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Homemade Remedies For Pet Care

From greening my household cleaning supplies to choosing organic food to being mindful of ingredients in body care products, I try to shop thoughtfully and make the best purchasing decisions for my family and the planet’s health. That said, I recently discovered there’s one area I’ve erroneously overlooked – our dog.

Our big loveable Labrador Brophy is as loyal as he is energetic. He has always been the protective guard dog we needed and the cuddly playful pet we wanted. From morning through night, he has one eye on the whole family (and the other on his food bowl).

Recently though I have been wondering if I could have been paying better attention to him. Is it possible to green pet care? Are there less toxic (and perhaps less expensive) alternatives to conventional options for common problems like fleas, pet stains and seasonal allergies?

In hopes of learning a few homemade remedies for everyday pet problems, I asked around and learned a few tips and tricks from other pet owners. Here are a few everyday products that pull double duty around the house and your pet.

Note, always check with your pet’s veterinarian before treating your pet.

Baking soda: This all-purpose household item solves numerous pet problems. If you’re already using baking soda to freshen your fridge, carpet or trash cans, try a thin layer on the bottom of bird, rabbit and hamster cages too. Is your pet accident-prone? After an accident on a rug or carpet, scrub the area with club soda, and let dry. Then sprinkle the area with baking soda, and let it stand before vacuuming.

Nutritional yeast: Fans of nutritional yeast sprinkle it on their popcorn and stir it into their mashed potatoes, but it is also used to help keep pets’ coats healthy and makes them less tasty to fleas. The correct amount of yeast depends on the size of the dog, so seek guidance from your pet’s vet.

Essential oils: I heard from a few dog owners who swear by essential oils as nerve-calming remedies and anti-itch solutions. Like nutritional yeast, fleas don’t like the taste of some essential oils either.

But be careful, because some essential oils have been reported to be toxic to cats and dogs, so be sure to talk to your pet’s vet first to see which oils are best for your pet. Always remember that when essential oils are used, they must first be diluted into a carrier oil. I’m sure many savvy shoppers have other homemade remedies for pet care that helps them keep a leash on the cost of pet-care products.

What are your tips? I’d love to hear them.

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75 comments

Comments

Keith says …

Lotus Flower, brushing your cats teeth often will help. get a soft finger brush and pet toothpaste available at any pet supply store. and start brushing specially the gums.

Michelle says …

Janet, my parent's small dogs get urinary tract infections, too. Their vet recommended apple cider vinegar sprinkled on their food and they've had success with this method. The vet said if you can get them to drink cranberry juice (pure, not a cocktail), that will help too (just like with humans).

Bianca says …

Comb for fleas with vinegar/water solution. Helps repel fleas and condition skin. And vitamin C (we use rose hips) added to diet can help with kidney stone problems.

Connie says …

You need to be very careful with "Pet Care" as there are more pets then just dogs. Essential oils have been known to be toxic to cats, and when you say "pets" then talk about essential oils, you could be doing harm to the cats in the world out there if someone reads this and doesn't realize that what is OK for a dog isn't OK for a cat - just like garlic and many other things. http://essentialoilworld.com/essentialoilreviews/pet-health/essential-oil-safety-with-cats

Monique says …

I would not put this out there if I had not used these products and been impressed by their effectiveness, but if you are looking for natural/holistic products for your pet, go to: www.spiritessences.com and take a look at their product line. I will even share my 10% discount code: DADDYO. We have a cat that is in the last stages of inoperable mouth cancer and the 2 products I have used during her treatment and now preparation for departure have well and truly been amazing.

James says …

What about natural breath refesher? My little Jack Russell sometimes has terrible breath, anyone have suggestions? Thanks Jim

JT says …

James, get thee to a vet for a dental exam pronto. Bad breath is often a sign of advanced dental disease, which can be extremely painful. Think of the tooth aches you've had, now imagine them going on and on and on...

C. Bill says …

mix a bit of fresh parsley into their food every day.. this helps to freshen their breath and adds some much needed greens to the diet!!

