14. Herbal Remedies for Pets - Why Make the Switch?
Switching from manufactured foods and medicines to herbal remedies has become an increasingly popular trend for dog owners.
While many hesitate to make their own natural concoctions for various reasons, those who have made the transition generally find great success.
While there certainly are risks involved, there are also risks that are taken each time a dog owner exposes his pet to a manufactured product.
In recent years, herbal medicines have become more popular with dog owners due to the increasing cost of veterinarian care. Checkups and visits for common pet problems have become such a financial burden that some have turned to herbs as a more economic alternative.
Also becoming more popular are natural food regimens for dogs. This is likely due to the frequent recalls and production complications that have become synonymous with manufactured pet foods.
Cautions Against Misuse of Herbal Remedies and Natural Dog Food
While most herbs are quite healthy for dogs, there are a few drawbacks involved. Administering a natural product requires measuring, a diagnosis, and a bit of estimation.
Avoid harming your pet in any way by asking a vet to diagnose any serious problems before attempting to treat them. Risks and problems associated with herbal remedies include:
- misdiagnosis of an illness by owner
- allergic reactions
- most herbal remedies are slower to work than chemical-based medicines
While natural dog foods are quite healthy, serving a dog foods that are generally served to humans can become risky. There are quite a number of foods that are wonderful for humans, yet poisonous to dogs. Some of these include:
- fruit pits and seeds
- various nuts
Common Illnesses Easily Treated With Herbs
For the dog owner who is just beginning to dabble with herbal remedies, starting with some of the most common treatments is best. There are a few key points to keep in mind, however, to ensure that treatments will be effective.
Before administering any herbal remedies, consider the following:
- Dosage amounts will vary according to the size of your dog. One teaspoon is the usual amount given.
- One dose is not sufficient. Two weeks of careful treatment are usually necessary.
- Overexposure to any herbal remedy will cause an immunity to form, making the medicine useless.
- Herbs must always be purchased a grocery store or a natural foods store.
- Never attempt to identify an herb in the wild and serve it to your pet. Mistakes can be deadly.
- If your pet develops a rash, fever, or any other sudden symptoms in appearance or behavior, call a vet immediately. He may be experiencing an allergic reaction.
The most common canine illnesses and conditions treated by herbs include flea infestations, cuts and burns, upset stomach, and anxiousness. Treatments for these conditions are as follows:
Fleas: Mix one teaspoon of Brewer's yeast with dog food daily until infestation is gone. In the meantime, remove fleas with a flea comb and kill in warm, soapy water.
Cuts and burns: Split the center of an aloe leaf and apply the gel inside directly from the leaf to the affected area. Severe burns and puncture wounds, however, always require immediate attention from a vet to prevent complications associated with infections.
Upset stomach (diarrhea, vomiting, dry heaving, etc.): While these may be signs and symptoms of more serious conditions, an owner may treat them at home if he/she is aware of the cause. Administer small amounts of slippery elm bark for treatment as necessary. A change in diet may be necessary as well.
Anxiousness: Dogs suffering from anxiousness may be calmed with the same herbal treatments that humans use for relaxation. Simply being exposed to strong scents of chamomile and lavender can work wonders.
Raw food diets that accommodate a dog's natural feeding needs can be very nutritious. They often provide dogs with an increased energy level when compared to manufactured foods, as well as better nutritional benefits.
While these diets do take quite a bit more time and preparation than it takes to simple pour food from a bag, most will agree that the benefits greatly outweigh the down sides.
To make a delicious natural meal for your pet, place a mixture of raw meat, carrots, broccoli, and apples into a blender and combine for several second until well mixed. Stop the blender well before the mixture loses its rough texture.
Chunks of the vegetables and fruits should be small enough to be easily swallowed by your dog, yet the mixture itself should never be in a liquid or overly processed form. For convenience, you can store small meals in air tight storage containers for several days for later use.
Consult your veterinarian about obtaining a comprehensive list of foods that are harmful to dogs.
Other Herbal Uses for Dogs
Herbal remedies can go a long way in the treatment of canine ailments. Ginger root can be used to calm an upset stomach. Tea tree oil can be used to heal dry, itchy rashes. Different oils can be applied to a dog's food to increase the coat's shine. The list goes on and on.
If you have a specific need that is not listed in this article, consult a veterinarian who specializes in herbal remedies for dogs. It is also best to consult a professional before treating your dog in any way, as this constitutes medical treatment and must be taken as seriously as traditional chemical treatments.
Dog owners can rest easy, however, knowing that their pets are not being subjected to the harsh chemicals and recall issues that are associated with manufactured products when they switch to herbal remedies and natural foods for their pets.