Many of us consider our pets to be our children, or, at least, part of the family. And just like our kids, our pets get bumps and bruises and other common, minor illnesses. Because our cats and dogs cannot tell us what hurts or what they need, often times these situations end in a frantic trip to the vet, but several minor pet health conditions can be treated at home with remedies and medications we take ourselves. Read on to find out how to save money and worry on these common pet ailments.
Especially during the dry winter months, cats and dogs can experience dry, itchy skin. They will often scratch or bite at the offending area in attempts to relieve the frustration. Vitamin E oil is great for restoring moisture to the skin and alleviating your pup’s itching. Massage some vitamin E oil into the skin where he seems to be scratching, or add a bit to a cool soaking bath. Alternatively, you can break open a vitamin E capsule and sprinkle on their food. In this case, call your vet’s office to get the recommended dosage per pound of pet.
In some cases, dry skin or itching may be caused by environmental allergies. Dogs can be treated with over-the-counter Benadryl. It is important to check with your vet before administering medication to your pet (a vet’s office should be able to answer this question over the phone).
Conversely, in the upcoming spring and summer months, bee stings are a constant threat. Even the most cautious of dogs can barely resist chasing down meandering bees and hornets. If Fido ends up on the wrong end of a bee stinger, first remove the stinger as soon as possible by using the edge of a credit card to scrape it out. Bathe the area in a solution of baking soda and water, then apply an ice pack for five minutes at a time. If your dog is allergic to bee stings, you may administer Benadryl, but again, please call your vet first.
Cats and dogs can both experience constipation and diarrhea. If your pet is having trouble going “number two,” offer him some canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) in a small bowl, or mix with his food. The pumpkin not only tastes great to your pet, but acts as a gentle and natural laxative to get things moving again.
On the other hand, if your dog or cat is suffering from diarrhea, a diet of rice and boiled meat can help get his bowels under control. For more serious cases, please contact your vet.
Dogs and cats can contract ear infections quite easily, and this is one of the most common pet ailments. If you notice your pet scratching at his ears more often than usual, check for signs of ear infection. First, trim the hair around your pet’s ears and ensure that there are no foreign objects caught in the ear canal. Next, use a syringe or eyedropper to administer one part water and one part apple cider vinegar to the ear. Rub your pet’s ear to ensure the solution is distributed, and allow him to shake his head. If after 2-3 days, your pet shows no signs of improvement, visit your vet.
Remember, if you have any doubt about a symptom or how to treat it, please contact your vet.