Many health problems of domestic animals – like their owners – can be treated effectively with herbal and homeopathic remedies. Large and small animals respond well to a wide range of remedies and therapies, although if they are really sick it is usually easier to get them to take homeopathics, rather than dried or powdered herbs. Whether you use herbal and/or homeopathic remedies will depend upon the circumstances.
An animal’s skin, just like the skin of a human, is an indicator of health. The skin forms a barrier between the inside and outside; it reflects what is going on inside the body and can also indicate adverse climatic and other exterior conditions. The condition of the skin is particularly indicative of liver and kidney imbalances. For instance, if the liver/gall bladder system is not working properly, bile can stagnate and accumulate in the skin, and the skin will become yellow and develop photosenstivity. Kidney problems may result in dehydration; the skin will lose its elasticity, the animal will become stressed and the hair coat will lose its shine.
Skin problems can also be caused by stress, food additives, chemicals and preservatives in the diet, environmental factors such as ultraviolet light, radiation, burns, frostbite, chemicals and by various metabolic disorders such as diabetes and hypothyroidism.
The best way to help keep your pet healthy is to give them a natural, whole food diet, especially if you add a good quality herbal supplement for added vitamins and minerals. In this way your pet will have an optimally functioning immune system, with strong bones, and a good digestion. Commercial cat and dog food are the cause of many allergies, and skin problems will often clear up simply by changing the animal’s diet. if your animal has a persistent problem that does not respond to dietary changes and herbal supplementation, look at the immediate environment,and have the animal checked for functional disorders.
Allergies, too, can be caused by a wide variety of things and create a lot of stress to animal and owner alike. Allergies can result in symptoms such as itching, redness, heat, hair loss, inflammation in and around the ear, blisters between the toes, increases thirst, dry and weeping skin rashes, itchy red bumps and spots, lethargy, and discharges from the nose or eyes.
If your animal is showing signs of allergic response, and a faulty diet is not the cause, the next thing to look at is flea control, since a sensitivity to fleas can manifest many of the symptoms given above. If fleas are a problem, add some brewer’s yeast and a vitamin B capsule to the daily meal. In most cases, fleas can be deterred effectively by spraying the animal’s coat with a dilute solution (8 drops of each per litre of water), of the essential oils of cedar, pennyroyal, eucalyptus and lavender. For ongoing control, make a lining for the animal’s bed from an old pillow filled with cedar wood chips. The warmth from the sleeping animal will release the volatile oils from the cedar and impregnate it’s coat, keeping fleas out.
Bacteria, fungi and viruses are also a common cause of skin rashes, and may indicate that the animal’s immune system is out of balance. Herbs such as astragalus can be helpful here. Topical balms and salves can be very helpful for these and other skin rashes, especially those containing healing, soothing herbs such as aloe, comfrey and calendula, with antimicrobial essential oils such as lavender and tea tree. Be sure to clip the fur or hair away from the affected area before applying the remedy. For puppies with a skin rash, try a blackberry leaf wash. If the rash does not respond to this right away, add some red clover and elder flower to the wash.
Homeopathic remedies can also be very useful for certain skin conditions and animals generally respond well and quickly to them. There are no set formulas for dosages but a good guideline is to work with the dosages given to children, based upon weight.
The homeopathic dosage of pellets for dogs or cats is one to three daily, depending upon weight; and the dosage for liquid tinctures for dogs is 5 to 10 drops daily, again depending upon weight. Avoid giving tinctures to cats unless they are made with glycerine. The following homeopathic are useful for treating allergy-related skin problems:
- *Rhus Tox for itchy skin, before spots and bumps appear.
- *Antimonum crudum for face and ear itching.
- *Thalium acctne??? to promote hair growth.
- *Alloplovet??? to boost endocrine system and for baldness.
- *Nux vomica to detoxify.
- *Kali phos for itching.
- *Nat mur for dogs with a thryroid imbalance and a dull coat.
- *Arnica montana to settle animal down if stressed from itching and scratching.
Perhaps one of the gentlest and most effective remedies of all for animals are the flower essence remedies. They help to balance emotional energies and are surely a much better treatment for depression than prozac for dogs! For all forms of shock and trauma, the Bach flower remedy called Rescue Remedy is effective, safe and works quickly. Just add a couple of drops to the animal’s water.
When introducing pets to any change in diet or habits, take it slowly. Introduce herbs in small amounts at first, and talk to your pet about the changes you are making. They do understand! If the problem does not clear up quickly, be sure to consult an herbal or homeopathic practitioner who specializes in animal care.