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Discover 12 simple steps to improving your pet's well-being.
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Pet's First Aid Kit

First-aid-kit-pets

With Spring just around the corner we've put together a quick essential guide to what you should stock up on in your medicine cabinet to cover the basic health care needs for your four-legged buddy. 

Some of the most common illnesses you should have quick treatments on hand for are;

  • Bruising & Inflammation, Joint Pain Stiffness.
  • Bump/stye on the eye
  • Constipation, Diarrhoea, Vomiting
  • Hotspots
  • Flea Treatment, Tick Treatment, Worm Treatment
  • Minor Cuts/Wounds
  • Mosquito bites/ Bee Strings
  • Travel Sickness

Your pet's first aid kit should carry these items…

Worm Treatment

Worms can cause illness in affected cats and dogs, and in severe cases, this can lead to serious complications. Thankfully, it's simple to protect your pet against via a regular worming routine. Here's what you need to know about worms, and how to safeguard your pet against them.

Types of Worms
There are various worms, which will affect the type of treatment that is given by your pet's vet:

Roundworm: This type of worm commonly affects both cats and dogs and can potentially be spread to humans. If you come across spaghetti-like strands in your pet's poo or vomit, it is likely to indicate a roundworm infestation. 

Tapeworm: This type of worm is also common amongst both cats and dogs and will often go hand-in-hand with a flea infestation. This is because tapeworms are often picked up by consuming eggs laid by your pet nibbling their own fleas. If you spot small, rice-like 'grains' in your pet's poos, they may have picked up Dipilidium tapeworms.

The Symptoms of Worms
You may spot worms in your dog's poo and/or vomit, and around their anus, depending on the type of worm that has been picked up.

They'll not always be obvious symptoms, though, and those that do occur can be mistaken for other health problems. This includes weight loss, dry and coarse fur, diarrhoea, lethargy and weakness and an increased appetite. However, most affected pets look perfectly healthy and show no outward signs that anything is wrong.

In puppies, a serious worm infestation may be indicated by a distended abdomen.

Causes of Worms
Depending on the life cycle of the worm involved, pets can pick up worms from mother to nursing puppy/kitten, through infected faeces or eating infected wildlife or fleas. Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors are therefore more likely to pick up worms but worms can still affect indoor pets as well.

Prevention of Worms
Fortunately, it's relatively easy to protect your pet through a regular worming or worm-monitoring routine. As well as guarding against flea infestations, this will also significantly reduce the possibility that your pet will come into contact with tapeworm eggs (which can be carried by fleas).

It's also a good idea to sterilise your pet's food and water bowls on a regular basis to protect against the risk of infection. Use a pet-friendly disinfectant or white vinegar to do this as many 'human' disinfectants are not safe for use around pets.
Treatment of Worms
Speak to your vet, or arrange a Faecal Egg Count ('FEC',see below), if you suspect that your pet may be experiencing a worm infestation. They'll be able to determine which type of worm is the culprit so that the right treatment can be given. De-worming products will typically be prescribed to treat a worm infestation. For tapeworms, flea treatments will also be necessary to avoid a recurring issue.

Conventional wormers are normally in a tablet form and given every 3 months. Some of the main brands are Drontal plus, Milbemax and Ivermectins, although this can be detrimental to some breeds and can actually kill collies. 

Some owners use proprietary herbal products such as Diatomaceous Earth, Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic to help keep the gut worm free. Using an FEC regularly will guide you as to how effective your method is.

To try to reduce the number of pharmaceutical drugs given to your pet, new thinking is for owners to go the route of doing a faecal worm egg count (FEC) test every 2-3 months and then only worm if worms are found. This is a good holistic approach for your pet as they will suffer less long-term side-affects from constantly being exposed to pharmaceuticals.

When it comes to worming pregnant bitches, any form of treatment tends to be useless as the worms are general passed on after pregnancy. So, if you have to worm your pregnant bitch, worm them after the pups/kittends are born. 

Puppies
Worm pups with something like Drontal or Panacur at 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks, then monthly till they are 6 months or do a FEC test every 4 weeks and then worm as necessary. Alternatively you can do FECs every 2-4 weeks and only use a drug if you find worms.

Kittens
Kittens can be wormed as above, for pups, but obviously are usually smaller, so need less drug if you're dosing them.

Alternative remedies: 

Try our Happy Belly product that helps maintain balances in your pet's intestine to help fight invasions in the gut. It can be used on both cats and dogs and is given monthly. It may also be given to bitches in whelp & cats in kitten, puppies and kittens. It's a natural herbal recipe that doesn't adversely affect the sensitive balance of your pet's gut and is good in helping you pet build up resistance to worms.

Grapefruit seed extract is great in removing the mucus in the dog's digestive system and will kill the larvae as it makes it too acidic for the worms to stay. Scale up or down depending on the size of your dog but a 10kg would typically need 10-20 drops given in the food, twice a day for a fortnight.

Raw pumpkin seeds are also great in treating worms in dogs as they help to expel the worms, larvae, and eggs. They're also a good preventative treatment in stopping worms from occurring. Wash and grind about a cup of seeds and sprinkle on the food. You will roughly need a ½ teaspoon for every 10kg.

There are herbal alternatives to pharmaceuticals. All products, if you use drugs or herbs, should be used as little as possible, and in conjunction with an FEC.


