AT HOME REMEDIES FOR 10 COMMON CANINE MALADIES
Professional veterinary care is absolutely necessary for the health and wellbeing of our Greyhounds, but sometimes for the occasional minor dog illness symptoms, it may be possible to treat our dogs at home using natural home remedies.
How to decide on home treatment or a trip to the vet? There are a few simple questions to ask yourself while you assess the situation.
First, has the problem been going on for more than 72 hours? Long standing issues may need medical intervention.
Has the problem gotten worse in the past day or so? When problems get worse or home remedies fail, it is time to get to the vet. If your dog is having difficulty breathing (panting, blue tongue or lips) you absolutely need to see your vet ASAP—respiratory distress is a serious medical condition that dogs can die from.
Lastly, does your dog have a fever? Checking your dog’s temperature can be a really easy way to gauge health. You don’t have to do a rectal temp (although it is the most accurate); you can instead use a thermometer under the arm (in the dog’s armpit). Armpit temperature for a dog is normally between 36 - 38˚C (97 – 100° F).
Once your triage is done and you have decided that a trip to the vet is not necessary, you can start on a home treatment plan for your dog. Below are some of the most effective home remedies for dogs that owners should keep in mind, listed under each potential dog health problem.
Dog-appeasing Essential Oil Diffuser: also known as D.A.P. Studies have found these pheromones to be one of the most effective for calming dogs and their anxiety. Available in pet stores and online.
Herbs: there are quite a few herbs that can be used to help minimize or diminish a dog’s anxiety, including chamomile, valerian, and St. John’s Wort, and a lot more.
DIY Chamomile Tea: To make a strong chamomile tea for use at home, brew three to four tea bags per cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 -15 minutes and then let it cool. Strain the tea to remove any impurities. Any leftover tea can be kept in the fridge for a day or so, but should be discarded if a cloth or anything else has been dipped in it that could have introduced bacteria.
Lavender Infused Collar: lavender is known to calm both people and dogs, and this type of collar can be purchased online or you can make it at home using lavender essential oil.
Rescue Remedy: a very popular and effective commercial product that contains a blend of flower extracts, which you can purchase online or at health food stores.
Note: Only use one of these remedies at a time. Using more than one and given together, they can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration in dogs.
Coconut Oil or Olive Oil: natural fruit or vegetable, added to your dog's food or water, can act as a lubricant to soften your dog’s stool. Remember to never administer oils directly into the dog’s mouth, as they can be inhaled this way, and can cause pneumonia if inhaled.
Exercise: being sedentary can cause constipation in dogs and can be remedied by simply taking the dog on a long walk and/or playing fetch with them for at least 15-30 minutes, twice each day.
Ginger and Broth: commonly used to relieve indigestion, mix 1/4 teaspoon of ginger into a half cup of chicken or beef broth, and feed it to dogs suffering from constipation.
Green Beans: add cooked green beans, which are rich in fiber, into your dog's kibble or homemade meal to help speed up bowel movements.
Milk of Magnesia: this is only for very severe cases of dog constipation, where milk of magnesia can be given to dogs. Mix one tablespoon into dog’s food, or mix into pumpkin and add the combination to the food. Always check with your vet before giving OTC medications to your dog.
In older animals, digestion can get a bit bumpy. If your hound is more mellow than usual, seems to be straining, and makes frequent toilet attempts, constipation may be the problem. Adding one to four tablespoons of canned pumpkin to food could get things started again.
Remember that these remedies should only be used when the dog does not show any other signs of illnesses. Also, if these remedies do not bring about relief in 48 hours, you should bring your constipated dog to the vet for a check-up to find out the underlying cause.
First, stop the use of solid food entirely for the first 24 hours. A liquid fast will give the intestinal tract a chance to rest and do its job of flushing things out. Make sure plenty of fresh water is available at all times and encourage drinking.
A danger of excessive diarrhea is not only dehydration but depletion of sodium and potassium. Unflavored Pedialyte can help to replenish nutrients and electrolytes. If you prefer DIY, you can provide these in the form of a broth made of vegetables, rice, and some meat or a bone. You may also add a small amount of naturally brewed soy sauce to enhance flavor and provide easily assimilated amino acids and sodium. Use just the liquid part of the soup, serving it at room temperature several times a day during the fast period.
