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5 Holistic Remedies for Dogs

April 30, 2019 4 min read

Treating your dog holistically means focusing on her whole body, rather than just the problem area. This is more likely to be effective, as a single condition can manifest itself in various ways, including some ways you may be unaware of. In addition, holistic treatment increases the chance that you get to the root of the problem.

The following holistic remedies are suitable for dogs suffering from all different types of conditions. They are also appropriate if your dog is healthy now, as they can stave off problems in the future, promote good health, and give you a new way to bond with your dog.

1. Canine Massage

A massage for dogs is much like a massage for humans. The practitioner uses his hands to manipulate the tissues of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This releases tension in the body, easing pain, reducing stress, and helping your dog feel relaxed. All of these benefits impact your dog’s overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Canine massages are particularly useful for dogs who have injuries or sore muscles, such as after a competition, vigorous exercise, or surgery. But they are also useful for so much more. A massage affects the dog’s entire body, including her skin, circulatory system, and digestion.

Another excellent use is for psychological trauma. This is applicable to dogs who are naturally anxious as well as rescue dogs who have suffered mistreatment or neglect. A massage calms the dog, helping her become used to being touched, and it stimulates her body, which can alleviate feelings of depression.

2. Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria and yeasts that live in the gut. They are necessary for all sorts of bodily functions, going beyond digestion. For instance, they can reduce the symptoms of some allergies and maintain a healthy heart. This is true for both humans and dogs.

Probiotics are unable to survive without a food source. This is where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics are a type of indigestible fiber that probiotics consume to thrive and multiply.

Before you rush out to buy probiotic and prebiotic supplements for your dog, know this: both occur naturally in food. With a balanced diet, your dog will receive all the probiotics and prebiotics she needs to stay healthy.

In fact, gaining probiotics direct from food is often much better than using supplements. Some supplements are completely ineffective, as your dog’s body destroys the bacteria before it can reach her gut.

Having said that, your dog won’t receive the probiotics and prebiotics she needs if she eats kibble. You need to switch to a raw food diet that includes the following:

  • Kefir (you can find dairy-free versions for lactose-intolerant dogs)
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Asparagus

3. Flower Essence Remedies

Natural flower essences can help your dog to cope with a range of emotional issues. The calming scents support with managing phobias, soothe dogs for a trip, and prevent separation anxiety.

The great thing about flower essence remedies is that they are made from entirely non-toxic, natural ingredients. Plus, you can use them together with other holistic therapies and medical treatments — your dog will never suffer from unpleasant side effects.

There are 38 original Bach flower essence remedies, each of which helps with a different issue. For instance, aspen is ideal for unknown fears that occur for no clear reason, whereas heather is useful if your dog is unwilling to spend time alone or constantly demands attention. Best of all are mixtures of different flowers, as they provide a number of health benefits in a single dosage.

There are a few ways to administer flower essences: you can squirt the liquid straight into your dog’s mouth, sponge it onto her face, or drip it on a treat. In chronic cases, you should give your dog the remedy a few times a day. If you are using the essence for a particular situation, apply it in the moment.

4. Touching Techniques

Touching techniques involve placing your hands on different parts of your dog’s body to comfort her. This is useful whether you want to calm your dog, help her recover from a medical condition, or just strengthen the bond between the two of you.

  1. Shoulders— If you are able to keep your dog in a sitting or standing position, place one hand above either shoulder blade. If she chooses to lie on her side, put both your hands on the same side.
  2. Torso— Either place your hands on her belly or on the middle of her back next to the spine.
  3. Hind region— Put your hands just above her tail.
  4. Back and chest— Place one hand between her shoulder blades and the other on her chest.
  5. Head and chest— Finish the routine with one hand on her head and the other on her chest.

For all the exercises, touch your dog with the palm of your hands, keeping your hands flat, your fingers straight, and your thumbs tucked in. Breathe deeply and hold each position for several minutes — or for as long as your dog will let you. She may be restless when you first start.

5. Hydrosols

Essential oils can be too intense for dogs — they may have a negative impact on the good bacteria in the gut. Luckily, your dog can gain all the benefits of essential oils with hydrosols.

A hydrosol is the solution that is left over after the extraction of essential oils from a plant. You can use hydrosols in various ways for dogs, including as sprays, rinses, and poultices.

Even though a hydrosol only contains trace amounts of the essential oil, you still need to avoid using potentially unsafe oils. These include (although are not limited to):

  • Pine
  • Tea tree
  • Citrus
  • Wintergreen
  • Citrus

Even more essential oils are toxic to cats. Always check that you are picking a safe choice before you decide to use a hydrosol.

You can administer many of the above holistic remedies, but some (such as massage) are better carried out by a certified professional. In yet other cases (for instance, the touching technique), you may like to learn from a practitioner and then continue practicing on your own.

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