Natural Remedies For Your Pet

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Dogs and cats can lower stress levels and increase health

By Dr. Babette Gladstein

Q. Are there any natural remedies I can use for common pet ailments?

A. Natural remedies are a great way to help your pet. In fact, some of what you need you can find in your kitchen!

Sugar can be used on an open wound to help it heal. Aloe vera is great for wounds and sores and burns as well. Molasses are great to coat pills and get your animal to take medication.

Outside your pantry, you’ll also find several terrific yet natural remedies. A proper acidophilus, such as Vetri-Science’s Fast-Fix GI, is a good way to treat nausea, vomit and diarrhea. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can quickly help with allergies. Lysine can be used, particularly in cats, to heal upper respiratory viral infections. Pepsid AC can be used to stop nausea in a sick cat or dog. Child’s Benadryl should be kept on hand for a bug or bee sting reaction.

Products like Zinotic help to quiet mild ear infections and fungus and eliminate the need to use fungicides in the ear. Propolis (aka bee pollen) is a natural mild antibiotic.

Acupuncture works very well for pain associated with arthritis. Prolotherapy, a non-surgical orthopedic procedure, can also help to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and help your pet avoid a hip or knee surgery.

Q. Is it true pets can have a positive effect on the cholesterol of their owners?

A. Yes! Pets can positively affect their owner’s cholesterol and overall health. Several studies show that heart attack patients who have pets live longer than those without pets. Researchers also say male pet owners also tend to have less sign of heart disease, lower triglyceride and lower cholesterol levels than non-owners.

If you don’t have a dog, you may want to pet your neighbor’s. A past study by the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found that a 12-minute visit with a dog helped to lower blood pressure, reduce the release of harmful hormones and decrease anxiety among patients hospitalized for heart failure. Benefits of those patients exceeded those whom received a visit from a human volunteer or whom were left alone. Other studies show that having a dog boosts the survival rates in patients who have suffered cardiac arrest. Walking a dog, playing with a pet, grooming or even petting can increase physical activity, which helps to strengthen the heart, improve blood circulation and slow the loss of bone tissue.

Researchers also suspect low cholesterol levels and low serotonin levels may be linked. Serotonin is often referred to as the “feel good” chemical found in the brain. People with low levels of serotonin are those who have problems with depression and anxiety. Abnormally low cholesterol levels have been linked with depression. It seems a pet, like a dog, can stick a paw in the cycle.

Q. I’ve heard about massages for pets. Do they really help?

A. A pet massage is similar to a massage for a person. The body’s tissue is manipulated to reduce tension, promote circulation and restore range of motion.

During a pet massage session, your pet will lie on a soft yet sturdy surface, like a rug on a floor. The veterinarian or a certified practitioner will then use his or her hands to rub and stroke your pet from head to tail. After an initial rubdown, the practitioner will use his or her fingers to “walk” your dog’s spine. A session takes about an hour, depending on the size of your pet.

A good massage can help because it raises the serotonin level in the body. In the end, aches and pains are lessened and you’re left with a healthier, happier and more relaxed pet.
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Babette Gladstein is a VMD and owner of B Glad Veterinary.

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