Peggy says …

A great natural remedy for doggie "poop" & upset stomach problems is sweet potatoes. I usually keep a bag in the freezer since my dog is on a grain free diet and the only other natural alternative is rice. Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and can accumulate fluid in the bowels and normalize the "you know whats". BTW - really miss those Whole Dog biscuits & sure hope they come out with a grain free variety!

Karen Dinsmoor says …

James, could be dental but digestive problems will also cause bad breath. Research the pet food you are using, make sure there are no chemicals or roadkill in it. Also Probiotics and/or Enzymes are often a solution for digestive/bad breath problems.

Kathie says …

Janet, re: chronic UTIs. I do animal rescue and have come across this with both cats and dogs over the years. You give cranberry. Cats require much less and I always have to chop the pill up but a dog could handle. The ones I buy are at Walgreens mainly because I need to chop them for a cat too but start your dog on these and keep your dog on this (because your dog has chronic problems, for an occasional problem I would only treat for a montI). I do suggest however that the dog be taking her/his treatment with antibiotics at the same time because this will not get rid of the infection, it will keep them from coming back. I buy the 250 mg tablets and I give 1/4 for cats but a whole pill for dogs. Any other questions, just e-mail me at kats5dogs@aol.com

Dee Connors says …

what essential oils are considered toxic to pets?? and another tip, when your dog has the squirts, feed that sucker two table spoons of pumpkin puree. he/she will have normal stool within about 5 hours. i ALWAYS keep it in my pantry for my pups.

kathy says …

Cheryl,Thanks for the suggestion on Turmeric! I looked it up and it does the same for dogs, reduces the inflammation. I also read that it reduces and in some cases eliminates fatty tumors. My dog has a few of those! (he's a lab). I'll give it a try and post back if it works. It's also a blood thinner and he has a cracked nose. So I'm waiting until the nose is healed to give him the turmeric. Thanks everyone else for the tips as well! I'll try all of them.

Karen says …

#51 Kathy, make sure he has a grain free diet. Ask your vet about hemp oil it has a 3:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 supposed to be the best for the body, best to google and research it first. I used Acupuncture for my dogs arthritis pain, after 2nd treatment I didn't have to lift him down from the car, he jumped! (Good thing to, he was 70 lbs)The other thing you can do is massage and manipulate his joints gently to encourage fluid movement and lymph node drainage. One last thing, he has inflammation so the vet can recommend an anti-inflammatory supplement, maybe like turmeric and bromelain. Also probiotic's and enzymes may help.

Karen says …

Lori try Zymox Otic for ear infection. Look it up on amazon and read the reviews. I have used this for my dogs, worked well.

Barbara Smith says …

A great cure for urinary infections is a capsule of Cran Actin cranberry capsules in their food. I used to give one capsule for a 22 pound dog. My dog was paralyzed and prone to UTIs all the time, and this was a miracle. It also works for humans!!! Good luck.

Karen says …

Janet, not sure what kind of urinary tract problems you dog is having but cranberries usually work for UTI in people, may work for dogs. Also probiotics and/or enzymes is always good for digestive problems and don't forget to check into your dog food for chemical additives and roadkill... Asthma is often allergy related, I have asthma also and when I can get down LOT's of fresh water my asthma is better, also anti-histamines can help, sometimes asthma is triggered by allergy attacks. There are herbs,and homeopathic remedies that may work (or other modalities), but you need to get to a vet for treatment, asthma can be as life threatening in pets as it is in people. Good Luck!

Lotus Flower says …

Can anyone suggest some remedies for a cat with periodontal disease? We have been working on getting her teeth clean but the gums themselves are still quite red and one side is swollen (she doesn't appear to be in pain anymore though, thank goodness!).

lori says …

Does anyone know any natural remedies for chronic ear infections in labs? He is allergic to yeast. Thanks!

judy mayer says …

What natural products can help with ear inflammation from allergies???

