Health

Natural Home Remedies For Dogs [Solutions For 5 Common Problems]

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[Updated July 2019]

Learn how to treat your dog’s minor ailments such as itchy dry skin, diarrhea, upset stomach, and more, at home the natural way with these natural home remedies for dogs.

In this article, we will look at solutions for 5 common problems that affect dogs.

While calling your vet should be the first thing you do when your dog is showing signs of being sick, sometimes you can save yourself an expensive trip to the vet by treating common problems at home with items found in your kitchen cupboard.

Dogs Can’t Tell Us When They Are Sick

When your dog is not feeling well, you as a dog owner can usually spot the signs and symptoms early on, because you know your dog better than anyone else.

Dogs cannot tell us in words when they are feeling sick, but they can display both physical and behavioural changes.

Some changes you may notice include:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss or gain.
  • Change in mood, depression.
  • Lack of interest in any activity like walking or playing.
  • Sleeping more.
  • Excessive drinking.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Heavy panting, or drooling.
  • Itching.
  • Shaking the head.
  • Digestive upset or changes in bowel movements.

If you notice any changes in your dog, you should always consult your vet, because even the smallest symptoms can indicate something more serious.

Catching any underlying medical condition early on can save you money and save your beloved dog a lot of pain.

Bulldog laying on a black shag rug.

Natural Home Remedies For Dogs

When it comes to the health and well being of our furry best friend, we want what is best.  We as dog owners often look for a natural approach to treating our dog.

With the fear of toxins and chemicals causing more harm than good and contributing to our dog’s sickness, we try to find natural solutions.

Here are the 5 common dog problems and their natural solutions:

1.  Upset Stomach And Diarrhea

Dogs sometimes turn to grass-eating when they have an upset stomach.  If your dog rushes outside to scarf down any blade of grass it is usually an indication that they are feeling sick.

However, when your dog has an upset stomach, vomiting is usually the first sign you notice.  If you are lucky your dog will be outside when it happens, but most often it happens inside on the worst spot such as on the carpet.

Common Causes: 

There are many reasons why dogs suffer from an upset stomach, but the most common cause is from eating something that they shouldn’t have.

Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs of your dog’s body trying to eliminate anything that shouldn’t have been ingested.

Stress, anxiety, food sensitivities, and an imbalance of bacteria in the gut could also cause an upset stomach.

Heatstroke can also trigger vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Remedies:

  • Fasting:  If your dog has a mild upset stomach, try eliminating all food for a period of 12-24hrs or so. Fasting will give the stomach time to get back to normal.
  • Feed Bland Food:  Feed a bland diet of cooked white rice, and boiled chicken for a couple of days, or until you see your dog return to normal.
  • Fresh Water/Ice Cubes:  If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea you will want to make sure to keep him hydrated.  Sometimes your dog will not want to drink water, and that is fine.  Too much water can make things worse.  You can try giving him some ice cubes.

Beagle drinking fresh water from a water bowl outside.

  • Probiotics:  Add probiotics to your dog’s diet, such as plain unsweetened yogurt (without additives).  It can help soothe the stomach and replace healthy bacteria in the gut.
  • Pumpkin:  Try pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), oatmeal (unsweetened, plain), sweet potatoes and bananas.  These foods can also be added to help settle the stomach.

When To Worry:

Having an upset stomach every now and then is quite common and completely normal in dogs.

However, if your dog suffers from an upset stomach quite often you should consult with your vet.  Vomiting and diarrhea could be signs of an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed.

If your dog is throwing up blood or has blood in his stool, you need to see your vet.

If your dog has ingested something poisonous you need to get help immediately.

Usually, after your dog has vomited he will start feeling better because whatever was upsetting his stomach has been eliminated.

Keep an eye on your dog’s symptoms for 24-48 hrs, to make sure he is back to normal.  If your dog’s symptoms have gotten worse, consult your vet.

2.  Itchy Irritated Skin

Does your dog have an itch that just won’t go away?  Common itchy spots for dogs are the paws, ears, tail, and belly.

Dogs will try to relieve their itching by licking their paws, biting or chewing at their tail, rolling on the ground, or sliding on the ground on their belly.

