You’ve all heard the old addage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Maybe you eat garlic to kill a cold, or gargle salt water to heal a sore throat. We’ve all tried home remedies to cure a minor ailment. I think I may have tried them all! There are also home remedies available for us to help our pets. Here are some simple home remedies you can use to help your pet cope with minor ailments like for skin irritations, coat issues, and digestive upset in the comfort of your own home.
Caution: Use your best judgment, if your pet is bleeding, having difficulty walking, is lethargic, or has been vomiting/experiencing diarrhea for a prolonged period of time get your pet to the vet right away! These remedies are only intended for minor irritations.
Skin, Coat and Paw Remedies for Dogs
Sore muscles – You’ve just returned from a long day of hiking and your pet seems sore from all the romping, playing and jumping. Try soaking a hand towel in warm water with Epsom salts. Wrap your pet’s affected limbs or joints with the wet towel and watch the aches melt away. You can also put them in a warm bath with added Epsom salts, but do not let your pet drink the water. The towel method may be easier and safer if your pets, like mine, do not particularly enjoy soaking in the tub.
Dry, Flaky Skin – Many of our pets can suffer from dry and flaky skin, especially in the winter. Try adding Salmon oil or Vitamin E (ask your vet for appropriate dosage) to your pet’s food to add essential oils back into the skin and coat. For problem areas, like elbows or pads that are dry and cracking, break open a Vitamin E capsule and rub the oil over the problem areas for extra moisture.
Itchy or Irritated Skin – Some pets suffer from allergies. If your pet is keeping you up at night with incessant scratching, try giving them an oatmeal bath to sooth irritated skin. Use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind 1 cup of oatmeal into a fine powder. Stir the powder into a warm bath and let your pet soak for 10-15 minutes, or as long as they will tolerate it. Rinse the oatmeal off of your pet and pat them dry. If allergies tend to be a recurring problem, it might be time to see your vet and discuss other solutions.
Bug Bites – If your pet was stung or bitten by a bee or other insect, try applying a baking soda paste to the bite to soothe some of the discomfort. Using witch hazel in place of water makes the paste additionally effective.
Citrus Flea Spray – If you don’t currently have a flea problem in your house try keeping it that way naturally, with homemade citrus spray. To make a citrus spray, bring a pot of water with lemons (halved) to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and cover the mixture overnight. The next morning you can strain and bottle your citrus juice into a spray bottle and spritz your home and pets to keep the fleas away. Cats have a natural aversion to citrus, so this may be best used in a home without felines.
Sore foot pads – Walking on hot pavement, icy or snowy sidewalks, or over rough terrain can wreak havoc on your pet’s foot pads. You can make foot pad balm at home to soothe sore feet. Melt equal parts of beeswax and olive oil in a double boiler until melted, then whip with a hand mixer until fluffy. Rub a small amount onto your pet’s foot pads after your walk and store the balm in an airtight container.
Cornstarch for Broken Toenails – You can prevent most broken toenails by trimming your pets nails regularly, but if one of your pet’s toenails does tear or break, you can dip the bleeding tip in cornstarch to stop minor bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t cease, you should contact your vet.
Home Remedies for Digestion and Stomach Upset in Dogs
Canned pumpkin – Add a teaspoon or two of canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) into your dog’s food to aid in digestion. This remedy works well for both constipation and to firm up loose stool because it acts as a stabilizer.
Plain yogurt with live cultures – Feeding a small amount of plain non-fat yogurt with a meal can help to add beneficial bacteria to your dog’s digestive tract. A teaspoon a day should do the trick to restore balance and to reduce flatulence. It is particularly effective after your dog has been on antibiotics and is sometimes used to prevent yeast infections; it’s also a source of supplemental calcium. Watch your pet carefully if they’ve never had dairy before. Some dogs are lactose intolerant. If they exhibit any signs of discomfort or loose stools, discontinue its use and contact your vet if conditions do not improve.