In the wild, animals, when feeling ill or a little off color, will seek out and chew their own remedies from the plants in their immediate environment.
However, due to their diets our domestic dogs and cats need a helping hand to ensure their continual good health.
Herbs, and herbal extracts, can be added as supplements to your dog’s daily diet, as well as being used to treat simple ailments. And if the animal is given herbs at an early age it will look forward to them as an enjoyable treat.
Garlic, parsley, watercress and fresh, young dandelion leaves can be added finely chopping or minced, and combined with some grated raw carrot. To this you can add wheat germ flakes, yeast, cod liver oil and kelp.
Vary the mixture from day to day, by including just some or all the ingredients.
Minor health problems will also respond to home herbal treatment, and can help to give your dog relief and quickly put them on the road to recovery.
Bad breath, for instance, can be treated by adding 1 drop of aniseed oil to their feed. And if the cause is due to gingivitis (gum disease) blend 1 drop each of clove, lavender, and myrrh oil with a teaspoon of sunflower oil, and gently massage into their gums with a toothbrush.
If the pets coat is in poor condition, try a blend of 5 drops each of carrot oil and evening primrose oil mixed with 1 tablespoon each of sunflower and wheatgerm oil. Add a ¼ teaspoon of the mixture to each feed.
Foreign bodies can be removed from ears by carefully adding 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the offending ear. Later, carefully dry out the ear with swabs that have been dipped in diluted witch hazel and gently wrung out.
Canker, which is common in long haired dogs can be treated by cleansing the affected ear daily with 3 parts rosemary infusion to 1 part witch hazel. To make the rosemary infusion, put a handful of fresh sprigs (or a tablespoon of dried herb) in a ceramic bowl, add 600ml of boiling water, cover, steep until cold and strain.
Cuts and bites can be bathed with a solution of salt water, to which has been added 2 drops of lavender oil. For burns and scalds apply cold water, followed by a drop or 2 of neat lavender oil as soon as possible.
So the next time your pet is suffering from a minor health problem, consider the natural alternatives. However, any serious complaint should be referred immediately to your veterinarian.