Flea Treatment

Most dogs and cats can cope with some fleas but they do need to be treated to prevent infestation. In some cases, your dog or cat may have a flea allergy known as Flea Allergic Dermatitis - FAD. For those pets that suffer from FAD you must treat the allergy or always use a flea product as it can cause a lot of stress for your pet.

They are many products on the market to treat fleas but be aware that ALL flea products are forms of pesticides. They generally come in the forms of pipettes, sprays, tablets or a Scalibor collar but do not use these if they cause harm to your dog or cat.

To best way to check for fleas, is to get a wet or moist cotton wool pad, brush your pet's coat dust onto it and look for black specks that smear red. These specks are flea dirt and generally represent the presence of fleas on your pet.

Try to avoid using chemical based products for fleas on your pet, unless they actually get fleas. Also, regularly cleaning you pet's bed will help prevent infestations.

Alternative remedies: 

Try our Bye-Bye Bugs product. It's a very effective, natural flea, mite and tick repellent and is also great for skin and coat condition. 

Our Neem Shampoo and Neem Shield Spray also help combat fleas. (not suitable for cats becuase of the essential oil content).

Our Neem Powder is suitable as a flea treatment for cats as it doesn't contain any essential oils. It's also great for dogs and can be sprinkled on both your pet and their bed, rugs etc to help eliminate and prevent fleas.

Homemade Flea/Tick Spray (Not suitable for cats due to the oil content).

• Lemongrass oil – When formulated into a spray for pets, promotes a shiny, healthy coat, and helps repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
• Cinnamon oil – A versatile essential oil widely used in the household. It is an effective environmentally-friendly ingredient that helps deter mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and other pests from attacking your dog or cat.
• Rose Geranium oil - Rose geranium originated in Africa, where it has a long history of use in treating burns, and other skin disorders, as well as repelling insects.
• Sesame oil – A rich, almost odorless oil derived from tiny sesame seeds. When combined with other essential oils, it helps protect against pests and promotes the health of your pet's skin and coat. (not suitable for cats if mixed with essential oils).
• Castor oil – Castor oil has been used for years by veterinarians. When combined with other oils, helps to repel a variety of pests.

-Take 5ml of Sesame oil and add to 5ml of Castor oil. Add to 1 tablespoon of vodka (as a solvent to both oil and water to allow mixing) in a 500ml plant spray bottle.
-Add 20 drops of each of the oils of Lemongrass, Cinnamon and Rose Geranium. Shake for 1 minute. 
-Add spring water until the container is almost full. Shake for 1 minute. Attach sprayer and spray your dog. 

Try on a small area first to ensure they have no hypersensitivities to the ingredients. Apply the spray as necessary. It can be used in high flea/tick areas daily. If you're lucky enough not to need that much cover, spraying once or twice a week. 

The preparation will keep for 2 weeks. Make small amounts if you have a small dog.


Tick Treatment

Tick are normally sitting on the tips of grass waiting for your dog or cat to come along so they can latch onto their coat, crawl towards their skin and then burrow mouthparts into your pet to suck their blood, (they're mini vampires!) then they swell up on a belly full of blood and drop off after around 2 – 5 days.

Ticks can carry potentially harming viruses known as tick-borne diseases, but usually, they are pretty harmless. Our best advice is to try to prevent any ticks from attaching, but don't worry too much if they get through occasionally. 

Ticks should never be removed from just pulling them out directly. You can use a tick remover tool or dab them and the surrounding area with Vaseline. This will cause them to fall off within a few hours.

Treatments can be via a Scalibor collar and there are pipettes which are anti-tick that you apply to the scruff of the neck. These products often work well, but you have to remember that you are applying a pesticide to your pet; a pesticide that can transfer to you, your family, your home and the environment where it can affect insects and the ecological balance. 


Alternative Remedies:

Try our Bye-Bye Bugs product. It's a very effective, natural flea, mite and tick repellent and is also great for skin and coat condition. It's a natural product so will need upto 6 weeks to work but it's very effective and has no side-effects for your pet. It can be used on both dogs and cats. Puppies from 12 weeks and kittens from 6 months.

You can also try make a home rinse. Combine these four herbs - lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus). Make a big pot of tea. Leave to brew and cool and wash or dab down your pet with the mixture and let it naturally dry into their fur. This is good for both cats and dogs and should be re-applied every two or three days depending. 


Hotspots Treatment

Hotpots are more common in dogs. They often appear overnight and are ALWAYS due to an itch or pain. The most common cause for itching is an allergy to food. The most common cause of pain that causes hotspots is ear infection, tooth ache or anal gland infection. A flea infestation can cause your dog to chew hotspots, too.

They usually flare up around the rump or ears. If there is a flare up around the rump do a check for fleas or check your pet's anal glands as they can often be a source of irritation if the glands aren't cleaning themselves efficiently when your pet is excreting its poo. Your vet will be able to fix this problem relatively easily.

If the hotspots are around the ear, check the ear itself for wax or infection issues. Smelling them is a good first start. If this is difficult, nip to your vet who will be able to examine them thoroughly and guide you. Underlying tooth problems like abscesses, infection, inflammation or cracked teeth are painful. Dogs and cats will often show this by scratching the area. Too much scratching, if the cause of the pain is not eliminated, can cause a hotspot.

