Health

ALTERNATIVE and TRADITIONAL MEDICINE including  HOMOEOPATHY FOR THE IRISH WOLFHOUND.

Conventional medication typically applies chemical or biological agents to your dog’s body most commonly in the form of antibiotics and antiviral drugs. The drugs seem effective, as they suppress the dog’s illness symptoms, but the inherent defense mechanism of the animal is considerably weakened in the process. Although conventional medicine can remove the symptoms (for the time being at least), it does nothing at all to remove the predisposition of disease and the weakened immune system. In fact, such medicines weaken the system further, which predisposes it to more diseases.

Homeopathic remedies for dogs, however, strengthen the inherent immune system of the dog and let the body take care of the disease causing agents, and thereby overcome the disease. By doing so, two objectives are achieved. Firstly, the disease is cured very effectively, and at times rapidly, without any of the side effects of many conventional remedies. Secondly, as a further strengthening of the immune system has occurred, the predisposition of the dog to diseases is overcome which helps prevent their recurrence. The overall health benefit in the long run of homeopathic remedies is clear.

A large range of dog illnesses are amenable to homeopathic therapy. However, home remedies for dogs are best used to treat chronic ailments such as asthma, allergies, arthritis, chronic gastric and intestinal disorders, etc. Even in cases where there is no curative treatment, such as aggresive cancers, arthritis etc., homeopathic remedies are very effective in pain reduction (without any side effects), which in turn improves the dog’ quality of life.

As well as this, homeopathy remedies for dogs can be very effective in the treatment of acute injuries and ailments, such as bites and stings, and acute diarrhea etc. More often than not, a correctly selected homeopathic remedy works faster than any other conventional medicines. It should be noted that homeopathic medicine is completely safe and subject to strict governmental regualtion.

Alternative medicine for dogs is an important topic of study, considering all the information currently available on disease, natural healing and unwanted side effects of traditional medication. Alternative methods of healing such as herbal remedies, acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy can be used to replace traditional medicine, or can be used in conjunction to enhance its effects. Since the majority of alternative healing techniques are all natural, organic or require only mental or hands-on healing, they are safe to try for effectiveness on your dog, without fear of negative interaction with traditional drugs.

Vitamins and Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies are increasing in popularity and are therefore now readily available at local pet stores, online and even in your neighborhood grocery store. Vitamins, herbs and essential oils use natural and organic plants and substances that have a successful history of healing certain ailments, or preventing them entirely. While herbs and vitamins are very important to the overall health and well-being of your dog, you should be careful to research each substance before introducing it into your dog’s routine or diet. The natural chemicals of certain herbs or oils may be toxic to dogs, as they have their own unique physical and physiological makeup.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an Eastern philosophy that uses manipulation of life force energy to open up healing pathways. Acupuncture couples hands-on treatment with needles, laser or infrared lighting to identify blocked or clogged areas of the body. These blockages are then cleared using treatment to allow healing energy to regain normal flow, thus healing the pain, freeing the blockage or healing the disease. Practitioners believe that enhancing the flow of this energy will often surpass the simple healing of pain to reintroduce vibrancy, vitality and a sense of playfulness back into your dog’s life.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that has become more mainstream, but not necessarily for dogs. Going to the chiropractor can be effective to realign your dog’s spine, in turn alleviating pain and often re-strengthening muscles and reversing degeneration. Using chiropractic medicine can also enhance the nervous system by unblocking energy flow that sends communication between the dog’s body and brain. Chiropractic therapy can be successful at relieving localized pain, as well as enhancing the entire well-being of your dog.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that was discovered in the late 1700s. It encompasses the idea that ‘like heals like.’ In other words, natural substances that cause symptoms can also heal them by stimulating the immune system, suggesting that it produces the proper reaction to fight off disease and infection. With homeopathy, less focus is put upon the problem or diagnosis, and more upon the symptoms themselves. These symptoms are then stimulated by tiny amounts of a natural substance causing a similar reaction. The natural substance then replaces the disease, providing the immune system the strength to begin healing itself. Homeopathy is becoming an increasingly popular method of alternative medicine for dogs.

What is Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a distinct, comprehensive and deep healing system originally developed by Samuel Hahnemann about 200 years ago.

It is based on the principle of similars (“like cures like”), which means that a substance that can cause certain symptoms in a healthy body can cure similar symptoms in an unhealthy one.

Homeopathy for dogs aims to aid and stimulate the dog’s own defense and immune processes. It uses small doses of specially prepared (“potentized”), highly diluted remedies to set the body’s systems back in order and stimulate the body’s own energy toward a natural healing process.

Homeopathic remedies are derived from a variety of plants, animal materials and minerals. These remedies are prescribed to fit the needs of each individual person or animal, given in much smaller and less toxic doses than traditional medications, and are used for both prevention and treatment.

