If you’re looking for an alternative to expensive commercial drug company products for your pets then why not consider a herbal alternative? Herbal treatments are just as effective for animals as they are for humans. Animals in the wild seek out their own remedies from the resources in nature: you’ve probably seen a cat or dog eating grass to aid their digestion.
So, if you’re considering using a particular herbal treatment on your pet, think first if you’d be happy to use it on yourself. If the answer’s no then it’s probably not wise to use it on your pet either. But if it’s one of the well-known and respected treatments then, in most cases, you can use it on your pet too.
As with any home diagnosis and treatment, for anything more serious than a cut or scratch, we’d suggest an initial consultation with your vet before attempting to administer any herbal treatment yourself. Some vets will be able to offer you a homeopathic solution if that’s what you would prefer.
After washing thoroughly with cooled boiled water, apply a tincture or cream of Marigold (calendula officinalis). This is an excellent treatment for minor cuts and scratches. The plant has antiseptic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties and it promotes blood clotting so is particularly useful for wounds that are taking a long time to heal.
At the first sign of fleas on your dog bathe him using a peppermint lotion.
- Place 2 cups of fresh mint in a large pan.
- Add 4 cups of boiling water, stir and leave to steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain through muslin, squeezing as much juice as possible from the leaves.
- Add another 8 cups of warm water to the strained liquid.
- Soak your dog with the liquid rubbing it in thoroughly, and leave to dry.
- Repeat every 3 – 4 days until the fleas have gone.
Sore or dry patches of skin
Apply tea tree oil or aloe vera to the affected areas. Tea tree has an unpleasant bitter taste that should deter your animal from licking it off.
On a journey
Ginger is one of the best remedies for carsickness in humans and animals. Before setting off on a journey try giving your animal a spoonful of grated ginger – if she will eat it – or offer her a drink of ginger tea.
- Peel a chunk of root ginger and slice finely. You need to end up with about ¾ teaspoon of ginger. Put it in a cup and add boiling water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then strain and it’s ready to give to your animal.
Alternatively try ginger biscuits. Owners report that they go down much better!
There are many causes for anxiety in pets and if your pet is very disturbed you should, of course, consult a vet. For occasional stressful conditions you may want to try these remedies – on your self or your pet! A calm owner is more likely than a stressed one to succeed in calming a pet.
- Chamomile tea helps reduce stress by engendering a relaxed feeling. Give as a drink or soak a biscuit in it.
- Adding cooked oatmeal to your animal’s food can help calm nerves.
- St. John’s Wort is effective especially for separation anxiety but we would advise consulting a vet before choosing this option.
- Bach’s Rescue Remedy is a well-established herbal treatment. Just a tiny drop of the flower essence can soothe and relax tightly-strung nerves.
- For a shiny coat add a capsule of cod liver oil weekly to the animal’s food. Cod liver oil also helps maintain healthy joints.
- For a healthy immune system, add a capsule of garlic oil to your animal’s food once a week.