It’s no secret that quality veterinary care is pricey. However, there are plenty of simple ways to care for your pet that don’t need to involve a vet bill at all! And many veterinarians agree. Save gas and save time, all by caring for your pet yourself as much as possible while still being safe.
Whenever possible, avoid chemical treatments and go natural. Keep it simple. When you’re ready to kick it up a notch, there are hundreds of herbal tincture and decoction recipes out there for the very holistically inclined.
When attempting to treat your dog for an ailment or health issue, please consult with your vet first. Many reputable vets will exchange an email with you, or will get on the phone for a ten minute conversation, without putting a bill in the mail. Run all home care ideas past your vet for the green light, no matter how benign they may seem.
Apple Cider Vinegar
In addition to being a useful ingredient in homemade dog shampoo, apple cider vinegar is lauded as an excellent alternative to chemical care for many pet related maladies and ailments.
Some veterinarians recommend adding a few teaspoons to a dog’s food to help boost their appetite. Other apple cider vinegar enthusiasts recommend applying it directly to a dog’s skin to help soothe itchy hot spots. (If skin is broken, dilute the vinegar with water so it doesn’t sting.)
Some dog groomers who adhere to green practices will follow up a bath with an apple cider vinegar rinse in order to ward off fleas. It might make a dog smell like salad dressing, but enthusiasts swear by the tricks the vinegar plays on a dog’s skin pH, with many saying the vinegar makes a dog’s skin inhospitable to fleas.
Pay attention, though. “For ages,” cautions Jenna Stregowski, RVT, “people have tried to come up with home remedies and natural products to ward off fleas. While natural remedies are useful for a number of issues, generally flea treatment is not one of them.”
And don’t forget about ticks. While fleas may not like an acidic environment, ticks can tolerate your dog’s unfriendly skin.
Creating and Maintaining Balance
Sometimes a particular necessary or urgent treatment will throw off a dog’s natural biology. Attempting to keep balance in your dog’s body can be as simple as adding or removing a single ingredient.
If your dog is taking antibiotics, no matter the reason, it makes sense to add a probiotic to their diet. Many veterinarians recommend yogurt with live acidophilus cultures. However, Dr. Erica Mollica, DVM, of Carroll Gardens Veterinary Group in Brooklyn, NY says that regular yogurt is not appropriate for dogs, as the microorganisms so effective for human GI tracts don’t affect dogs in the same way. She recommends a probiotic made for dogs and says, “Probiotics may be used when a dog is on antibiotics or even during an isolated diarrhea episode.”
If a dog’s breath is bad, it could mean their food isn’t right. Their digestive system could be rebelling. Then again, it could just be genes. If you’re sure your dog’s diet is good, add a handful of chopped parsley to your dog’s dinner to freshen breath.
If your poor pooch has suffered from a bout of diarrhea or vomiting, after you’ve diagnosed the culprit of the ailment, you’ll want to rehydrate your dog. Offer some flavorless, natural, electrolyte enhanced water - like something you might drink to cure a hangover. Pedialyte is recommended by some vets.
Treating a Bladder Infection at Home
Unless you’re a trained veterinary medical professional, never diagnose your dog on your own. See a vet, and discuss with him or her the following options.
Many holistic pet care practitioners will add a mixture of yogurt and apple cider vinegar to their dog’s daily pet food to resolve a urinary tract or bladder infection. This mixture is well regarded as a remedy, but could be tough on your dog’s stomach. If diarrhea or discomfort presents, reconsider going with an antibiotic. Other alternative treatments may include cranberry extract, taken in pill form.
Note of caution: Take care with your diagnosis. What at first might present as a bladder infection could be something more serious, like diabetes. Always be sure to be in touch with your veterinarian.
How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
Cleaning your dog’s ears is usually something the vet does during check ups. Save the forty dollar add-on and do it yourself. There are several natural ear cleansing products on the market. Be sure your ear solution is alcohol free, and use natural cotton pads.
For a homemade alternative to a purchased ear cleanser, Dr. Erica Mollica, DVM recommends mixing equal parts white vinegar and water, and using a natural cotton ball to remove debris. Synthetic “cotton” swabs might irritate the ear, so be sure to use natural ones. With your dampened cotton pad, wipe around the visible curlicue areas of the ear. Continue wiping till your pad comes out clean. This can be done as often as once a week.
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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.