Once you've found the cause of the issue and treated it, clip (use scissors or a clipper to take hair back at least 2cm from the edges of the wound) and clean the hotspot area with saline/hibiscrub equivalent (a 1% hibiscrub solution is very useful. Make sure you wash off the hibiscrub as it can irritate skin). Do not leave neat disinfectant, like hibiscrub or similar, on the skin. 

A proprietary wound powder is very useful to dry the wound and speed healing. You may need to use an Elizabethan collar/lampshade to stop your pet chewing/rubbing the area while it heals) Repeat every day as necessary. 

Some hotspots need antibiotics. Your vet will help you if you're not making progress quickly. The mildest treatment is a cream containing antibiotics and a steroid. The more aggressive treatment is to give antibiotics and steroid by injection and/or tablets. 


Alternative Remedies:

Merc sol alternating with Graphities hourly for 8 hours. A 200c potency for both is essential as these are the most aggressive potencies that we need in acute situations like this. If you're not making rapid good progress, re-assess the situation and see the vet if necessary. 

An alternative to using Hibiscrub would be to make up your own gentle cleansing solution or use coconut oil, neat.

Cleansing solution
Add 10 drops of Lavender essential oil to 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar (preferably with 'the mother'). Dilute to 200ml. Apply to wounds with a mister/spray or cotton wool. 
Repeat 4 x daily. Stop after 1-2 days to allow the wound to dry and heal. Always treat the underlying condition. Seek veterinary advice if your pet is distressed. Not suitable for cats due to the essential oil content.

Honey is very very useful for wounds and hotspots. The only trouble is, it's very sticky and dogs love to eat it, so its use is more limited. Try doing a wound dressings incorporating honey as they are a great alternative to using topical drugs on wounds.


Mosquito Bites/Bees stings

If you're pet happens to be unfortunate enough to get a bee sting or mosquito bit, some of the simplest holistic ways to treat it and help alleviate the discomfort is using Witch hazel, a water distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Hamamelis virginiana plant. It's a well-known remedy for soothing skin. It can be found at most drug and health stores. This is something known for its ability to help with the itch and inflammation of bites, stings, or other minor skin oddities. A few dabs on irritated spots should help relieve some itching and burning as well as reduce inflammation.


Alternative remedies:

Another alternative is to use essential oils (Not suitable for cats) for insect bites and stings. We recommend lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, and thyme. Note that thyme, lavender, and peppermint also have insect repellent qualities as well.

While peppermint is cooling, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), and calendula (Calendula officinalis) offer more soothing relief from bites and stings. Both chamomile and calendula have been shown to reduce inflammation and encourage healing. 

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil can be applied neat directly to mosquito bites. For large areas of bites, we recommend a concoction of 1 cup cider vinegar or the juice to two lemons plus 10 drops of lavender and 5 drops of thyme added to a bath, followed by the application of lavender or a lavender/eucalyptus/thyme/lemongrass blend in a vegetable carrier oil like avocado, almond or coconut oil. 

Whenever you're using any new product, be it from the pharmacy, online or essential oils you use for the family, always try a small patch test on your dog first. Some dogs, like some people just have sensitivities to some oils, that's all there is to it. You can't tell who's going to react to what, so best to be cautious initially. 

Our best advice is to try your new potions on your pet before they get ill, so you're not experimenting when they're feeling sick already. 


Inflammation or bruising

Make sure you know why there is swelling and pain in the area – if there are broken bones or infection, just treating the soreness and swelling is missing the most important thing. If in doubt, see your vet.

A basic dog/cat injury overview for home treatment is this...
1. If your pet hurt his leg/back/neck/tail, take him straight to the vet for any injury that might be serious.
2. Treat acute, inflamed injuries with cold. Treat chronic injuries with heat. Always discuss treatments with your vet.
3. Keep your pet in top shape with regular massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, acupressure, or other therapies.
4. Use supplements, improved diet and herbs can speed tissue repair and reduce inflammation around your pet's injury.

The number one treatment for inflammation and bruising is initially rest for the first few days. However, it is important to get your pet moving a little, frequently during the day to ensure blood flow and reduce further swelling and stiffness. If in doubt, your local vet will be able to guide you.

The number one remedy for inflammation and bruising is homeopathic Arnica at a 30c or a 200c potency. Dose four times daily for the first four days. Some pharmacies stock Arnica creams that can be applied, but only to unbroken skin. 

Ice packs, just like they do for us, can be useful, but some dogs and cats just don't like the feel of them. See how you go with this. Use ice packs 2-3 times a day for the first 2-3 days.

Alternative remedies:

Rescue Remedy
Flower essences, such as the famous Bach Flower Remedies, are made by placing flowers in water, exposing them to sunlight, and bottling the result. These "energy" essences resemble homeopathic remedies but address emotional rather than physical symptoms.

The most famous product is Bach's Rescue Remedy, a blend of cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, rock rose, and star of Bethlehem essences. It has been given to people and animals, over many years since its discovery a century ago, to help them deal with shock, stress, and trauma. 

Flower essences can be applied full strength a few drops at a time, diluted with water, added to herbal teas or hydrosols, or added to drinking water. Diluted flower essences can be sprayed in the air around the dog. Full-strength or diluted essences can be applied to paw pads and abdomen, dropped on the tongue, massaged into gums, applied to the inside ear's bare skin, or placed on the nose.

The frequency of application matters more than quantity, and small amounts administered every hour or so can help any pet recover faster.

