Pet Remedies

10 common pet ailments and natural remedies.

| May/June 1997

  • Terry cloth strips soaked with ­calen­dula tea and wrapped around Marley’s open sore can help the healing process.
  • Big Al investigates an herbal pet-care kit, including ear flushes stored in dark glass containers.

  • When applying an ear flush, be sure to insert the dropper at the opening to the ear canal, not down inside it. Gus ­enjoys the gentle massage that works the flush into every crevice.

As caregivers to our pets, we take great pride in wagging tails, thick fur, and sparkling eyes. Equal in intensity is our worry when they limp, cough, or scratch so hard that they draw blood. We may fret for a day before visiting the veterinarian. Often, we leave the vet’s office with an optimistic prognosis, a prescription for a salve or other remedy, and the expectation of a quick return to normalcy after a few days of home care.

Stocking a pet medicine chest with ingredients for a calendula compress, echinacea tea, and other preparations makes caring for your dog or cat’s minor ailments as easy as treating a child’s scraped knee with antiseptic and a Band-Aid. Herbal remedies may not cure your fretting, but they can help you—and your pet—feel better.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of ten common ailments, herbal remedies used by some veterinarians, and instructions for making them. However, any treatment should be used cautiously. Work with your veterinarian, the person who best knows your pet’s health condition. For more information, consult the reading list below or contact the American Veterinary Medical Association (1931 N. Meacham Rd., Ste. 100, Schaumberg, IL 60173-4360), which last year officially recognized the importance of botanical medicine and other complementary therapies in veterinary care.

Unless otherwise specified, use these recommended dosages for liquid preparations to be taken internally:

• 1/2 teaspoon three times daily for cats and dogs weighing less than 20 pounds;
• 1 teaspoon three times daily for dogs weighing between 20 and 40 pounds;
• 1 tablespoon three times daily for dogs weighing more than 40 pounds.

Tender paws

Dogs and cats have protective pads on their toes, but they still can pick up thorns, burrs, or other foreign objects. If your pet is limping, examine its paws. If you can see a foreign object embedded, pull it out with tweezers. (If it’s deeply embedded, bathe the paw several times a day in a warm solution of 1 teaspoon salt in a cup of water to draw the object to the surface so that you can remove it.)

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