MCR says …

There is a product called cedar-cide, made from the cedar shrub, not the tree. It is not only an insect repellant anti-itch spray and animal dip, but is a general all purpose insecticide. it is completely natural, you can spray the lawn, your shrubs, flowers, the house, yourself and your pets. while getting rid of harmful insects, like fleas, ticks, flys, and ants, it also kills the grubs in your lawn that attract moles. I have used it on everything and everyone in the house. It is effective when camping and other outdoor activities. Since it is hydrophilic,(water loving) it actually is more effective when it rains. All this and it does not harm the good biota-i.e. butterflies and bees. It does deter wasps and hornets from hanging around. It is highly concentrated and consequently, lasts a long time, since you must dilute it. You can find several on-line sites that sell this product so you can compare prices. I will warn you, it DOES NOT smell like the cedar chips or blocks that you put in your closet to deter moths, it has a very acrid odor, but it does dissipate fairly quickly. It is a highly effective, natural product that functions in several ways and I highly recommend it. I have not had to buy flea or tick medicine in the last three years, and I have not had to call in the pest control people to control the ants, spiders or other icky bugs either.

leewaysf says …

For your JRT, after the dental cleaning a few months, if your dogs breath returns, get a thorough check up. Mine had cancer and was not diagnosed. She was only 10.

Wild Pumpkin says …

Lotus Flower, please get your cat to the vet immediately. She may have a very serious disease called stomatitis. The gums are always inflamed and will become infected and she may stop eating completely due to the pain. Our boy had all his teeth removed and now is healthy and pain free. He eats pureed foods, wet food with warm water or dry food soaked in water or broth. He's happy and doing great!

Mary Lou says …

Bad breath is a sign that your dog needs to see the vet for a dental and oral exam. One pup I know had a congenital concave pouch in his mouth. It was filling with food debris. Dogs can acquire gum infections from bacteria possibly from snacks and soft food.

Patty says …

A great product that helps reduce plaque, tartar and bad breath is PlaqueOff. I use it on a daily basis and it really helps a pup's teeth & breath! As a precaution, it would be a good idea to have your dog's teeth checked for dental disease as this can be painful and the bacteria can migrate through the bloodstream to internal organs.

Mary says …

Rub some lavender oil in your palms, then on your dog's face is he/she is afraid of thunder & lightning. Works wonders!

Rebecca says …

Anyone with bad breath issues, red gums, dirty teeth, etc. as JT said before if you have any of these issues get your fur baby to the vet ASAP. Not only is this very painful but also very harmful to their health, causing heart, kidney & liver failure if left untreated.

Stephanie P. says …

@Janet, Ask your vet, but I give our dogs one tsp. of organic (it must be organic, I use Bragg brand) apple cider vinegar on their dog food daily, it's supposed to be great for their systems, also can be good for their skin. They don't mind the flavor at all, but maybe start with a few drops at first and build up if you think your dog would be adverse. I also rub warmed Coconut oil on their skin, and let it sit for a few hours, before bathing them.

Sharon Gugliotta says …

We rescued a beautiful dog from a private owner last year. It was a hunting dog (English Pointer) who had terrible breathe. We took him to the vet after I checked his teeth and on the right side near the back of his mouth was a strange looking calcium build-up looking greyish growth. Of course I thought "cancer". He was operated on with two weeks and it was an abcess , totally benign (except I lost a few pounds which didn't hurt either). The area is quite large due to the amount of tissue they needed to remove also as it was getting involved. Apparently, our dear Buddy, rammed a stick into the tissue around the teeth. We're still not sure. Buddy is now great, happy, and chasing birds and squirrels on an enclosed 3/4 acre which he can safety access from the house doggie door. His two sisters missed him but have made up for it. If your dog has bad breathe, a natural remedy I found in a very old vet book is---------regular fresh parsley, chopped and put on their dinner. Parsley grows great in a window box we put on the outer edge of our deck along with many other herbs (we have three large decks). Give it about 2-3 weeks when you first try it. It worked for our kids in three days.

Nancy says …

Lotus Flower, it sounds like your cat may be past the home remedy phase. When our cat had red gums, the vet prescribed an antibiotic ointment because mouth infections in cats can travel quickly to other organs. As we just learned with our cat on another issue, they are very good at hiding pain and illness, so I'm concerned about the swollen side of her face, so a trip to the vet is probably a good idea. Good luck!