Herbs and Herbal Compresses for Pain Relief and Healing.
Many herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that help dogs with arthritis and sports injuries. Boswellia (Boswellia serratta), bupleurum (Bupleurum spp.), cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), devil's claw root (Harpagophytum procumbens), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), ginger (Zingiber officinale), turmeric (Curcuma longa), and yucca (Yucca baccata) have all been used to relieve joint pain and increase canine mobility and range of motion.

Most herbalists recommend short "courses" of herbs, such as five days on and two days off, to monitor the animal's response, adjust dosage, or switch from one herb to another. Be careful with cats as they can't allows take certain herbs such as bupleurum, yucca and cayenne. Consult with your herbalist to determine a good course.

For the treatment of sprains, pulled leg muscles, and other acute injuries, Juliette de Bairacli Levy of Natural Rearing recommends rest and the application of wraps soaked in cold water and vinegar.

"The herbal remedies are comfrey or mallow," she says. "Make a standard infusion of either herb and bathe the injured area before applying bandages." A standard infusion is made by covering 1 or 2 teaspoons dried herb or 1 or 2 tablespoons fresh herb with 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let stand.

To make a cold compress for acute injuries and areas of inflammation, let the tea stand until cool, strain, add a tablespoon or two of raw cider vinegar if desired, then refrigerate or place in the freezer until cold. If you're in a hurry, brew a double-strength tea and add ice cubes to cool it. Soak a small towel or washcloth, wring just enough to stop dripping, apply to the affected area, and hold in place. After a few minutes, soak the cloth again and reapply. Replace the compress as needed to keep the area cold for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the treatment every two to four hours.

Peppermint is a cooling herb with pain-relieving properties; cold peppermint tea makes an effective compress for acute injuries.

Hot herbal compresses are called fomentations. For chronic pain and injuries that don't present swelling or inflammation, let freshly brewed or reheated tea stand until it's comfortably hot, not scalding, then strain and apply as described above. As soon as the fomentation cools, soak the cloth again and reapply. Continue warming the area for 10 to 15 minutes and repeat every two to four hours.

Cayenne is a warming herb with pain-relieving properties, especially if applied regularly, so cayenne added to any herbal tea works well as a fomentation. Just be careful not to touch your eyes or your dog's eyes or mucous membranes with cayenne. If you do, apply any vegetable oil to remove it as water won't wash away capsaicin (cayenne's irritating ingredient).


Minor Cuts / wounds

We're often asked about minor cuts and wounds. One of the most common and important questions is whether to take your pet to the vet. Our rule of thumb is 'if you would not go to the doctor with a wound like that on YOU, then you may not need to go to the vet with your pet's. If in doubt, get it checked, though.

Saying that, dogs and cats are getting minor cuts all the time, so what can we do at home?
The answer is 'as little as possible'. The more you focus on a wound, bring their attention to the area and fuss over it, the more they will over-lick and turn a small wound into a big problem.

Inspect, clean and clip all wounds to stop coat hair falling into it, introducing infection. If you are able, do nothing else. If the wound is healing itself, let it. Less is definitely more when nursing small wounds. Your dog or cat will want to clean the wound. This is fine initially, but you'll need to do something to protect it if this cleaning/grooming of the area is excessive. Don't be afraid to smell the wound as this can be a good first indication of whether the wound is healing or becoming infected.

Alternative remedies: 

If your pet is paying too much attention to the wound, you may need to dress it to allow it time to heal without prolonged licking. Make a dressings containing honey, these should be in everyone's first aid kits, we think. Honey from your cupboard (without toast crumbs or butter streaks please) can be placed directly on small wounds, but its messy and dogs love it, cats hate it, but both will lick it like mad given half a chance. Watch your patient!

Keeping the wound clean and dry is the key. Change dressings daily initially. As things improve you can reduce this to every 2-3 days. Beware – you can't see what's going on beneath a dressing until you take it off. You don't want any unpleasant surprises. Diligence with dressings always pays off.

You can add 1-2 drops of lavender to honey to enhance its healing and antibacterial qualities (not suitable for cats with oils added). Wash honey off daily and re-apply. At some point, usually after 2-3 days, the wound will need to be dry to heal. Wound powders are really useful here. Dogs and cats will lick at wound powders, though, so you may have to dress, but sometimes light, breathable dressings are sufficient.

Calendula 200c given twice daily until the wound is healed can speed things up nicely. 

Make sure you give any homeopathics a few hours outside of feeding times. 


Travel Sickness

Vomiting on travel is not fun. Only a proportion of dogs and cats do it. Puppies often will, but they'll grow out of it. 

There are some simple remedies to try. The simplest is Ginger.

Ginger, give your pup a ginger biscuit before travel. The stronger the ginger, the better. Alternatively you can get their favourite treat and dip into ginger powder. You can feed fresh raw ginger, too, but many dogs don't like it as this is strong.

If your dog travels a lot and always feels nauseous, then putting ginger in their food can work. For a 20kg dog, add ¼ tsp to each meal. Increase for bigger dogs, reduce for smallies.

Homeopathy for Travel 

Talk to your homeopathic pharmacy about getting the following mixture:
Borax, Petroleum and Cocculus at a 30c potency (try in 200c if you get a result, but not strong enough). Dose once or twice before travel and sometimes, on long journeys, give a dose half way. Good for children, too! Again, most young animals grow out of their motion sickness.

