Herbs offer cures for many common canine ailments. I’ve used them often, with the recommendations from my vet, and my dogs have all lived long and remarkably healthy lives.
Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they’re not powerful. Herbs are nothing to sneeze at. What may look like a mere weed or homely root can, in fact, be a very potent medicine. Here’s a list of the top ten herbs no dog lover’s cupboard should be without. It’s a pharmacopeia for dogs – call it a bark-acopeia! Before you try them, make sure to talk it over with your vet about the right dosage for your pet and whether any of these herbs would be contraindicated with your pets current medical regime and medications.
What: Azadirachta indica, an extract of the Neem tree, is nature’s non-toxic insecticide, plus it heals burns and soothes dry, irritated skin.
Why: Applied topically and absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, Neem makes your dog naturally repellent to mosquitoes and fleas. Parasite preventatives work by filling your dog’s blood with poison; in order to be eliminated, the pest has to take a bite out of your best friend. With Neem, Spot won’t even get bitten!
Suggested Use: During the warm months (high mosquito season), bathe once weekly in TheraNeem Pet Shampoo, to which you add several drops of Neem oil; both are available at Whole Foods stores. For extra protection from within, administer Neem Plus supplements by Ayush orally once daily, hidden in food.
What: Achillea millefolium – a.k.a. stanchweed, soldier’s woundwort, and sanguinary – helps stop bleeding.
Why: If your dog sustains a cut or laceration, you can administer first aid by flushing the wound with povidone iodine, then treating it with yarrow.
Suggested Use: Wound Balm for Animals by Buck Mountain Botanicals contains yarrow (along with echinacea and goldenseal); it speeds healing and is a first-rate addition to Fido’s first-aid kit.
What: Arnica montana, a.k.a. Leopard’s Bane, has long been prized for its astonishing bruise-healing property.
Why: Has Spot sustained a bruise or muscle injury? Arnica does double duty, easing the pain and promoting healing.
Suggested Use: Arnica pellets. Administer 3 pellets 3 times daily, in the inside pocket of your dog’s lower lip. It’s OK if he spits it out; healing begins when the pellets make contact with the gum.
What: This effective – if highly malodorous – herb (Valeriana officinalis L.) is nature’s time-trusted sedative and sleep-inducer.
Why: For dogs who experience high anxiety during thunderstorms or on the 4th of July, Valerian will put them out for several hours of stress-free slumber. It’s also great for long car trips, to help Spot snooze through the ride.
Suggested Use: Valerian comes in capsules, available at any health food store. To dose your dog, you’ll need to hide the capsules in a piece of meat or cheese with peanut butter on top – anything to mask that awful smell!
Olive Leaf Extract
What: The extract of crushed-up olive leaves (oleuropein) is nature’s antibiotic.
Why: If your dog experiences diarrhea from, say, scarfing something rancid on the sidewalk, the antifungal property of Olive Leaf will help set his digestion right.
Suggested Use: Available at health food stores, Olive Leaf capsules smell and taste exactly like olive oil (i.e. delicious), so there’s no need to hide or mask them. Just sprinkle over your dog’s food like a spice
What: A flowering plant whose extract, Silymarin, is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants for people and pets.
Why: Boosting and protecting the liver, milk thistle is a must if you want to extend the life of your dog. Everything passes through the liver, so it welcomes the support – and because eye and liver health are linked, milk thistle also prevents and reverses cloudy eyes (nuclear sclerosis) in dogs.
Suggested Use: Sold at health foods stores in capsule form, this herb tastes somewhat bitter; very finicky dogs will need to have it hidden in something tasty, but most dogs will eat it sprinkled over their food (cinnamon helps sweeten the deal).
What: Crataegus is a berry that’s used to treat cardiac insufficiency.
Why: Strengthening the heart muscle and improving circulation, hawthorn helps stave off congestive heart failure in senior dogs (and people), and tones the tickers of younger dogs who’ve survived heartworm disease. Young, healthy dogs don’t need it yet – wait until they’re older.
Suggested Use: One capsule in your dog’s food (available at health food stores); most dogs don’t mind the taste.
What: The resin of the Boswellia tree has many medicinal uses.
Why: Another senior-dog staple, Boswellia reduces inflammation and improves mobility in arthritic K9Suggested Use: Available in tablet form, it’s called “Boswelya Plus.”
What: As its name implies, the flowering plant Euphrasia officinalis has long been used to treat eye infections.
Why: If your dog comes back from the dog park or doggie daycare with goopy eyes, try eyebright first before consulting the vet; you may be able to clear up the problem yourself.
