In many instances there is no reason to use harsh chemical treatments for a dog's minor ailments. For centuries natural and alternative treatments have been used although it must be noted that veterinary advice should be sought for more serious ailments.
Fleas, like head lice in children, are a common occurrence. However in a dog they can cause extreme itching which becomes habit forming long after the flea has been eradicated. With a little thought and careful checking of your pet there is no need for an expensive visit to the vet for strong chemicals that can cause further problems for the dog.
Regularly check the dogs coat, this can be done during grooming or at play. By parting the coat to the root particularly at the top of the head, back of the neck and base of the tail, tell tale signs of a flea can be found. Small dark specks of flea dirt will group together; if dampened they turn reddish brown as they are made up mainly of the poor pooches' blood. When looking for signs of fleas have by your side a small bowl of water to which is added a large amount of washing up liquid making a thick soapy mixture. If a flea is spotted dab the area with the liquid and the flea will be temporarily immobilised. Quickly pick out the flea and dump it into the dish of water. A flea comb is a useful aid especially for shorter coated dogs.
For a dog that is infested with fleas a bath is the best solution. A normal shampoo can be used and for dogs with a sensitive skin use a baby shampoo added to a handful of salt. A final rinse with water to which is added cider vinegar will help to ward of further little visitors. Another rinse is water into which lemon peel has been steeped overnight.
Where a dog has scratched its skin or the flea has bitten ease the irritation with lavender oil or aloe vera.
Potato flour, purchased from health food stores, to which a few drops of lavender or citronella oil have been added, is a useful aid for dry grooming the dog. Keep a jar of this ready for use. Sprinkle over the dog's coat, rub well in and then remove with a brisk grooming. Lavender and citronella both deter fleas. This mix can also be made with bicarbonate of flour although potato flour is more absorbent.
For every one flea found on a dog there are another ten in the home. Add to this the eggs and larva that have been lain and it is certain that you are now into a cycle of a flea invasion. In any room that the dog visits the floors and furnishings should be treated. For carpetless floors wash regularly with a mild bleach solution, checking first hat it will not damage linoleum or tiles. Where carpets are laid use a mixture of fuller's earth or borax to which is added lavender oil or eucalyptus. Sprinkle this over carpet and furnishings and vacuum thoroughly. If you grow lavender in the garden dry and leave in bowls in the home.
Dog bedding should be given a hot wash and tumble dry regularly as this will kill all eggs and larvae.
Aches and Pains
As our dogs get older they are more prone to stiff joints. Do not give up on their exercise routine, as this will be of benefit. Add flax oil or fish oil to their food. Swimming in warm water is also beneficial; there are a growing number of animal swimming pools around the country where your dog can swim safely while being supervised by experts. Glucosamine and Chondroitin given daily will also give the older dog a new lease of life.
Garlic and Pumpkin Seed
A clove or two each day, depending on the size of dog, of fresh garlic will ward off fleas and fight infections. Pumpkin seed and garlic are used to ward off worms in the stomach.
Sore Gums and Lips
For sore gums and lips - especially dogs with loose folds of skin around the lips. Rub aloe vera liquid into the sore areas for a rapid healing process.There is a vast range of natural treatments for our canine friends and with a little research we can live at one with nature and our dogs without resorting to aggressive treatments.