Pendants and Bracelets
There are a number of these for travel sickness for humans and animals. We think that if you're not having luck with the suggestions above, these would be worth a go. They are marketed under names such as QueasyBeads, Zero Point Pendant and some people swear by Malachite crystals.

Human Anti-nausea Travel Medicines
Some of these products can be used. Check on local availability and ask your vet, depending on what you can get hold of. Make sure any products are human grade and suitable for pets.


Joint Pain/Stiffness

There are two types of joint pain – acute (sprains and injuries) and chronic (arthritis, tendonitis and synovitis). All joint pain will make the joint stiff and difficult to move. This is the idea. The body knows that injured tissue heals best, initially with rest, so it invented pain, a very long time ago, to ensure we rest.

Acute Joint Pain
Check with your vet to make sure you're not missing a minor fracture or deep injury. Once you're sure you're just dealing with a minor joint injury you can look at your options. 

Number one is rest. Allow the joint to rest as much as possible by confining cats and keeping dogs on leads on walks, and if bouncy in the house, cage rest. The more your patient uses the affected joint initially, the longer it will take to heal.

Treatments to speed up ioint pain healing
Homeopathic Ruta, Rhus tox and Arnica (RRA) 200c – combined into a single recipe should be with you at all times. This fantastic combination is used from the moment you see the injury, dosing every 5 minutes initially for six doses. Then, as you see improvement you can reduce dosing to hourly, then dosing through the day 2-3 times. Stop dosing as soon as you see resolution.

Arnica cream/ointment can be applied to joints.

Ice packs/frozen peas on the affected joint can ease discomfort and reduce that initial pain. Some dogs and most cats just don't like it. You have been warned!

Herbal Boswellia, Willow or Devil's Claw can be used safely. Source from a reputable supplier or herbalist. All animals products will have dosage information. These herbal products are very safe to use in the short terms for the first 1-2 weeks but discontinue if there is obvious gastro-intestinal effects, which happens rarely, but it does happen.

Any significant injury can have a distorting effect on the musculo-skeletal system. See your Canine Chiropractor or Osteopath once the initial swelling has subsided. They will be a useful resource and will have tips tailor-made for your pet.

Chronic Joint pain
Joint pain that lasts more than a few weeks is called 'chronic'. This doesn't mean it's terrible, it just says that its not 'acute', the sudden type.

Chronic joint pain is usually due to a slow healing acute injury to the joint, inflammation (arthritis – '-arth' meaning joint, itis - meaning inflammation) or sometimes we see long standing joint pain because there are problems elsewhere in the body.

The approach is similar to acute joint pain, but can be less intense. Rest is important, but you cannot keep the patient completely immobile for weeks on end, so one has to balance movement/physiotherapy with rest. Seeing your local body worker (chiropractor, osteopath, physiotherapiet of hydrotherapist) is essential, we think. 

Also allowing your pet to swim in a heated pool or when its warmer, (so long as it's not too cold) can help with the relieving some of the pain in your pet whilst allowing them the freedom of movement, plus it's fun. Yes even for cats although they need some time and care to get used to pool activity.

Homeopathy
RRA 200c (see above) give twice daily if there is any heat or pain, can be useful. Sometimes, in really long-standing problems, cases will graduate to using Calc flour. 30c or 200c – twice daily, as with the RRA. Think of Calc flour. as being the grandfather of RRA, where things are long standing, stiff and range of motion is reduced. Make sure any homeopathy is given at least 20-30 minutes outside of the time your pet eats.

Herbs
Herbal Boswellia, Willow or Devil's Claw can be used safely, as with acute issues. Doses may be longer and you may have to give herbs a rest for a week or two – alternating treatments works well.

Drugs
Your vet is able to help to reduce inflammation and therefore pain by using Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAID). They are very effective, but some can irritate the stomach. If this is the case, stop using that NSAID, allow the gut to rest and try another type of NSAID, or go for a herbal option.

NSAIDs can, in the long-term, cause damage to the kidney and sometimes the gut. If your pet has issues with these organs, make sure your vet knows so they can select the best medicines.

If you are using NSAIDS long-term, consider using Milk Thistle and Dandelion preparations (human ones will do, dose a 30kg dog with the same dose as a 70kg human. If your dog is smaller or bigger divide or multiply the dose) to protect these vital organs from the long-term toxicity of these otherwise useful drugs.


Diarrhoea Treatment

Check out our poo guide here but generally anything ranked as score 0-3 are forms of diarrhoea.

One of the main causes of diarrhoea is Colitis which is an inflamed colon. The severity of this can be assessed by the amount of pain your pet is in, if there is blood and/or mucus in the poo.

Ofen, diarrhoea is brought on by your pet eating the wrong food. If you pet is bright then you can treat this at home. If you pet is appearing dull or listless then you'll need to get it checked out. Diarrhoea can cause dehydration either quickly or slowly depending on the severity and length of the diarrhoea so you'll need to keep an eye on this to ensure you pet stays well hydrated. A simple and quick test for hydration is loosely grabbing the skin between your pet's shoulder blades and seeing how quickly or slowly the skin moves back into place. The quicker it takes = good hydration. The slower it takes = poor hydration. If in doubt, check with you vet.

