Anyone who loves animals as much as I do wants to care for their furry friends with the same dedication to wholistic principles as applied to one’s self. In many instances, similar remedies or supplements are indicated for minor health problems that arise whether human or animal.
One difference is readily observable, however, we seldom say an animal “got well because it believed in the remedy” (the so-called placebo effect) so sometimes helping a pet get over an illness using herbal or homeopathic remedies can demonstrate how powerful these subtle healers are and seeing is “believing”.
I have always used a homemade pet’s vitamin mix for all our dogs and cats with good results and we keep a simple natural remedy “medicine chest” assembled for those minor emergencies pets need. The ingredients for both the vitamin supplement and the “medicine chest” are easy to find and not costly – and you’ll use many of them yourself.
Natural vitamins for dogs
The following recipe is suitable for both dogs and cats. I mix up a batch as needed. The amounts shown last my three cats and one dog about a month.
- 1 cup nutritional brewer’s yeast
- 1 cup bone meal or dolomite powder
- ¼ cup alfalfa meal or spirulina powder
- 2 tablespoons kelp granules
- ½ cup 98% soy lecithin granules
Mix together and store in a jar for everyday use. Dosage is ½ tsp per meal for a cat and ½ to 1 tablespoon per meal for a dog (depending on the size of the animal). If you have an older pet that may require some “geriatric” consideration, modify the above mixture by adding ½ cup raw wheat germ, ½ cup oat bran (unprocessed), and 6 each magnesium phosphate and potassium chloride Biochemic Cell Salt tablets (these are homeopathic minerals in the 6X dosage strength).
Older animals need less protein and carbohydrates in their diets than younger animals and should have smaller meals especially if they are not active. The “Geriatric” mix should best be kept under refrigeration because the raw wheatgerm contains valuable vitamin E oils which go rancid if kept at room temperature.
What herbs are good for dogs?
Many herbal preparations are ideal for pet care. Some of them are garlic, arnica, tea tree oil, comfrey, calendula, slippery elm bark, and homeopathic preparations such as the Bach Flower “Rescue Remedy“.
To begin with our old friend garlic, the pure oil capsules are useful for common worm control in pets given as a regular daily supplement. This is easy with dogs, as we have found, but not as easy with cats who are by nature very suspicious of “strange things” in their dinner plates!
Sometimes you just have to resort to smearing a little garlic on their whiskers and let them take it in as they wash. This has proven successful as long as you don’t mind the cat smelling like a pizza for a few hours! Garlic oil is a powerful antiseptic on deep wounds, for example, rat bites, and has the benefit of working through both the bloodstream and on the surface if the animal has to lick some of it off.
Arnica is a flowering herb long respected for its usefulness in sprains, bruising or muscle strains. The homeopathic form of arnica can be used internally during such traumas while an external application of arnica ointment will ease the damage from the outside inwards. Arnica is best used within the first 24 hours of an injury and discontinued after 3 days.
3. Tea Tree oil
Tea Tree oil is truly Australia’s gift of healing to the world and just about indispensable for pet care. Tea Tree oil is antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic but will not damage healthy tissue.
Tea Tree oil can be used externally for all the cuts and scrap pets get and is especially helpful in the safe removal of ticks. Tea Tree oil anesthetizes the tick so it can be carefully removed the head and all before it buries itself in the animal’s hide.
Tea Tree oil added to a pet’s bath relieves “summer itch”. It should not be used around the eyes nor full strength wherever the cat or dog can lick it off.
Comfrey used externally is a joint and bone herb. Useful for shallow cuts but not deep ones as it is a “cell proliferator” and can cause the skin to heal too quickly over a wound and form an abscess. It is useful for broken bones applied as a poultice. Comfrey ointment is readily available.
Calendula is the English Marigold flower and a strong herbal infusion of the petals is a safe gentle wound wash. As an ointment calendula is soothing for cracked skin and deep wounds and is safe enough to use around the mouth and other tender parts.
6. Slippery Elm Bark
Slippery Elm Bark is a powder and a wonderful soother for tummy wogs. It can be administered by sprinkling over food or given as a drink with warm water. Externally it is a drawing poultice for splinters or thorns.
Embedded grass seeds are another matter and should have the attention of the veterinarian especially if the seeds have internalized and are migrating inwards. If the embedded grass seed forms as an abscess which must be treated by your vet, dressing the wound afterward with Tea Tree oil will keep it clean.
7. Bach Flower Remedy
The famous Bach Flower Remedy known as “Rescue Remedy” is a homeopathic liquid preparation invented by Dr. Edward Bach in the 19th Century. Its name tells you what and when to use it: whenever the animal (or person) has had a shock or experienced a trauma (like having to fly on an airplane).
The dosage is the same for man or beast, four drops directly on the tongue four times daily. If the tongue won’t co-operate (or the subject is unconscious) you can gently rub the drops directly into the skin of the ears where it will also enter the bloodstream readily.
I have even given this remedy to cage birds – one drop on the beak – for trauma. Homeopathic remedies are safe for any living thing, man, animal or plant!