How is Homeopathy for Dogs Different from Conventional Dog Medication?

Conventional dog medication usually applies certain chemical or biological agents to our dog’s body in the form of antibiotics and antiviral drugs. These drugs work by suppressing the dog’s illness symptoms. During this process of symptom suppression, the dog’s inherent defence mechanism is weakened. Conventional medicine may make the symptoms go away (for the time being) but does nothing to remove the predisposition of disease and the weakness of immune system. Instead, it weakens the system further, predisposing it to more and frequent diseases.

Homeopathy for dogs, on the other hand, helps the dog’s body to overcome diseases by strengthening its inherent immune system and let the body take care of the disease causing agents. By doing so, two objectives are attained. First, the disease is cured effectively, and sometimes rapidly, without the side-effects of many conventional medicines. Secondly, as the immune system is further strengthened, the predisposition to diseases is overcome and their recurrence prevented. Thus there is overall health benefit in the long run.

Which do you think is better for the wellbeing of our dogs? For me, I give two thumbs up for homeopathy for do

Are Homeopathic Remedies Safe for My Dog?

Yes! They usually are. Homeopathic remedies are given in very diluted forms. They do not contain any chemicals or added colors in them. Moreover, since they work with the body’s immune system, not in spite of it, they usually do not cause adverse reactions.

However, this does not mean that homeopathy for dogs is totally harmless. Homeopathic remedies are harmless only when selected properly and used in moderate potencies for a limited period of time, or when used under the careful guidance of a holistic veterinarian.

What Kind of Dog Illnesses Can Be Treated by Homeopathy?

Almost all dog illnesses are amenable to homeopathic treatment. However, homeopathy for dogs is best used to treat chronic ailments – skin irritations, chronic gastric and intestinal disorders, asthma, allergies, arthritis, etc. Even in cases where curative treatment is not possible, such as advanced cases of arthritis, cancers etc., homeopathic remedies are effective in reducing pain (without causing side effects) and improving the animal’s quality of life.

In addition, homeopathy for dogs is very effective in the treatment of acute ailments and injuries, such as acute diarrhea, bleeding, bites and stings, etc. Very often, the action of a rightly selected homeopathic remedy is faster than any other medicines.

Diagnosing and Choosing a Remedy for My Dog

When you take your dog to a homeopathic vet for the first time, the vet usually asks you a lot of questions to find out as much as possible about the symptoms of your dog as well as about the dog himself (e.g. his temperament, food preferences, any recent behavioral changes, etc.) The discussion goes beyond the disease name, to the actual signs and symptoms experienced by the dog, as well as the possible causative and aggravating factors, and so on. This whole process of understanding the individual dog who is ill can take quite a while (especially in chronic ailments).

How Long Does it Take for a Homeopathic Remedy to Take Effect?

In some acute cases, such as swelling from a bee sting, the conditions will clear up rather fast. However, it takes much longer for chronic ailments to heal.

According to Dr. Pitcairn, “when a treatment is working, in the sense of health being recovered, an acute illness generally responds quickly (within a few minutes, a few hours or, at the longest, a day or two). Chronic illness, on the other hand, changes slowly. It often takes a couple of weeks or more to see a change for the better, and months, or even a year or two, for completerecovery.” (Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, p. 288)

When using homeopathic remedies or other natural remedies, we also have to pay attention to the “signs of progress”. Very often, after taking the remedies for the first time, the patient’s conditions will actually get worse before getting better.

But how can you tell whether your dog is actually healing or is just getting worse? This is what Dr. Pitcairn says, “If your dog has an increase of (usually) one symptom (diarrhea, for example) but, at the same time, seems to feel better overall, then the change is favorable. Equally important, a temporary healing increase in a symptom is almost always over quickly… In other words, although with a healing therapy some of the symptoms may temporarily worsen, this is brief and followed by definite improvement.” (p.289)

How Do I Administer Homeopathic Remedies to My Dog?

Remedies can be administered to your dog by either:

  • Dropping the pellets in his mouth; or
  • Dissolving them in a small amount of water; or
  • Grinding them into a powder that is poured into the mouth.
  • Also, please note the following:
  • Do not handle the pellets as they can easily be neutralized.
  • Do not mix remedies into foods.
  • Administer the remedies at least 45 minutes to one hour before feeding your dog.
  • Avoid other medications (especially allopathic medicines) while your dog is on homeopathic treatment. If you want to use homeopathic remedies in conjunction with herbal remedies, consult your holistic vet first.
  • Avoid vaccinations while your dog is on homeopathic treatment. Consult your homeopathic vet on this matter.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Aconitum Nappellus (Aconite)

The primary state we associate with Aconite is “fear”, such as fear of thunder and fireworks, or fear of being home alone.

