silicea 30c once a day can greatly improve your pet’s dental hygiene within a month.
If you’ve ever tried to administer medicine by mouth to your pet, you know how tricky it can be! There are two techniques to do that. One way is to open the mouth lightly, keeping the lower jaw with your hand, by the skin, causing your pet to relax and not exercise its natural reflex to bite. Pour the liquid with a dropper and tilt its head back so it goes down. Another way is to make a pouch with the corner of the animal’s lower lip. Be gentle and kind, so the animal doesn’t have a reason to put up a struggle.
Natural treatment is complementary to traditional medicine
You shouldn’t miss regular visits to the vet and the necessary vaccines and treatments against parasites. To complement this, we also recommend getting a copy of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats if you wish to learn more about natural ways to maintain or restore your pet’s health. A holistic vet should let you know of all the options out there that you can use to help your pet feel better. Also, keep in mind that herbal medicines work great with naturopathy, manual therapies and even acupuncture.
Nature offers a whole arsenal of remedies to treat pet ailments and the best thing is that they are readily available at your local health store when you need them. Time to sort your pet out with their very own First Aid Natural Remedy kit!