Is it time to take your fur baby to the doctor?
That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? When ol’ Hank has an upset tummy, or a skin irritation, or his poop just doesn’t look right, do you really need to shell out $60 for an office visit?
Of COURSE a visit to the vet should be your default decision if you’re ever in doubt about Hank’s health. But just like his human counterparts, Hank can suffer from minor, everyday ailments that really aren’t that serious.
For these, there are a number of household remedies that not only provide relief, but in some cases will clear up the problem altogether.
And even for more serious issues, like allergies, immune disorders, and kennel cough, natural home remedies will soothe many of his symptoms. (These would be used as a supplement to his medical care, of course.)
The number one rule of home remedies: make sure you KNOW it’s safe.
We’ve researched all the suggestions below and can assure you they’re safe for canine consumption. If you’re ever in doubt about a home remedy, do some research.
Check out the Organic Pet Digest — an information source for holistic dog health, with a veterinarian available for Q&A.
The Best Home Remedies for What Ails Your Pup
1. Water (duh) — for everything.
Water is paws-down the best thing you can give to a dog, inside and out. Hydration is essential for a healthy immune system. Water supports proper air circulation, digestion, and detoxification. (It’s also a great, chemical-free way to kill fleas — just drown ‘em!)
2. Plain yogurt — for digestion & parasitical infections.
Plain yogurt is rich in probiotics that help establish (or repair) a healthy bacterial balance in your dog’s gut. This helps with proper digestion, immune function, and the elimination of intestinal parasites. It’s also a good idea to feed your dog yogurt if he’s recently come off a bout of antibiotics.
3. Vitamin E — for healthy skin.
If your dog has a rash, hot spots, or irritated skin, Vitamin E will help soothe the skin, and encourage Hank’s natural ability to heal. Check with a specialist to determine the proper dosage for your pup.
4. Chamomile tea — for upset tummies (and angry skin).
Chamomile tea will help settle your dog’s upset stomach. He won’t drink it hot though, let it cool until it’s warm or lukewarm. Or, fill a spray bottle with the tea and apply directly to your dog’s hot spots or other skin irritations.
FYI, don’t ever give your dog caffeine. Be sure you only use tea with chamomile as the sole ingredient.
5. Coconut oil — for digestive health, skin, and shiny coats.
Coconut oil is a healthy source of saturated fat that can help reestablish bowel regularity. And it sure makes for a luxurious, shiny coat.
PS — it’s pretty darn good for humans, too, for the same reasons. Don’t you want a nice shiny coat? ;)
Check with your vet for the proper serving size. If she doesn’t know, do some research based on the size and breed of your bud.
6. Oatmeal — for constipation.
Oatmeal is gentle on the tummy and a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. If your dog hasn’t pooped in a while, oatmeal is a good way to get things moving.
7. Epsom salt — for irritated paws and nail beds.
This one might be easier said than done — a nice epsom salt foot soak for your dog. (One rule: if you try this, you MUST send us a picture.)
The salt is cleansing and helps draw out toxins and irritants. It’s rich in magnesium, which helps soothe inflammation.
If your dog has swelling in his paws or an abscessed nail bed, a few salt soaks should alleviate the problem, if not cure it altogether.
Ask your vet for instructions.
8. Lemon water — for fleas.
Fun fact: fleas don’t like lemon. Picky little buggers.
Lemon water won’t kill fleas, but if you’ve already treated your dog (and your house), spraying him with lemon water should help keep fleas away. You can find the recipe here.
But BE CAREFUL! Citrus is also toxic to dogs when ingested. Make sure Hank doesn’t drink any!!
9. Rice — for upset tummies.
If your dog has an upset stomach (and you can tell if he’s drooling a lot more than usual), you can feed him rice to settle things down. Bonus points if you have some chicken stock on hand.
10. Canned pumpkin — for the runs.
This seems to be the most well-known home remedy. Pumpkin is a rich source of fiber, but it also contains beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A, which aids in healthy digestion.
If your dog is constipated OR has diarrhea, mix some canned pumpkin into his food for a few feedings and see if it helps. Not too much, though — start with just 1-2 tablespoons a day, depending on his size. Be sure he gets plenty of fresh water, too.
At the end of the day, our canine counterparts are not so different from us. All kinds of random health issues can pop up unexpectedly.
And we’re not the ones rolling in dead squirrels or eating weird stuff!
Most of the time, minor irritations are just that — minor, and irritating, but not serious.
Did we miss any? Share your doggy home remedies in the comments below!