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Jackie is a dog trainer and animal rescue advocate that is passionate about working with the difficult cases. She shares her life with her rescued street dog Django and her rescued ball python, Pip. Follow their adventures on their blog!

Despite our best efforts, there’s a high likelihood that your dog will get sick at some point in its life. When they do, we want to give them the best chance at fighting sickness by treating them with natural remedies that we can feel confident are safe for them. By incorporating these natural remedies for the most common dog illness’ you can rest assured that your dog will not only feel better, but will be safe as well. 

How You Can ‘Go Natural’ to Heal You Dogs Ailments

Diarrhea

A dog can get diarrhea for a multitude of reasons. For the most part, diarrhea is the body’s way of naturally removing unwanted pathogens or toxins. In many situations, it’s a case of the dog eating something that doesn’t sit properly with its stomach, but on occasion, diarrhea can be a sign of a secondary medical problem, like parasites.

The first step in curing your dog’s diarrhea naturally is fasting. Many dogs will do this on their own when they are experiencing diarrhea, but if your dog does not then fast your dog for 12-24 hours before feeding the next meal. Make sure that during this time your dog always has access to water.

After your dog has fasted, start feeding pumpkin and chicken broth for 24-48 hours. Make sure that you are not feeding them “pumpkin puree” because it is high in sugar and will upset your dog’s stomach. Natural pumpkin, whether fresh or from a can, is your best bet.

If your dog’s diarrhea continues for more than 48 hours you should go to see a veterinarian.

Dry/Itchy Skin

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Colloidal oatmeal has been used for centuries as a soothing agent to relieve itch and irritation, and it works just as well for your dog as it does for you. If your dog is constantly itching and scratching you can incorporate this oatmeal soak into your dog’s weekly bath schedule to help relieve the itch. The phenols in oatmeal give it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it will also help to cleanse and moisturize your dog’s skin [2].

To use oatmeal in a bath, cook the oats in boiling water. If the package instructs you to use butter, don’t add it in. When it’s finished cooking, place the oats in a sock, cheesecloth or nylon stocking. The gooey part of the oatmeal contains the active ingredients, so don’t discard any of the liquid left in the pot. Fill your bathtub full of lukewarm water, and place the sock into the tub. Soak your dog in the tub for 10 minutes, using the oatmeal sock as a sponge to work the oatmeal into your dog’s skin. Rinse the excess oatmeal residue off of your dog’s skin and towel dry[3]. 

Allergies

Allergies in dogs can show themselves in many different ways, from vomiting to ear infections. One of the common signs of an allergy is itchy skin. If your dog is itching and scratching constantly, go to the vet to eliminate any secondary medical problems, and to discover if you can identify the allergen. If you’re lucky, it’s something that you can simply avoid, like changing your dog’s food. Some dogs are not so lucky, and they’re allergic to pollen in the air. For those cases, administer a simple chamomile soak to relieve some of the itching.

Chamomile has long been used to relieve itching because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s effective because the chamomile flavonoids penetrate below the skin’s surface into the deeper skin layers, which offers sustainable relief for the itchy patient. Not only that, but the same flavonoids have been known to calm anxiety, so it may be able to help your dog remain calm during allergy season[4].

Chamomile Tea Soak

Ingredients:

3-4 chamomile tea bags

1 cup of boiling water

Instructions:

  1. Boil the water
  2. Place the tea bags into the boiling water and let steep for 10-15 minutes
  3. Strain the tea bags to remove any impurities
  4. Allow the tea to cool
  5. Using a cold cloth, apply the tea mixture to your dog’s skin

*Leftover tea can be kept in the fridge for one day but should be discarded if a cloth or anything else that could have bacteria has been dipped into it[3].

Ear Infection

Ear infections are perhaps one of the most common ailments that dog’s experience today, and they can be one of the most frustrating because they seem to come back again and again. They are caused by a buildup of bacteria, yeast, or fungus, and can sometimes be a sign of a greater issue, like allergies [5].