If your dog is constantly scratching and licking at his skin, it will become irritated and could break the skin and bleed, causing a skin infection.

Common Causes:

Suffering from the occasional mild itch is nothing to worry about, and is quite normal, after all, we get an itch every now and then too.

But, constant itching is more serious and is often brought on by allergies such as food, or seasonal.  Many dogs are allergic to certain foods, chicken being the most common, and many dogs suffer from grass, pollen, and dust allergies.

The cold and dry winter air causes many of us to suffer from dry itchy skin, and chances are your dog will suffer too.

Bug bites are also a common reason for itching.

Remedies:

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids:  A good source of omega 3 fatty acid is fish such as salmon.  Omega 3 fatty acids will help to decrease skin inflammation, and feeding fish will help with potential food allergies.

Most dogs are allergic to protein sources such as chicken, beef and turkey, that is why feeding a different protein source as fish will help.

  • Coconut Oil:  When applied topically, coconut oil is a great moisturizer, and will relieve your dog’s itching and soothe the skin. You can apply coconut oil directly to your dog’s skin and coat.

You can also add coconut oil to your dog’s diet.  There are many benefits of coconut oil for dogs, including reducing allergies and eliminating itchy skin.

  • Chamomile Tea: Chamomile is great for calming and soothing your dog’s itchy irritated skin.

Brew the tea, then chill it in the fridge and pour it in a spray bottle and spray over your dog’s coat to help relieve the itching.

Porcelain tea cup filled with chamomile tea.

  • Oatmeal:  Oatmeal has been a go-to remedy for our dry itchy skin, and it is great for dogs too.  You’ll find oatmeal as an ingredient in many hypoallergenic dog shampoos.

If your dog likes baths, you can add finely ground oatmeal to the water and let your dog soak in it.

For those dog’s that do not enjoy having a bath, you can grind the oatmeal into a fine paste and apply it to your dog’s skin.  Leave the oatmeal paste on for a few minutes and then rinse off.

When To Worry:

Chronic and severe itching is something that needs to be addressed.  Both you and your dog will be bothered by the constant licking, scratching and chewing.

Your dog will be miserable and uncomfortable, as will you!  Your dog may even keep you up all night with all that scratching.

If your dog is scratching so much his skin is bleeding, it is time to see your vet.  Your vet will need to determine the root cause.

3.  Tick Repellent

Ticks are a big concern for dog owners, especially during the warmer months. Ticks become active in temperatures over 4 degrees Celsius.

The Deer Tick is of greatest concern because it carries Lyme disease that can be transmitted to you and your dog.

Not all species of ticks carry disease, but the ones that do are on the rise.

Tick prevention is important, and many people are choosing to go the natural route.  Chemical tick treatments are unsafe for us, so why expose our dog to harmful chemicals.

There are safer ways of repelling ticks.

Remedies:

  • Rose Geranium Oil:  This essential oil is effective at repelling ticks, and it smells lovely too.  Safe and natural for both you and your dog to use.

To make your own tick repellent, combine 20 drops of Rose Geranium Oil with 2 tablespoons of Almond Oil. Almond oil contains sulphur which is also a tick repellent. Mix the two together and place a few drops on your dog’s collar.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  Ticks do not like the sour taste of apple cider vinegar or the smell of it, which makes it a great repellent.

Fill a spray bottle with equal parts of vinegar and water, and spray it on your dog before heading outside.  Be careful not to spray any open wounds on your dog with apple cider vinegar, as it will sting.

During tick season always check your dog for ticks.  Try to avoid wooded, and tall grassy areas where ticks like to hang out the most.

4.  Minor Wounds And Scrapes

It is quite common for dogs to end up getting a scrape or a wound from playing with other dogs, digging in the backyard, or running through the bush.

When your dog gets a minor wound or scrape that doesn’t require any stitching, you can properly care for it at home to help speed healing.

  • Epsom Salt:  Can be used to gently cleanse and soothe wounds. Try soaking a washcloth in warm water and Epsom salt, and apply directly to your dog’s wound or scrape.

If the wound is on your dog’s paw, you can soak the paw in a cup or plastic bag filled with warm water and Epsom salt for 5-10 minutes.

