More and more people in recent years have turned to alternative therapies for wellness support. Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and the like can help prevent disease and keep us feeling great.

Our dogs, too, can benefit from this proactive approach to health care. Of course, we still need our veterinarians to treat serious diseases and injuries, but there are many home remedies you can give your dog that will help keep those doctor visits to a minimum. Here is my list of the most important natural health boosters for canines.

Rescue Remedy

This Bach flower essence, also known as five-flower essence, works subtly on an energetic level to calm and balance the system and can be used in any kind of trauma, injury, or acute stressful situation (e.g. when visiting the vet or traveling). Extremely versatile in its application, it can be given orally or rubbed into the tips of the ears, massaged anywhere on the body, and sprayed in and around bedding and crates. It has been successfully used to calm people and animals in a wide variety of stressful situations.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies also work on an energetic level, gently stimulating the body’s innate healing ability. They are useful for many ailments, including shock, trauma, injury, bites, vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions. I recommend that everyone have a homeopathic first aid book and remedy kit on hand at home. Use these remedies as wellness enhancers and for gentle first aid. In emergency situations, they should be given to your dog on the way to the vet.

Enzymes & Probiotics

Enzymes are made up of amino acids that improve digestion and help with the transport and assimilation of nutrients in food. They occur naturally in raw food but are destroyed when food is processed or heated, so adding some to your dog’s commercial food is advisable. Probiotics kill off bad bacteria and help restore the level of healthy microorganisms necessary for normal bowel health (essential after antibiotics). Bacterial imbalances can lead/contribute to digestive disorders (e.g., colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.), urinary tract infections, allergies, diabetes, arthritis, chronic ear infections, skin and coat problems, susceptibility to bacterial or viral infections, bad breath, poor immune response, and even behavioral problems. In fact, most disease begins in the gut, so it’s vitally important for your dog to have good intestinal health. Enzymes and probiotics can help.

Colostrum

This word refers to the first milk all newborn animals receive from their mothers during the fi rst few days of life. This supplement comes from New Zealand cows, but the beneficial substances it contains are good for other mammals as well. Nutrient-rich, colostrum is the perfect whole-food supplement for balancing the immune system and maintaining gastrointestinal health. Colostrum can also be made into a paste and applied to cuts and wounds to accelerate healing.

Essential Fatty Acids

Fish oils are an excellent source of Omega 3 fats, which have so many health benefits that I recommend them for almost all animals (and people!). They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects; provide support for the kidneys, heart, eyes, and nerve tissues; and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. They are also an essential treatment for allergies and arthritis.

Herbal or Homeopathic Detox

Our pets are exposed to many toxins on a regular basis – vaccinations, pesticides, and processed foods, to name a few. We can gently assist their natural detoxification processes with herbs and homeopathy. Animals Apawthecary makes a wonderful herbal remedy called Detox Blend and Newton Homeopathics makes a combination homeopathic remedy called Detoxifier; both work very well for dogs. These preparations gently stimulate liver and kidney function to remove toxins, improve metabolism, and help heal chronic skin problems and other imbalances related to liver dysfunction. They can be used once or twice a year for general health or in acute cases of detoxification or poisoning.