“Suddenness” is another element that is common to Aconite conditions. This remedy is useful for sudden early onset of acute illness such as fever and colds. Physical symptoms that indicate this remedy tend to be intense and sudden (e.g. sudden fever, intense pain).

Aconite is therefore a very effective and useful homeopathic remedy for preventing shock in an emergency and can be life-supporting to your dog on the way to the vet.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Apis Mellifica (Apis)

This homeopathic remedy is made from honeybee vemon; therefore, any condition that resembles a response to a bee sting (such as swelling, itching, burning) can benefit from this remedy. Common examples of conditions include bee and insect bites, allergic reactions, reactions to vaccinations, hot spots, conjunctivitis, etc.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Arnica Montana (Arnica)

Arnica is one of the most useful homeopathic remedies for dogs. It is useful in almost any injury, especially for blunt traumas that result in bruising. A dog that needs Arnica is usually in great pain and does not want to be touched. The dog is also restless and does not seem to be able to find a comfortable place to lie down.

This remedy is also useful for older dogs that have chronic injuries or have over-exercised.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Arsenicum Album (Arsenicum)

Arsenicum is useful for dogs with many acute conditions but mainly for diarrhea and vomiting. Dogs needing this remedy have symptoms that are rather specific and constant. They include restlessness, weakness, chilliness, and aggravation after midnight.

This remedy is extremely useful for toxic conditions, whether the toxin is from a drug or vaccine, food poisoning, or a buildup of toxins in kidney or liver disea

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Hepar Sulphuris (Hepar sulph)

Hepar sulph is a great remedy for painful inflammatory conditions such as abscesses and other skin infections, gum infections, and ear infections.

Dogs who need this homeopathic remedy are in such pain that they will cry, growl, snap or try to hide if the affected area is touched. They are also extremely chilly, and sensitive to drafts and to the slightest cold.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Ledum Palustre (Ledum)

Ledum is the first choice for any puncture wound. Dogs needing this remedy are usually angry and irritable, and they prefer to be left alone.

This remedy is good for insect bites and stings, snake bites, flea bites, and puncture injuries to the eyes and other parts of the body.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Nux Vomica (Nux)

Nux is very often used to combat negative reactions from medication, or its overuse, or from poor foods, or overeating. Dogs who need Nux are irritable and sensitive to cold, noise, light, or smells.

This remedy can treat vomiting that is often followed by retching. It can also treat diarrhea or constipation (in either case the dog will be straining).

Nux can be life supporting if your dog has ingested a toxic substance – it can be given immediately to your dog on your way to the vet.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs  Phosphorus

This homeopathic remedy can be used to treat dogs who tend to have problems with bleeding – it may be in their vomit, stool, phlegm, or any other discharge. It can be used for aural hematomas, nosebleeds, coughs, bronchitis, post partum hemorrhages, as well as post surgical nausea. It can be life-saving when used for severe cuts and hemorrhaging on your way to the vet.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Rhus Toxicodendron (Rhus Tox)

This is one of the most effective homeopathic remedies for dogs with joint pains and other arthritic conditions. Dogs that need Rhus Tox tend to be very stiff on initial movement but get better once they are moving.

Another great use of this remedy is for itching skin eruptions and other inflammatory conditions, especially if they resemble a poison ivy reaction – swelling, itching, and redness.

Other clinical uses are for hotspots, conjunctivitis, sprins and strains, and allergic reactions.

Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs – Silicea (Silica)

Dogs that need this remedy tend to have delicate skin and a lot of skin troubles that cannot heal easily, such as abscesses and cysts, as well as impacted anal glands, corneal ulcers, and gum and tooth root abscesses.

In addition, many holistic vets use Silica as an anti-vaccinosin remedy, especially if a lump or swelling occurs at the injection site.

Arthritis Relief the Natural Way

Here’s what you can do to lessen your dog’s arthritis pain:

  • Use glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to lubricate his joints.
  • A supplement is a safer option than giving your dog prescribed drugs or steroid treatments.
  • Purchase your dog an orthopedic bed to soothe his joints and bones.
  • Apply moist heat to your dog’s joints.

Caring for Allergies and Hot Spots

First, keep your allergic dog clean and well groomed. At the site of the hot spot or skin irritation, clip your dog’s hair. A hot spot is an open wound, which needs air flow to help it heal.

Help reduce your dog’s inflammation by applying a hot compress to the irritated area. It’s best to use a cloth soaked in warm salt water.

Assistance for Liver Disease

Diet plays a vital role in helping to improve a dog’s problematic liver. Low-fat meals are easier on a dog’s liver, as well as ingredients that are simple to digest. Stay away from foods with preservatives and additives.

Additionally, increase your dog’s diet with vitamins and minerals to help restore his liver to a healthy state. Some drugs have a poor effect on the liver, like aspirin and Phenobarbital. Toxins are bad for a dog with liver disease, but there are herbal remedies that can help get rid of these substances in the liver.

