Herbal remedies have long been effective in treating human ailments. But they can be equally as efficient in treating your dog's problems, and there is a probably a garden full of them just outside your back door. But why use herbal remedies when we have modern medicine? Whilst modern medication has come a long way, antibiotics and a host of other drugs bring with them a world of side effects. Plus, too much use can negatively impact your dog’s health in the long term. Herbal remedies, on the other hand, can provide a safe and natural way to care for your dog. Improving the function of bodily organs and strengthening the immune system are just some of the positive impacts herbal remedies can have. Read on to gain a thorough understanding of how to create natural herbal remedies from home and learn which canine ailments they can be used for.
How to Select Herbs
The first step in making your herbal remedies is choosing the right herbs. This is a list of things to look out for and to avoid when you're out in the garden picking:
- Select fresh smelling and healthy looking green leaves. You want the freshest ingredients to ensure your remedy has the optimal effect.
- Avoid herbs with brown leaves or with bits missing. They are past their peak and may have already been breakfast, lunch and dinner for neighboring moths.
- Be sure to select herbs that haven’t been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides. You are probably exploring the herbal remedy route to avoid giving your dogs chemicals, so be sure the herbs you select are chemical-free.
- With dry herbs, avoid leaves that are too brittle. This is a sure sign they are too old and are lacking in their original goodness.
How to Prepare and Administer Your Herbs
Administering an herbal remedy to your dog is straightforward. Dr Pitcairn recommends either finely chopping the herbs and adding them to your dog’s food, or alternatively, infusing them with water and either adding the water to the food or putting it directly in your dog’s water bowl. For water infusion:
- Use approximately 1 teaspoon of dried herbs per cup of water or 1-2 tablespoons of fresh herbs per cup of water.
- Steep the herb in just below boiling hot water for 15 minutes, then strain the herb and allow to cool before giving to your dog.
It really is that straightforward to rustle up a herbal remedy for your dog. You don’t have to be Nigella Lawson or Supervet, you can make a difference just by following those simple steps.
Tips on Using the Right Remedy for the Right Ailment
So you can make a herbal remedy, but which herbal remedy should you use for what? The options for herbal remedies are seemingly endless, but a little homework and a talk with your vet will get you started.
For example, despite its colorful name, goldenseal can’t swim and it won’t turn you into a millionaire. But brew it into a tea and you have yourself an herb with powerful antibiotic properties.
Milk thistle is easy to get your hands on and is effective in improving liver function and protecting it from damage. These properties make it a useful remedy to drum up if your dog has recently been on medication that could have damaged the liver.
Ginger is also worth mentioning. Perhaps often overlooked in the human medicine cabinet, but it should not be in the dogs. Dogs have a habit of eating unpleasant items (I won’t go into examples) and ginger is brilliant for soothing an upset canine stomach.
Wrapping Up Herbal Remedies
Making your own herbal remedies can be simple if you follow the above mentioned steps. James Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy has highlighted the safe and natural response of herbal remedies to many naturally occurring canine ailments. For reassurances or questions, visit your local vet and ask for further guidance. But, you don’t always need to gamble with your dog’s wellbeing by giving them strong medication, sometimes the natural solution is in your own garden!