Janet says …

Hi, Does anyone have any healthy and natural suggestions for the following? One of my dogs suffers 24/7 from urinary tract problems and the other small dog now has asthma. I have 4 dogs and I am always looking for good tips. Thank You, Janet

Keystone Lady says …

Dear Pamela 42, I don't have a cat. But I read in the pet plan (insurance) magazine, that if a cat is de-clawed it will begin to show the symptoms that you mentioned. Soiling in the wrong areas, tearing up the curtains, furniture and showing aggression. The soiled floor should be disinfected with a cleaner and a some white vinegar.

Keystone Lady says …

We all love our pets so much. They add joy and life to our lives - don't they? I like the Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, Cranberry tabs, fresh parsley, and sweet potato suggestions. I haven't tried the pumpkin filling remedy. I drink Bragg ACV with water, myself. When my dog gets soft stools (or worse), I give her a "re-set" and mix cooked rice in her food, decrease the amount I feed her, and eliminate the treats. She usually "re-sets" in a couple days. I will try the pumpkin remedy one day. Meanwhile, I need a solution to her eating too much grass. Maybe the fresh parsley in her food will help? God bless all of our pets and the pet parents who care for them.

Carol says …

My lab has always had ear problems and I have spent a lot on different medications. I started using a mixture of 1tsp. apple cider vinegar to 1/2 cup warm water. Works great for soaking her paws also. Apple cider vinegar kills yeast.

sea creature says …

I found a wonderful grain-free dog biscuit made with sweet potatoes and it's organic! The website is: www.wet.noses.com

Bunny says …

I agree with the canned pumpkin. Its great for any tummy troubles (nausea, diarrhea and constipation). I usually mix it with my pups food and feed him the whole can over 3-4 meals. If you got a picky pup, (like mine) who doesn't care for the pumpkin, I found that mixing it with tuna got mine eating it (although, it smell all that great to me). I always keep a can on hand.

Richard Herman says …

Lotus, For Dogs, Cats with gum inflamation. It will not be easy but try to get a REAL salt/lukewarm water solution in a syringe. Squirt it under the gums as best possible. Also Hylands, Cell Salt #12. Especially in Colo, where thankfully it is dry most of the time. It is good for, Skin, Hair, Nails, Joints and Nerve coatings. This also may help HIP Problems in lg Dogs. Great for People too. Just put it on their food 1-3 for a cat or small dog. More as the size increases. Do it daily for a week and slowly cut back to 1 - 2-4 times a week for a normal sized cat or small dog. More as you think best. As a normal sized Human I take 3-5 pills 3-4 Xs a week.

Jasmine says …

I used to have joint issues, but not arthritis,and my dog does not have any issued yet, but I use a product by NOW called joint support and I add it to my dogs raw food meals. In studying nutrition for myself I have learned that arthritis is acidic toxin settling into the weakest parts of the joints and causing inflamation. The blood is too acidic for proper elimination of such toxin by the body and an acid nuetralizer such as natural (aluminum free) baking soda or sodium bicarbinate can be used (mix a little in wet food)to assist with this problem. Hope this info helps.

D.K. Leland says …

Definitely lavender and lemon oils on the dog's collar and around the house to repel fleas; nutritional or brewer's yeast rubbed into their coats, and in their food to repel insects; sprinkle salt or diatomaceous earth on the floors as they will dehydrate fleas; apple cider vinegar and water for itchy spots; biodegradable poopy bags; gulpy refillable water bottle.

Dana says …

I have a lab she is 7 years old, she got cronic ear infections since she was a puppy, I was at the vet 3 times a year. I finally found a great vet that had me put our Bella on a grain free human diet for 2 months straight, we also used presripion ear drops again (but just the regular 7 days). However the difference is Bella has been ear infection free for 5 months. She eats only grain free food I buy at Costco. The mixture was chicken breast or thighs, white rice, pumpkin or sweet potato (cooked), oatmeal. All equal parts and all pre cooked. I fed her three times a day a two cup portion. Yes very time consuming but yet so worth it. Nothing like seeing your baby happy and ear infection free.