Vitamins for Heart Disease

When a dog has a heart problem, diet is a large part of his treatment plan. Enhance your dog’s diet naturally with supplements and vitamins, such as Vitamin E, B-complex and chromium and selenium.

Likewise, natural amino acids such as L-carnitine and taurine have been successful in helping dogs with congestive problems. L-carnitine aides the way a dog processes fat and energizes his heart. While taurine protects the heart from getting too much calcium and enhances the cell membranes.

Homeopathic Vaccinations for Dogs

Homeopathic shots are given with less frequency than vaccinations in traditional veterinary care. The main goal of giving a homeopathic shot is to prevent illness that can arise from the vaccine itself.

As an alternative to regular medical vaccinations, homeopathic nosodes are used. They are made from an alternative disease product and help to prevent viral infection.

Nosodes are given based upon the animal practitioner’s diagnosis of your pet. This can includes such factors at the dog’s geographic living area and his health condition at the time of the injection.

Feed Your Dog an Organic Diet

The homeopathic approach to animal care centers on prevention. Many times a specialist will look at what your dog is eating and suggest a balanced, natural diet. Feeding your dog organic products can better maintain his digestive health and weight.

Organic foods are typically made with whole grains and good sources of protein. Just be sure the meat source is truly organic. This will ensure that the beef, fish or poultry is free of antibiotics, hormones and preservatives.

Putting your dog on a high-grade organic diet can also help his skin and coat. Filler ingredients, processed foods, artificial colorings and additives may be unhealthy for a dog inside and out.

Liver shunts are a congenital problem in some dogs. During gestation the placenta delivers blood with food and oxygen from the mother through the umbilical vein. This means that in the fetus, circulation is the reverse of circulation after birth, because the fetus’ veins have the oxygenated blood and arteries return unoxygentated blood to the heart. In order to make this work, there is a shunt from the liver venous circulation to the arterial circulation. At birth, the pressure within the circulatory system changes as respiration occurs and this shuts the shunt, which eventually disappears. If this reverse in circulation doesn’t happen for some reason, the liver is deprived of a blood supply and doesn’t develop properly after birth. Many puppies can live with the small functioning portion of the liver for some time but eventually have problems and usually die if the situation is uncorrected. It is possible to surgically close the shunt and the surgery works well. I can remember hearing of one sheltie that was 6 years of age (or possibly older) before a congenital liver shunt was recognized, so some dogs can live a long time with this problem.

Roundworms in dogs are caused by the Toxocara canis and the Toxocara leonis parasites which are located in the intestinal tract of the dog. The dog will have a pot bellied appearance and poor skin and hair condition; the symptoms of the parasite will be more severe in puppies. The parasite can be treated once it is detected. The roundworm may affect humans also, by the ingestion of the Toxocara canis eggs that may be present in the soil or sand. The parasite may cause vision problems in humans.

Transmission of Roundworms

The roundworm may be transmitted though direct contact with an infected dog, through the ingestion of parasite eggs or from mother to puppy through birth and lactation.

The parasite is a long, tubular and white colored worm that can get to the size of up to 5 inches and can be vomited or eliminated through feces.

Symptoms of Roundwork Infection in Dogs

A dog with roundworm infection will present the following symptoms:

  • Poor skin and hair condition, hair loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Vomiting
  • Pot bellied appearance
  • Colic

The symptoms are more severe in puppies.

Diagnosing Roundworms

Roundworms can be diagnosed judging by the above mentioned symptoms and through a fecal flotation examination. The feces typically contain eggs of the parasite that can be identified through the microscope.

Treating a Canine Roundworm Infection

The roundworms may be eliminated though a cure of de-wormers. A lot of puppies are born with the roundworms, so the pregnant mother can receive dewormers starting from the third trimester of the pregnancy (day 40 to 44 of pregnancy). The puppy should also receive safe dewormers until the age of 12 weeks.

The most common dewormers for roundworms include fenbendazole or pyrantel pamoate. The eggs must be also eliminated, to make sure the dog is worm free. The vet will prescribe the right dosage suitable for your dog. Over the counter dewormers are not recommended, as they may not eliminate all the worms.

How to Prevent Roundworms

A pregnant dog should undergo a deworming procedure to prevent the transmission to the puppies. After the puppy is born, dewormers should also be administered.

As roundworms can e transmitted through the ingestion of the infected soil, you should keep your dog away from eating sand and soil.

After a deworming treatment, the dog’s environment should be properly cleaned and any traces of feces should be removed to prevent the re-infection with the worms.

As the feces can contain eggs and the parasite can be transmitted to humans also, you need to wear surgical gloves every time you handle the feces. Wash your hands and maintain a proper hygiene to prevent infection.

