Many dog owners want home remedies to help care for simple problems their dog may have. Many pet parents prefer do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions over running to their veterinarian for simple dog problems.
Fancy brand-name drugs and their generic equivalents are great, but sometimes little works quite as well as a simple home remedy for your dog. Every veterinarian has his or her favorites DIY home remedies they have accumulated over the years of practice.
Here are my favorite DIY dog remedies, listed in alphabetical order:
#1 Borax powder
Got fleas? Want a solution that complements your standard medicated flea regimen without all the toxins your standard bug service lays down? Try sprinkling Borax powder on your floors and vacuuming up the excess.
This laundry detergent works wonders on fleas by poking holes in their crunchy insect exoskeletons and effectively dehydrating them – without hurting your dogs should they manage to get into it.
#2 Chamomile tea
In human medicine, chamomile tea is widely regarded as a useful home remedy for upset bellies. But the difficulties inherent in getting dogs to drink anything that's not simple water precludes its widespread application for belly aches in dogs. Perhaps that's why I've only ever used it for skin ailments. It's disinfectant properties shine when it comes to simple rashes and minor irritations – without the harshness that can reduce the work of their skin's own "happy" bacteria.
Here's my favorite approach: Make a strong chamomile tea, pour it into a clean store bought spray bottle and let it chill in the fridge. Then spray liberally onto red or raw skin for an immediate soothing effect – with no sting!
#3 Dawn Dishwashing Soap
Got a greasy mess on your dog? I hate to mention brand names but nothing cuts through grease like this product.
#4 Epsom salts
When dog wounds and swellings inevitably arise, Epsom salts are almost always helpful. That is, as long as your dog will sit still while you apply wet soaks to the affected area.
Epsom salt soaks and hot packs are almost always a great adjunct to antibiotics and surgical attention. Sometimes they can even do the job on their own – just don't skip the step where you ask your vet whether it's a good idea or not.
#5 Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a squirt of Dawn
I don't think much of hydrogen peroxide for cuts, wounds, dirty ears, and such. I much prefer the less harsh remedies I've mentioned above. Nonetheless, when combined with baking soda and a squirt of Dawn, it turns into one of the best home remedies ever!
Who wouldn't love a recipe that makes appalling odors begone? Here's how it's done:
Mix four cups of hydrogen peroxide with one-third cup baking soda and a small squirt of Dawn to make a spray-bottle solution capable of getting even the stench of anal glands off of dog butts and dirty scrubs, alike. It also works well on skunked dogs. In fact, that's how I first learned of this brilliant method. Nothing works as well on skunked fur and everything the skunked fur has touched (car seats included).
If you've got an itchy dog willing to hang out in a bathtub, this is for you. Finely ground oatmeal (either baby oatmeal cereal or regular rolled oats put through a blender or food processor) can be stirred into a bath of warm water for a super-soothing and very inexpensive soak.
Dogs with skin allergies and itchy superficial infections gain immediate relief with this approach. It's especially helpful for dogs with really itchy feet. Plus, it's 100% non-toxic and delicious too!
#7 Petroleum jelly
It's every bit as good as the more expensive brand name lubricants made specifically for cats with hairball problems or chronic constipation (though it's definitely not as delicious). A little dab on the paw or muzzle works. Cats will lick it off and ingest it, where it'll help lubricate the passage of intestinal contents.
It's also great for crusty noses, peeling pads and scaly elbows. But in these cases, I tend to prefer Aquaphor, a petroleum jelly-like product with extra oomph for superficial stuff along these lines.