By using your own herbal medicine chestas a "pet pharmacy", you can save yourself those expensive vet bills and save your dog from the stress and trauma of a vet appointment. The following healing herbs for pets are used for the most common of problems that affect most dogs. Your furry friends will thank you!
Cuts and Scratches:
For simple cuts and scratches on your dog, make a herbal infusionof calendula flowers and spray it on the affected area. Or you can make your own herbal ointmentor purchase a calendula salve from an online source to put on the cut, just know that your dog will attempt to lick it off. Wrapping the area with gauze, a strip of cheese cloth or muslin cloth will prevent this and allow the herbal salve to do its work.
Eye Infections or "weepy" Eyes:
Make an herbal infusion of goldenseal and strain. Use the tea as an eyewash. If goldenseal isn't available or is too expensive, you can also use eyebright instead.
Here is a great herbal eyewash to use on your pet:
1 part Bayberry bark
1 part Eyebright herb
1 part Golden seal root
1 part Red raspberry leaves
Combine these herbs and make an herbal tea infusion. Strain and use as an eyewash.
A good way to apply the eyewash is to use a rubber bulb syringe like is used to clean out human ears. Place you pet in the tub when you do this so the liquid will run into the tub instead of the floor or carpet. I think another good and perhaps less traumatic way of applying the eyewash is to simply put your eyewash tea into a spray bottle and spray a quick burst into your pets eyes. This gets the herbs applied to the eyes quickly with less stress.
I suggest you only make as much tea as you need for one eyewash. Don't make a big batch and attempt to store in the refrigerator as it can become contaminated and potentially give your dog an eye infection. If you do store it in the fridge, be sure to store your tea in a tightly sealed thermos bottle to keep it fresh as long as possible.
Foxtails are the seeds from a form of grass that stick to your dogs fur. The seeds are barbed and can become wedged between your animals toes or burrow themselves into their ears or under the skin, causing abcesses and infection. For this you can make a fresh plantain or comfrey poultice by blending the leaves with a little water in a blender. Apply the poultice to the affected area. You may need to cover the area with a muslin cloth if you find your dog wants to lick the poultice off.
Ear Infections and Ear Mites:
Garlic-mullein ear oil, 3 to 4 drops used 2 times daily can greatly alleviate ear infections in your dog and for a cat as well. Both dogs and cats have very long ear canals so you will need to massage the base of the ears to get the oil where it needs to be. You'll likely find that your pet loves having their ears massage anyway, especially if they're already irritated. If you find your pet is rather sensitive to the massaging, it's best to consult with your vet to rule out a more serious problem.
There are many other herbal oils that can be effective. Click here to learn how to make your own herbal oils.
You can actually make your own flea collar for your dog by dipping a string in a combination of essential oils made up of citronella, eucalyptus, and sage and tying it around you dog's neck. You can also spray a tincture of Yarrow onto an area where there is flea activity to repel and discourage fleas affecting your pet.
If the flea infestation gets to the point where infections set in, use orange essential oil to kill the fleas in the affected area. Add one-half teaspoon of orange oil to a quarter cup of shampoo and shampoo your dog until they are completely covered in suds. Work your way down from your dog's neck so fleas don't end up in your dog's face. Rinse the suds off and, in a particularly bad infestation, repeat the process again in a couple of days. It's best to then thoroughly vacuum the house to rid your home of any remaining fleas. Just be sure to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag afterwards so you don't end up with a flea breeding ground in your house!
Caution: Do not use essential oils directly on your pets skin where it can be licked off and potentially make your cat or dog sick. You can apply essential oils directly if you dilute them first. To do this, mix 20 drops or so of an essential oil in 2 oz. of almond oil and apply the diluted oil directly.
Low doses of an echinacea tincture can help you dog quickly heal from infections. Give your pet five to ten drops of tincture three or four times per day for about one week. This is a basic guideline. Since dogs can vary greatly in size, you may use more drops if you have a large dog. The dosages on the tincture label is based on a 150-lb man. You can use the formula we use to determine children's doses -
Clark's Rulefor determining dosages divides the weight of the dog by 150 to give the approximate fraction of the adult dose. Dosage for a 40 lb.dog then would be: 40 /150 = .26 or approx. 1/4 the adult dose. If an adult dose is two dropperfuls or 70 drops, then the dose for a 40 lb. dog using this formula would be about 18 drops of tincture.
