Your pet pug is itching and scratching. Your pet Siamese is caterwauling, giving you the evil eye. Even your pet gerbil’s ailing. But you don’t want to make a run to the pet store or pop in on your vet to get medicines for what could be everyday pet ailments. Or you want something on hand that will lessen the pain while you’re bundling up your pet to take to the vet (where you will drop at least $100).
But if you listen to Dr. Patty Khuly, you don’t have to leave home to help fix what ails your pets, if you have the right ingredients on hand for home remedies. In her “Fully Vetted” blog, the good doctor recommends her favorites.
And they sound pretty good. Here’s a summary of what they are.
- Epsom salts. If you pet has a wound or a swelling, and doesn’t mind wet stuff being swabbed on, Epsom salt soaks and hot packs are good and soothing. But this remedy is usually in addition to antibiotics and/or surgery, says Khuly.
- Chamomile tea. No, it’s not just for humans. It’s good for some skin ailments by killing yeast and bacteria, plus it’s soothing to the skin. Make a strong tea, put it in a spray bottle, leave it in the fridge overnight and then spray it, when needed, onto the irritated skin.
- Petroleum jelly. This is great for cats with hair balls or constipation. Put some on the cat’s paw; the cat’ll lick it, thereby ingesting it, and it’ll smooth the way of the contents of the cat’s intestines.
- Canned pumpkin. Cats and dogs with constipation or diarrhea will love this bright-orange mush. Feed it to the pets, and mild symptoms might disappear. For more severe, prolonged symptoms, take the pet to the vet, of course.
- Borax powder. Anti-flea medicines are a valued part of the war against fleas. But borax is a great supplementary weapon that’s almost non-toxic. Here’s what you do: Sprinkle powder on floors; the crystals will slay the offending fleas in a borax blitzkrieg.
- Oatmeal. This grain in the form of baby oatmeal cereal is good to add to a warm-water bath for a relaxing soak for pets with skin allergies, infections or just itches. This is assuming, of course, that your pet doesn’t flee at the sight of a water bath.
- Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda. This gets rid of (yikes!) anal gland odors. The recipe: 4 cups hydrogen peroxide and 1/3 cup baking soda and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid; mix together and put in a spray bottle, where it can be ready for action. Stinky pet backsides beware — a couple of sprays and say bye to the stink.
Ask your vet before you use these home remedies, says Khuly. And if symptoms look suspicious or last too long, make sure you consult the vet.