Pamela says …

My dog has a bad itchy place around her tail and above that area. Advice- please!!!???

Pamela says …

My cat started urinating outside of her cat litter box. She does #2 inside the box. She is peeing on the kitchen hardwood floor. What can I do 2 get her to use the box??? Also; is vinegar & water best 2 clean the floor & smell???

Natalie says …

My suggestion to everyone is that they look up holistic pet stores and also veterinarians. If you're in the nyc are WHISKERS on E.9th between 2nd and 3rd avenues is incredible. All holistic and the "old" guys that work there are insanely knowledgable. They take their time with you and explain everything. All you have to do is tell them what kind of pet and what the issue is. My rescue was given a couple of months left to live in early December due to thyroid cancer which spread to her lymph node(by traditional vet). Long story short is she's alive and kicking ass today! They've changed our lives. As far as the woman with the dog with asthma ...I know from my own issue with asthma that alot of chemicals makes it act up. Our animals are so close to the floor and ground too so whatever is in grass, dirt, floors, carpets etc...they're inhaling. Whiskers also has a list of recommendations for holistic veterinarians. At the very least check out an holistic pet store and get info for your specific issue there. Then you know exactly what to buy from whole foods.

Jan says …

Pamela, our 18 yr old kitty sisters recently starting doing the same! We think it has to do with a change of formula of Tidy Cat litter....in recent months we've noticed that it now smells a bit different and our girls DO NOT like it!!! :( Ugh! Our kitchen floor is tile; vinegar & water cleans the grout very well ...hardwood may be trickier--maybe baking soda to absorb moisture/odor if needed? If you find an answer to this unhappy situation, please repost to share! Thanks and best wishes! And thanks to all those who've shared tips here -- this is great!

Betty Bay says …

I'd try vitamin C powder in a raw egg for the cat's gums. If it has to have teeth cleaned, C helps before or after trauma stress,etc. Can get powdered C at whole foods for people or horse C at the vets.

SqueelOnWow says …

We know are pets are great sniffers, so please use a very small amount of safe non toxic essential oils; especially for cats who are usually turn off by perfumes/oils and can easily ingest when cleaning their coats and if your pet has allergies. A $1 can of plain pumpkin pie filling is great for diarrhea - a little bit of it works wonders. If you're pet has UTI, please have them checked by a Vet. It might be the high minerals in the cheap pet food that can turn into stones. Male cats and male dogs often get their urethra blocked and would need to have their private parts removed. My male cat had his surgery and is so happy. No more UTI's and painful stents, and he is now on an all raw chicken or turkey meat from http://www.darwinspet.com Dogs and Cats are carnivores (not herbivores)- the closest we can get them to nature; the less hospital bills.

SqueelOnWow says …

Also, if you're pet is on any immuno-suppressent meds like steriods or Atopica, I would not recommend raw meat or letting them wonder outside. keep them indoors until fully healed.

Vicki says …

Note: Tea Tree Oil is toxic to dogs, and even more so, to cats. Not sure if the shampoo products that include this oil are safe, but we won't use them. Our maltipoo got a hold of a Q-tip from the trash that had Tea Tree oil on it. She was lethargic and unable to use her back legs, so off to the vet we went. We suspected the tea tree oil, but the vet knew nothing of this and sent us home with a bill and no solution. After a few more hours and two bouts of diarrhea, she was well again, and after extensive searches on internet, we found it is indeed toxic, especially to cats which can result in death.

Josie P.( San Antonio) says …

I will try the cedar-cide for my little dog, we are having a big problem with fleas and ticks in our area. Hope it will work cause no matter how much I bath her and take out the fleas when we go out side we will bring (in our clothes) one or two into the house. I've spent hundreds of dollars treating my yard and still have fleas. We all have dogs in our neighborhood and can not get rid of these little suckers. I hope it works. Thanks for the info.

Sheryl Skoglund says …

Chronic ear infections will improve with olive oil and a capsule of garlic broken open mixed together and rubbed into ear.

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