Having a sick pet is never fun for anyone, especially when problems occur on the weekends or when you are traveling. However, there are many home remedies you can use to help keep your pets comfortable until you can reach your veterinarian. Many of these natural remedies can be used without resorting to medications that may have side effects.
1. Bladder Infections
For pets with recurrent bladder infections, cranberries can be very helpful. Cranberries contain a substance called proanthocyanidin, which inhibits bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. If bacteria cannot stick to the bladder wall they cannot cause infection. Cranberries also decrease the pH of the urine, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow. If your pet has bladder stones, they must be removed in order to keep your pet free from recurrent infections. Pets with bladder cancers will be prone to chronic infections and in most cases cranberries can be used to reduce recurrence.
2. Kennel Cough
Kennel cough and upper respiratory infections are very annoying to both the pet and the owner. As long as the pet is eating and drinking, no antibiotics are needed, as kennel cough is most commonly caused by a virus. The dry, honking, gagging cough can last for up to three weeks. Manuka honey can provide relief for a sore, scratchy throat. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral effects. Coconut oil has similar properties. Herbal tea of sage, lemon, licorice root, or peppermint can be added to water or food, helping to decrease symptoms and fight the virus.
Diarrhea that lasts less than a couple of days can be treated at home, unless it is bloody or profuse. Adding probiotics (good bacteria), pumpkin, slippery elm, or montmorillonite clay to a bland diet of boiled ground turkey and brown rice will usually solve the problem. Withhold food for at least 12 hours to allow the bowel to settle. Then start small meals every four to six hours using the bland mix. If your pet is vomiting or has no desire to eat or drink, consult your veterinarian.
4. Motion Sickness
Motion sickness can occur in pets, just as it can in people. Pets that have not been trained to ride comfortably in the car will be more susceptible to motion sickness. Signs of nausea include whining, pacing, drooling, and burping. Ground ginger works very well to sooth the stomach. Ginger tea or treats containing ginger should be given prior to travel. Peppermint will also work. Withhold food prior to travel or give only a small snack to settle the stomach. Homeopathic products like Homeopet’s Travel Anxiety or flower essences like Botanical Animal’s Safe Journey work well for many pets and can be used in addition to ginger and peppermint.
Spring and summer allergies commonly lead to scratching and chewing the skin until raw; creating sores called “hot spots”. These can quickly become infected. As soon as you see your pet chewing or scratching a raw spot, apply a cool compress made with chamomile tea, ground cucumbers, or fresh aloe. You can feed your pet fresh cucumber or melons, which are cooling and draining and will help decrease inflammation.
As always, consult your veterinarian before starting a natural remedy, and if your pet’s condition continues or worsens, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Dr. Judy Morgan is a nationally renowned author and veterinarian certified in acupuncture, food therapy, and chiropractic care for dogs, cats, and horses. A sought after speaker and blogger at both the local and national levels, she owns two award winning practices in New Jersey. Visit drjudymorgan.com for more information.