Suggested Use: Administer 3 pellets 3 times daily, in the inside pocket of your dog’s lower lip. As with Arnica (above), it’s OK if he spits it out; healing begins when the pellets make contact with the gum.
What: A thistle in the genus Arctium, its root has long been prized for its blood-purifying, hair-regrowing, and cancer-fighting powers.
Why: Use it regularly as a preventative, especially if you have a breed of dog that’s prone to cancer (such as a Boxer).
Suggested Use: Add cooked burdock root (found in the produce section of health food stores and Asian markets) to your dog’s food, or give him a piece of raw burdock to chew on, like a carrot. Or purchase dried burdock online and steep one teaspoon in a cup of hot water; let cool and pour over your dog’s food.
Remember, herbs are powerful healing properties and need to be used in the correct dosage for your pets. Make sure to discuss with your vet prior to using any of these herbs or natural remedies to make sure they are right for your dogs.
On an 85 degree day, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees, even when the windows have been left open an inch or two.
Within 30 minutes, a car’s interior can reach 120 degrees. When the temperature outside is a pleasant 70, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter. Shade offers little protection on a hot day and moves with the sun.
Pets most at risk for hyperthermia (overheating) are young animals, elderly animals, overweight animals, those with short muzzles and those with thick or dark-colored coats.
IF YOUR DOG IS OVERCOME BY THE HEAT
Bring down body temperature by soaking the animal in cool (not ice) water, but make sure water does not get into the mouth or nose of an unconscious animal. Seek immediate veterinary care.
Here’s Some Hot Weather Traveling Tips
Get a veterinary checkup before traveling and make sure you have the necessary vaccination certificates for the area you will be visiting, as well as flea and tick treatments.
Carry a gallon thermos of cold water or bring along a two-liter plastic bottle of water you froze the night before.
Exercise your pet during the coolest parts of the day (dawn and dusk), and never immediately following a meal.
Hot asphalt and tar can burn sensitive paw pads. Walk your pet on grass or dirt when possible and provide shade when your pet is outside on a hot day.
I was going to write a Thanksgiving blog all about the pros and cons of feeding our pets table scraps but something happened on my morning walk that’s irritated me so much, I decided to voice my very opinionated opinion on what it means to be a responsible pet owner instead!
I’ve owned pets all my life and now run a successful pet sitting company. I consider myself a loving, caring, responsible pet owner. I believe in keeping pets safe, feeding them healthy food, making sure they’re physically healthy, exercised, socialized and loved. But, apparently nowadays, it means something entirely different. When was this new rule book written because I must have missed the issue! And, who wrote it? Since when, in this politically correct world we live in, do we have to follow someone else’s rules because they think it’s the politically correct thing to do in order to be a responsible pet owner.
What happened to the days where you could walk your dog without a leash, go to a school yard and have the dogs play with the kids, go to a park and have the dogs running and playing alongside the people, letting them swim in the ocean and sun themselves on the sand. What happened to having your neighbor call and say your dog was visiting them at their house and they just gave them a sandwich. What happened to letting your dog pee and poo on a walk and not panic because you forgot a bag for cleanup and it might cost you a hefty fine.
I was at a park with my dog a few weeks ago playing catch with a ball when a police car came blazing across the park and stopped in front of me and my dog. The two officers proceeded to tell me I was breaking a law! Yes, breaking a law playing fetch with my dog in a park! They then proceeded to tell me they were going to write a ticket and if I resisted giving them my name and information, they would tasser me and my dog with their tasser guns! Yes, this is all true, as unbelievable as it may sound. This can’t be what it means to be a responsible pet owner, because quite honestly, it scares me to death if that’s what it means.
What I love about dogs, is they have no agenda’s and they live by their instincts. They don’t stop and think, can I, should I, could I, dare I, what if I….. But people nowadays seem to think they should.
I’m really tired of people going out of their way to stop their car or come out of their home to take the time to lecture and scream about your dog walking on their grass, peeing in their yard, pooping and making sure you have a bag to clean it up. Really? Really?? When did we make everyone a dog deputy!!
And, those signs people buy and stick in their lawns, warning you about the code violation your dog is committing if he poops on their grass. Really? Really??? I walk around stressed and full of panic if I forgot a bag. Are they going to call the cops, have me arrested? It’s become so coo coo crazy. And, we just seem to let it continue.
I miss the good old days. I really do. When dogs could be dogs. People were kind and everyone lived in harmony, not fear because you forgot your poop bags on the morning walk or you took your dog off leash to fetch a ball.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Lets give thanks for the pets and focus on the joy that they can bring if you let them!! And, give serious thought to how far we’re letting this politically correct world take over what we already know. How to be a responsible pet owner!