Skin Irritations and Hair Loss:
For skin problems, treatment with a calendula salve will often resolve the problem rather quickly. It is a good idea to give an internal cleansing herb such as yellow dock or red clover blossoms at the same time. A tea made with sarsaparilla and burdock root is also useful for skin problems. For hair loss, try both horsetail herb and nettle leaf made into a tea. Massaging the skin with a some rosemary oil diluted in almond oil will also tone the skin and help keep hair healthy.
Urinary Tract Infections:
There are a number of herbs that are soothing to the urinary tract and can prevent or even clear up infections. Echinacea is of course one of the first and best choices for fighting infection. But there are some herbs that work specifically on the urinary system. Pipsissewa and Uva-Ursi are good choices for soothing inflammation and helping to battle infection within the urinary system. If you have an herb garden, a tea brewed with some fresh plantain or yarrow leaves added to your pets drinking water can be of great benefit.
Worms and Parasites:
A good natural parasite remedy that I have used myself is tincture of wormwood, black walnut hulls and cloves. You can make it yourself but I don't have a specific formula. The most well known producer of this tincture of this is called Dr. Clarkia. They give specific instructions for using this tincture with your dog. I have used it myself on my dog with no problems.
Several people have emailed me that they've had success ridding their animals of parasites using PetAlive Parasite Dr. Capsules Parasite Dr. expels internal parasites such as hearworm, roundworm and tape worm in pets.
I personally believe bentonite clay would be helpful in ridding worms from a dogs system but I haven't read about this specifically or tried it myself. Many species of animals in the wild do tend to ingest clay on a regular basis. I'm not sure how to use it in dogs at this point but I'm looking into it. If anyone has any experience with this, please let me know!
If you have a hyperactive, difficult to calm dog, Valerian, chamomile, or California poppy made into a tea and added to your pets water can have a wonderful calming effect on your dog. Capsules and tablets are available in these herbs but, in my opinion, are difficult to get your dog to swallow them. One way is to pull apart a capsule of valerian root and mix the powered herb with your dogs wet dog food.
Car sickness or Upset Stomach:
Many dogs can actually get carsick when taken out for trips. A few drops of ginger root extract given to your dog just before your trip will settle his tummy. If you are taking a particulary long trip, you can give more ginger along the way to prevent carsickness.
Itching and Hot Spots: The most common reason dogs are itchy is due to fleas and flea bites. Brewer's yeast is a common way to help control flea problems naturally - 1 teaspoon or tablet per day.
Keep in mind that some animals can have an allergic reaction to brewer's yeast causing dry, patches of skin that are as irritating as the flea bites were. When using brewer's yeast, keep a look out for these types of skin problems developing. Discontinue using brewer's yeast if your animal has any type of bad reaction. For those itchy, dry patches of skin, rub tea tree oil over the affected area.
Tea tree oil has a very bitter taste that discourages dogs from licking it off. Do not use tea tree near the eyes or genital areas however. You can put a slice of raw cucumber over the hot spot, holding it on the itchy patch for a few minutes and then rub tea tree oil over the area. You may want to dilute the tea tree oil in almond oil first.
Aloe vera gel is another good remedy for dry skin and hot spots. I find that the get that is as close to 100% pure aloe vera gel works best. Or better yet, slice open an aloe vera leaf and scrape out the gel-like substance on the inside. You can then apply it directly on the itchy patch.
For more serious, chronic itching conditions, you can make an herbal dip for your pet as follows:
Use 2 cups packed fresh peppermint,pennyroyal, or rosemary.
Add to 1 quart boiling water - - Prepare fresh herb tea by pouring the boiling water over the herb and allow it to steep for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and dilute it with 4 quarts of warm water. Thoroughly wet the animal's coat with the solution, allowing it to air dry. Use this remedy at the first sign of flea activity. This remedy should be repeated every three to four days, but it is totally safe for your pet.
Rasberry leaf given to your pregnant dog throughout her pregnancy will help tone the uterus and help in healing the uterus after giving birth. It will also help stimulate milk production in the mammary glands.