Q: Our veterinarians always tell us to come in to see them whenever our pets have a problem, but aren’t there some safe home remedies we could try first?
A: Fancy brand-name drugs and their generic equivalents are great but sometimes home remedies just as effective –– or even more so. Every veterinarian has his or her own favorites. Here are mine:
1: Borax powder. Got fleas? Try sprinkling Borax powder on your floors and vacuuming up the excess. This laundry detergent kills fleas –– without hurting your pets should they manage to get into it.
2: Dawn. Nothing cuts through grease like this product. Using a dash in combination with a cup of hydrogen peroxide and a tablespoon of baking powder to quell skunky odors.
3: Chamomile tea. In human medicine, chamomile tea is widely regarded as a useful home remedy for upset bellies. In pets we harness its disinfectant properties to treat simple rashes and minor irritations.
4: Epsom salts. When pet wounds and swellings inevitably arise, these salts are almost always helpful. That is, as long as your pet will sit still while you apply wet soaks to the affected area.
5: Oatmeal. If you’ve got an itchy pet willing to hang out in a bathtub, this is for you. Finely ground oatmeal can be stirred into a bath of warm water for a super-soothing and very inexpensive soak.
6: Petroleum jelly. It’s just as effective as any of those tubed products marketed for hairball control. Those are the same thing, they just happen to come flavored with malt, maple or poultry. If your cat hates the flavored stuff, feel free to try Vaseline instead. They may prefer it.
7: Furminator. Speaking of hairballs … nothing works better for preventing hairballs than a good brushing with this undercoat-loosening tool. It beats Vaseline.
8: Aquaphor. It’s great for crusty noses, peeling pads and scaly elbows. It’s also used for minor irritations and post-op incision care.
9: Canned pumpkin. For either easily constipated or diarrhea-prone dogs and cats, pumpkin works wonders. It’s a do-no-harm approach that anyone can try during the early stages of any gastrointestinal ailment.
As with all home remedies, asking your vet before embarking on any of these projects will often save you a lot of hard work and bring much better results –– faster. Remember, DIY is not always all its cut out to be. Approach with caution.
Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice at Sunset Animal Clinic in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com.
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