Chronic diarrhoea is where the diarrhoea is continuing for over 2 weeks. This definitely needs to be checked out, but some of the main causes for continued diarrhoea is the wrong type of food for your pet, dietary indiscretion, changes of diet or tidbits.

More serious cases may be that your pet has an infection of something like giardia or salmonella etc. If your pet has been checked out and no infection is found then typically swopping your pet over to a raw food diet will have a positive change.

Alternative remedies, if it's not an infection

Bland food such as cooked chicken, butternut squash (not rice as it has little to no nutrition and your pet needs to replace the nutrition it's lost to help its recovery). Do this for the duration of the diarrhoea and for about 3 days afterwards to ensure the digestive system has recovered. 

Many dogs are intolerant of chicken. If this is the case, consider using white fish or turkey. Bone broths of a meat based on those meats your dog can eat are good too, as they help replace nutrition and hydrate. Prebiotics and Probiotics can also help recovery.

Slippery elm.
Slippery elm is recommended for acute cases of diarrhea, as well as for conditions like colitis and stomach irritations. The herb helps these digestive ailments by reducing inflammation and lubricating the digestive tract with the help of the mucilage, or oily secretions that make up slippery elm. To treat sudden cases of diarrhea, you can also employ fasting, feed bland food and give probiotics along with slippery elm to ease symptoms.

Aloe vera can be useful to calm the gut, but can be expensive. We think it's a bit over-rated for diarrhoea recovery however it can be useful for the treatment of colitis.


Constipation

Constipation is where your pet is struggling or can't easily pass stool. The main causes are dehydration, too much bone in their diet, not enough fibre in their diet, or more seriously, the narrowing of the gut following surgery or infection or megacolon, where the last part of the gut becomes intractably distended. If this happens, the colon and rectum no longer become an efficient tube that ejects solid material at opportune times during the day, but just becomes a distended bag, where faeces just sits for days and weeks.

The main treatment for constipation is to treat the cause. This means looking at your pet's diet and making the changes necessary to improve his bowel and overall health; reducing bone to 5% from 10 or 15% can be the perfect answer in many cases. Alternatively, adding extra veg, to help the gut carry the boney sand/lumps through and out of the body can work wonders.

One of the first things to ensure in constipation, is that your pet is properly hydrated. Constipation can sometimes be a sign of dehydration – like trying to get dry, old toothpaste out of a tube, compared with a brand spanking new tube that delivers the perfect knob of dental paste.

Look at your pet's diet and if you know they've been eating an excess of bone or too little veg in their diet then make the necessary changes by reducing or increasing the amounts you're giving to your pet.

More serious and recurring instances of constipation can often be a sign that they are issues with the gut such as narrowing, this will need to be checked out by your vet as it may be an indication of early stages of more sinister disease processes.

Alternative remedies:

Feeding plenty of veg, sufficient bone daily and keeping your pet hydrated often eliminates this problem and that's all you need to do. It's all about balance, as with so much in nutrition.

Psyllium husk, a godsend to those with persistent, mild constipation, can be sprinkled on the diet. It is especially good for old cats and dogs where they are just getting a bit weak and a bit 'dry' and need a little gentle lubrication. 

As with all complaints, if you are unsure or problems are dragging on or more than you can manage, nip along to the vet for some help.


Vomiting

Vomiting, ejecting food from the upper small intestine or the stomach, is a more complicated issue to resolve than constipation in many cases. It can have many causes: 

• Gastritis - inflammation of stomach
• Gastro-enteritis - inflammation of stomach / gut
• Liver disease
• Pancreatitis
• Renal disease
• Foreign body in gut
• Poisoning
• Gorging

The list is endless, we're afraid…if in doubt, get your pet checked. Occasional vomiting is not such a big problem and it's ideal to look at your pet's diet or tidbits you've given to ascertain the cause as it tends to be food related.

If your pet vomits more frequently, then you'd really need to get them checked out for liver/kidney disease or other things that impact on the upper gut less directly.

Vomiting in morning - could be a sign of Bilious Vomiting Syndrome, where the stomach churns a little all night, milking bile from the upper gut, only to be launched at the floor when they wake in the morning. An easy and fail-safe treatment is to feed a full meal last thing before bed. It works a treat to resolve this issue!

Some dogs have 'hunger vomits, or hunger pukes' and the simple treatment for this is to feed you dog more frequently.

If vomiting is food related it may be that you need to change the diet over to raw or change the protein you're feeding, or both! Raw is best, of course, but making sure the appropriate protein is selected for that particular patient, is key.

Alternative remedies:

Herbs, food and supplements to help digestion/reduce vomiting:

Common natural remedies include the following:
• Baking soda and water
• Hemp Supplements
• Kefir
• Lavender Oil
• Catnip
• Ginger
• Peppermint
• Acidophilus Probiotic
• Slippery Elm

Baking Soda and Water - It's not the fanciest of remedies, but the simplicity of baking soda and water is exactly why it works. The bubbles can calm the stomach and help reduce bloating and feelings of nausea. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a half cup of water. Give your dog a few sips of this mixture every two hours or so.

Hemp Supplements - Many people go to their vets looking for what they can give their dog for nausea and vomiting. Hemp supplements have shown to reduce nausea and vomiting while offering a wide range of potential health benefits. Provide hemp supplements as recommended on the label.