Prognosis

If the dewormers are properly administered, the dog will be healthy. In rare cases, the worms can be fatal in puppies, causing intestinal obstruction and being able to migrate to vital organs such as lungs or liver.

In puppies, undetected roundworms can lead to stunted growth, in case the worms are transmitted from the mother.

The cost and invasive nature of many standard treatment procedures for common canine conditions have prompted many pet owners to search for homeopathic remedies for dogs. Homeopathic treatment options exist for many of the most frequently occurring canine medical conditions, including allergies, liver and heart disease and arthritis. In many cases, a combination of homeopathic and traditional treatment options provides the best result for your dog. Speak with a homeopathic veterinarian for further information, and read on for some of the most popular homeopathic remedies for dogs.

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamin and mineral supplements are the most popular homeopathic remedies used in veterinary medicine. Many conditions can be traced back to insufficient nutrition, and some conditions can be lessened or improved with added vitamins and supplements.

Supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin are popular homeopathic remedies for dogs suffering from arthritis, while Vitamin E, L-carnitine and taurine supplements can encourage healthy functioning of the liver, heart and other organs. Homeopathic supplements tend to have few side effects, although the effectiveness of the treatment varies depending upon the supplement, the condition and the dog.

Compresses and Ointments

Herbal compresses and topical creams can help to reduce the pain that your dog feels from a chronic condition or a surgical procedure. Hot compresses soothe irritated skin and help to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by infection.

Use natural ointments to aid in the treatment of minor wounds. Homeopathic ointments and compresses are helpful in reducing the effects of skin allergies, although these treatment methods are most effective when combined with other strategies for reducing contact with the offending allergen.

Organic and Natural Diets

Many dog owners select organic diets for their pets, preferring to feed their dogs naturally processed and chemical-free foods. These foods may contribute to healthy digestive functioning and a decrease in buildup of toxins in the system. Many organic diets have whole grain components and are free of preservatives, antibiotics, or any artificial colorings and flavor agents. These diets can help to promote a healthy coat.

If you decide to explore organic pet diets, ensure that the food you select provides all of the necessary nutritive elements for your dog.

Homeopathic Injections

Although homeopathic vaccinations are less common than other homeopathic remedies, they nevertheless can be helpful in treating certain conditions. Homeopathic injections use alternative materials that reduce the risk of contamination and infection. These materials vary from dog to dog and case to case.

Homeopathic remedies are excellent alternatives or supplements to traditional treatment plans. However, the proper treatment method for your dog and his condition is dependent upon many factors, and it’s always wise to speak with a vet for guidance or before beginning a new regimen or supplement. With a combination of homeopathic and traditional remedies, as well as careful planning and foresight, you will be well equipped to care for your dog, no matter his condition.

Holistic dog care addresses the dog as a whole and doesn’t limit treatment to specific body parts or specific ailments. Pet owners who adopt the holistic approach aim to maintain a balance of the physical and emotional state of mind of the dog. Although they feed their pet’s nutritious food that’s natural or raw, they often use a combination of natural and complementary therapies to treat individual dog health concerns. Although holistic remedies benefit certain pets, they may not be effective for all dogs and cannot replace conventional treatment procedures for life threatening situations.

The 7 Precautions Include:

  • Pet owners should be aware of all potentially toxic herbs, dangerous for use in dogs. Certain plants, flowers or extracts may not be suited to dogs due to their effect on the pet’s gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to read the list of poisonous or toxic herbs listed by the animal poison control center.
  • Pet owners that adopt the holistic approach often avoid vaccinating pet’s due to vaccine associated sarcomas and the risks of certain vaccines. Instead, they administer nosodes to protect dogs from contagious illness. However, it’s necessary to understand that the risk involved with not vaccinating dogs is far greater that the risk associated with the vaccine. Research studies haven’t established definite evidence that nosodes prevent disease. In addition, some controlled studies also verify the inefficacy of nosodes against certain viruses.
  • Pet owners should be well informed before choosing a holistic vet for the dog. It’s best to verify if the vet is licensed and trained in methodologies of holistic care.
  • Pet owners should avoid the use of herbal or natural remedies along with other prescribed medications as several herbal formulations also cause drug interactions which could lead to serious side effects.
  • Dogs fed raw food diets should be examined for parasite infections routinely. Raw food handlers should also wash their hands and surfaces thoroughly to prevent bacterial contamination.
  • Pets suffering from chronic conditions benefit from herbal or natural remedies that don’t cause side effects. However, pets that don’t respond favorably to acupuncture or homoeopathy should be treated with conventional medication to prevent severe or permanent body damage.
  • Home prepared diets can be beneficial only if they’re prepared correctly. The meals should contain various components of food suited to the dog’s age, breed and activity level. It’s best to discuss with the vet, nutrition that’s appropriate for individual pets.

