You should always talk to your veterinarian when your dog is feeling less than their best, but a trip to the vet’s office isn’t always necessary. For minor health concerns, your veterinarian may recommend adding a few natural remedies to your repertoire, but be sure to ask your vet before starting any at-home treatments.
Natural remedies for bad breath
Even at its best, your dog’s breath probably isn’t all that appealing. Still, consistently terrible breath could indicate periodontal disease or another serious condition like diabetes. Regular preventative care like If symptoms are new or minor, consider trying these at-home remedies in addition to regular brushing and a healthy diet:
Apple cider vinegar
Fans of homeopathic healthcare already know that apple cider vinegar can have benefits ranging from improved digestion to reduced inflammation. It’s a great resource for dogs as well. Just a half teaspoon in your dog’s water bowl can cut plaque and leave their breath smelling fresher.
Sliced apples (without the skin) are a hydrating and healthy snack that can have added plaque-fighting benefits. Teething puppies particularly enjoy crunching on them. Vitamin-rich carrots are another great choice too.
Remedies for digestive issues
Most dogs will eat just about anything and this can sometimes leave them suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms of stomach upset. If you have reason to believe your dog has ingested something poisonous or otherwise harmful, call your veterinarian, a local emergency veterinary hospital, or if you’re a PetPartners policyholder, you can call the 24/7 vet helpline. For minor stomach upset, your veterinarian may advise you to administer one of the following natural treatments:
This autumn favorite is a great, natural treatment for indigestion all year round. It has a slew of other valuable nutrients as well, including immune-boosting vitamins A and C. Best of all, dogs love the taste! The American Kennel Club (AKC) even recommends adding a small amount of canned pumpkin to help smooth the transition between different types of food.
Like the human digestive system, our dog’s intestines depend on a healthy population of “good bacteria.” Probiotics are special supplements that keep these organisms functioning at peak efficiency. Pet parents are advised to select dog-specific probiotics rather than administering supplements designed for humans, and to only give
Remedies for dry, itchy skin in dogs
Excessive itching isn’t fun for dogs or dog lovers. While constant scratching may point to a serious underlying health problem, some bouts are purely seasonal or environmental. In those instances, discuss these at-home treatments with your vet:
Dogs with allergies, insect bites, or eczema could benefit from a brief massage with soothing coconut oil. Simply freeze or refrigerate the oil to make it into an easily-spreadable paste.
Oats are a popular ingredient in lotions, shampoos, and other beauty products for a reason. Mixed into a paste or a hot bath, they have a nearly instant soothing effect.
Flea and tick prevention with natural remedies
When it comes to flea and tick season, prevention is always preferable to treatment. Pests multiply quickly and can make you and your pet miserable. The Defender and DefenderPlus plans include reimbursement for preventative treatments, but concerned pet parents can also try these additional, natural precautions:
“Fleas,” PetMD notes, “are known to be repelled by citrus.” Scrubbing your dog’s fur with a small amount of orange or lemon juice can have naturally protective properties. Keep in mind, however, that you should only use juice from a freshly-squeezed fruit. Products containing orange or lemon oils may be toxic.
PetMD suggests that diluting oils like peppermint or rosemary in a spray bottle can help to ward off fleas and ticks. Don’t forget that certain oils may be toxic to your pet or lead to an allergic reaction. Consult with your vet to determine the right essential oils to use to avoid unexpected side effects.
A supplement, not a replacement
Natural remedies and homeopathic treatments are not a substitute for traditional pet care. Rather, they are potentially useful additions to your pet health arsenal. Make sure to consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet or introducing any natural remedies to their daily routine. Never default to an alternative option unless otherwise directed by your vet.