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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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.