DOG TREATMENT OPTIONS

There are newer techniques used to treat pets suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis and other health concerns like lethargy or depression. Acupuncture is one such technique that involves the insertion of fine needles at specific points on the dog’s body to stimulate blood flow. Acupuncture is beneficial to dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. Homoeopathic remedies along with massage techniques also work effectively in few pets. In addition, the vet may recommend certain supplements like glucosamine or chondroitin,

derived from natural sources to maintain joint mobility and reduce cartilage deterioration.

It’s important to know that not all commercial diets are unhealthy for dogs. Foods that contain good sources of protein and carbohydrates are more nutritious. It’s best to check the label for preservatives, by products, additives and added flavours.

A natural dog supplement must contain the vitamins and minerals not found in the dog’s daily diet. Some dogs do not need supplements. Their food provides all the nutrients they require. Others require supplements because of their age, physical condition or breed. A pregnant or lactating female dog is a great example of a dog that needs additional vitamins and minerals.

Typical Dog Food Ingredients

In any dry or moist dog food, you will find meat/poultry or meat/poultry by-products, grains and even preservatives. If your pet’s food is lacking essential vitamins and minerals, your dog’s life span shrinks.

Most dry foods contain protein, fat, fiber and moisture. When comparing labels, make sure meat or poultry is the first ingredient. Meat or poultry by-products do not count. By-products include parts of an animal or bird that humans will not eat including beaks and feet. Lamb, beef, chicken or turkey must be first on the list. Items like corn meal, corn gluten and wheat meal contain few nutrients that a dog needs.

When you look at the ingredients in your pet’s food, you will discover a natural dog supplement is necessary to meet the dog’s needs.

Dietary Needs of a Dog

According to the Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, a dog’s dietary requirements include both protein and fats. The amount they require depends on the dog and weight.

Adult dogs need 25 grams of crude protein and 14 grams of fat per 33 pounds of weight.

Pregnant/nursing dogs require 69 to 158 grams of crude protein and 29 to 67 grams of fat per 33 pounds of weight. If the dog’s litter is greater than six puppies, additional protein and fat are necessary.

Puppies need 56 grams of crude protein and 21 grams of fat.

Because pregnant and nursing dogs share vitamins and nutrients with the puppies, it is important to provide a natural dog supplement to ensure both the mother and puppies’ health.

Importance of Vitamins and Minerals

For proper growth and bone development, dogs, like humans, require a number of vitamins and minerals. Foods rarely meet these nutritional guidelines, so a natural dog supplement is important.

  • Calcium-Forms bone and teeth
  • Chlorine-Balances fluids within cells
  • Choline-Processes fat within the body
  • Copper-Helps maintain iron levels within the body
  • Folic Acid-Helps metabolize amino acid and nucleotides improving cell growth
  • Iodine-Key to healthy thyroid function
  • Iron-Aids blood cell production
  • Magnesium-Aids bone and muscle growth
  • Manganese-Helps with bone development
  • Pathothenic Acid-Boosts energy levels and metabolism
  • Phosphorus-Helps form proper DNA and RNA within cells
  • Potassium-Improves nerve response
  • Selenium-Improves immunities
  • Sodium-Maintains proper blood chemistry levels
  • Vitamin B12, Niacin and Riboflavin-Helps with enzyme function within all areas of the body
  • Vitamin B1-Helps aid metabolism and increase energy levels
  • Vitamin B6-Forms red blood cells and boosts immune response, also generates glucose production
  • Vitamin K-Important for blood blotting and bone formation
  • Zinc-Aids with cell division

Look for a natural dog supplement that contains these important vitamins and minerals.

Newer Nutrients that Improve Health

Many supplements add Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Glucosamine. While research is ongoing, studies find that Omega-3 Fatty Acids help improve a dog’s heart heath and skin condition. Glucosamine aids in joint health making it suitable for dog breeds susceptible to excessive joint wear.

Dog Vaccines

Dog vaccines are one of the most important preventative care measures for dogs. Dog vaccinations can protect your dog from numerous disease threats such as hepatitis, distemper, rabies, heartworm, and others. Many of these diseases can be passed on to humans, so canine vaccines help protect human health as well. Depending on the type of dog vaccine, dog shots can provide protection form disease for anywhere from six months up to a year or more.

A dog vaccination is usually administered through a shot or a series of shots. The shots are usually given by injection in the fat under the skin or into the muscles. In some cases, dog vaccines may be administered via several drops into the nose. If a series of shots is required, the shots will be administered according to a dog vaccination schedule. Puppy vaccines are administered at two to four week intervals until the puppy reaches 16 weeks of age. Adult dogs receive dog vaccines at intervals of around three years.