Activated Charcoal: found in powder form or tablet form, four tablets can be dissolved in lukewarm water and given to your dog by mouth, via a syringe, up to three times a day until a dog stops having diarrhea. This helps to absorb any toxins in the digestive system and clean out bacteria and/or viruses causing the diarrhea.
Bland Foods: including boiled or baked potatoes, cooked white rice, plain protein such as eggs, boiled chicken or turkey (no skin), and plain chicken broth with no added seasoning.
If your pet’s eyes seem irritated or infected, a warm chamomile tea bag can be used to soothe them. Or make a chamomile tea (see above), let it cool then strain it through a coffee filter or layered cheesecloth. Or mix the tea with a saline solution, soak a clean cloth in the mixture and apply to the eye as a compress.
Goldenseal has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as an eyewash for dogs with eye irritations. Combining the soothing properties of chamomile with goldenseal increases the benefits. Mix the chamomile tea with plain saline solution (three parts saline to one part tea) and then add three to four drops of goldenseal tincture. Use this mixture to rinse inflamed eyes.
Many people report feeding dog food containing corn causes gas in their dogs. Removing corn from the canine diet for 1-2 weeks will tell you if your dog is sensitive to corn. Other possible candidates for an elimination diet are grains and legumes. Only eliminate one thing at a time however, so you will know which item is the culprit.
If you can’t eliminate the cause of the gas, one of these ideas may help:
Enzymes: add foods to a dog’s diet that are known to have specialized proteins called enzymes (such as papaya, melon, raw honey, bee pollen, and coconut water) which help break down the food a dog eats into smaller, easier to digest pieces. Alternatively, purchase a high-quality enzyme formula dietary supplement that can be added to a dog’s food.
Ginger: scientific research has revealed that ginger helps to stimulate and promotes a healthy digestive process in dogs. Amounts of ginger that a dog should be given are based on their weight, but ¼ teaspoon added to their food is appropriate for a medium size dog.
Parsley: add 2 to 3 tablespoons of freshly chopped or dried parsley to your dog’s food to help reduce odor in their digestive system, resulting in less smelly gas.
Peppermint Oil: add one to two drops of peppermint oil to a dog’s water or food to help reduce the amount of gas a dog has.
Yogurt: this food, that most dogs love to eat, is one of the easiest ways to get good bacteria into a dog’s digestive system, which will in turn benefit proper digestion and lead to the dog having less gas. Some dogs do not tolerate dairy, however, so for these dogs you will want to get a good probiotic instead.
Ginger: in addition to being good for digestion, is often used for its stomach soothing properties. If your dog has a mild case of motion sickness, ginger may be just the thing to help him enjoy car rides again. It can be made into a tea and given before a trip (just a tablespoon or so at a time) or, more easily, it can be baked into a dog treat. Try adding a tablespoon of ground ginger to your favorite dog treat recipe and giving a couple of treats about 30 minutes before your next car ride.
Turmeric: science has shown that turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which can treat pain in dogs. Turmeric contains curcumin, a proven anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. This makes it perfect for dogs with painful inflammatory conditions.
A 2012 paper showed that curcumin provides pain relief for dogs with osteoarthritis. The paper concluded that it’s a useful complementary treatment, which means it’s a great addition to your dog’s diet. You can bake your dog some turmeric-rich dog treats or buy curcumin supplements. If you’re giving your dog turmeric directly, add some black pepper and healthy fat like coconut oil to help them absorb it properly.
Oil: If your dog is struggling with joint pain, certain fatty oils can help with joint pain. These oils are also excellent for your dog’s coat, skin, and overall health. Both fish oil and coconut oil have a range of benefits. Scientific research shows that these oils, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can reduce pain associated with arthritis and joint disease in dogs, as well as reduce inflammation. Add some fish oil or coconut oil to your dog’s food, or buy them treats that include healthy oils. Alternatively, you can make your own dog treats enriched with oil.
Epsom Salt: for sprains and strains, to try the world famous granny remedy of an Epsom salt soak. Add half a cup of Espom salt to a warm bath and let your dog soak for five minutes, twice daily. If your dog doesn’t agree with you on this method, you can soak a washcloth in Epsom salt and warm water and apply to the local area.