Kefir - Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that, much like yogurt, offers beneficial probiotics, which are gut bacteria that can aid in digestion and general health. While normal cow's milk can potentially irritate your dog's intestinal tract, often leading to upset stomach, kefir can strengthen your pup's digestive system. 

You can buy kefir on its own (make sure its sugarfree and no artificial sweetners) or convert regular milk to kefir using kefir starter granules. Simply pour a half packet of the granules into a quart of organic, unpasteurized sheep, goat or cow's milk and leave overnight.

After your dog vomits, provide some kefir once an hour for about three hours. For small dogs, provide 1 to 2 teaspoons. Medium dogs can have up to 2 tablespoons, while larger dogs can have up to 4 tablespoons. Once your dog's tummy has been soothed by kefir, you can make it a regular part of his diet by adding up to 3 teaspoons of it to your dog's food. This can improve your dog's gut defences, potentially reducing the potential for nausea.


Lavender Oil  - In a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, researchers found that the ambient smell of lavender helped reduce over-excitement in dogs during travel. In the results, dogs exposed to the smell of lavender spent less time in an excitable state of moving, vocalizing and more time sitting and resting.

This can be a big help for dogs who get nauseous during car rides. Add a drop of lavender oil to your dog's collar, or soak a cotton ball in lavender oil and leave it in your dog's general vicinity.

Catnip - Known for providing cats with a distinct sense of euphoria, catnip isn't just for the felines. It can offer similar soothing, happy feelings for dogs, helping to calm upset stomachs. Create a simple catnip glycerin tincture by soaking catnip in filtered water and food-grade vegetable glycerin for a few weeks.

When your dog experiences nausea or vomiting, drop about 12 to 20 drops for every 20 pounds of your dog's weight into their food or water bowl.

Ginger - When you were a child, your mother may have prescribed some ginger ale to soothe your upset stomach. Ginger is a powerful root that can calm your upset stomach, among many other potential benefits. In dogs, it can reduce nausea and motion sickness and prevent bronchitis, heart disease, and colitis.

Ginger is available in capsules, ensuring calm, peaceful car rides, but consult your vet for dosage amounts. If you provide raw ginger, generally keep it to smaller amounts. Too much ginger can cause heartburn and actually lead to more upset stomach. Ginger is also available as an essential oil. You may also consider making or buying dog treats that contain ginger in them, which makes it much more scrumptious for your pup.

Dogs are also a big fan of ginger tea. Drop a teaspoon of ginger powder or 1 tablespoon of grated ginger into a pot with a half cup of coconut milk. Simmer for 10 minutes. Give your pup 1 to 3 teaspoons of the ginger tea ever 1 or 2 hours.

Peppermint - Peppermint is well known for helping to freshen the breath, which can be a big help itself if your dog's breath is smelling a little fishy. However, peppermint is also commonly used by humans to aid in digestion. It can help calm nausea and car sickness and regulate peristalsis to help fight symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

You can find peppermint tinctures for kids in health food stores or try the methods mentioned above to make a concentrated peppermint solution of your own. Follow the label and dose by body weight.

Thankfully, most dogs enjoy the taste of peppermint, so getting them to take it shouldn't be a problem. Try offering them a weak, diluted peppermint tea in a bowl. Make sure the tea is lukewarm or room temperature to avoid any burnt snouts. Avoid peppermint if your dog experiences acid reflux.

Acidophilus - Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic consisting of bacteria that naturally occurs in a dog's body, generally focused on the intestines. Along with easing nausea and issues with digestion, acidophilus can help to
• Improve your dog's immune system
• Provide a shinier coat
• Prevent shedding
• Eliminate bad breath and flatulence
• Counteract the side effects of strong antibiotics
• Relieve arthritic pain

Acidophilus is easily obtainable as a supplement from your local pet supply shop, though it can also be found in low fat and low sugar plain yogurt. A teaspoon of yogurt added to your dog's food can provide all the good bacteria it needs.

Supplements can also be mixed with food, but the dosage differs based on the number of live acidophilus organisms contained within the supplement. Most vets recommend a daily intake of 20 million to 500 million live organisms. Read the label and talk to your vet if you're not sure and make sure you source a good probiotic with live strains as they are not all created equally. Ideally select a probiotic that is suitable for you not a pet grade one.

Slippery Elm - Slippery elm, also known by its latin name Ulmus rubra, is a type of elm tree native to various parts of North America. It is available as a supplement for dogs and is something of a cure-all for digestive problems, including nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, and loose stools.

While you can find slippery elm in the form of a tablet or capsule, go for the loose powder form, which allows for easier dosage and modification. You can mix it with warm water, forming the slippery elm into a gelatinous consistency. From there, you can feed your dog the mixture alone or combine it with food. Thanks to its slightly sweet taste, your pup shouldn't have a problem consuming it either way.


Bump/Stye on the Eye 

A bump on dog/cat's eyelid may appear as a lump, growth or swelling on its surface or along its edges. Bumps stem from many causes; they may be bacterial, viral or fungal infections in which case the bumps clear up once the infection clears. Others may result from tumours that may require surgeries to eliminate. Below are various causes and how to identify them as well as home care and when to see a veterinarian.

Stye on the Eyelid
Also referred to as hordeolum, styes are as a result of bacterial infections and inflammation around the eyelid. These can appear as a single abscess or multiple ones which are accompanied by swelling along the margins of the eyelids. If they are painful, Hepar sulph 6c dosed three times daily for five days may be useful. If they are non-painful or are persistent, then Silica 30c twice daily for two weeks should be considered.