There are two groups of canine vaccines: core vaccines and non-core vaccines. In most cases, core vaccines are required and in others they are strongly recommended. Core vaccines typically require follow-up boosters. Some of the most common core dog vaccines include: rabies vaccines, canine distemper vaccines, infectious hepatitis vaccines, canine parvovirus vaccines, and canine parainfluenza virus vaccines.

Non-core vaccines are optional vaccines that are administered on an individual basis. Most core vaccines are enough to protect your pet from a wide range of diseases and conditions, but some dogs may require these “supplemental” vaccines. Owners with dogs that travel frequently, board, and dogs that work outdoors should consider non-core dog vaccines.

Dog vaccines are designed to prevent disease and protect your pet, but unfortunately there are some risks and side effects associated with these preventative measures. In some cases, dogs may feel tired or feverish for 24-48 hours after being vaccinated and they may experience a loss of appetite. In rare cases, your dog can develop facial swelling or anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction.) Vomiting, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and collapse may also occur. Severe allergic reactions are rarely fatal, especially if they are treated immediately. But again, these side effects are not very common.

Immune-mediated disorders in dogs have been linked to dog vaccines, but they are one of many causes for these disorders. Additionally, immune-mediated disorders are uncommon, so they are not typically a cause for concern.

If you have a new puppy, visit your vet as soon as possible for an exam and dog vaccine recommendations. If you have an older pet that you feel may need core or non-core vaccinations, visit your vet to determine the best course of action.

Recent veterinary drug advances have yielded many new and effective treatments for common dog illnesses and conditions. These vet drug preparations reduce pain, improve health and treat disease in millions of pets each year.

Many veterinary drugs are based on successful human drugs but never mix or exchange human and canine drugs. Formulations and dosages may be the same and doing so could put your pet at risk.

Veterinary drug use is changing the way dog and cat owners care for their pets, resulting in longer and better lives for their companions.

Most common drug prescriptions:

Non-Steroidal Inflammatory Drugs for Arthritis

Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have changed the course of canine arthritis. These powerful drugs improve the quality of life for arthritic dogs, improving mobility and reducing pain. Be aware that these drugs may cause liver and gastrointestinal damage and should be used only under strict veterinary supervision. Many are not appropriate for cats.

Antihistamines for Allergies

Veterinary antihistamines are available in tablet and spray form. Popular non-steroidal formulas include Atopica, Chlorpheniramine, Clemestine, Diphenhydramine and Cyprothetadine. For certain allergic conditions, corticosteroids such as Methylprednisolone and Prednisolone may offer significant benefit but do come with known health risks.

Flea, Tick and Worm Medications

Flea and tick products are the most popular veterinary medications for good reason. Easy to use and very effective, products such as Frontline, Advantage, Revolution, Interceptor and Program have eliminated seasonal flea-related suffering in dogs and cats. Conveniently, some products protect against heartworm and intestinal parasites as well. Do not use dog-specific formulas on cats.

Antiobiotics to Treat Infections

If your pet develops an infection, the treatment options are many. Your veterinarian will diagnose and prescribe the drug that is most appropriate for your pet’s particular needs. Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Clavamox, Ciprofloxacin and Baytril are broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Thyroid Medications

To treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), your veterinarian may prescribe Soloxine, Thyroxine or Levothyroxine. These medications are available in a variety of strengths for both dogs and cats.

Eye Drops for Glaucoma

To treat glaucoma (fluid buildup in the eye), your veterinarian will usually prescribe eye drops such as Xalatan, Timolol or Trusopt. These drops decrease fluid production. For more serious conditions, oral diuretics such as Acetazolamide or Methazolamide may be prescribed.

Medications to Treat Addison’s Disease

Addison’s Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) is a serious disease that results in insufficient adrenal hormone production. Based on the source of your pet’s condition, your veterinarian may prescribe Florinef, Percorten V or corticosteroids.

Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is, in many ways, the opposite of Addison’s disease. It is treated with Lysodren, Anipryl, Selegiline or Ketoconazole.

Medications to Increase Dopamine

Canine cognitive dysfunction is similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Age-related behavior changes such as confusion and lack of responsiveness may indicate a decline in mental function. Anipryl increases the amount of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the brain and improves overall cognitive function. According to a major veterinary drug handbook, Anipryl is not approved for use in cats.

Administer all drugs and medications according to your veterinarian’s instructions.

Working with your veterinarian, you can protect your pet and help her live a comfortable, healthy and long life.

Dogs are susceptible to different bacterial infections, so antibiotic treatment is available for dogs. The choice of antibiotics for canines is wide, so they can be employed in a number of diseases. The vet will assess your pet’s condition and determine the antibiotics that are the most suitable.

What Are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are drugs made of bacterial sources, conceived to eliminate harmful bacteria. There are different types of antibiotic medications which act in a different manner, so as to effectively fight various infections.