If your dog is shaking their head constantly, scratching or pawing at the ear, or if an odor or discharge is emitting from the ear, he or she may have an ear infection and you will have to treat it before it gets worse.

Homeopathic veterinarian Dr. Michael Dym has come up with a fantastic way to clean your dog’s ear and get rid of a nasty ear infection with this natural remedy[6]. The ingredients listed here can be found at a health food store.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 drop oil of oregano
  • ½ ounce pure aloe vera oil juice
  • Cotton ball

Instructions:

  1. Combine the oil of oregano and aloe vera juice
  2. Drop a small amount of the mixture into your dog’s ear
  3. Using your fingers, gently massage the base of the ear to ensure that the mixture is spreading
  4. Using the cotton ball, swab the ear flap and remove any discharge

*When cleaning out your dog’s ear, do not use cotton swabs inside of the ear canal. This can jam earwax into the ear canal, spreading the infection.

Repeat this process twice a day, morning and evening, until the infection has diminished. If your dog continues to scratch, and the infection doesn’t seem to be improving, take your dog to the vet to receive a thorough cleaning and further medication if needed. The longer that the infection is left, the harder it is to cure, so be sure to clean the ear thoroughly and note any changes that occur.

If your dog seems to be constantly getting ear infections it may be a sign of a further medical condition, at which point you should talk to a veterinarian to deduce the reason for the ear infections.

If you’d like a visual guide to cleaning your dog’s ears, take a look at this video:

Irritated Eyes

As cute as it can be, when your dog sticks his head out of the window it increases the risk of dust and debris getting into the eyes. Even something as simple as walking on the street with construction close by can cause irritation to the eyes. On occasion, you’ll need to clean your dog’s eyes, and because they’re so sensitive it’s important to use natural ingredients to remain as gentle as possible.

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You can use the chamomile tea recipe listed above, but instead of applying it to the skin, add goldenseal to it and use it to wash out your dog’s eyes.

Natural Eye Wash Remedy

Goldenseal has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as an eyewash for dogs with mild conjunctivitis[3]. Combining goldenseal with chamomile only increases the healing properties.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chamomile tea bags
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups saline solution
  • 4 drop goldenseal tincture

Instructions:

  1. Boil the water
  2. Place the tea bags into the boiling water and let steep for 10-15 minutes
  3. Strain the tea bags to remove any impurities
  4. Allow the tea to cool
  5. Mix in saline solution and goldenseal to the tea
  6. Pour mixture over the dog’s eyes to relieve inflammation[3]

Our dogs are like our children. We want to kiss their boo-boo’s and help them to feel better. And, just like with our children, we want them to have the best treatment possible to make sure that they’re getting better and remain safe in the process. One of the great things about making your own remedies is that you know exactly what’s going into it, so you can rest assured that no unknown chemicals are being snuck into the ingredients list. By making your own natural remedies you’re taking control of your pet’s health, so that you can enjoy all of the good days, and minimize the number of bad ones.

SOURCES:

[2] Kurtz ES, Wallo W. (2007, Feb.). Colloidal Oatmeal: History, Chemistry and Clinical Properties. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17373175

[3] Elizabeth Pask, Laura Scott. Home Remedies for Common Ailments. Retrieved from https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/home-remedies-common-ailments/52829

[4] Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, Sanjay Gupta. (2010, Nov. 1). Chamomile: A Herbal Medicine of the Past with Bright Future. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

[5] AKC Staff. (2015, Nov. 23). Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/dog-ear-infections/

[6] Dana Scott. Our Top 5 Natural Remedies for Dog Ear Infections. Retrieved from http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/5-home-remedies-for-dog-ear-infections/  

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Jackie Todd
Dog Trainer and Animal Rescue Advocate
Jackie is a dog trainer and animal rescue advocate that is passionate about working with the “difficult cases”.
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