All of us have at one time or another seen our pet give themselves a minor injury, perhaps by cutting themselves on thorny undergrowth or by burning their snout trying to investigate a hot drink. In most cases, people will wait for the injury to disappear by itself or prove to be serious enough to warrant a visit to the vet. However, not taking action can lead to some serious consequences such as unnecessary discomfort for the dog or even a bacterial infection. Because of this, it may be necessary to give the dog some medications in order to help them recover in the short term, but many of these products may give owners reason to hesitate owing to their pharmaceutical origin. Instead, some people may prefer to use natural remedies to assist their pet. Luckily, there are many homeopathic products that are available both from retail stores and the average garden, making it easier than ever to provide quick and effective first aid in the event that your dog becomes ill.
Some of the most common injuries that will hamper a dog’s ability to live its life to the full are muscle strains and joint problems. These are usually incurred whilst the dog is out for a walk or playing, as the animal will be normally going from a relatively sedentary state in its owner’s house to doing exercise without much opportunity to stretch or warm up as a human would. Additionally, accidents due to loss of footing or slipping will commonly hurt the joints. Normally, the solution would be to provide the dog with an anti-inflammatory drug that has been specially formulated for canines, as this will help reduce any swelling and stiffness that may impede the animal’s ability to move or heal. However, for some owners, a natural alternative is required. It is here that substances such as turmeric can be brought into use, as these plant-based chemicals are renowned for their soothing properties. By mixing the powder into the dog’s food, you can easily persuade your pet to swallow it, leading to a fairly rapid reduction in swelling once it has been ingested. Another useful plant product is bromelain, which can be either eaten or mixed into a drink without too much effort. Both of these are available at most grocery stores and health food shops for a fairly small price, making it easy to deal with hurt joints or even some types of stings and bites.
One of the most annoying health problems that virtually all animals have the potential to suffer from is the development of allergies. Many people will start sniffing and sneezing in the spring and summer months due to the sudden appearance of pollen in the air, and the same is true for dogs. Pollen causes irritation because the dog’s body views the spores as a potential foreign pathogen that could harm the body, triggering an immune system response as a way to expel them and prevent what it views as a possible infection. However, whilst many pharmacies will stock commercial anti-histamines that suppress the immune system’s responses, there are perfectly viable alternatives that can be found in nature. Quercetin, is one of these remedies, and can be found in a surprisingly large number of fruits and vegetables, though not usually in a concentration large enough to be particularly powerful. Instead, it is usually rendered down to form concentrated pills that can be found in many health stores. And, despite being found in many plants that are commonly toxic to dogs, the chemical itself is perfectly harmless. Another, more easily found way to suppress the symptoms of allergies is to feed the dog elderberries (although only once they have been ripened and cooked, as they can otherwise prove quite poisonous).
Finally, something that is crucial to include in any first aid kit is a way to clean wounds. Hydrogen peroxide is especially useful for this, as it can destroy any bacteria that manage to make their way into a cut (though it can be quite painful). The chemical can also be used to induce vomiting in the event that the dog is poisoned, inducing a reaction that will cause a dog to expel the toxic contents of its stomach. Additionally, there are numerous natural sources of hydrogen peroxide, meaning that synthetic products are not the only option. Another good way to kill off bacteria is to use garlic, which is a great way to help the dog get over stomach infections and keep wounds free of contagion. Ginger can also be used to solve digestive issues as despite its strong taste, it has a calming effect on the tissues of the stomach, allowing the dog to keep its food down. Garlic and ginger are especially easy to administer, as they can be readily mixed into and disguised in the majority of foods and many dogs will in fact enjoy their taste.
Whilst the items listed above have been used for millennia to treat illnesses in both humans and animals, they may prove somewhat less potent than modern medications, meaning that serious problems should be referred to a vet whenever possible. Additionally, materials such as bandages and gauze can help provide care and slow down bleeding in the event of a serious emergency, allowing the dog to remain in relatively good shape until proper care can be provided. By combining common-sense medical items that should be in every first aid kit with natural materials, you can ensure that your dog is well-protected against the everyday injuries that, whilst minor, can otherwise become an unneeded source of worry.