Chalazion
A chalazion could also cause a bump on the eyelid. This is almost similar to a stye. When a dog/cat has it, the Meibomian glands in the eye will at times get impacted and blocked. This results in swelling and even rupturing causing a release of oily secretions. The Hepar sulph and Silica remedies above can be used depending on whether the lump is painful or not.

Chalazion can be treated at home by applying a clean washcloth or cotton wool that has been soaked in warm water on the affected eyelid. Allow this to rest for about five minutes and repeat procedure three times. The warmth encourages drainage and thus reduces impaction.

Allergic Blepharitis
This is inflammation of the eyelid which is as a result of an allergic reaction. It happens when the eyelid gets exposed to allergens (pollen or bee-sting, for example) resulting in a rapid onset of symptoms that may include redness of the eyes and swollen bumps on the eyelid. 

Formation of bumps on the eyelid may also be as a result of general reaction to allergens in the body. The treatment should include administration of antihistamines. In some cases, bee-stings can be treated by using Apis mel or Ledum 200c - dose four times a day for 2 days. If no improvement quickly, see veterinary advice.

Bacterial, Fungal and Parasitic Blepharitis
This is inflammation of the eyelids resulting from bacterial or fungal infections and parasitic microorganisms. When the Meibomian glands get infected by bacteria, there may be abscesses on the eyelid margin. In case the condition affects puppies, it could become severe and result in severe eyelid and facial swelling. Again, Hepar and Silica can be considered.

Fungal blepharitis, on the other hand, could see formation of a ringworm bump on the eyelid. This, too, could cause inflammation in addition to the crusty lesions and hairless circular rings characteristic of ringworm infestation. See your veterinarian. Also consider Bacillinum 200c twice daily for 1-3 weeks for any fungal/ringworm infections anywhere on the body.

Parasitic blepharitis, on the other hand, occurs when sarcoptic or demodectic mange infest the eyelids. The mites result in formation of crusty lesions on the eyelids. When this occurs in puppies, it is usually isolated to the eyelids and face.

Getting rid of a bump on your dog/cat's eyelid resulting from any of the types of inflammation requires the elimination of the cause.

Sebaceous Cyst on the Eyelid
This is another kind of bump on the eyelid. Sebaceous cysts develop beneath the skin and have a semi-solid or fluid-filled sac appearance. The cysts may be as a result of blocked follicle opening, inadequate secretion of sebum, trauma, allergic reaction and swollen hair follicles as well as follicular inactivity. 

In most cases, these cysts are harmless and can be left alone, but do try Silica, as described above. However, in case it becomes infected or starts to develop into a significant bump suddenly, you must see a veterinarian. Infection mostly occurs after the cyst has ruptured leading to inflammation and itchiness.

Conjunctivitis
Also referred to as pink eye in pets, conjunctivitis is a common cause of swelling on the eyelids. It results from inflammation of the conjunctiva. It can be viral or bacterial. 

The conjunctiva is meant to be the first line of defence for the eye. The condition manifests as the eyelid lining tries to absorb infection-causing organisms and protect other eye structures. 

Viral conjunctivitis clears up on its own after a few days while bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibacterial eye drops or ointments. In addition to the swelling, the eyes will appear red, give a pus-like discharge and itch. 

Mild bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with Colloidal Silver solutions or a dilute Witchazel solution 2-3 times daily. Only treat conjunctivitis if you know there has been no damage to the cornea (surface of the eye).

Cuterebra Larvae

The Cuterebra fly is known to lay eggs on the margins of the eyelid. Once these eggs have hatched, a larval worm starts to grow beneath the skin. With time, a mass may develop around it appearing like a bump on the eyelid. There usually is a small hole on the surface of the bump through which the larva breathes. For this, see your veterinarian! 


Now that you've got the basics down and know the common signs and remedies, you can easily begin to react and treat any mild cases at home. 

Through having a few natural items on hand in your medicine cabinet and ensuring you pet is eating a healthy well-balanced natural diet you can alleviate some of the common illnesses that affect your pet.

We'd love to hear your feedback. What small things are you going to make sure is in your medicine cabinet so you can help your pet next time? LEAVE A COMMENT and feel free to share this with people you think will love it.


Natural lifestyle, naturally health, naturally thriving!!

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website and articles are based on the opinions of the people at Authentica. The information contained within is not intended to replace that of your qualified vets or intended as medical advice. We are sharing knowledge and information but in no way should this pertain you from seeking proper professional medical/veterinary advice. We encourage you to do your own research and make your own decisions on your pet's health in conjunction with your vet. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy of information. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements and those of your pet. If you become aware of any material on the website that you believe infringes your or any other person's copyright, please report this by email to info@authenticapets.com so we can immediately rectify the issue.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website and articles are based on the opinions of the people at Authentica. The information contained within is not intended to replace that of your qualified vets or intended as medical advice. We are sharing knowledge and information but in no way should this pertain you from seeking proper professional medical/veterinary advice. We encourage you to do your own research and make your own decisions on your pet's health in conjunction with your vet. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy of information. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements and those of your pet. If you become aware of any material on the website that you believe infringes your or any other person's copyright, please report this by email to info@authenticapets.com so we can immediately rectify the issue.

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