Be careful to not allow your dog to drink any solution of Epsom salt, as it can cause diarrhea.

  • Aloe Vera Juice:  Aloe vera contains multiple properties that help speed the process of skin repair and healing.  It is cool to the touch and will help soothe and heal your dog’s wound.

Make sure to get aloe that is organic and at least 99% pure.  Always get human-grade for consumption juice or gel.  You may prefer to use the gel as it is thicker and easier to apply to your dog’s wound.

It is important to keep your dog’s minor wound or scrape clean and to not allow your dog to lick it.  An E-collar will help prevent your dog from licking at the open wound.

To help keep the wound clean you will want to trim any long fur around it with small scissors.

If your dog’s wound or scrape shows no signs of improving or healing, it is time to see your vet.

5.  Prevent Ear Infections

Ear infections are quite common and can cause a lot of pain for your dog.

You’ll know when your dog has an ear infection because of the following signs; head shaking, scratching the ears, redness inside the ears, smelly ears, and whining.

Common Causes:

Ear infections can be brought on by food sensitivities, ear mites, bacteria, moisture, viruses, and more.

Dogs who have floppy ears are more prone to ear infections because air does not get into their ears as easily as dogs who don’t have floppy ears.

Dogs who love swimming are also prone to ear infections because moisture gets trapped in their ears.

Remedies:

It is important to prevent an ear infection from happening, by regularly cleaning your dog’s ears.  If your dog likes to go swimming, make sure to dry his ears after.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  Use organic apple cider vinegar to clean, relieve itchy ears, and prevent ear infections.  The vinegar acts as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to help relieve the pain and discomfort of your dog’s itchy irritated ears.

Mix equal parts of organic apple cider vinegar and water, and soak a cotton ball in the solution and swab the inside of your dog’s ear.

  • Witch Hazel:  This is another natural antiseptic that can be used to clean your dog’s ears.  There is no need to dilute witch hazel, simply soak a cotton ball and clean your dog’s ears.

When To Worry:

If your dog shows signs of an ear infection, such as redness or discharge you will need to see your vet.  Your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics for the infection.

If your dog suffers from chronic ear infections it may be due to a poor diet and you will want to find ways to change or improve the diet.

Final Thoughts

No matter what ailment your dog suffers from, it is always recommended to consult with your vet before trying any of the natural home remedies for dogs.

There is nothing worse than seeing your dog in pain or feeling sick, and you would do anything to help make him feel better.  If your vet approves, you can treat your dog using ingredients that you may already have at home.

What About You?

Have you tried any of the natural home remedies mentioned on your dog?  Do you know of any other natural home remedies for dogs?

Please share your thoughts and comments below.

About Jenny

I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Peterborough, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.
View all posts by Jenny →

12 thoughts on “Natural Home Remedies For Dogs [Solutions For 5 Common Problems]

  1. Hi Jenny! I love what you are doing here, such useful information! I took a few ideas from there, like the apple cider vinegar spray for ticks and the ear cleaning solution or witch hazel to prevent ear infections. I will definitely be using these remedies on my pug (Sam). Thank you for the info! Have a great day!

    1. Hi Tracy,

      I am glad you enjoyed my article, and that you will be making use of these natural remedies.  You will have to let me know how these remedies worked for your pug Sam.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Jenny.

  2. Hi Jenny! This is some really useful information. I have a black pug named Sam who is crazy fun and loves going nuts outdoors. He’s never out too long but we have lots of mosquitos and I worry about him. The apple cider vinegar spray is brilliant, I had never heard of that one before and I will be giving it a try. I have been looking for a good way to clean Sam’s ears as well. Good thing I keep both of these on hand. Thank you for the information. I will be back if I have any questions. Have a great day.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      I am glad you enjoyed these natural home remedies for dogs. Apple cider vinegar and witch hazel are great natural antiseptics. Both items are fairly inexpensive and are great for keeping dogs ears clean and preventing ear infections. The key is to regularly clean your dog’s ears so that no infection can happen. Ear infections are not only painful for your dog, but they can become expensive too if you need to see a vet to get medication.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and taking the time to comment.
      Jenny.