When your dog has a sore paw due to a scrape, cut, or tear in the paw pad, you need to clean the wound by flushing it with water or an antiseptic wash. While doing this, look for obvious debris such as rocks or glass. Remove it by flushing it with water or pulling it out with tweezers, acting as gently as possible and assuming that the paw is tender. Do not attempt to take out anything deeply lodged into the wound and instead take the dog to the veterinarian to have it removed.
Next, control the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean towel. Most cuts will stop bleeding after only a couple of minutes, but deep wounds can take longer. If the wound continues to bleed past 10 minutes, it’s time for a trip to the vet. For small or minor cuts, you can dab on a small amount of styptic powder. You can even get styptic with pain relief in a tube (handy for hiking).
To bandage a cut paw, apply a pet-safe antibiotic ointment to several nonstick gauze pads and place them on the wound, using multiple pads to provide a cushion and to absorb blood. Wrap up the paw all the way to the ankle with vet wrap. Apply the bandage at about 50% stretch, making sure the bandage is secure but not too tight — you should be able to slide two fingers between the bandage and the leg.
To care for the paw while it heals, rebandage the wound every day, cleaning it and applying antibiotic ointment every time. Keep the bandage dry and apply a commercial bootie or a plastic bag and some tape whenever your dog goes outside. Keep your dog from overexerting himself while he heals and stop him from chewing on the bandage, which may require using an anti-chewing spray or a cone. You can also use Power Paws dog socks like these https://bit.ly/Power-Paws
If you notice the wound has become swollen, is warm to the touch, smells bad, or has some kind of moist discharge, take your dog to the vet, as it may be infected.
Dogs can get blisters and burns due to walking on a hot surface such as scorching pavement or sand. To care for a dog paw pad blister or a burn, the first step is to gently wash the paw with an anti-bacterial wash. Apply antibiotic ointment and loosely bandage the paw, securing it up to the ankle to keep it in place. Change the bandage daily until it has healed.
Chamomile tea (see above): rinse the irritated area with the cooled tea or apply using a cloth.
Aloe Vera: has been used topically for hundreds of years to treat skin allergies, dermatitis, burns, and other minor skin irritations. It is a very safe herb to use externally on your dog, just be sure to prevent your dog from licking the topical application—ingested it can result in strong laxative effects! You may need to put a t-shirt or cone on your dog to prevent your dog from licking the area.
The best, most reliable source of aloe is a plant that you buy and grow in your home. Aloe is hardy and manages well indoors in northern climates and outside in more temperate climates. To use aloe, first clean the affected skin with mild soap and lots of water. Dry the area well and apply a liberal spread of aloe over the affected area. Continue with a twice-daily application of aloe until the area has healed. Discontinue use if the wound gets worse or swelling and/or redness occur.
Chamomile soothes the stomach by decreasing muscle spasms and cramps. It also decreases inflammation of mucous membranes, so it decreases inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining. Chamomile tea can be added to dog food or your dog's water bowl. Give one tablespoon of the cooled tea for a medium-sized dog.
Herbs: such as fennel, ginger, and slippery elm have soothing effects on dog's upset stomachs and can all be given safely to canines. You can find these herbs online, or at most natural food and homeopathic health stores. As noted above, ground ginger can be added to your dog’s food or to dog treats you make yourself.
Many home remedies for minor canine ailments can be found in your pantry or garden and offer an effective, natural way to address minor ills in a timely fashion. Treating a problem when it starts can be much easier than waiting for it to become a major problem and then seeking veterinary care. And some of the preventive solutions, like parsley for bad breath or an oatmeal bath for itchy skin, offer an easy way to keep your dog healthy. Of course, it’s best to consult your vet if your dog’s symptoms change dramatically or if a condition persists or worsens. Always speak to your vet before giving your dog pain medication or supplements of any kind. This will help you avoid any potential side effects.
Consider talking to your vet about these suggestions at your dog’s next checkup. Then you will be prepared in case something happens. Hopefully, with these home remedies for dog, your fur-baby will get some relief and be back to normal again soon.
This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
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