Most of us have home remedies which we like to use for ourselves.
Chicken soup when we’re sick.
Lavender oil for a headache.
A cucumber eye mask to help combat tired, puffy eyes.
However when it comes to our four-legged friends, we have to be careful, because some of the remedies we use for ourselves may not be so good for Fido.
Today we’ll take a look at some home remedies which can be used for our pups, and when to use them versus when to seek out veterinary treatments for your dog’s ailments.
Keep reading to learn what you can treat at home, and when to call the vet.
When Should You See Your Vet?
For certain minor things such as dry skin, or minor wounds, you are probably OK to give your dog a home remedy – though you should also make sure to bring it up at your next vet appointment.
However if your dog seems to be feeling under the weather or is acting strangely your best bet is to call your vet, because minor symptoms can often be indicators of a more serious condition.
You never want to risk an at home remedy making things worse, or your dog getting sicker because you’ve delayed a vet visit, so when in doubt, make an appointment.
What can you use to treat your dog safely at home? Keep reading to find out.
You’ve heard about the benefits of yogurt for humans – a great source of protein, calcium and of course those probiotics which are important for gut health.
Well, plain yogurt can have similar effects for your four-legged friends.
The live cultures in yogurt can help keep the balance in your dog’s intestines, however it still may not be the best option.
A better option is to look for probiotic supplements meant for canines specifically, but in a pinch, a bit of yogurt will work.
Make sure to choose plain, unsweetened, full-fat yogurt though, as some yogurts are sweetened with xylitol which can lead to a massive insulin spike and liver damage.
2. Chamomile Tea
I have fond memories from childhood of sharing a cup of chamomile tea with my father in the evening, to help calm me down before bedtime.
But it can also help decrease muscle spasms and cramps for your dog.
Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties, and can decrease inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
This tea can also be used topically to soothe raw skin – make a strong brew, let it cool in the fridge and use a spray bottle to apply.
3. Epsom Salts
An Epsom salt bath may be something us humans enjoy after a particularly strenuous workout, however they can also be used to help clean wounds.
An Epsom salt soak can help to drain abscesses, relieve pressure in wounds and promote healing for your pup.
Mix the salts with warm water, and apply for five to ten minutes a few times a day.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide, Dishwashing Liquid, Or Baking Soda
You may have heard if your dog gets skunked, you should give them a bath in tomato juice.
But not only is this a messy solution, who has that much tomato juice on hand?
An easier solution, using ingredients you are more likely to have on hand to remove the skunk smell is to use four cups of hydrogen peroxide, one-third baking soda and a small amount of dishwashing liquid.
Apply this mixture to your pets coat, allow it to soak in for about five minutes and rinse well.
5. Vitamin E Oil
When I walk through the drugstore, there is no shortage of creams and oils containing vitamin E which claim to make my skin more moisturized and youthful-looking.
However aside from the superficial benefits, vitamin E Oil can be beneficial – not just for humans, but for dogs too.
Vitamin E can oil can offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays, which is great if you are spending a lot of time outdoors with your dog.
It can also help with dry skin, warts, and calluses.
Plus, if your dog decides to lick it off, it’s safe for them (although probably not as effective on those dry spots).
6. Licorice Root
If you’re picturing bright-red, candy flavoured Twizzlers, think again.
Licorice root is a form of cortisone, which can be used as a treatment for itchy skin.
It can be found in most health food stores, and can be used orally to help treat skin irritation.
It should be noted that cortisone is a steroid, which means you should always speak to your vet before giving it to your pet, especially if they are on any other medications as well.
If you’re an athlete, you’ve probably heard of electrolyte replenishing drinks to rehydrate after an intense workout.
If you’re a parent, you may have used them to help your baby recover from illness.
However, if you have a dog who is experiencing diarrhea, drinks with electrolytes can help replenish electrolytes and fluids, especially if your dog’s appetite isn’t back to what it was.
Consult with your vet to determine the proper dosage for your dog.
If you’ve ever had chicken pox, or come into contact with poison ivy, you may have been told to bath in a mixture of oatmeal, as it contains chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory properties.
And this is another case where what works for us humans can also be beneficial for our four-legged friends as well.
If your dog is experiencing skin allergies, itchy skin, or superficial infections, a mixture of oatmeal, or even an oatmeal bath (if they’ll let you) can be soothing.
As a bonus, it’s non-toxic, and safe if they decide to try to eat the mixture.
Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital
As you can see, many minor ailments which your dog might encounter can be easily treated with things you probably already have around the house.
However if any of these symptoms persist, if your pup is acting weird, or if you are worried that something might be wrong which goes beyond the minor symptoms mentioned here, Bickford Park Animal Hospital is here to help.
Don’t hesitate to contact us and bring your dog in for a visit if you want a second opinion.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.