6 Holistic Home Remedies for Your Pet

A couple with their border collie, to illustrate holistic home remedies for pets

Pet owners know the deal. We’ll go to any lengths to make sure our furry family members are happy and healthy (and it’s only fair that they get this level of commitment, considering the amount of love and companionship they give us). So, if your animal bestie is struggling with anything from pain to itchy skin, read on for six holistic home remedies for your pet.

Just like humans, dogs and cats can experience serious health and emotional issues. Whether your pet is dealing with a skin condition, chronic pain from arthritis or serious separation anxiety, we know you want to make sure they get the best care. If you prefer to treat your pets the holistic way, we’ve got some natural home remedies that can be effective without breaking the bank. And yes—some of them include cannabis.

1. Treating Pain in Cats and Dogs With Cannabis

It’s hard to watch your pet in pain. And unfortunately, as pets get older, pain is more likely to be a part of their lives. Animals can suffer from chronic pain, arthritis and injuries (just like humans!) that can lead to a lower quality of life if not treated properly. While vets can prescribe pharmaceuticals to help manage pain, continued use of these prescription drugs can lead to liver problems, personality changes and other harmful side effects.

If you’re looking for a natural way to help alleviate your pet’s pain, hemp CBD may be your best bet. Hemp CBD products are required by law to contain only 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or lower—a good thing for pets that might be uncomfortable and confused by psychoactive effects. Just like humans, cats and dogs have an endocannabinoid system, so they can take advantage of CBD’s powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

How-to: There are various ways to use CBD with your animal (topically, sublingually, in their food), but before you do anything, check with your vet first. If your pet care professional is on board with giving it a try, they may still be limited by how much they’re allowed to advise. Be sure to do your research on proper dosing for animals by weight.

2. Alleviating Your Pet’s Itchy Skin with Oatmeal

When your pet gets an itchy spot, it can be annoying for both of you. Constant scratching and licking will grate your nerves and, more importantly, may make the skin even more irritated. All sorts of things can cause itchy skin in pets, from allergens in the air and grass to dietary issues and even stress. If you notice your dog or cat has been itching more than usual lately without any signs of fleas, it’s a good idea to try some calming holistic skin treatments at home.

If you can manage to get your cat or dog in a bathtub without starting major battle, an oatmeal bath can be very soothing. While an oatmeal bath may not be a cure for the underlying issue causing the skin condition, it can provide some temporary relief.

How-to: Pour one cup of plain oatmeal into a blender and whirl until it’s reduced to a powder. Add it to a warm bath and let your pet soak for five to 10 minutes, gently rubbing the oatmeal mixture into their fur. (Be prepared to get wet!) After the bath, towel-dry your pet. Brushing them while damp can further help to alleviate the itch, too. Using the right brush for your pet’s coat can help to remove dead, flaky skin and extra hair that could be making the itch worse, so be sure to do some digging into the type of brush you should use.

3. Easing Your Pet’s Anxiety with Physical Pressure and CBD

It’s common for pets to experience anxiety. It can be caused by loud noises like thunder or fireworks, strangers or separation anxiety when you’re not at home. Not only is anxiety extremely unpleasant for humans and animals alike, but it can lead to destructive behavior and injury. There are horror stories of dogs being so scared by fireworks that they jump the fence or take off running into the street, getting lost or injured in the process. And when it comes to separation anxiety, animals can cause serious injury to themselves and your nice couch.

To avoid these scenarios, there’s one drug-free solution that may seem too simple but actually works very well for many pets: applying gentle, consistent pressure to the torso. This light pressure can ease anxiety in pets and acts as a kind of nice, constant hug to reassure them (the same science applies to humans—the weighted blanket industry had to come from somewhere).

How-to: Wrap a shirt tightly around their torso. You can also purchase a ThunderShirt (a wrap that is designed for the purpose of applying that helpful pressure in stressful situations). They’re easy to put on and effective for 80 percent of pet owners who try it.

CBD also has well-documented anti-anxiety properties so high-quality, organic dog treats and CBD oil specifically for pets can also help calm your pet’s nerves.

4. Treating Your Pet’s Nausea and Stomach Issues at Home

It’s easy to feel helpless when your pooch or kitty has a stomachache. If you’ve noticed your pet has been avoiding food, attempting to self-medicate by eating grass, vomiting or consistently has loose stools, it’s a clear sign that they’re having some digestive issues. Luckily, there are lots of simple home remedies for clearing up basic stomach problems in pets.

How-to: The first step should be to withhold food, but not water, for a day or two. This will give their digestive system a break as it heals. To reintroduce food, go slowly. Start by feeding chicken broth only for a couple of days, and then add plain white rice to the broth. After a few days of a bland diet, you can slowly begin to add a small portion of their normal food to the mix.

If digestion issues are a more common issue for your pet, you might consider adding a tablespoon or two (the amount depends on the size of the animal) of plain kefir to your pet’s meals. Kefir is full of good probiotic bacteria that can help establish a healthy gut. And if you find your dog’s stool is consistently loose, try firming it up by adding a spoonful or two of fiber-filled pumpkin to their food. Cans of puréed pumpkin you can find in any grocery store often do the trick.

5. Avoid Fleas with Terpenes

Fleas are one of the greatest annoyances of having a furry pet. Even just a couple of fleas picked up at the local dog park or in your backyard can lead to an infestation. Once fleas are around, they’re hard to get rid of, and most flea treatments are full of harsh chemicals that can be dangerous on your pet’s skin.

There are plenty of natural flea remedies available at pet stores and online. If you look at the ingredients of these natural options, you’ll almost certainly see D-limonene. D-limonene, or simply limonene, is a terpene found in citrus and even in some marijuana strains. Terpenes are oils produced by a plant’s resin glands—the glands that are responsible for their distinct aromas—and limonene gives lemons their citrusy smell.

Limonene is also renowned for its ability to repel and kill biting bugs, like fleas. It’s one of the most effective natural treatments you’ll find for fleas and you can make a citrus extract of your own right at home using three simple ingredients you may already have on hand.

How-to: Slice three lemons and lay the slices in a large pot, using a fork to push on the slices to release their juices. Add three cups of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Once a rolling boil begins, lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes.

After the lemons have simmered, remove from heat and let the water-lemon mixture steep overnight (or for at least eight hours). After the mixture has steeped, strain the lemon slices from the water using a strainer. Then, add one and a half cups of distilled white or apple cider vinegar to the strained lemon water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Shake vigorously before liberally applying onto your pet’s coat.

6. Clear Up Your Pet’s Urinary Tract Infection With Cranberry and Kefir

Yes, it’s true—dogs and cats can get urinary tract infections (UTI) just like humans. Cats are especially prone to UTIs, which can be painful for the pet and lead to accidents outside of the litter box. If you take your pet to the vet for a UTI, odds are they’ll prescribe an antibiotic, but there are natural treatment options that could work, too.

If you’ve ever had a UTI yourself, you probably know that 100 percent cranberry juice can help. Cranberries contain a compound that makes it harder for e. coli bacteria to stick to the bladder wall and the urinary tract. E. coli is the most common bacteria that leads to UTIs in both humans and animals, so cranberries can be highly effective in treating these infections.

How-to: You can add 100 percent cranberry juice to your pet’s water, dried cranberries (no sugar added) to their food or even try cranberry capsules from your local organic grocery store.


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