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Alternative First Aid Kit

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A holistic approach

What do you keep in the house for minor doggy health problems? A few carefully chosen alternative remedy basics along with bandages etc. in your first aid kit could save you an expensive and unnecessary trip to a vet. Frances Gavin of Canine Natural Cures explains.

Arnica in tablet form is your first essential. This homoeopathic wonder will speed healing for any cuts, bruises, sprains and strains. You can also use Rhus Tox and Ruta for sprains and strains.

Cuts and punctures

There are several options that you can use depending upon the situation.

  • Ledum
    Use Ledum tablets if your dog gets a puncture wound in a fight. Watch carefully for any signs of infection and youíre at all worried consult a vet.
  • Lavender oil
    This is an excellent antiseptic and can be used to disinfect and heal the cut. Lavender Oil is also great for minor burns, but make sure you first cool the burn with lots of cold water. Hair will have the effect of trapping heat onto the skin so cooling the burnt skin is very important. Warning: do not use on expectant bitches!
  • Tea Tree oil
    Another effective antiseptic is Tea Tree oil.  Dab a drop of Tea Tree on any little sores or cuts and watch them heal up quickly.
  • Hypercal cream
    A combination of hypericum and calendula, hypercal can also be put on any cuts, once they have thoroughly cleaned.

If your dog has been involved in any accident or trauma, no matter how slight, a couple of drops of Rescue/Recovery Remedy, one of the Bach Flower Remedies, should help calm and restore him or you could use Aconite.

Does your dog like to catch bees and wasps? In addition to trying to stop them you should never be without Apis Mel. Give a tablet immediately and every 20 minutes or so afterwards and any swelling or discomfort should disappear quickly. If your dog has been stung in the mouth you must seek veterinary advice as soon as possible but keep giving the Apis Mel and you should avoid a life-threatening situation.

Stomach problems
So much for accidents but how about a tummy upset?

  • Arsenicum Album
    If your dog has been scavenging and is now paying the price with diarrhoea, use Arsenicum Album.
  • Diarrhoea
    Other homoeopathic remedies forOther that may be tried for diarrhoea include Pulsatilla, Merc. Sol and Gelsemium. If youíre treating a puppy or elderly dog, or you see blood in the motions please consult a vet at once and in any event if there is no improvement in your dog after 24 hours.
  • Upset stomach problems
    Camomile or peppermint teas (well cooled) are both excellent for an upset tummy. Slippery elm mixed with water and honey will coat the digestive tract and help calm things down. If a dog is being sick either the chamomile or peppermint tea may help, or you can give Ipecac homoeopathic tablets. Other homoeopathic remedies for vomiting include Nux Vomica, Arsenicum and Phosphorus.

All the items mentioned above should be available from your local health food store.

However, donít forget if the dog gets worse or doesnít respond to your treatment within 24 hours, go to a vet straightaway.

© Frances Gavin 2000

Frances GavinAbout the author...
Frances Gavin
has been a full time dog behaviourist for twelve years. Eleven years ago she discovered how much quicker and less traumatic it is to help a dog when one combines homoeopathy with training, and so she set up Canine Natural Cures to give holistic behavioural advice.

Over the past decade she has developed a deep and abiding interest in alternative approaches to health and healing and have gained diplomas in homoeopathy and nutrition as well as a Certificate in Education.

She has written numerous articles for magazines in the UK and abroad, she and currently write a regular column in Dogs Monthly on complementary therapies and remedies.

Frances is also on the Independent Pet Nutrition Advisory Council, a body set up to give impartial advice to pet owners on feeding their dogs and cats.

Canine Natural Cures,
Whistlers Cottage, The Ridge, Woldingham CR3 7AN
Tel. 0845 127 9903

Picture credit: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Dogs by Dr. Peter Larkin & Mike Stockman (Select Editions)

From Lynne Kelly...
I found this page with a canine first aid kit here on Agilitynet and note that Tea Tree Oil is recommended as a standard component. I thought I would let you know about several studies which have proven that tea tree oil can be very toxic to dogs even when used well diluted.

According to the literature I have read, it can cause epilepsy type symptoms in large dogs and can be fatal in small and medium dogs. The recommendation coming from more and more vets is to not use TTO for dogs, especially not on open wounds as this can give a direct line to the blood stream and canine liver function is not able to handle it. Some of the reports even refer to doses as low as those in dog shampoo containing TTO.

I think everyone should be able to make up their own minds. There is a lot of info out on the internet about these studies, but I do think you should put some sort of disclaimer / warning on the "first aid kit" page as I know that Agilitynet is a valuable and trusted source of reference for a lot of us dog owners and at the moment, I am concerned that this page is not giving a balanced story.  (28/05/08)