When your pets get sick or hurt, it can be very upsetting and a helpless feeling if you don’t know how to ease their discomfort. Veterinary care can often cost a lot more than a mortgage payment just to treat a scrape or an ear infection! An alternative for minor ailments is to turn to nature for some natural remedies that will soon have your cat or dog feeling much better and back to their old self. Keep in mind that if your animal has a broken bone, looks like it might be in need of stiches, or has serious symptoms, then you shouldn’t hesitate seeking out veterinary care.
Starting With Good Preventative Care
The cliché “prevention is the best cure” does actually hold a lot of merit, especially when it comes to our pets. The healthier that we keep our pets, the better our odds are at staving off a serious injury or illness. Just a few simple steps can help to keep your pets in good health, which can in turn help them to be in a better shape to fight off infections, parasites, and other ailments.
- No matter where you live, it is important that your animals are vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor-only pets can be at risk of rabies if they accidentally get out or a rabid animal gets in. (Also, rabies vaccinations are required by law in many areas. You don’t want to risk a large fine or losing your animals over a $10 shot!) Rabies vaccinations may not be a natural solution, but in this case, it is one of the better solutions you need to consider.
- Get your pets sterilized. Unless you are breeding a specific dog or cat breed, there is no reason to allow your pets to walk around unaltered. Not only will you be contributing to the overpopulation of pets, but you can also eliminated lot of health concerns if you sterilize your pets when they are around five months old.
- Maintain your pet at a healthy weight. The amount of food that dogs require can vary greatly between dog breed, size of dog, dog’s age, and the gender of the dog. Dogs will often eat until there is no food left in their bowls, which can quickly lead to weight concerns. Cats can also find themselves gorging on free-flowing food in their bowls, so be sure to offer a steady amount of food twice a day. Allowing them to freely graze could rapidly result in weight gain.
- Feed a quality food to your pets. The majority of the commercial foods on the market are chockfull of fillers and other ingredients that dogs and cats are not meant to metabolize. Not only does this lead to a problem with weight gain, but it can also lead to a potential problem with allergies. A raw food diet is an option, but making your own pet food is another option that can save you a lot of money, while ensuring your pets are well nourished.
- Treat your pets for parasites like ticks and fleas. Diatomaceous earth is something that every person should have on their property to help with pest control. It is natural, organic, and non-toxic. Simply sprinkle a handful onto your pet’s coat every few weeks and rub the powder in. This will get rid of fleas, ticks, and mites.
Any vet will tell you that your cat or dog require endless vaccinations and preventative medications. While these do serve a purpose in a lot of situations, it is entirely up to you to determine whether to invest in those vaccinations and medications. It should also be said that there are many people who stick with only the basic rabies vaccination, because it is the only one mandated by law. Do what feels right for you and your animals, and do not let a veterinarian bully you into endless tests and shots for a barn cat or a family guard dog.
Natural Solutions To Common Ailments
No matter how well we care for our pets, they are going to get ill at some point. Whether they eat something they shouldn’t, contract a cold, cut themselves, or just generally feel under the weather, there are several natural remedies that you can turn to for your pet’s well-being.
Apple cider vinegar is something that no home should be without. Not only does it help with a range of problems humans deal with, but it can be immensely helpful for a range of ailments with cats and dogs. Mix three parts apple cider vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle and use the apple cider vinegar to help alleviate itchy hot spots on your dog or cat. Not only will the solution help to ease discomfort, but there are no toxin concerns if they lick it off of their skin. Also, after each bath, spray a liberal amount of apple cider vinegar onto your pet’s coat, as this will help to get rid of any lingering fleas or ticks that survived the soapy bath. A few drops of apple cider vinegar in your dog or cat’s ears can also help to stave off ear infections. Just add one or two drops into their ears every few weeks, using an eye dropper. Rub the ear well for a few seconds and then let them shake it out.
Perhaps one of the best uses of apple cider vinegar is related to putting a few teaspoons into their food every day. What this will do is restore the pH balance of their intestines and also help to get rid of internal parasites. Parasites, mites, and even fleas and ticks are a lot less likely to linger on your cats and dogs if they have been on a regimen of apple cider vinegar.
Chances are that your mom told you to eat an orange or drink a glass of orange juice when you felt the start of a cold. While it can take a lot more vitamin C than you’ll find in an orange to actually have a marked impact on your cold symptoms, vitamin C is also well-known for being able to help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. Powdered vitamin C added to your dog or cat’s meals can help to keep their tissue healthy, and it can also help to protect them against further deterioration in their joints. Salmon’s oil capsules and devil’s claw can also help to slow down the symptoms of aggressive arthritis. This combination can also help you to see an improvement with the discomfort that arthritis brings to your hands and other joints!
A dog or a cat with an upset stomach will typically go and eat a bit of grass to help them feel better. The grass will encourage their stomachs to void, and thus get rid of the discomfort. If your dog or cat isn’t eating grass or isn’t eating or drinking period, then you’ll need to consider a few other options. Plain boiled rice along with plain boiled chicken can be a nice gentle combination that will help to settle an upset stomach. Some plain yogurt or even cottage cheese can also help to ease their inflamed stomach, and it may be enticing enough to get them to eat it. A good dose of probiotics can also help to restore a good balance to the bacteria in your pet’s stomach. Be sure to offer plenty of water, and if need be, offer foods with high water content, like salt-free broths and stews. Dehydration can often swiftly become more of a concern than the upset stomach ever was!
Chamomile tea is also an excellent choice for helping to ease your pet’s stomachache; it can also help to ease anxiety, colic, and gas. It can be made more appetizing with a bit of milk or cream and offered directly to your pet. Another great benefit of chamomile tea is that it can help to alleviate the discomfort from skin irritations. If your dog or cat has been stung by a bee or has had some sort of reaction to a plant or food, then simply spray a bit of chilled chamomile tea directly onto the affected area. Goopy or otherwise irritated eyes can be soothed with just-warm chamomile tea bags placed over the closed eye.
Treat dry skin with vitamin E capsules. They can certainly be added to your pet’s food, but they often work best when the vitamin E oil is simply massaged into the cat or dog’s skin. Another solution for itchy and dry skin is to bathe your pet in a bath that contains ground oatmeal, warm water, and some vitamin E oil. A nice soak in this soothing combination will ease itches, help with dry flaky skin, help to replenish moisture, and help to stave of skin infections.
Brewer’s yeast added to your pet’s food each day can help to stave off parasites, both internal and external. Another favorite trick is to steep lemons in boiling water overnight, and then use the citrus-infused water as a natural pest-control spray between baths. Your pet will smell lemony fresh—an added bonus!
Just like your bumps and bruises can be soothed with ice or hot packs, so can your pets. Keep a few packs in the freezer specifically for helping your pup or cat with bumps and bruises, and ensure that you have a few lavender-infused rice packs to pop into the microwave when needed. Hot packs can also help to ease the nightly discomforts of arthritis, so you may want to consider adding a few underneath the fleece lining of your pet’s bed so they can get some relief before dozing off for the night.
There are numerous natural remedies that you have in your home right now and can help your pets with some of the most common ailments they struggle with. While some might not be a good idea, a general rule of thumb is that if it works well for your toddler’s ailments, then it just might be workable to help treat your pet. If you have any doubt, always check with your vet first!