  3. Hello, 

    These are all really great remedies. I wasn’t really one to try any of these tips when I had a dog. Once I had a little issue with my dog, I took him to the vet and he used to give me some tips then, but most vets won’t even do that now because they want to get paid so they’ll let you bring in your little pet so they can charge you. 

    I used to use the coconut oil remedy and it was really effective for itching. For stomach upset, I gave him water and after a couple of hours, everything cleared. These are all really great tips and I’m sure they all work. We should take note that dogs are different and not all the tips will work for our dogs. We should find what works for ours and make good use of it

    1. Hi Henderson,

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.  It is great that using coconut oil on your dog worked for his itching.  Coconut oil has so many benefits, not only for dogs but humans too.

      Thank you for pointing out that every dog is different and will respond differently to these remedies.  What works for some dogs may not work for your dog.

      Thanks again.

      Jenny.

  4. Jenny, 

    This is so awesome! Everyone who owns a dog needs this article in their lives. It is so great that there are natural ways to help dogs without having to go to the vet. It can get so expensive. Thank you so much for sharing this. 

    My question is how do dogs respond to these treatments? I know when it comes to medicine my dogs have always hated it and it was a battle to get them to take it. In your experience or what you’ve heard, do dogs respond better to these type of treatments? 

    1. Hi Mason,

      Thanks for your questions.  I just want to clarify that natural home remedies are used to treat dogs minor ailments before they get worse, and are in no way a replacement for veterinary care.  For example, using apple cider vinegar as an ear cleaner for dogs is a great way to prevent ear infections.  If your dog has an ear infection vet care is needed.

      As with any type of treatment, how a dog responds will be different for each individual dog.  

      I hope this answered your questions.  Thank you for commenting.

      Jenny.

  5. Great article full of great information. I was especially interested in the sections on upset stomach and ticks! I never knew that ticks didn’t like apple cider vinegar and it seems like such a low-cost, effective method of repelling them. Would you recommend using that in tandem with some of the more commercial tick repellents for dogs?

    Additionally, the part about upset stomach interested me because I have seen dogs eating grass before, but wasn’t sure why they did it. Is grass something that makes them throw up so the upset stomach passes or does it help in some way? I’m just interested in knowing why dogs turn to grass when their stomachs aren’t feeling good. 

    Thanks for posting this!

    1. Hi Steve,

      I am glad you enjoyed my article.  Thanks for asking such great questions.

      Apple cider vinegar is a low-cost way of repelling ticks from dogs.  It is completely natural and non-toxic to dogs, which makes it a great alternative to the chemical-based tick treatments.  

      When using apple cider vinegar as a repellent you will need to apply it to your dog (spray-on) each time you walk your dog in areas where there is a risk of ticks, (wooded areas, tall grass, etc.).  Many dogs are allergic to chemicals found in commercial tick treatments, and many dog owners prefer the natural route.  

      If you are using natural methods there is no need to use chemical treatments, and vice versa.  It is completely your decision as a dog owner to decide which treatment is best for your dog.

      Grass eating is very common behaviour in dogs.  Often dogs eat grass because they are feeling sick, and some dogs do throw-up from eating it.  The grass blades tickle the throat and cause them to throw-up.  Dogs do not always turn to grass-eating when they are sick, most of the time it is because they enjoy the taste.  I recently wrote an article on why dogs eat grass, you can click here to read it.

      I hope this answers your questions.  Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Jenny.

  6. What’s fascinating about these remedies is that each can be either store-bought or homemade, and many of them might even be hanging around in our cabinets as I type this. These treatments are a fantastic go-to for minor ailments, which might save a trip to the vet or investment in some unnecessary remedy. I would try a natural treatment first, before going on to something more, unless it’s necessary. 

    1. Hi Todd,

      All of the natural remedies mentioned are great for treating minor ailments that many dogs suffer from.  With natural products that you may already have at home, why not try to treat your dog and save yourself money and a trip to the vet.  Like yourself, many dog owners (myself included) want to try the natural route as often as possible, unless problems are more serious that requires veterinary care.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for commenting.

      Jenny.

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