However, antibiotics shouldn’t be used for an extended period of time, as there is the danger of the dog’s body building immunity to the medication. Antibiotics should be taken in the prescribed doses and for the period of time prescribed by the vet.

Common Antibiotics for Canines

The antibiotics used for canines are prescribed according to the nature of the infection. The most common types of antibiotics used for dogs are the drugs from the penicillin class or the cephalosporin class. Vets frequently prescribe amoxicillin, cephalexin, gentamicin or sulfametox.

Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is a medication from the penicillin class of antibiotics and is used for a wide range of infections in dogs including:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Skin diseases
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Infected wounds, infected tissues
  • Dental abscesses

Amoxicillin has minimal side effects such as nausea, diarrhea or behavioral changes, but these occur in rare cases. For this reason, amoxicillin is frequently prescribed.

Some dogs are allergic to amoxicillin, so pay attention to any skin rashes or abnormal symptoms that may occur after the administration of amoxicillin.

Cephalexin

Cephalexin can be used to treat infections in different areas of the dog’s body. The antibiotic is similar to penicillin and is effective in treating bacterial infections that occur in wounded areas or that affect the skin and the bones of the dog. Cephalexin can also be effective to treat respiratory infections and kidney, urinary tract and bladder infections.

The side effects of cephalexin include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain or skin irritations, if the antibiotics are applied on the skin as topical ointments.

Gentamicin

Gentamicin belongs to the cephalosporin class of antibiotics and is recommended for eye and ear infections or open wounds that get infected.

Gentamicin is most commonly used as a topical ointment or spray. Taken as a pill, gentamicin can cause severe side effects such as blindness or loss of hearing, if taken in high doses.

Sulfamethox

Sulfamethox can be used in respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal infections.

The side effects of sulfamethox include nausea, diarrhea and lack of appetite. Dehydration can also occur, so make sure you offer plenty of water to your dog while under medication.

The administration of antibiotics can facilitate the occurrence of secondary diseases such as yeast infections or stomach ulcer if administrated for a long period of time. Some vets will also prescribe antifungal medication in addition to antibiotics, to prevent an overgrowth of yeast cells.

Dogs should not receive antibiotics that were conceived for humans, as the dog antibiotics have a special formula; human antibiotics may be poisonous for canines if taken in high doses.

Natural pet health supplements can be of great benefit to your dog or cat. But it’s important what treatments are available and how they should be used. Here are some of the natural pet remedies in use today, as well as some things to keep in mind when using natural supplements for pet care.

Benefits of Natural Pet Supplements

The gap between natural treatments and traditional medications isn’t as big as you think. Traditional medications are synthesized from herbal compounds used to treat the same disease for thousands of years.

One advantage of using herbal supplements rather than traditional medications is that herbal supplements use the whole plant. They contain valuable nutrients, such as sugars, minerals, proteins, and other chemicals, that may interact with the active chemical in valuable ways. They may make the supplement easier to absorb, or perhaps lessen harmful or uncomfortable side effects. In any case, nutraceuticals add nutrition to your pet’s diet, as well as helping treat medical conditions.

Risks of Nutraceutical Pet Remedies

Just because a supplement is “natural” or “herbal,” that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe. Natural pet remedies are often just as dangerous as traditional medicines; remember that both contain the same chemicals. Some veterinarians advise against the use of natural pet supplements in the care of medical conditions. Here are some of the arguments against natural pet supplements:

  • Not much is known about their overall safety or long-term side effects
  • Evidence for their efficacy is anecdotal rather than scientific
  • No guidelines exist for the regulation of safe dosages, and most owners don’t have the necessary training to recognize negative side effects or even positive results
  • Natural pet remedies are complex; they contain more than one chemical, so their effects are hard to predict
  • Different products contain different amounts of the active ingredient
  • Owners might not realize which supplements are actually toxic to their pets

Popular Supplements and Their Uses

Here are some of the natural pet care supplements used today, and their uses:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin are some of the most commonly used natural health supplements for pets. They are not herbal in nature, but derived from animals products. They are used, with great effectiveness, to treat the symptoms of arthritis
  • Echinacea stimulates the immune system
  • Aloe is applied to the skin to relieve itchy rashes, sunburns, and dry skin. It helps heal cuts and prevent their infection
  • Ginger is used as an anti-inflammatory, and aids in stomach upsets. It’s good for car sickness in pets. It’s also good for digestive problems, including upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea
  • Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It helps prevent and fight off infections and illness. It can also help prevent illnesses brought on by old age, such as arthritis; some even claim it prevents cancer
  • Milk thistle is used in the treatment of liver disorders
  • St. John’s Wort is used to treat viral infections and neural disorders in pets
  • Ginko is used to treat cognitive dysfunction, and what amounts to senile dementia in pets
  • Slippery elm is a digestive aid that is good for upset stomach and constipation in pets