I love my dogs; they are a huge part of my life and a big part of my paycheck! Caring for your pet can be expensive and, with growing concerns over toxins and pollutants, I often find myself turning to home remedies. Recently, I reached out to a panel of pet experts to see what their favorite home remedies were and they had some great ideas! Here are some of our favorite remedies — and we recommend you DO try this at home!
Pati Lara of Pati’s PetCorner blog; Wendy Diamond, editor at Animal Fair Magazine (and animal advocate); Sarah Wilson, the dog expert author of “Dogology”; Dr. Anna Coffin of “Ask Dr. Anna”; and Karen Schaver, Director of Lake County Animal Services all generously consented to share their favorites tips and tricks for 8 inexpensive items found in your pantry, refrigerator, and garden that can be used for some common ailments:
Epsom Salt, the stuff you put in your bathtub for your aches and pains is also of great value to your dogs. Dr. Anna Coffin recommends to her patients that they use it for wound care, especially broken nails and swollen feet. She recommends a soak twice daily for about 5 minutes each time to reduce swelling and increase healing.
Wendy Diamond uses 3 cups of Epsom Salt dissolved in two inches of warm water for her dog’s itchy paws. She has her dog stand in it for 5-10 minutes and then pats the paws dry.
Karen Schaver uses Epsom Salt and warm water to make compresses to apply to minor wounds that cannot be soaked. It helps heal the wound and draw out the infection.
Oatmeal. That breakfast food that helps keep your cholesterol down also has medicinal use. Who knew? Pati Lara uses baby shampoo with oatmeal (like Aveeno) to help clear the flaky skin on her Chihuahua. She bathes her little one once a week until the skin clears and then she uses it once every two weeks. Dr. Anna Coffin prescribes warm baths with finely ground oatmeal for immediate relief from itchy skin caused by allergies, skin infections, and other skin diseases.
Yogurt.This yummy people food helps our four legged kids, too. Wendy Diamond feeds her furry kids plain yogurt as a treat. They think they are loved (yes, they are) and they are also getting help to keep their intestinal tract balanced with good bacteria.She has found that it helps to also keep yeast infections at bay.
Baked sweet potatoes, and canned pumpkin are all good for digestive and stomach issues. (Remember the ones shoved in the back of your pantry waiting for the Fall baking?) Karen Schaver uses canned pumpkin to supplement the food of her overweight dogs. She mixes their daily food with pumpkin to help the dog feel full with fewer calories in order to help lose those extra and unhealthy pounds.
Sarah Wilson mixes plain baked sweet potatoes with her dogs’ food when they have an upset tummy, often a product of stress or a sudden food changes. She substitutes 25% to 33% of the food with the sweet potatoes for a couple of days, or until the tummy issues subside.
Diatomaceous earth, salt, and boraxkill FLEAS and are all non-toxic! Dr. Anna Coffin recommends using at least one of these products as a part of your flea eradication program, focusing especially on the areas where your pet sleeps. These products cause the flea larvae and eggs to dehydrate and die. She does warn that this is not a substitute for treating adult fleas on your pets.
Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for wound care anymore because it can cause tissue damage and infection, but you will be surprised by this tip: Karen Schaver finds that when rescue dogs eat something they aren’t supposed to (like chocolate, or a small critter from the yard) that she can quickly and effectively induce vomiting with 1 cc of hydrogen peroxide given by syringe to the back of their throat. She cautions you to make sure that you are not inducing the dog to vomit up a corrosive or something similar that will cause more damage coming back up. I told you you would be surprised by this one!
Baby oil. It’s not just for babies and removing eye makeup. Pati Lara likes to take a cotton ball soaked in baby oil and use it to clean the crusty build up and gooky gunk from around her dog’s eyes. She recommends that you hold the cotton ball over the eye for about 30 seconds and then gently wipe the eye off. She also finds this method helpful for cleaning the outside of the ears and moisturizing her dog’s paws after a bath.
Raw beef soup bones. Ok, you can make soup from bones, but it just isn’t as much fun as using them in this way: Once per week, Karen Schaver gives her dogs raw soup bones as a special treat. In the summer she tosses them in the freezer for a doggie popsicle! Her rescue dogs have a ball chewing the bones bare while the sinew flosses their teeth and chewing on the bone cleans their teeth.
Keep in mind Dr. Anna Coffin’s best piece of advice too: “Consult your veterinarian before treating your pet for any condition” because even the best advice cannot replace the care and knowledge of my own veterinarian.
What’s your favorite home remedy? Tweet is to us @fetchpetcare, or leave us a message in the comments below…
(Resources: Dr. Anna Coffin at ACoffin@aol.com; Pati Lara at http://patispetcorner.weebly.com; Wendy Diamond at http://animalfair.com; Sarah Wilson at http://sarahwilsondogexpert.com; and Karen Schaver at http://LakeCountyAnimalServices.org).